the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Carol Brendler and NOT VERY SCARY!

Posted by Tami Brown on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 @ 09:08 AM

BOOOOO! It's early Halloween at the Launch Pad- time to welcome Carol Brendler, who's brand new picture book Not Very Scary has already grabbed a big, shiny STARRED REVIEW from Publishers Weekly.

9780374355470Melly is a brave little monster who is not afraid of anything. She loves surprises, and when her fun-loving cousin invites her over for a big surprise, Melly excitedly sets out for a visit. On her way, she notices skittish skeletons, a coal-black cat, and even ghoulish goblins following her. But Melly is not scared, no she’s not! Well, maybe just a teensy bit . . .



Hi, Carol. Welcome! What authors do you love for their sentences?

The first two that popped into my head: Alison McGee and Michael Chabon. And of course, Charles Dickens. Oh, see also, Cori McCarthy.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?
I read somewhere once that a picture book text can be compared to the staging of a play. The writer is in charge of blocking and dialog, but the costumes and set design are solely the domain of the illustrator.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever Googled as research for your writing?

Well, the weirdest recent thing--I can't decide between "symptoms of narcolepsy" and "Civil War army cutlery."

Who were your advisors at VCFA?
Leda Schubert! Uma Krishnaswami! Tim Wynne-Jones! and Sarah Ellis! (I know, right?)

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?
Something happens while you're in the program. It's like, you're surrounded by some of the most brilliant writers in North America and they think you belong there (wha--?). Knowing this gives you permission to reach higher; it compels you to push yourself harder. My writing grew by leaps and bounds.
Carol, your brilliant writing pushes us all to reach higher! Congratulations!
Not Very Scary is Carol's third book! Her fourth, a picture book called RUBY MUTCH HAS HAD ENOUGH, will be published by Clarion in the near future.
You can visit Carol at
NOT VERY SCARY, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux BYR, illustrated by Greg Pizzoli is available in bookstores everywhere today!

Topics: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2014 release, picture book, Carol Brendler, congratulations

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