The best part about writing a book is having the opportunity to meet and talk with readers, particularly young people. I write books as a way to connect with other people and share experiences that I think are universal. Visiting a school or conference to discuss writing, inspiration, and imagination is another way I enjoy making this kind of connection. I want to hear from my readers as much as they may want to hear from me.
A standard presentation includes a reading, discussion, and time for a Q & A session. I am also available for keynote addresses, and assemblies. A standard workshop includes a short reading, discussion, and free write session involving special prompts by me, followed by personal attention to students’ work, in person (if there is time), or by email.
The following are basic descriptions; I am more than happy to work with educators to craft a presentation specifically for their school or class.
Myth and Magic is all Around Us (all ages)
In this presentation, I talk about the power of the mythic journey and how it has been retold through the ages, through classic stories such as the Narnia Chronicles, the Beyonders, and The Lord of the Rings and how it applies to everyday life now. I read from my own work and describe the process of trying to make one’s own myth using universal truths and personal experiences. I also encourage kids to see their own experiences in light of myth, and growing up as its own journey.
Portals and Power Objects (all ages)
In this workshop, I use various prompts to help students begin to imagine their own worlds and how a character might access these worlds. We will discuss why stones mean so much to my adventure-fantasy story and how we all have objects in our daily lives that we invest with special meaning. I can tailor prompts to different ages, or use drawing instead of writing.
Welcome to Wonderland
This can be a presentation or a creative writing workshop, and is one of the most exciting programs I teach. In it, I read from my books and discuss the inspiration and real historical research that form the backbone of the story and the creation of the island of Ayda. Then, using certain prompts, I encourage students to enter their own wonderland (their imagination) and begin to write about it. Interestingly, this can be done as out-loud storytelling, too.
College?—or Not? (High School)
After reading from Undecided: Navigating Life and Learning after High School, I will lead a discussion and Q&A that covers many options available for teens, including college, service, work, and Gap Year. This is a very popular presentation. You can see a version of it on Youtube in my talk for TedxDirigo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWbCiI-1MmY
Fairy Tales, Movies, and Video Games (8-14 year olds)
A day-long or afternoon-long session in which students craft their own fantastical fairy tales based on classic narrative structure, and connect them to some of their favorite movies or video games.
Who Am I? (High School)
A day-long or afternoon-long session in which students write a personal essay based on specific writing prompts and props meant to inspire self-reflection in a fun, imaginative way. Can be used as a basis for college application essay writing.
Special discounted rate on books for any teacher and/or students attending a scheduled presentation or workshop, and books are available for pre-order, here:
Standard presentation/workshop in Maine: $200
Standard presentation out-of-state: $300, includes all-day availability and can be combined with a workshop. Does not include travel expenses
If you would like me to come to your school but don’t have the budget, please contact me anyway, if I am already in your area or have plans to visit, I will make it work!