This past Monday I did an author visit at North County Christian School in Atascadero. It was for grades 2-6th. I have to say I really hate all the pre-stuff to an author visit: scheduling, arranging, getting directions, estimating how many books to bring, finding a sitter for Westly, etc. But once I'm there in front of the kids, it's all worth it. I love sharing my ideas and all about stories with kids. I also love answering their questions, and best of all, signing a book for them. Someone asked me recently, "So what do you do?" Here's a general outline of my author visit presentation:
I start by asking kids to raise their hands if they love to read mysteries. Then if they love writing stories.
I introduce my series to them, and give them a little background on Sherlock Holmes and how he ties into my story.
We talk about elements of a great story. I have the kids share what they think a good story should have, and I use examples from my books. All their ideas are usually good and correct, but you can sum up what a story really needs with three things: character, setting, and plot (problem). I grab a volunteer to wear a top hat to represent character, one to hold a large map of London to represent setting, and one to hold my jar of marmalade to represent plot (the jar of marmalade is a key component of the plot in Sherlock Academy Book 1).
Next I share about my writing process: getting ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, writing my ideas, publishing my ideas.
I reserve the last ten minutes for a Q & A time with the kids. After the presentation, I sign books.