Available for VIRTUAL visits in: Yukon and Ontario
Home Province: British Columbia
Genre: Picture Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Teen Fiction
Target Audience: Grades 4-12
Cost for School and Public Presentation with CCBC subsidy: $200.00, plus applicable taxes
Adventures in Time (Workshop ideally for Ages 9-14, or Grades 4-9, but can adapt for all ages)
Writing an adventure series can be tricky but writing one set in the distant past adds a whole other layer! In this workshop, author Alisha Sevigny discusses the inspiration for her SECRETS OF THE SANDS series, an ancient artifact known as the Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus. She discusses how her archeological “research” hunt regarding this important text shaped the books, and how writing historical fiction can bring the past alive in fresh and exciting ways. As a warm-up Alisha will often begin with a fun trivia game for students on Ancient Egypt and highlights the importance of research, proper sourcing, in-depth world-building, and other elements of story and craft, such as setting, character, and plot, with an emphasis on 3-act structure.
In this workshop, students are asked to choose a time or ancient artifact they find interesting and to brainstorm everything they know about it. They then come up with the bones for a story in addition to the time and place (setting), including a main character, their story goal, the obstacles they face and a satisfactory resolution. Students have a great time using their imaginations to come up with their own story ideas, that they then present or “pitch” to the publisher (Alisha), who will award hypothetical book/film deals to the winning groups.
Magic and Medicine in Ancient Egypt (STEAM Presentation) (Workshop ideally for Ages 9-14, or Grades 4-8, but can adapt for all ages).
SECRETS OF THE SANDS centers around a mysterious scroll and real-life ancient artifact. The Edwin Smith Medical Papyrus is the oldest manual of medical surgery and is dated to the Second Intermediate Period, an era in history that we’ve only just begun to learn more about!
The manuscript itself is lauded for its rational and scientific approach to surgery. It outlines the nature of the injury and states how the physician should deal with each case, as well as offers a prognosis. Egyptian doctors at this time would state one of three things depending on the nature and expected outcome of the wound or illness:
- This is an ailment I will treat.
- This is an ailment with which I will contend.
- This is an ailment I cannot treat.
Egyptian medicine was incredibly advanced for the times, with doctors often sharing the role of priest. Alongside their scientific and rational healing, spells were also said, incantations invoked, and prayers and offerings made to the gods. This complimentary healing, while perhaps dismissed by some today, may also have had real benefits, fitting in with our modern-day holistic treatments, such as reiki and energy healing. Things like meditation and body work, which have up until recently existed on the fringes of western medicine, are becoming more mainstream as recognition of the mind-body connection gains more prominence in North American society.
Sesha, the character around whom the book centres, is the daughter of the royal physician to the Pharaoh, a doctor-in-training herself (women had more rights in Ancient Egypt than throughout most of history), and views science and magic as different facets of the same jewel. Having my characters exploring this dichotomy and finding the places where they intersect is just one of the many themes featured in the SECRETS OF THE SANDS series. We can learn much by researching and writing about our ancient past, while being mindful of the modern and cultural lenses through which we view it. It is this research, these details, that grounds the reader in an immersive adventure in a time and place different from their own, where magic can blossom from the science of language itself: in the shape of a story.
Environmental (or other) Themes in Writing (Workshop Ideally suited for Grades 7-12 but can adapt for all ages)
In this engaging workshop, I discuss my journey as a writer and author as well as the inspiration for my two Young Adult novels, KISSING FROGS (travel to Panama, and learning about the conservation issues affecting frogs worldwide) and SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS (based on protecting a family campground from land development). I have students discuss themes they think are important in literature and why. I encourage teens to discuss book that have affected them and issues they care about.
Storytime for Young Audiences
Join Alisha as she reads aloud from her baby board book, GIVE ME A SNICKLE!
A hug and a giggle? Who doesn’t love a good higgle!?
This delightfully playful board book will have readers of all ages chuckling as they read fabricated words of affection. A tickle plus a snuggle makes for a tuggle while a snickle and a higgle gets you a sniggle. Accented by adorable photos of beaming babies, this silly board book takes the reader on an engaging romp through repeated rhyming sounds landing right back at the best feeling ever―a snuggle with someone you love.
A photographic board book that celebrates words made up to express love and joy.
• Give Me a Snickle! includes photos of babies from diverse backgrounds.
• This book celebrates love and affection between care providers and children and makes for an engaging
• Encourages physical touch, which is necessary for healthy growth and development.
• This board book introduces portmanteaus, the blending of two words to make a new word.
Write and Publish Presentation/Workshop
(Workshop ideally for those interested in writing and publishing their novel (i.e. libraries, writer’s groups, community workshops, etc.)
As an author, former literary agent and freelance editor, Alisha Sevigny will present on querying and submitting your manuscript to literary agents and will touch on topics such as pitch and query letters, researching and submitting to agents, as well as host a general discussion about traditional and self-publishing routes.
SECRETS OF THE SANDS
Vol. 1 – THE LOST SCROLL OF THE PHYSICIAN (Dundurn, 2020)
Vol. 2 – THE DESERT PRINCE (Dundurn, 2020)
Vol. 3 – THE ORACLE OF AVARIS (Dundurn, 2022)
(*Polish and Audio rights for SECRETS OF THE SANDS series to Heraclon Media)
GIVE ME A SNICKLE! (Orca Press, 2022)
SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS (Kids Can Press, 2018; Ravensburger, 2018, German Edition)
KISSING FROGS (Fierce Ink Press, 2014)
Alisha Sevigny is a children’s book author and literary consultant and hold a degree in Professional Writing from the University of Victoria. She is also a film school graduate, former literary agent, and freelance editor. Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, she has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. On a trip to Panama, she was inspired to write my first Young Adult novel, KISSING FROGS, a modern retelling of THE FROG Prince fairytale, with an eco twist. Her second YA contemporary, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS, is about a young woman fighting to save her family campground. The book was acquired by Kate Egan, editor of The Hunger Games, and was a CCBC Best Books for Teens pick and a finalist for NERFA* in the Young Adult category for all of North America. More recently, her award-nominated middle-grade adventure series, SECRETS OF THE SANDS, launched in 2020 with THE LOST SCROLL OF THE PHYSICIAN, followed by THE DESERT PRINCE and THE ORACLE OF AVARIS, which came out this year to complete the trilogy! Her debut baby board book, GIVE ME A SNICKLE! (Orca Press, 2022) also came out this past spring, receiving a starred review from JLG. She has an acting and performing background and loves speaking virtually and in-person at schools, writer groups, book clubs, and to anyone else interested in reading, writing, and publishing! She also leads a 12-Week Writer Workshops with So You Want to Write, helping people to complete and publish their work.