Recently, I’ve been pondering what to say to writers I know who are struggling to get an agent, or who have an agent but have not yet gotten that elusive book deal. It’s especially hard to say something that’s honest and encouraging but not condescending or minimizing when talking to a writer who has already … Continue reading A Love Letter to 2015-Me and Anyone Struggling to Attain Their Writing/Publishing Goals
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Since I started writing fiction in 2008, I’ve written six full-length novel manuscripts, two of which will be published, but I still couldn’t tell you how, exactly, I write a book. When I sit down in front of a blank document, ready to start a new project, I feel a mix of confident excitement (This … Continue reading Trusting My Own (Uncertain but Exciting) Writing Process
Exciting news! This week, Cordelia Jensen and I got to share the beautiful, shiny cover for our co-authored middle grade novel Every Shiny Thing, which comes out next April! Jen at Pop! Goes the Reader hosted our cover reveal, complete with the book's origin story, a description of the novel, and a chance to win an advance … Continue reading EVERY SHINY THING Cover Reveal!
Last Thursday, I wrote a guest post for a wonderful site called Project Mayhem about the importance of "gray area" novels: upper middle grade books that appeal to sixth to eighth graders and that people in the publishing world have sometimes been wary of, because they're a bit too old for traditional middle grade but a bit … Continue reading Upper MG Books for Older Middle School Readers…and My New Book Deal!
I love a lot of things about books, obviously. But one thing I especially love is the way a novel can provide an accessible, relatively safe entry point into a difficult topic. This year, I added Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely’s acclaimed novel All American Boys to the eighth grade English curriculum at my school. … Continue reading Teaching All American Boys: Resources for Addressing Sensitive Topics and Engaging Students
“Finish what you’re working on.” If you want to be a writer, that’s one of the most common pieces of advice you’ll hear, and it makes a lot of sense. It’s fun to start a book, but it can be really hard to wade through the murky middle and make it to the other side. … Continue reading When “Finish What You’re Working On” Isn’t the Best Advice
Well, here we are at last, on the first day of 2017! 2016 was a year that included some major low points for sure but, for me personally, some very special high points, as well. It was a chaotic year with lots of new adjustments and responsibilities, but I just managed to meet my goal of … Continue reading My 2016 Reading Year in Review
I like to keep track of the books I read on Goodreads, and for the last couple of years, when Goodreads has prompted me to join the Goodreads Reading Challenge, I’ve set the goal of reading 100 books throughout the course of the year. Then, periodically, I’ve noticed that I am a book or two … Continue reading My New Reading Challenge: a Concrete First Step in Standing Up for Inclusivity
The seventh grade English curriculum at my school includes a lot of historical novels, and when I teach seventh grade English, I talk about how historical fiction falls somewhere along a spectrum that ranges from almost fully rooted in historical fact to almost fully fictional. One book that falls on the mostly-rooted-in-fact end is Melanie … Continue reading The Realism Spectrum
Almost three years ago, I got an agent. An agent I’d heard great things about, who requested my full manuscript seconds after I queried and then read my book in less than 24 hours. I’d worked on that book for two years, throughout the second year of my MFA program at Vermont College of Fine … Continue reading Shiny, Happy News: My First Book Deal!