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Author Visits and Workshops

I’m a writer who loves teaching and a teacher who loves writing. If you’d like me to visit your school or library to talk to kids about my books or about writing, please contact me by email.

Book Talks 

How do teens become terrorists? What Useful Fools teaches about the mind and motivations of a terrorist. One-hour talk and Q&A.

From fact to fiction: How I turned real-life experiences as a diplomat and journalist into the critically acclaimed YA novel, Useful Fools. One-hour talk and Q&A about living overseas, writing, and getting published.

Going Global: If you can’t travel, read! Using Useful Fools and other fiction to understand how it feels to live in someone else’s skin. Ninety-minute talk and Q&A.


Cliché-Busters: Using a method I’ve perfected with my own students, I’ll work with groups of up to twelve students to jump-start their creative writing. One-hour workshop.

Telling Stories to Yourself: How to write a first draft of a short story or a first chapter of a novel. Students will learn how to mine their own experiences for story ideas, how to design a story arc, and how to critique their first drafts without letting their “Inner Critics” overwhelm their creative voices. Two-hour workshop, up to twelve students.

The Tale Wagging the Dog: How to write good dogs. Or bad dogs. Students will hear examples of great canine literature, discuss point-of-view in animal stories, and then write and critique their own dog stories. Yoda, my own dog and a character in one of my novels, is available to attend this workshop. (Warning: he doesn’t shed but he does talk. A lot.) Two-hour workshop, up to twelve students.