I enjoy meeting with readers and students, and I am available for speaking engagements, interviews, school visits, and book events.
My honorarium fees for school visits are $1,500 for a full day (up to 6 hours), $800 for a half day (up to 3 hours), plus allowances for the author’s necessary travel expenses (to include flights, hotel accommodations, and ground transportation to and from the event as required). If two schools work together to split a day it’s very cost effective, as travel expenses may be shared.
Skype, FaceTime, and Google chats are now available at a rate of $100 per hour of chat time. Internet chats are subject to connection quality and speeds, and “rain” dates may be required if connection conditions are unsatisfactory for video connection on the date of the event.
Author chats can be tailored to the school’s individual needs, and may include any of the following:
– Class-sized workshops
– Open Q&A discussions
– Book club discussions
– After school author meet-n-greets & book signings
– Large group presentations on specific topics, including: creative writing, research as part of the creative process, the process of writing and making a book, or goal setting/resilience. See below for a list of available presentation topics thoughtfully designed to fill one class period.
When speaking with administration to request permission to host an author event, it might be helpful to share the following bits of information about the author:
– Nearly Gone was a finalist for the Edgar® Award, winner of the Mathical Award for mathematics in children’s literature, and winner of the International Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Thriller
– Nearly Gone received a Starred Review from School Library Journal, accolades from Horn Book Review, and was listed as one of Bank Street College of Education’s 2015 Best Books of the Year
– Nearly Gone has been named to six state reading lists, including Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards, the Georgia Peach Book Awards, the Kansas State Reading List, Florida Teens Read, the Louisiana Teen Readers Book List, and South Dakota State Library’s Teen Choice List
– Holding Smoke is a Bram Stoker Award® Nominee, a nominee for the International Thriller Award, and a finalist for the Georgia Peach Book Award.
– Penguin Books for Young Readers provides a common core reader’s discussion guide to accompany Nearly Gone, available for download through their website, suitable for both book clubs and classroom use.
– Disney Hyperion provides a common core reader’s discussion guide to accompany Holding Smoke, available for download through their website, suitable for both bookclubs and classroom use.
PRESENTATION 1: WRITE THROUGH IT
Length: 30-35 minute presentation + 10 minutes open Q&A
Audience: Ideal for All Audiences
Subject: Resilience and Coping with Failure
Summary: I take students on a behind-the-curtain tour of how I became an author. It’s an honest, candid look at the day to day struggles I faced when trying to become published. I share the details of some of my biggest failures and how I overcame them, the process of incorporating feedback and opening our minds to the possibilities of revision, and how I bounced back from rejections, disappointments, and the subjectivity of reader reviews. It’s an uplifting, motivating look at how we create our own success through perseverance, hard work, and commitment, and what it means to be resilient. This is my most popular presentation, ideal for all audiences, with a message that transcends writing and becomes applicable to real world follow-up conversations.
PRESENTATION 2: TINY SEEDS MAKE BIG TREES
Length: 30 minutes + 10-15 minutes open Q&A
Audience: Creative Writing, Art, English classes, and General Audiences
Subject: Finding Inspiration, Discovering the Extraordinary in Our Ordinary Lives
Summary: The most frequently asked question I receive is, “Where do you get your inspiration?” So I’ve created a presentation about how I find inspiration in my every day ordinary life. We’ll explore the inspirational seed for three of my novels, and connect those seeds to character, setting, and theme. Then talk about how I took those seeds and grew them into a fully realized storyline. We’ll encourage creative students to look more closely at memorable events in their own lives, to find a few seeds of their own.
PRESENTATION 3: THE C.S.I. EFFECT – FORENSIC FACT VS FICTION
Length: 35 minutes + 10 minutes open Q&A
Audience: Civics/Govmnt, Science, & Creative Writing classes-General Audiences
Subject: Real World Implications of Fictional Representations of Forensic Investigation
Summary: This is a great look at common myths and misconceptions about forensic investigation that originate with popular media. What really happens on a crime scene and in a forensics lab and how is it different from what we read in novels and what we see on TV? We’ll explore real world cases where juries were swayed, or pop culture interfered with the execution of justice. We’ll talk about how we can be more thoughtful consumers of fictional media, and discuss the hands-on research and real life steps I take to ensure I’ve written my fictional criminal investigations responsibly.
PRESENTATION 4: ORIGIN STORIES WORKSHOP
Length: 35 minutes + 10 minutes open Q&A
Audience: Creative Writing classes (also suitable for middle grade) – 25 students max
Subject: A hands-on, interactive exploration of backstory as a function of character development.
Summary: Let’s talk about superheroes! This workshop explores the importance of a fully fleshed backstory in creating a believable, relatable character, and a more compelling story arc. We’ll explore three types of origin stories, using examples of our favorite superheroes, dissecting their unique origin stories to figure out what makes them work. Students will draw a card from a deck of super-powers. Using this as a prompt, they will brainstorm an origin story of their own using a list of thought-provoking questions. From there, they are encouraged to take their work home and develop it into a short writing sample.
PRESENTATION 5: AUTHOR MEET N GREET
Audience: Book Clubs, Creative Writers, Educators, & some General Audiences
Subject: Completely Open Free Question and Answer session
Summary: This is perfect for fans and students who have already read my books. This open meet n greet is a no-holds-barred opportunity to ask me ANYTHING–my process, my day to day work life, where I draw inspiration, how I became a writer, my characters, my current projects, who I wish would act the role of my characters in a film, what kind of research I’ve done, my relationship with my agent and critique partners, how I edit, how writers get paid, how I come up with plots… you name it! This program is not suited to general audiences with no interest in writing, reading, or my books. An open Q&A works best when students have already been introduced to the material, and have prepared a few questions in advance. Consider the energy level, interest, and number of participants before determining the length of time needed for this event.
Use the contact form on this website to request more information about school visits and author events.
NOTE: Schools will be required to check with their district offices and school administrators to obtain permission to host an Author Event prior to scheduling. Sponsoring schools will be responsible for providing the author with any pre-approvals or paperwork required by their county or state, including but not limited to information regarding necessary tax forms (W9s), background checks (fingerprinting or ID), liability insurance requirements, and/or necessary waivers or contracts to be signed by the Author prior to the event.