Sarah Hines Stephens and Jane B. Mason Author Visit Kit
New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Hines Stephens and Jane Mason have been a successful writing team for 13 years. Between the two of them they have published over one hundred books, including Sister Switch, Now You See Me, The Princess School series, and most recently A Dog and His Girl Mysteries. They have written about Jedi, royalty, super-pets, a curious monkey, spies, twins, and murderers both as themselves and as other people. They live with their respective families in Oakland, California and enjoy doing school visits, especially for 3rd to 6th graders, and talking about creative collaboration and writing.
Two Heads Are Better Than One
40-60 minutes, Suggested audience: Grades 3–6
Jane and Sarah have an easy, left hand, right hand way of presenting (and writing) that is at the core of their school visits. They begin by explaining how they met, shared an editing job at Lucas Licensing, and then embarked on their partnership. They describe their unusual co-writing process, describing each step from idea to bound book, showing a variety of samples.
To illustrate the unique challenges of working as a team, the authors lead the students in a humorous, open-ended writing exercise (and old parlor game) called The Exquisite Corpse, which illustrates the importance of both outlining and clear communication. After sharing some of the kids’ writing they conclude with a question and answer period.
This presentation is best suited for single classes (30 students)
Conferences & Festivals
Co-Parenting a Book (or, So You Want to Find a Writing Partner)
Jane and Sarah begin their presentation explaining how they met, initially shared an editing job at Lucas Licensing, and then (after much discussion and debate), embarked on their writing partnership. They discuss the kinds of writing work they have done and how they work together, describing each step of their process with a variety of illustrative samples.
The writing partners speak in depth about the importance of communication, negotiation, and how to navigate co-parenting a manuscript from conception (idea) to toddlerhood (précis), through the messy teen years (outlining), and onto adulthood (complete manuscript) with the goal of putting the best book possible out in the world. They give concrete tips for managing a creative partnership and advice for finding your pen mate.
Susan is happy to drop in for a 20-minute virtual visit and Q&A with book groups and library groups that have read at least one of her books using Skype or iChat.
Their only requirements are two chairs, a table to display books, and something to write on. Students should have pencils.
Honorariums start at $500 (for both authors) and depend on number of presentations, travel distance, etc.
Schools and libraries may order books at a discounted rate by visiting the Scholastic Teacher Store or by calling 1-800-SCHOLASTIC.