Personal Visits


WITH JUST ABOUT 100 BOOKS of science fiction, fantasy, comedy, and adventure published so far, I use humor and the excitement of adventure to draw young people into the pleasures of reading and writing.
In my novels Kringle, Firegirl, and The Postcard, I have tried to create stories about people facing moments in their lives when everything, no matter how small, begins to change.
A professional writer, editor, and publisher for over thirty years, I bring to each presentation a thorough and lively knowledge of creative writing in a variety of forms, including fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. My visits appeal to both boys and girls and to reluctant as well as enthusiastic readers. The wide-ranging discussion that takes place also focuses on how the creative writing process can infuse students with a life-long love of reading and a respect for books and the power of the imagination.
Introduction: How I got started as a writer of children’s fiction. Taking several of my own books as jumping off points, I discuss a number of the following key points:
  • Tapping Your Imagination to Start Ideas Flowing
  • The Foundations of Storytelling: Character, Setting, Problem, and Beginning, Middle, End
  • Living Beyond the Page: Creating Strong Characters
  • The Magic of Ideas: How to Find Stories Everywhere
  • Gotcha! Using Humor and Mood to Grab the Reader
  • All Stories Are Neverending: Rewriting, Revising, and Self-editing
Following this discussion, I present a slide show centering on “a day in the life of an author,” which illustrates many of the concepts discussed above as well as the stages of the publishing process — from the magic of the original concept, to manuscript, through multiple drafts and final revisions, to a published book. We finish with a question and answer period. Interviews and book signings may take place as time permits during the visit.
Above all, my goal in visiting with students is to inspire and motivate readers and writers of all ability levels. From my own experience as a slow early reader, I know that in each student, no matter what his or her competence, there is a passion for the written word that simply waits to be discovered. One key focus of all my talks is how to nourish one’s imagination, overcome obstacles, and turn defeat into success at one’s chosen craft.
Suggested Audience: Grades 1 to 8

Maximum number of presentations per day: 3

Honorarium: $1,900 per day, plus expenses; if there is an overnight stay, please add $400

For information about Keynote Speaking, Writing Workshops, Conference Workshops, and other events, please contact me.

There are many things a school or library can do in advance to ensure the best author visit possible. Here are some suggestions.
  • Tell the students that an author is coming to their school. You can do this by putting up posters, pictures of the author, and copies of book covers. This will alert students that a special day is coming. (Illustrations are available for every author visit.)
  • Ask teachers and librarians to consider using the author’s books in read-aloud sessions, for book reports, and other reading and writing activities. This will get the students familiar with the author’s work. Share details of these activities with the author when he comes.
  • Encourage classes to make up questions to ask the author. Good questions make for a more lively presentation. Encourage students to think up difficult, challenging, or provocative questions — authors love those the most!
  • Encourage art classes to create posters celebrating the author’s work.
  • Announce the visit on the public address system daily, starting a few days before the event. The more excited the students and faculty are, the better the day will be for everyone.
  • Make books available for purchase and signing by the author. This ensures that students get the most out of a visit. After all, bringing an author to your school or library promotes literacy and can spark a lifelong interest in reading and writing. And that’s what it’s all about.

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