Since my first young adult mystery was published in 2004, I have given countless presentations to both children and adults. I’ve visited classrooms and libraries to talk about writing, the publishing process and mysteries, and have presented workshops to kids to give writing tips and to inspiration. I’ve also presented to adult organizations and been a panelist and guest speaker at author events in Canada and the U.S.
Below is a brief description of a typical classroom visit as well as a writing workshop. Both can be modified to complement classroom teaching objectives and student interest. For other speaking engagements, including book clubs, conferences, festivals and author events, please contact me by e-mail to discuss the event and my availability.
Grade level: My school visits and workshops are aimed at Grades Four to Eight (ages nine to thirteen).
Duration: About 45 minutes for a classroom presentation (the presentation can be modified to fit the time available) and an hour for a writing workshop.
I first speak about the road I took to becoming a published author. I then give an overview of my books and the mystery genre. Then, I lead the students through the devices and strategies I use to write a mystery, giving short examples from my work. I also discuss the book covers and the way they help to package the story. I conclude with a slightly longer reading and a question and answer session.
My workshops are interactive with several writing exercises to have the children involved. My focus is to motivate as well as to give some valuable writing tips. In the short story workshop, I lead the kids through exercises that focus on choosing point of view and writing descriptive sentences that use all five senses and evocative language. As a group, we brainstorm ideas for short stories before I lead them through outlining a short story and writing an opening paragraph. The workshop can be modified to focus exclusively on writing mystery stories.
Student Preparation: I like the students to prepare questions in advance of my visit . Being prepared always leads to livelier discussions.
Cost: Very reasonable. Please contact me to discuss.