Posts Tagged ‘Author Visit’

P.J. Haarsma Visit

September 9th, 2008

The author visit by P. J. Haarsma was a lot of fun. He knows astronomy, technology, and how to get young adults interested in what he’s talking about.

Librarians, a warning – you’ll need to order more books. Mine are all checked out and on hold.

On Target with John Flanagan

April 10th, 2008

Frank Beddor was crazy and jumped up on our tables. Ally had less table-jumping but great insight into the writing process (dirty water out of the hose first). 

John Flanagan was a good way to end author visits for the school year. He told us about his work in TV but how he really wanted to be an author. I loved the fact that his big celebration was not a big house/car but that he could do his dream and still support his family. (That excitement was demonstrated by looking like a “loon” as he and his wife pulled up to stop lights (instead of the bland faces people normally present.))

He also talked about how he started Ranger’s Apprentice to hook his son on reading. His son’s favorite part was Halt catching Will in the tower. He never knew you could actually feel fear in a story. Flanagan then stuck the stories in a desk for 12 years until his daughter recommended to get them published as Book 1. It’s cool that now we’re talking script by Paul Haggis (who, for the first time in Academy Award history won back-to-back awards for the scripts for Crash and Million Dollar Baby). 

It’s even cooler that Paul Haggis took notice of Ranger’s Apprentice because the scriptwriter’s son loved the books. I am stoked because I still am boycotting the Stormbreaker movie because I’m such a fan of the Alex Rider series and usually young adult books-turned movies stink. (Did you see Eragon? Yeah, me neither.)

Flanagan had a great thing to say about all of the rejection letters (he gets so excited, he says sarcastically). You can’t guarantee success, but you can guarantee failure. He then shared Steven Bradbury’s story. (He also shared how kangaroos go from cutesy to old men kangaroos who lean on golf tees like they owe the place.) 


Flanagan popped the balloon. Students got copies of Book 5, Sorcerer of the North (which comes out in November).


He signed my book “aka Halt”. I’m excited.

John Flanagan Author Visit

April 4th, 2008


Author John Flanagan will be at our school’s gym at 3:30pm on Tuesday, April 8. He will be signing books and there will be an archery competition.


There’s some fun games at his site, as well. 

Library Advice – Ally Carter Visit

February 16th, 2008

My advice? Have her visit your library. Here is what I learned and appreciated:

  1.  She’s funny, in a The Office/Joss Whedon sort of way. You’ve got to pay attention or the wit will fly right by.
  2. She knows character development and purpose. A student asked, “Why did you make Josh like he is?” Ally: “Josh is everything that Cammie wants but can’t have. The white picket fence, the mom who bakes giant apple pies.” She went on to explain how Cammie lives in a mansion but eats microwave burritos because her mom doesn’t know how to cook. The normal life escapes her.
  3. Ally intended Bex to represent Cammie without any reservations. Bex doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a dad.
  4. Book 3 is going to rock, plain and simple. Macey, a character who originally would have left after book one, has some very exciting scenes.
  5. In book 3 there is another cool character with some hilarious dialogue.
  6. The title is just as fun as the others.
  7. If I told more about book 3 (or the rest of the series), Ally would kill me with a piece of uncooked spaghetti. I’ve seen her do it and I’ve had trouble sleeping ever since.
  8. The first Gallagher book was dedicated to someone that Ally knew who sounds like an extraordinary woman that deserves the title Gallagher Girl.
  9. Ally understands the balance between internal and external conflict. Where I am one to always require more explosions, the balance between Cammie wanting to look elegant at a ball and Cammie tracking down an infiltrator is what I love about the book series.
  10. Ally has a secret identity.
  11. That secret identity has trouble checking in to hotels.
  12. I may not look at the printed signs to tell you which hotel lobby I am in, but I can tell you based on carpet.
  13. Ally is very forgiving when you show up and wait to pick her up at the wrong hotel.
  14. Ally has great metaphors regarding the writing process. “If you turn on a hose after you haven’t used it for a while, what comes out?” Someone honestly said mice. Ally had a witty response on her feet.
  15. Her writing space involves sticky note storyboards on four separate walls, a wall for each story she’s working on. She may describe it as the mind of a serial killer, but I am going to start doing that in my library office. (Maybe that’s not good evidence that she’s not crazy.)
  16. I am going to start a letter/e-mail writing campaign to get George Clooney to play Joe Solomon in the movie.
  17. When you sign a contract with Disney, it is worded that you are giving rights to the story for it to be a Disney production anywhere in the universe. (Not just measly little Earth.)
  18. When you sign with Disney, you agree that your story can take many forms: film, straight to DVD, made for TV movie, stage, and on ice.
  19. I would love to see Gallagher Girls on Ice on the planet Neptune.
  20. Ally is great with kids (and knows some good songs to sing with a preschooler).
  21. My Little Pony Live has higher production values than The Wiggles.
  22. Ally is a very humble author who doesn’t complain about carrying a diaper bag and riding to the airport in a minivan with a crying infant.
  23. Ally inspired a teacher to follow her own “high concept idea” and start writing again.
  24. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is a good friend of hers that wrote The Squad, about covert cheerleaders. They just came out this month and I will be checking those books out.
  25. Ally Carter can do well presenting to the large groups but she excels at the question and answers, so keep that in mind when bringing her to your library.

Yes, bringing an author is a lot of work. Yes, I am exhausted (woo, President’s Day!). But it is so worth it and so much fun, especially when you get the talented Ally Carter to your library.

Author Signing – P. J. Haarsma

January 23rd, 2008

I got to hang out with P. J. Haarsma tonight at Barnes and Noble. His Virus on Orbis 1 is a fun read about kids running an entire spaceship until they are sold into slavery. Fans of Pendragon/Ender’s Game/Star Wars need to check it out. He’s really good friends with Frank Beddor (who was awesome when he visited our school) (and whose MMORPG just went into beta) and has a similar demeanor and personality.  
No, he is not my older brother. He decided to stand on a chair. I don’t know why.

Frank Beddor’s Seeing Redd

December 11th, 2007

I finally got to finish this since I’ve been scrambling for other booktalks. Something that I’ve learned about Frank Beddor is that he’s an entertainer.

And that’s okay!

Seeing Redd is not The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and that’s okay! It’s fun.

Imaginative bursts

1. The characters really start to come into their own as Alyss is less dreamy-eyed and more monarch.
2. It expands between a mere battle of imagination as King Arch of Boarderland wants a piece of the pie. More of the Heart Queendom is seen (and yes, there are more caterpillars).
3. Lots of action, especially towards the end (like any good fantasy book these days, I guess).
4. Frank Beddor visited my library and he writes like he talks: very energetically and down to Earth. The book level lists at being high, but if students know that it’s mainly “crazy creature jargon”, they should be fine.

Rose thorns

1. I had already read Hatter M, so I was already familiar with some of the new characters, like Sacrenoir and Siren. There are descriptions of these characters, but they were scarier because I had seen them earlier in the comic book.
2. Characters die or are hurt that I hadn’t quite connected with yet.

Final conclusion: With the crazy ending of book two, there better be book three.