the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Roundup: ALA Accolades, the Coretta Scott King Award, and More!

Posted by Tami Brown on Sat, Jul 05, 2014 @ 10:07 AM

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We hope you had a spectacular Independence Day! We're setting off our own VCFA fireworks around here to celebrate this week's fantastic news!

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Rita Williams-Garcia delivered a stunning acceptance speech as she received the 2014 Coretta Scott King award for her novel P.S. Be ElevenRead the entire speech here.

Catherine Linka's novel A Girl Called Fearless attracted extra attention at ALA's Marketing Committee's Speed Dating Event. School Library Journal columnist Lisa Kropp highlighted Catherine's novel as one that "really caught my ear and eye." 

Buzzfeed lists Julie Berry's All the Truth That's In Me as one of its "19 Truly Brilliant Young Adult Books You Can Enjoy At Any Age." We agree!

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Cover Girl Anne Westrick graces Richmond Parents Monthly Magazine with a story about her novel Brotherhood and Richmond Civil War history!

Have a wonderful week, everyone -- especially those of you heading up to Montpelier for the MFA-WCYA summer residency!

Topics: round-up, A. B. Westrick, congratulations, Julie Berry, Catherine Linka, Rita Williams-Garcia

Roundup - VCFA WCYA Auction, ALA Authors, Book Sales & More!

Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 @ 07:06 AM

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VCFA WCYA hits the jackpot!

The annual conference of the American Library Association will convene next week in Las Vegas and tons of VCFA WCYA authors will be there meeting, greeting and signing. If you're in the Sin City neighborhood be sure to drop in on these folks:

Kekla Magoon

Debbie Wiles

Catherine Linka

Rita Williams-Garcia

Trent Reedy

Sherry Shahan

Rene Colato Lainez

Gretchen Woelfle

Jandy Nelson

Lauren Myracle

Clete Barrett Smith

Carol Lynch Williams

Any others?

Authors please leave your appearance times here in the comments.

Adi and I do our best to keep up but please remember there are only two of us volunteering -- and zillions of your stellar achievements to track down (not to mention we have our own writing to do!) Drop us a line with your good news here. And don't fret if we miss something -- catch up with us on the VCFA WCYA community Facebook page and we'll be sure you're recognized here, too.

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The Launch Pad is delighted to announce we're a co-sponsor of the 2014 WCYA Auction and Alumni Signing. We've joined the Alumni Association to bring you two special evenings of fun. There's still plenty of time to donate items or join the alumni signing. www.VCFAauction.com 

Sooooo another week, more AMAZING book sales . . . because that's how we roll at VCFA!

Anne Bustard sold her debut middle-grade historical novel Anywhere But Paradise to Andrea Cascardi at Egmont USA. Anne's novel tells the story of Peggy Sue Bennett, a fish out of water in post-statehood Hawaii, baffled by local customs and bullied by an eighth grader for being white. Ho'omaika'i 'ana, Anne! 

Lyn Miller-Lachmann sold Surviving Santiago, the story of a 16-year old girl's summer in Chile visiting her estranged father, and the dangerous love affair that develops between her and a local boy to Running Press Kids. ¡Qué bueno, Lyn!

And we have even more good news:

Horn Book selected Erin Moulton's new novel, Chasing the Milky Way as its "Review Of The Week" saying, "Moulton effectively balances the big-picture issues with the smaller stuff, the day-to-day challenges each character faces and the triumphs he or she achieves." Great stuff, Erin! 

David Elzey's piece "The Self-Improvement Plan" was published this week in Antioch University Los Angeles' online literary journal Lunch Ticket. Good job, David!

Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi's Grandfather Gandhi has received more recognition -- Betsy Bird aka Fuse #8 is touting this gorgeous and important picture book as a possible Caldecott winner! Go Bethany and Grandfather!

Meanwhile the German edition of Caroline Carlson's Hilary und der fast ganz ehrbare Club der Piraten (don't even ask us to try to pronounce that!) is set to launch at a Munich or Strassbourg bookstore near you.

What a week!!!!

Topics: round-up, Erin E. Moulton, Anne Bustard, Trent Reedy, Deborah Wiles, Kekla Magoon, Jandy Nelson, congratulations, Catherine Linka, Sherry Shahan, Gretchen Woelfle, Carol Lynch Williams, Bethany Hegedus, Rita Williams-Garcia, foreign rights, signing, David Elzey, Clete Barrett Smith, Arun Gandhi, Rene Colato Lainez, American Library Association, VCFA auction, Caroline Carlson, Lauren Myracle, Lyn Miller-Lachmann

Catherine Linka and A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS

Posted by Tami Brown on Tue, May 06, 2014 @ 08:05 AM

Today we welcome Catherine Linka, a member of the class of January 2006 (the class with no name!) the buyer at an independent bookstore in Southern California, and author of A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS.

describe the imageAvie knows her life is over when her dad “Contracts” her in marriage to raise money for his ailing biotech company. Jessop Hawkins has bought Avie to be his first lady as he runs for governor of California on the Paternalist ticket. But Avie’s lifelong friend and student revolutionary, Yates, believes she is “fearless”, and has the strength to flee to freedom in Canada. As Yates draws her into the underground world of Exodus, friendship turns to passion, and Avie must leave Yates, hoping they can reunite over the border. 

This romantic spec fiction/political thriller is set in a contemporary America upended by the deaths of tens of millions of women from a synthetic hormone in meat. Teenage girls are the most valuable and restricted commodity in the country, “protected” by guards, gates and Paternal Controls on phones, internet and media. Avie’s journey takes her from the mansions of LA and Malibu to a hideout in an exclusive escort service in Las Vegas where she learns dangerous truths about who really controls the US government. Pursued by government agents as she heads for the border, Avie’s forced to find the courage Yates always believed she possessed. 

Who was your favorite character to write and why.

I tend to love the one I’m with. Right now, my favorite character is a new character I’m introducing in the sequel. I love a good antagonist and he is way too fun to write. I wish I could tell you more, but this guy works all the angles and always has something new up his black leather sleeve. 

 Catherine Linka 10257 highresWhat was the most difficult element to cut/change during the revision process and why? 

Originally, A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS was set in the near future several years after a virus killed 50 million women of child bearing age. You would have thought that when the editor insisted I make it contemporary--oh, and kill 50 million women some other way than with a virus--that that would have completely freaked me out. Technically speaking, it is not easy to kill 50 million women in a relatively short span of time. But I was undaunted. Yes, I am dauntless.  

What’s the weirdest thing you googled as research for your writing?

There were two things that I was sure were going to get me followed by Homeland Security: automatic weapons and survivalist blogs. I’m not a gun owner and I’d be the last person you’d ever associate with TEOTWAKI (The End Of The World As We Know It), but now I at least know what to put in a Bug Out Bag.

How did attending VCFA affect your writing?

I changed editors after I wrote A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS, and my new editor does not gravitate towards speculative fiction. Actually, over lunch she basically told me that it usually leaves her flat. However, my writing contains so much emotion that she found herself completely engaged. I think VCFA taught me to connect to my characters’ emotions so that even if I’m writing an action scene, I’m trying to get at what’s going on inside them. 

What advice would you give a prospective VCFA student? 

Be brave. Be ready to lose all the assumptions you came with and abandon yourself to these uncharted waters. It’s all good.

A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS has been nominated for the Amelia Bloomer Project by the Social Responsibilities Roundtable of the American Library Association-- no doubt more accolades to come!

Catherine Linka www.catherinelinka.com
A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS (St. Martin’s Press, May, 2014)

Topics: young adult, 2014 release, St Martin's Press, speculative fiction, Catherine Linka

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