Looking for a way to get children and teens excited about reading and writing?
Invite Debra Garfinkle to your school or library for an author visit.
I offer a variety of programs for students of all ages, including adults. I have spoken at many schools, libraries, and conferences for students, teachers, and writers.
I am a Berkeley-trained attorney who practiced federal appellate law for nine years. I am also an author of five novels for teens, one for pre-teens, and fifteen humorous books for children, and an award-winning humor columnist for the Aliso Viejo News and Laguna Niguel News sections of the Orange County Register. I spent several years doing stand-up comedy.
My first young adult novel, Storky: How I Lost My Nickname and Won the Girl, was published by Penguin in 2005 to a starred review from Publishers Weekly and great reviews from Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, and ALA Booklist. It was published in translation in Germany, Serbia, and Italy. It’s also an audiobook and an e-book.
In 2005, Writer’s Digest Magazine published my how-to article, “Breaking All the Rules,” which was featured on the magazine’s cover. The magazine published my sequel to that article in 2007.
In 2007, Penguin published The Band, my trilogy for teens, and my teen novel Stuck in the 70s.
The three books in my humorous series for children, Supernatural Rubber Chicken, were published in 2008. These books got great reviews on CNN and in newspapers all over the country. More importantly, they’re a big hit with boys and girls.
The first eight books in my humorous series for children, Zeke Meeks, were published in 2012 and 2013. Four more books will be published in 2014.
References are available upon request.
Programs for students:
The long road to publication. I will share my writing process– from ideas to outlines to rough drafts to critiques to many, many revisions– and then speak of my persistence on the path to publication. I will also show how a book gets illustrated, three different covers for my first book, and “galleys” and “Advanced Reading Copies,” which are made before the books go to print. And I will show off my fun rubber chicken collection.
Fiction writing workshop. I guide students of all ages through writing exercises on creating compelling characters, conflict, a central theme, and a satisfying conclusion, combined with a general talk on my writing process and on what makes a good book.
How to make readers laugh. I teach children and teens how to write humor, with guided writing exercises based on the tips I’ve shown them. I use my fun rubber chicken collection to make points about writing humor.
Programs for adults:
The hidden benefits of humorous books. What teenagers can learn from so-called “happy” books. (Just don’t tell them they’re learning.)
How to write a novel when you have no spare time. If I could write a novel while pregnant with my third child, others can write one, too. Here’s how to make the time, and make the most of that time.
How to write for any kind of audience. From an author who’s done it all, from dry legal briefs, to short newspaper columns, to how-to magazine articles, to short stories in literary magazines, to novels.
Common rules of writing and publishing which are begging to be broken. Based on my Writer’s Digest Magazine articles. Which rules must be followed and which rules should be disregarded.
How to add humor to a serious manuscript or write a funny one.
How to write and sell a series.
I am also happy to tailor a presentation to suit your group’s needs.
My fees are low, and discounted further for groups in Southern California.