the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

October Round-Up!

Posted by Adi Rule on Fri, Nov 07, 2014 @ 05:11 AM

awardsDeborah WilesRevolution (Scholastic) was shortlisted for the National Book Award. Wow!

Congratulations to Joyce Ray, who has won a 2014 Silver Moonbeam award for Feathers & Trumpets: A Story of Hildegard of Bingen (Apprentice Shop Books, illus. Lisa Greenleaf)!

Hooray for Linda Oatman High, who has won a 2014 Gold Moonbeam award for Teeny Little Grief Machines (Saddleback Educational Publishing)!

Brotherhood by Anne (A. B.) Westrick has won the inaugural Housatonic Book Award for Writing for Middle Grades and YA. Congratulations, Anne!

Congratulations to Kelly Bingham (Z is for Moose) and Julie Berry (All the Truth That's In Me) for their UKLA Award nominations!




It's here! The cover for Anne Bustard's Anywhere But Paradise (Egmont USA, 2015) has been revealed . . . and we love it!

Author/illustrator pj lyons has sold two board books to Zonderkidz. Wahoo!

The new collection EMINEM and Rap, Poetry, Race (McFarland) includes an essay by our own Stephen Bramucci!

We're having triple celebrations with Wendie Old, whose biographies The Wright Brothers, Aviation Pioneers and Inventors; The Life of Duke Ellington, Giant of Jazz; and The Life of Louis Armstrong, King of Jazz (Enslow), have been released in paperback and ebook.





Dana Walrath gave a brilliant TEDx talk on Comics, Medicine, and Memory. MediaBistro/Galleycat gave her a nice shout-out and so did Entertainment Weekly. Wow!

Publishers Weekly came out with their list of Best Children's Books of 2014, and it includes Deborah Wiles' Revolution, A. S. King's Glory O'Brien's History of the Future, and Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun!

The YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominations continue, and we're thrilled to see Caminar by Skila BrownGlory O'Brien's History of the Future by A. S. KingEvil Librarian by Michelle KnudsenHow It Went Down by Kekla Magoon, I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, and Revolution by Deborah Wiles on the list!

The Los Angeles Times posted a great review of Kekla Magoon's How It Went Down.

The Huffington Post named Girl on a Wire by Gwenda Bond one of 5 Great Reads for Your Bookclub.

Buzzfeed listed Micol Ostow's Amity one of 13 Young Adult Novels to Spook You This Halloween

And for more spookiness, check out Michelle Knudsen's Evil Librarian on Mashable's 9 Scary YA Books for Halloween Fans Too Old to Trick-or-Treat! (If you need us, we'll be under the covers!)


Topics: Linda Oatman High, round-up, Saddleback Educational Publishing, Scholastic, Apprentice Shop Books, Joyce Ray, A. B. Westrick, Deborah Wiles, Skila Brown, Kekla Magoon, Kelly Bingham, Jandy Nelson, Dana Walrath, Wendie Old, McFarland, Enslow, congratulations, Julie Berry, Micol Ostow, A. S. King, Michelle Knudsen, Stephen Bramucci, pj lyons, Zonderkidz, Gwenda Bond

A.S. King and Glory O'Brien's History of the Future

Posted by Lisa Doan on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

We welcome A.S. King, VCFA Faculty and Printz Honor winner, to the Launchpad to talk about Glory O'Brien's History of the Future (Little Brown)Publishers Weekly's starred review calls  "a novel full of provocative ideas and sharply observed thoughts about the pressures society places on teenagers, especially girls." 

coverWould you try to change the world if you thought you had no future?

Graduating from high school is usually a time of limitless possibilities—but not for Glory. She's never stopped wondering if her mother’s suicide will lead her to end her own life someday, as statistics would predict. But everything changes after a transformative night when she gains the power to see anyone’s infinite past and future. And what she sees ahead for humanity is terrifying.

Glory makes it her mission to record everything that’s coming, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.

With astonishing insight and arresting vision, Printz Honor author A.S. King tells the epic story of a girl coping with devastating loss at long last—a girl who has no idea that the future needs her, and that the present needs her even more.

When asked about her writing, King says, "Some people don't know if my characters are crazy or if they are experiencing something magical. I think that's an accurate description of how I feel every day."

What was the most difficult element to cut/change during the revision process and why?

I cut a third main character out of GLORY O'BRIEN and was then left with two. While the extra character served his purpose for the early drafts, he seemed to be what Amanda Jenkins would call a "plot bitch" and I realized that he had to go right about the time my editor and I were starting our second round of revisions. I can't say that removing him was difficult, but I can say that figuring out that he had to be removed took a little longer than I'd hoped.

Tell us about your writing community. Are you in a critique group? Does your son or mom read your early drafts? Is Twitter your bastion of support?

I write in creative seclusion and don't share my work with anyone until it's done. No one reads my early drafts, though I do have to provide a sample of an unfinished book to my agent and editor in order to sell the book. In my process, my husband is always my first reader. For 18 books, he's always been my first reader but I only give him finished drafts.

Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack?

I write in silence (if you want to call what my house sounds like on a normal day silence) during first drafts. I sometimes listen to music before I write to find the mood of a character. Then, during revision, I compile a soundtrack--sometimes only a song or two at first--and play it on repeat until my family begs me to stop. For GLORY, it was the song "Biscuit" by Portishead.

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

VCFA residencies are like learning parties. It's exhausting, yes. It's a lot of work, sure. But it's a huge, encouraging learning environment and I needed this as a writer. Considering I write in seclusion, connecting with other writers was a huge relief. Lectures (both student and faculty) teach me something every time. For example, a student lecture in Summer 2014 is helping me write my WIP, made me realize a few important things about myself as a person, and inspired a tattoo.

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

The encouragement I received during my first ever (barefoot) reading on campus when I told the audience that I'd never once shared unfinished work before...and then the encouragement I received after I read the piece. (It sold a few months later and is due to come out Fall 2015.) Also: the dance party for the Magic Ifs in Winter 2014. That was some serious fun.

A.S. King

Connect with A.S. King on her website at: or on her blog  at:

Topics: young adult, 2014 release, Little Brown, A. S. King, Printz Honor

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