Touring In: Quebec
Genre: Junior Fiction, YA Fiction, Teen Fiction
Ideal Audience Size: 15-300
Maximum Audience Size: 300
Grades: Grades 6-12
Finalist for the 2017 Amy Mather Teen Book Award
I have two presentation options which are appropriate for grades six and older and can also be adapted for adult audiences. Each workshop is approximately one hour, although can be modified to be as short as 45 minutes, or as long as 90 minutes. Both also include a question and answer period with the audience.
From Film to Page
This workshop explores what movies can teach us about story structure. Eileen will share with participants the secret at there are building blocks that underlie all stories, from ancient myths to the latest big screen block-bluster. She will use popular movies, The Hunger Games and Star Wars as examples showing how events like an inciting incident are present in both.
Using the Hero’s Journey as a base, we will discuss the different stages of a story. Participants will learn tips and techniques they can use to dissect their favorite books, or begin writing their own. In addition, Eileen discusses her journey to as a writer and what she learned along the way, with a short reading from her recent novel, The Hanging Girl.
The Magic of Storytelling
This workshop is meant to encourage participants to see the magic that exists in stories. Eileen shares her own journey to becoming a writer and what she learned along the way, with a short reading from her recent novel, The Hanging Girl.
Eileen shows how stories can be immortal- living on for generations and how the power of words can change history, from Tom Paine’s The Rights of Man contributing to starting the French Revolution to Harriet Beecher Stowe challenging the institution of slavery. Stories provide a portal into a world that people may not have known about, or may use science fiction or fantasy to have a society confront uncomfortable truths about itself. The workshop uses current and past examples and is designed to encourage students to see the value in telling their own unique stories and will provide some prompts to get them writing.
The Hanging Girl
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017)
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016)
(Simon Pulse, 2016)
The Year of Mistaken Discoveries
(Simon Pulse, 2015)
The Almost Truth
(Simon Pulse, 2013)
I always loved books and stories. My parents have a homework assignment I did in second grade where we were supposed to practice writing sentences and instead I strung mine together to make a story. The teacher wrote on it: “I’m sure someday you’ll be an author,” which is proof positive that teachers have great influence on their students and are also psychic.
The first time I can remember thinking that writing books was something I wanted to do as a career was when I was eleven or twelve. I’d gone to the library and picked up a book by Stephen King, Salem’s Lot. The librarian tried to discourage me from reading it- declaring it too scary. I remember being offended because I felt I was mature and understood the difference between make believe and real. I figured how scary could it be? Turns out- really scary! I slept with the light on for weeks. I thought it was amazing that this writer had made something up, something I knew was fiction, and yet it felt so real that I had a real emotional reaction. That’s when I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
There were many years of failed manuscripts and a period where I wrote what might have been the worst overly dramatic poetry on the planet, but I was always writing. Telling stories was how I made sense of the world around me and my place within it. I moved to Canada in 1994 and later became a citizen. This means in addition to being exposed to the wonders of Can Lit, I also now enjoy hockey and understand what is meant by the term “off side.”
I published my first book in 2008 and have published continuously since then, my most recent books in the thriller genre. I enjoy creating books where the reader is continually thinking they know where the story is going to then have it turn and go in an unexpected direction. Some of my books have been optioned for film and TV, which has led to a new fascination with how story is told in different mediums and a desire to figure out what I would wear to the various awards shows should it ever be a problem I need to worry about.
In addition to writing, I’m a mentor/instructor with the SFU Writer’s Studio and enjoy helping writers discover their voices through the program, as well as by instructing at various conferences, writing groups, school visits and library talks. I’m a firm believer that one way that we learn and grow is by being exposed to the diversity of the people around us and having the opportunity to hear their stories and share our own.
- Finalist for the 2017 Amy Mather Teen Book Award
“Eileen’s energy and passion never flagged, the quality of her last workshop equaled the high quality of her first.”
—Librarian, Vancouver Public Library
“Eileen’s humour, expertise and pacing is respected and appreciated by teens and teachers alike.”
—Teacher, Earl Marriott Secondary
“Teen Services at Vancouver Public Library has hosted Eileen on several occasions since 2011 and we have always been impressed by her enthusiasm, professionalism, and ability to captivate a young audience. We have hosted her both as a workshop leader and a keynote speaker. Her workshops are always funny, full of great stories that are entertaining, convey knowledge and wisdom, and are age appropriate.”
—Vancouver Public Library
“Eileen was an engaging presenter who enthusiastically entertained and informed our students. Her humour has the students giggling and her interactive presentation had students talking, moving and playing. It is not always easy to engage teenagers: Eileen was able to do just that.”
—Librarian, Richmond School District
“Mrs. Cook was very gracious and funny, answering all questions in a kid-friendly way. One student even went home after the visit and was inspired to start her own story.”
—Teacher, Bellevue School District
“Eileen is the quintessential writer’s editor pithy, succinct, and with a brilliant eye for detail.”
—Kc Dyer author of Amazon bestselling Finding Fraser
“Eileen helped me focus my writing, streamline my scenes, and quicken my pacing. Her guidance and advice along the way, her generosity, and her amazing ability to kill my darlings (when I couldn’t) make her invaluable.”
—Kelly Charron, author of Pretty Wicked