I am always happy to visit with readers of all ages. Over the years I’ve given several presentations at schools (elementary, middle school, and high school), libraries, stores, book festivals, and conferences.
To schedule a visit or to get more information about programs, fees, etc., please contact me. If your event or school district needs multiple authors, you can make your budget go further by booking both me and my husband, Chris Barton (Shark vs. Train) — ask me for details!
I currently offer several presentations, including:
An Open Book
In this program I use anecdotes, photos and other visual material to discuss the inspiration behind my books, and explain my process of coming up with novel ideas, writing, editing, and revision.
The Many Secret Identities of Writers
Those who write use career skills other than simply writing. Find out how writers are part movie director, part spy, part athlete, part sculptor, and part superhero.
Revenge of the Writer
Many writers feel that they can be creative only if there are no limits put on their writing. Using my novel Revenge of the Flower Girls as an example, I discuss how “limits” don’t always work against you … and can even work in your favor. I describe how Flower Girls came to be and then read a funny passage from the book.
Don’t Just Fantasize … Writer-ize!
What should someone do in order to become a writer? Only four simple things! During this talk, I relate my own path to publication, including all the stops and stumbles along the way. I emphasize how each step, even if I didn’t realize it at the time, helped prepare me for my career. I also describe my writing process, explain how I fit writing into a busy routine, and debunk several myths people have about published authors.
Who’s Telling Your Story?
Using my novels as a starting point, I discuss the importance of point-of-view in storytelling. I review the differences between first, second, and third-person POV and explain how I decide which to use in a story. At the end I do a brief exercise that demonstrates how a different POV can significantly alter a piece of writing.
How Not to Write a How-To (a brief workshop for young school audiences)
Using the novel How Not to Be Popular as a starting point, I help students create their own silly how-to pieces on such topics as “How to Make Your Teacher Retire,” “How to Drive Your Brother/Sister Crazy,” or “How Not to Behave at a Fancy Party,” etc. (Other mini workshop topics are available on “crafting effective beginnings” or “setting tone and finding voice.”)
A Pen Name by Any Other Name…
Throughout my writing career I have penned 18 books under different pseudonyms. In this presentation I discuss my experiences, describe how they shaped me as a novelist, and explain the risks and rewards of work-for-hire writing.