Robin Palmer grew up in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and graduated from Boston University before she hit the road for Hollywood. After starting as an assistant with the William Morris Agency, she quickly moved up the ranks and spent the next decade as a literary agent, producer, and television network executive at Lifetime Television. In 2001, she remembered that she had originally intended to spend her life either as a writer or a toll booth collector (so she could indulge her penchant for spending her days alone reading), but as there are no toll roads in southern California, she decided to give the writing thing a try.
If you are interested in having Robin make an appearance at your school, library, or conference, please use the online request form or email the Author Appearance Coordinator at authorvisits[at]us.penguingroup.com with possible dates, your organization, location, details about the day, and your contact information.
A Note from Robin Palmer:
Dear Librarians, Teachers and other Lovers of Books,
If I got to pick my own godmother, it would be Judy Blume. It was her books, and her words, and her characters, that helped me navigate the choppy waters of my adolescence, and made me feel a little more understood and a lot less alone. And if Judy Blume had ever came to speak at my school or library? Well, I'm pretty sure I'd STILL be talking about it thirty years later...
I know for me, when I've had the opportunity to hear an author talk, it's almost as if it's an extension of their novels. To hear the story behind the story; to gain insight into what propelled them to write a certain bookit's like added bonus material that ends up making the experience of reading that much richer. For me, to be able to engage with my readers is one of the biggest gifts I receive from my writing. And what I love about writing for middle grade and young adults is that the magic and potential is still very much there in the room. When we're all together, and the conversations that result aren't just about the nuts and bolts of writing, but about the themes and lessons and wisdom that they can hopefully carry with them for years to come.
There's nothing I'm more passionate in life about than reading. And to be able to carry that message to others, and do my part to convert them into people whose lives and viewpoints will be enriched and widened by entering into the lives of others just from turning a pageI can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon.
Hope to spend one with you,
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Author Appearance Q&A with Robin Palmer:
What can a school, library, or conference expect when you are making an appearance? What might you do differently with audiences of varying sizes, ages, and interests?
For schools and libraries, I try and make my visits as interactive as possible. I start off by giving some context about the bookwhy I set out to write it; what themes I hope to explore—and then I read a short excerpt. After that, depending on the size of the group and the amount of time we have, and how open the teachers/librarians are, I try and get the kids as actively involved as possible. For instance, if we're talking about my YA modern fairy tales, I ask what fairy tale they'd re-tell, how would they update it (ie. setting, etc) and why. If I'm talking about Lucy B. Parker, I ask them to talk a little bit about their relationship with their siblingspaint a portrait of how they're different from each other. If there's time, and the teacher/libriarian thinks that the group of kids who are gathered would be interested, I like to incorporate a writing exercise. It's been my experience that these exercises help to engage readers so that they invest in the book more fully and come away with a richer experience.
What makes your author appearances unique?
The feedback I've always gotten after appearances is that I'm very down-to-earth and honest and funny and I've gotten many emails from kids telling me how much I inspired them. I'm very passionate about what I do, and being able to touch readers with my work is such a great honor for me, and I think that passion really comes across when I'm speaking. Also, the kids seem to really like the Hollywood aspect of my story, which always seems to come up at some point ;) Because I'm open and accessible, I think that vibe helps to loosen everyone up and maybe get kids who would normally be on the shy side to open up a little.
Do you enjoy making appearances for adult audiences? What do you do when presenting to adults?
I do like presenting to adults. Before I was writer, I spent a decade as a Hollywood executive, so I've spoken in front of very large groups and had to charm more than one diva actress out of her trailer over the years. When I speak to adults, I like to talk about how important books were to me when I was growing up (I consider Judy Blume the patron saint of my adolescence) and what I try to impart to kids through my books. I also like to talk about some of the emails I've gotten from kids over the years, and how inspiring they are to me. I like to think that the message of everything I write is about self-acceptance, and how that leads to self-empowerment. Especially because my audience is primarily girls, this is a subject matter that is very dear to my heart as I think the need to fit in and the peer pressure that girls struggle with can end up hurting them both emotionally andto some extent (ie. eating disorders) physically. I'm very passionate—and feel that it's important to talk aboutthe responsibility I feel I have as a published author with my books that go out into the world.
What can schools and libraries do to ensure a successful appearance?
I love talking to all different kinds of kids, but gathering a group of readers who are more open to interacting with meie asking questions, answering questionswill help optimize the experience.
Do you enjoy traveling to other parts of the country for appearances?
Do you ever make appearances at more than one school in an area? Could schools and libraries from one area join together to bring you to their institution?
Absolutely. I love to make as many appearances as possible when I go somewhere.
What do you hope your audience will come away with from your presentation?
My hope is that by recounting my own experience on my journey to becoming a writer, I'm able to impart the idea that self-acceptance is the key. That if you accept and believe in yourself then you can never go wrong because you'll be walking down your own unique path rather than trying to walk down someone else's.
What was your most memorable appearance experience?
Last year I visited a middle school in Poughkeepsie, NY and there were two sixth graders therea boy and a girlwho just blew me away with the level of self-possession they had and their commitment to expressing themselves creatively. Before the appearance even began, they came up to me and introduced themselves and showed me what they were working on (she was writing a short story and he was a poet). When it came time to the discussion part of the appearance, they had their hands up the entire time, which was great...but I had to pick other kids as well! Julia, the girl, ended up emailing me afterwards and we now have this lovely email correspondence going. It's very cute because some of her letters remind me of the ones that Lucy B. Parker writes to Dr. Maude.
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