Sadly, due to financial constraints, I’ve had to return to work, so I don’t have much time for school visits any more 😦 If a school has read or studied one of my books though, I will try my best to accommodate a visit if I can….)
One of the things I’ve discovered since I’ve become a ‘real’ published writer, is how much I enjoy going to talk to groups of young people about what I do. I’ve been to several schools now, one day (world book day 2007) I spoke to three consecutive English classes in one school, before driving across town to speak to a whole year group in an other. That was a great day!
I’m fairly flexible about what I do on these school visits. I usually start by reading from my book, and then talking about why I love reading so much (using some of my favourite books as illustrations) and how I came to be a writer. I’m open to questions all through the talk, and some of the best sessions are the ones when I spend the whole time answering questions.
I go on to talk about how I came up with the plot of The Forbidden Room, and some of my writing techniques. If the school wants me to, I’ll give a quick presentation explaining what a Stem Cell is (Stem Cell technology features in the plot of The Forbidden Room). The new book I’m working on contains coded messages, so I’m going to include some code-breaking into future talks.
I bring copies of my books with me on school visits to sell and sign and sometimes I’ll be interviewed or photographed by journalists for the school newsletter or local newspapers.
If you have any questions about my school visits, or would like to book me for your school, please fill in the form on the Contact me page.
Although I usually only go to secondary schools, I recently visited a primary seven class at Hazelwood Integrated Primary school, in Belfast, and had one of my best school visits yet! The class teacher had read The Forbidden room with his class and both teacher and children were very enthusiastic. They had lots of brilliant questions prepared in advance of my visit, and the walls to their classroom were covered in excellent work they’d done on the book – storyboards, alternate endings, reviews etc. I had a really great time at Hazelwood Primary – thanks for having me!