Dear Teachers and Librarians,
I LOVE talking about my books and meeting new people and am available to do events although, I will say, that when it comes to World Book Day in March or the Children’s Book Festival in October, it is wise to book early.
Of course, there is a fee. I will also need travel expenses as I live in Drogheda and I do not drive. Therefore, I am held hostage to bus and train time tables. This means that should a distant school or library need me to do an early morning event, I might need overnight accommodation.
My books are aimed at children aged nine/ten years of age and upwards.
A typical event involves me talking for approximately 45 minutes before taking lots of questions and signing books. (And I am happy to be photographed as many times as you like!) All in all, this should take an hour or thereabouts. I never rush off unless I have a train/bus to catch.
You can book me for two one-hour events in one day. There was a time when I could do three in one day but, following chemotherapy for breast cancer in 2018, my energy is not what it was.
I discuss how I write and research my novels while describing the actual historical event that inspired the book. In this way, my events can work on two levels, appealing to both the English and the History class.
I use PowerPoint Presentation to illustrate my talks and, therefore, will need a projector and screen. I have a little microphone and don’t mind big crowds – as long as they are friendly!
The most popular talk to date is my Titanic one. It has brought me all over the island of Ireland and continues to do so, to this day. However, I can talk about any one book or a combination – whichever you prefer. Apart from the Titanic, you can have me discuss how I wrote my World War II novel, City of Fate. I usually partner Behind the Walls, which is about the 1668-9 Siege of Derry, with Kings of the Boyne, about the 1690 Battle of the Boyne.
My latest novel, Chasing Ghosts, An Arctic Adventure, about the doomed 1845 John Franklin expedition to the Arctic, was published just before the Covid-19 lockdown so it has yet to get a proper airing.
In the meantime, a new kind of event has, by necessity, been brought into being and that is the virtual event. It is similar to my usual event in that I show photographs as I discuss my books before taking questions. Again, there is a charge but I promise you won’t have to worry about travel expenses!