Author Visits: What to Expect

What kind of person do you have to be, if you want to be an author? What if you’re just a normal kid with big, goofy ideas but maybe a big streak of laziness? What if you’re interested in a gazillion things and you’re just not sure? What’s it like to be a writer anyway?

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, it’s something like this:

Okay, it takes a lot of work to get there, but it sure can be fun. Kids will see my first elementary-school attempt at writing a novel (and learn why they should never name a character Negloglagleeglogleggook)! They’ll discover why editing is like a lettuce sandwich. They’ll follow a book from initial idea to publication … and beyond. They’ll help me solve the mystery of the world’s strangest book cover.

They’ll also enjoy some embarrassing photos and hear a score of different people from all over the world, in more-or-less-accurate accents. (You can take the actor out of Broadway…) I do quite a few school visits, 40 of them last year alone. In our time together (usually 45 minutes to an hour) I cover a lot of ground, with anecdotes, visual aids, and lots of laughs. And I always leave time for questions and answers.

My aims are simple:

• To inspire and entertain each
and every student, no exception!
• To show a life devoted to story-
telling by telling a story of a life.
• To rethink the process of writing:
respect for one’s own ideas, practice,
follow-through, the importance of
editorial criticism.
• To put a human face on the
mystifying process of professional
• To use humor and student
involvement in order to reach
the hearts and minds of the
next generation’s readers, thinkers,
and communicators.