I Love Readers/Events

Welcome to my events

“Today’s virtual English session with the inspiring Nicki Thornton allowed our children to see the reality of becoming a successful author. Nicki was patient and enthusiastic about answering the child’s questions about her life, career and motivations. We were even given some spoilers about her upcoming books! The children left with a clear interest in future communication with Nicki (writing to her to ask more questions) and are excited to share their writing with her. Nicki provided the children with engaging videos and supporting writing materials to hook them further.

- Janine Nettey, Assistant Head of 
Joseph Cash Primary
My events are always about a love of reading

Finding books you love can start you on a reading journey . .  and possibly a writing one! After all, how can reading be fun if you can't find books you like to read?

I start with a simple ten minute talk about how my reading journey led to me writing my own magical mystery books set in the world of the Elysee Sorcerers. I enjoy writing about when magic goes bad. 

I love to talk about how being an exploring reader led me to discovering I really liked magical stories and mystery and detective fiction and wanted to write books that mashed-up both of my favourite genres. My talks are full of writing tips about how I like to write and come up with ideas.

I challenge you to think about what makes crime fiction great and what absolutely should be in every detective story - and finish with a quiz that lets you see if you might make a good detective. 

I also run a writing workshop with support resources based on my crime fiction stories set in the world of the Elysee Sorcerers.

Talking all things children's crime fiction. On a panel with some of the best names in mystery writing - Anne Coates, Sharna Jackson and Sarah Todd Taylor

I now run all these visits virtually, with a series of short videos that you can use how suits you best. Put them together to make a longer presentation, or use each video on its own to generate some chat about the books you all like to read.

Or take part in my workshop and come up with your own magical ideas.

Virtual visits can work with any mixture you like of:

·       video talks from me
·        a fun quiz
·        a book reading of your choice
·        the chance to buy signed and personalised copies of my books
·        writing advice and creative ideas for a writing workshop
·        downloadable activity sheets and prompts
·        an interactive Q&A to give all participants the chance to ‘meet’ the author
·        a signed and personalised poster (while stocks last!)

My events are mainly aimed at Year 4 to Year 8, but I don’t specify any particular activity for age groups. The flexibility is there for you to use the material as you wish.

I also write a regular newsletter, my mystery journal, so you can join in with that (see the contacts page) and receive updates from me about new events as they are added, giveaways, news and more. I also give regular writing tips to young people on my YouTube channel if you want even more tips to follow.

Virtual events are fully flexible

You can make use of whatever technology and resources a school might have available. The cost of doing a virtual event with me makes it much cheaper for schools, so I am hoping I can reach more who have limited budgets - and more who are too far away from me to make a visit in person. No travel costs to anyone! Plus there are also many times of the year when I am not available to visit schools because of the constrains of deadlines.

So I am hoping these very flexible options will work for everyone.

How my events work

How finding books you love can start a reading journey

I love to talk about why I think reading is the best!

  • understanding a little about how books come about and where ideas come from
  • getting children to think about mystery stories and why people like them
  • an interactive quiz

My workshops encourage a love of writing, by:

  • getting children to use their imagination freely
  • finding easy ways to come up with ideas
  • building writing confidence
  • thinking about the world around and see it as a writer might. What is around you is often the best inspiration for stories!
  • building on language skills

I use a password protected page to access all the material you will need to run an event with me.

  • there is no limit to the number of participants and the same event can be run multiple times with small groups - particularly helpful with current restrictions
  • this avoids asking schools and children to be involved in videoing
  • it minimises technical issues and makes it easier to plan and schedule
  • students are not videoed and do not need to provide any personal information to take part

So why not book me for an event with your school, class, reading group, library or bubble!

 More about my virtual events

Virtual event 1: How mysteries started me on my reading journey

This includes a series of short videos which are about my books, my writing and the sort of things that have inspired the writing of my magical murder mystery stories which have gone on to sell in many countries - and even be shortlisted for an award or two!

I love talking to children about reading – and particularly about mystery stories, and how I went about inventing the mystery and magic in my novel The Last Chance Hotel.

My love of reading and love of inspiring others to read and try new authors led me to being a bookseller for more than ten years. My events are designed to inspire all students to try new authors and books, whether they are passionate about books or reluctant readers.

I encourage the students to think about mystery stories and how elements like setting can help create atmosphere. I also encourage them to think about what they might like about their particular favourite stories.

I read the opening – to The Last Chance Hotel (or choose another!)

It can finish with a quiz where everyone gets the chance to be a detective.

The full event can last more than 1 hour and can be scheduled to run in one go, or use the material as many times as you like to different, small groups. 

For access to this video material for an agreed time: £30

Virtual event 2: Begin your own magical story – generating ideas and writing

If you would like to book me for a virtual event with a focus on writing, then I love to inspire children to use their imagination as well as helping them to build on language skills by developing descriptive and action scenes they want to write. Hopefully we are creating some budding writers of the future.

It works best if you can begin the event by using the introductory format that follows the outline above so that everyone knows a little about me and my books.

In this part I give writing tips and set a writing challenge via video. It is supported by downloadable activities, which can be used for writing activities you may want to do around my books.

This event is flexible. The video links can be accessed at different times to allow the guided ideas to be interspersed with time for class discussion or individual work.

My events aim to be fun, they will get students thinking about why reading and writing are fun and rewarding and how being imaginative, having ideas can lead to amazing things.

And the link will be live for an agreed period, so you can use it with different classes all for the same price. The cost is £30

Virtual event 3: Virtual Q&A

I love a good Q&A and talking to students!

I find for many, the chance to ask a question is the best part of meeting an author.

I can set up an exclusive opportunity for participants in my video events to ask me questions – and I am happy to do this in a way that works for each individual school.

It can be live, or pre-recorded. This virtual event can be for any size audience and lasts for up to half an hour, scheduled at an agreed time. The format is of your choosing. I can meet you to answer questions live (but virtually) and for up to half an hour, or I can pre-record my answers if this is simpler. If you send the questions in advance and the names of who is asking, I can respond to quite a few in half an hour!

I can connect with you eg via Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams – and I’m happy to adapt what I have to fit around what you have in mind for your class.

Tips: If you want to do the Q&A live via a video link and put the questions live too, it is best if an adult can organise the questions and a microphone is handy to make sure I can hear. It works particularly well if you are able to send me the questions in advance, even if you want to ask them live. Please remember to allow time at the beginning to sort details like tech, viewing positions and sound.

For an interactive q&a the cost is £95

Once you have booked to work with me on a virtual event, please take a look at all the video and other resources available and use them how you feel will work best for the session you have in mind.

If you have something specific in mind, please get in touch! I am happy to work things to your requirements.

I love enthusing children about the joys of reading.

The pupils thoroughly enjoyed your visit. With the very interactive way you transmitted your passion, the children learned so much and were very engaged - almost too much at times you might say!

I was amazed to see some of the pupils (the ones who usually reject anything about books) asking such pertinent questions. 
The pupils who have read your book (some in just one night) would like the sequel very quickly!
- Beatrice Mallett, Secondary School Librarian, Europa School UK

I love talking to children about reading – and particularly about mystery stories, and how I went about inventing the mystery and magic in my novel The Last Chance Hotel.

I love reading and love inspiring others to read. I was a bookseller for more than ten years, so my events are designed to inspire all students, whether they are passionate about books or reluctant readers.

My events aim to be fun, they will get students thinking about why reading and writing are fun and rewarding and how being imaginative, having ideas can lead to amazing things.

“Meeting Nicki Thornton was exciting because it’s the first time I’ve talked to an author.” 

“I liked when she was telling us about the books and that she was going to make another book. I think the next book could be about an island!” 

“Nicki Thornton was very interesting because we got to say our reviews to the author over Zoom. I liked doing that instead of just blogging it.” 

“She was really nice.” 

“I liked meeting Nicki Thornton because we got to ask her questions and she told us what she was going to do with her upcoming book. It was exciting!” 

“At first, I was very nervous about putting my hand up but then I found it fun and exciting when we were asking questions.” 

- Pupils at Joseph Cash Primary