Bring Laura to You!



School Visit Information for the 2016-2017 School Year

I have six plus years of teaching in the trenches of middle school under my belt, and one of my favorite things to do is to talk to kids. I offer a variety of presentations for groups of all sizes that fit with the common core standards.

School visits include up to four 50 minute sessions. You can mix and match from presentations listed below, or we can come up with something custom to fit your school’s needs.

Taking the Mystery out of Publishing
Professional writers are nothing more than an amateur that refused to take no for an answer. This presentation helps take some of the mystery out of the process of getting traditionally published, from revising, critiquing and crafting an enticing query letter to finding a literary agent and eventually landing a book deal. I share some insider’s tips on how to go about the whole confusing mess with a healthy dose of inspirational follow your dreams no matter what thrown in so the presentation will resonate with students whether they want to be a writer or not.

Fact to Fiction
When writers foray into their worlds of fiction, they often have to bring a bucket of facts along for the ride. In Edge of Extinction, the world is fiction, but the beasts WERE real. In this presentation I discuss the research that goes into writing a novel where fact is interwoven with fiction. I briefly discuss the challenges I faced during my own research as well as the interesting world of paleontology. If you’re looking for a way to hit those hard to reach non-fiction standards, this presentation is it, because if dinosaurs aren’t high-interest non-fiction…nothing is.

World Building and Character Creating
Writers live in their own little worlds…usually of their own creation. In this presentation I discuss how writers take an idea and build on it to create their fictional worlds. I discuss the concept of “writing what you know” and explain how writers pull their own personal experiences and backgrounds into a story. I delve into the concept of show don’t tell and the importance of sensory details. This presentation also hits briefly on character creation and how to make fictional characters feel like real live people.

Dangerous Dinos

The Edge of Extinction novels are filled to the brim with dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes…and they all really existed once upon a million years ago. In this presentation discuss the ever evolving science of paleontology and why certain dinosaurs found their way into the pages of not only my novel but history. From the loss of the first Spinosaurus bones to a World War II bombing to the bizarre legacy of the Bone Wars, the history of dinosaurs is interesting and expansive. This presentation works well for cross-curricular collaborations with both science and social studies.

Creating Readers and Writers in the 21st Century Classroom

This presentation is one crafted specifically for teachers and literacy coaches. In this presentation I pull from my own background as a creative writing major, language arts teacher and professional author to help teachers make writing an authentic and engaging experience in their classrooms. The current standards-driven, test-catering structure of our schools may seem overwhelming, but with a little creativity, fostering imagination and authentic writing IS possible. In this presentation I discuss things that worked well in my own classroom and give teachers activities and ideas to utilize in theirs. I also touch on the art of the effective book-talk, and ways to incorporate creativity and imagination into even the dullest grammar lessons. Yes. It can be done.

But First…Books

My first love will always be books, and students often forget that to be a writer…you HAVE to be a reader first. In this book-heavy presentation I discuss the importance of reading to the career of writing as well as book-talk a wide variety of books that will send your students running to the media center, library card in hand.


Hello 21st century technology! Often time budgets and time constraints might limit opportunities to bring a writer in the flesh into your classroom, enter SKYPE. I am available to do up to a twenty-minute question and answer session via SKYPE. If you would like to do something longer, feel free to contact me for pricing.


  • Maximum of four, fifty-minute presentations per day. (Assemblies, classroom-sized workshops, or combinations of the two.) Each session has built in time for Question and Answer.
  • Fees: Please contact me at for details about my honorarium!
  • Travel expenses are additional for schools outside the Indianapolis area, unless otherwise discussed.
  • I am always more than happy to autograph books for students after speaking sessions or during a separate (free) time slot. I will work with your local bookstore or directly with my publisher to make sure we have books available for purchase or to arrange pre-sale order forms before the actual visit. However, if a teacher or PTO member wants to take on that responsibility…bless them!
  • Full honorarium is due on the day of the event.
  • Technology Requirements: A projector and audio system capable of playing a power point and video clips. I can run this off my own Mac or bring in a flash drive. I usually send my presentation ahead of time to ensure we don’t have any technical glitches the day of the presentation.

Feel free to contact me at with any questions or to set up a visit!

Looking for some GREAT tips about how to make the MOST out of your school visit?  Check out Dan Gutman’s tips here. He’s done hundreds of visits, and his advice is spot on!