A Writer’s Journey
This talk is specifically geared toward teenage audiences. I discuss how I came to be a professional writer, particularly focusing on my influences and aspirations in high school and college. I discuss traveling, and how my many trips to different parts of the world have informed my writing. I tell stories about the formative trip I took with my sister and cousin to Brazil, which provided the initial inspiration for The Summer Prince. I then discuss each of my novels briefly, including a few short excerpts. This includes an audio/visual component.
The Creative Spark(s)
I discuss inspiration and the creative process, relating it particularly to how I wrote The Summer Prince. With a visual component, I describe the formative trip I took with my sister and cousin to Brazil, which provided the initial inspiration for The Summer Prince. Then, I bring together the many other disparate inspirations that informed the book: vampires, love triangles, Dorothy Dunnett, installation art, and more, in a story that concludes with an epic 3-day train ride across the country where I began to write the novel. This includes a visual component.
New York City in the 1920s
This talk discusses the historical research that informed my novel Moonshine. The twenties began the era that we think of as truly modern, and New York City was at the vanguard of the social and political movements that defined the period. This talk would focus on the roles of women, immigrants and the changing values of the time. I also discuss fashion, politics and the neighborhoods of the city, with an engaging visual component and ample time for questions. In the end, I relate this survey of the twenties in New York City to larger issues of researching and writing historical novels.
How to write a novel
This talk is designed to appeal to creative students who have considered fiction writing but might not be entirely sure how to tackle something as long or complex as a novel. This will cover at a basic level the genres, structures and writing styles of a modern novel, and will conclude with a general discussion of the business of writing (critique groups, agents, publishers, etc.) My aim with this talk is to give students practical information and inspiration—exactly what I would have benefited from at that age.
Fiction writing workshop
2 hours. My workshops are generally longer and more involved than my basic presentations (and they can be combined with any of the presentations, as well). These work better with smaller groups of students (20 or fewer), so that each can get a chance to participate and learn. These are geared toward nurturing young writers, helping them learn the basics of craft and providing them with some external motivation to push themselves as writers.
The workshop would include a general discussion of writing mechanics and technique, followed by writing exercises and a q&a session. The students will work individually and in groups and have a chance to present material over the course of the workshop.
With sufficient preparation time, it is also possible for me to do one-on-one critiques with students who have pre-submitted work. Please contact me for details, if you are interested.
In addition to the foregoing, I can tailor my presentations to the needs of the school or library. Other possibilities include speaking more generally on my career path as a writer, why I have chosen the genres of young adult and speculative literature, race and gender issues in my particular fields, and where to find inspiration.