What if you received a letter telling you that you’d been accepted into a school for wizards? Or discovered a door into another universe at the back of your bedroom closet? What if you met someone who’d been imprisoned inside a painting for over three hundred years? If you could travel back in time, where would you go? This session takes a look at where ideas come from and how to turn them into stories. Revision and the importance of editing are also covered.
Meet the Author
This presentation consists of an introduction to myself and my work, plus a reading followed by questions from the audience. I discuss where ideas come from, the inspiration behind the books, my own experiences getting published and many aspects of the writing process.
In the Beginning
This interactive presentation for younger grades explores story structure relating to the creation of a beginning, middle and end. Using a series of seemingly unrelated objects, students participate in creating a story in what is always a fun filled session. Teachers can follow up later with pictures for the story and often have the students create their own books, based on the story we put together in the classroom.
Learn about the history of superheroes in comic books and movies from their beginnings in the 1940s up to the present day. We explore the genre and students create their own superhero, complete with costumes, powers, secret identities, headquarters and adversaries. Learn more about superheroes and comic books, the inspiration for The Emerald Curse, here.
Plundering the Past: The Appeal and Complexities of Time Travel
History is a thing of the past and there thousands of recorded years of it. Historical events and characters from around the world provide an endless wealth of material to inspire the writer. Go beyond using history simply to create period adventures and explore the fascinating world of time travel. This session covers the appeal, complexities and techniques of time travel stories and touches on the use of historical events by authors and filmmakers for inspiration.
In addition to my novels, I’ve also written many non-fiction books for children. These have included biographies, as well as books about science, space, animals, history, architecture, culture and a variety of other topics. Learn how writers conduct research for non-fiction books, what sources are the most reliable, how to check all your facts, what to include in biographies, how non-fiction books are put together and more.
In these dramatic and fun-filled sessions, students learn how to write, rehearse and perform their own unique play in just five days. Students create the plot, craft the script, write dialogue and hone their acting skills for their very own dramatic production, which is then performed at the end of the week. These sessions take place over several days with smaller groups of around twelve to fifteen students, in order to ensure that everyone has a speaking role in the play.
Things That Never Were
Basilisks and boggarts. Dragons and dwarves. Griffins and gargoyles. Fantasy remains one of the most popular genres for children’s novels and shows no signs of fading anytime soon. This session examines how authors write fantasy and takes a look at the vast number of creatures that inhabit the fantasy realm. Students then create their own mythological animals and the imaginary environments they inhabit.
Pen, Paper, Action!
Dramatic beginnings! Page turning action! Cliffhanger endings! Learn how to grab the reader’s attention right at the beginning, then retain their interest until the very last page.
The Importance of Historical Research
Did medieval castles have glass windows? When was printing invented? How did a suit of armour fit together? Who was who in the Middle Ages? This session explains how getting the facts straight is a vital part of writing effective historical fiction. Learn more about the history behind The Sorcerer’s Letterbox and The Heretic’s Tomb.