the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Eric Pinder and How to Build a Snow Bear!

Posted by Sarah Johnson on Tue, Sep 13, 2016 @ 02:09 AM

 

 Winter is coming early with How to Build a Snow Bear, a picture book by Eric Pinder.

Thomas wants to build the biggest and best snowman ever. Since he can’t do it alone, he’ll need a helping paw. But bears love to hibernate. How do you wake up a snoozing bear? By tickling him? Singing to him? Maybe making his favorite snack? How to Build a Snow Bear is a story about two siblings sharing a wondrous wintry day.

How to Build a Snow Bear cover

Tell us about how you sold this book. What was it like when you found out? Were there a lot of revisions along the way?

Writing this book was a new experience, because it was part of a two-book deal, along with the already written How to Share with a Bear. Finding out was an exciting surprise (“Woohoo, two books at once!”) but also a little scary, because I had no idea what the second book would be about, except that it needed to have a winter setting and, of course, a bear. For the first time, I had a contract, an advance, and (gulp) a deadline before I’d written a single word. I didn’t even have a clue what the title would be yet. In the contract it was simply called “Untitled Bear Book,” and it stayed that way for the longest time. That added to the pressure. What if I couldn’t think of a good sequel?

Revisions for the first book kept me busy and distracted for a while, though possibilities for a follow-up story started to percolate in the back of my mind. I jotted down a few notes, but the deadline seemed safely in the far-off future, the way a December packet deadline does in August—until suddenly it was almost due, and I still had a mostly blank page.

The working title of my first presentable draft was How to Share with a Polar Bear. I sent it off to my editor, exhaled a “whew, done!” and anxiously, eagerly awaited her reaction. Again, it felt a lot like sending off a packet. A few days later she replied. The good news was that she only wanted me to fix three things. The bad news was, those three things were the plot, the title character, and the inciting incident. 

(Book Fort: If there’s no snow, you can always build a book fort instead.)

Panic, woe, despair! Visions of tossing my computer in the dumpster and fleeing in shame from the literary community to go become llama shepherd or a rutabaga farmer. That’s what I felt, for the first hour. Or maybe the first day. Then I got back to work. I scrapped the polar bear storyline and started from scratch. Soon enough I had a new brainstorm, and a new, much better draft. This one clicked, and eventually it became How to Build a Snow Bear.

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

The other day I had a legitimate business reason to Google “vampire onomatopoeia.” I’m sure there have been weirder things. I wonder how often FBI agents get all excited at seemingly nefarious Googling, only to look closer and go, “Aw, crap. It’s just another one of those darn writers. 

Tell us about your writing community

I teach creative writing at the New Hampshire Institute of Art (even though, deep down, I still really want to be an astronaut). It’s definitely inspiring to be part of a community where everyone loves books. Every day, you can walk into a room and immediately get drawn into a conversation about slam poets and stage fright, a debate about the “whiteness of the whale” chapter in Moby Dick, or a constructive critique of someone’s newest creative work. We all learn a lot from each other, just by talking about our passions and interests.

Teaching is exhausting but rewarding. I love it when students turn in stories or poems that make me go, “Wow! I wish I’d written that,” and it’s a thrill to see them get their first publications in literary journals. A couple of former students have gone on to pursue their MFAs at VCFA, and I can’t wait to see what they produce in the years ahead. I’ve saved a shelf for students’ future books.

What was the spark that ignited this book?

Driving to school in the winter, I see fantastic snow sculptures in people’s yards. Snow is like sand at the beach, or Play-Doh, just colder. You can build almost anything with a little snow and a lot of imagination. 

Who were your advisors at VCFA?

Uma Krishnaswami, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Ellen Howard, and Tim Wynne-Jones, all of whom have influenced every children’s story I’ve since published. I started with the picture book semester, which was eye-opening. I like picture books because of how much they’re like poetry: each word, each syllable, each nuance has a purpose. The sound and shape of words matters. There’s a lot going on in every line. In fact, I learned so much on the very first day of my first residency at VCFA that I immediately wanted to rewrite parts of what was about to become my first picture book, Cat in the Clouds. The only problem was that the final galleys were already at the printer. I sent a panicked message to my editor, who let me rewrite a couple lines at the eleventh hour, right before the printing presses rolled. That was day one. Four equally inspiring semesters followed.

Eric Pinder What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?
The same advice I’d give to undergraduates: You have to know about the world to write about it. Always keep learning new things, whether it’s in Noble Hall during a graduate lecture (which often are just as mind-expanding as the faculty lectures; don’t skip them, even on the ninth day of a busy residency when you really want a nap!) or by literary eavesdropping or reading or exploring a new town, or even by helping your local rutabaga farmer. Everything a writer does counts as “research,” as long as we’re paying close attention.

 Eric is the author of eight books. 

You can find Eric at www.ericpinder.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/EricPinder and find him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EricPinderBooks/

   

 

           

           

 

 

Topics: eric pinder, Farrar Straus and Giroux, picture book, Stephanie Graegin, 2016 release

Eric Pinder and HOW TO SHARE WITH A BEAR!

Posted by Adi Rule on Tue, Oct 20, 2015 @ 08:10 AM

We're giving bear hugs all around today as we celebrate Eric Pinder's new picture book, How to Share with a Bear (Farrar Straus Giroux), illustrated by Stephanie Graegin!

how_to_share_with_a_bear_cover 

The perfect thing to do on a chilly day is to make a blanket cave. But, of course, a comfy cave never stays empty for too long... What’s a boy to do when a bear takes over his cave? Try to distract him with a trail of blueberries? Some honey? A nice long back scratch? How to Share with a Bear is a story about how although it’s not always easy, sharing with a sibling can make things even more fun!

Welcome, Eric! So, tell us . . .

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

The bear in How to Share with a Bear used to have more company. In the first draft, the bear’s cave also housed bats, and the star of the story, Thomas, had to think of a clever way to get the bats out of the cave before dealing with the bear. That entire scene had to go. It was a fun scene to write, but the story as a whole is definitely stronger without it. For me, the hard part is always starting a new story, getting the first draft down on the blank page. That’s agony. Once the shape and structure of the story are there, the revision process is, well, not easy but more enjoyable. It’s like whittling; the more you cut away, the more focused and fine-tuned your creation becomes. It’s fun to see a story’s final form emerge. Getting rid of the bat scene made the story less crowded, which let me focus more on the bear (who originally was a real bear), which allowed the “sharing with a sibling” theme to finally appear.

Treasure_map

How does a VCFA alum procrastinate? By making treasure maps!

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

I put on background music while writing, usually something non-distracting like Bach. I can’t remember who said it, but someone once compared Bach’s Brandenburg concertos to “listening to a brain thinking,” so maybe that’s why Bach helps to fire up my own brain. Instrumental music is easier to write to than music with vocals. I’ve written a lot of drafts to Mozart’s horn concertos, too. My routine, in theory, is to force myself to sit in front of the computer and write for at least two hours a day. Sometimes it takes a while for inspiration to strike, especially in the early stages of a new project. It’s boring, waiting. But I know inspiration won’t strike if I don’t sit there with Microsoft Word at the ready. So I’ll put on two CDs and tell myself, “Okay, no playing Scrabble, no checking email, no talking on the phone till the music stops.” If I can’t think of anything, I don't have to write, but I do have to sit there. Usually that gets me writing just out of sheer boredom. And sometimes I’ll get on a roll, lose track of time, and suddenly realize that the sun has set, my stomach is grumbling, I’ve been writing nonstop for six or eight or twelve hours, and the music stopped hours ago and I never even noticed. Other times I’ll struggle for two hours, shut down the computer, and go for a bike ride instead.

Snow_day

The author does some outdoor research for the sequel to How to Share with a Bear.

How to Build a Snow Bear, also illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, is forthcoming in 2016.

 

What's your writing superpower?

“Faster than a slowly melting glacier, able to type tall tales in a single bound.” I wish I had a writing superpower, because I’m a terribly slow writer. I suppose the only superpower I have is persistence: powering through.

That might be the most important superpower of them all!

The publishing industry requires a lot of patience and persistence. When I teach creative writing courses, the time it takes to go from first draft to contract to seeing your published book on the shelf in Barnes & Noble is what surprises my students the most. They’re also surprised, or maybe alarmed, by the number of rejections most writers receive before their first success. But finally finishing a story, a poem, or a book and seeing it in print makes all the waiting, rejection, and agonizing over word choices worthwhile.

rejections_2

Students at the New Hampshire Institute of Art react to Eric's impressive collection of rejection slips.

How did VCFA affect your writing life?

I learned so much on the very first day of my first residency that I immediately wanted to rewrite what was soon to become my first picture book, Cat in the Clouds. The only problem was that it had already gone through copyediting and color proofs, and the printing presses were about to roll the very next day.

Cat_in_the_CloudsThis was with a small publisher that, like me, had never done a children’s book before. I sent a panicked message to my editor, who humored me, thankfully, and let me rewrite a couple lines at the eleventh hour, even though it’s expensive to make changes at that stage. That was day one. The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes when he went to Whoville. I felt that each residency made my brain grow three times bigger than it normally is. Every hour I was learning something new.

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

Choosing a favorite memory is like trying to choose a favorite book; if you asked me the same question tomorrow, I’d probably come up with a different answer because there are so many good ones to choose from. VCFA is often compared to Brigadoon, and the weather can add to that mystical feeling. During my first January residency, it was so cold that you could feel your nostril hairs freezing when you breathed outside. The temperature must have dropped below -20 degrees Fahrenheit for several days. But instead of suffering, people were making frozen soap bubbles and leaving them like Yeti eggs along the walkways. That was a great introduction to the magical vibe of Montpelier.

My funniest memory has to be the night before the class ahead of us, the Thunder Badgers, were about to graduate. A dozen of us were playing picture telephone when there came a knock on the door, followed by someone saying, “Shh! Guys, the police are here!” Apparently the neighbors had called the police because we were laughing too loudly. It’s almost a shame there isn’t more to the story, because “once got arrested for laughing too much” would’ve made a great line in our future author bios. The police officer ended up laughing too, and we just had to close the windows. In our defense, it’s a very funny game.

Picture Telephone is a very important part of the writing proces. Um, not that I would know anything about that fateful night.

EricPinder-1

Eric is a proud member of the class known as the Bat Poets. He says: The name comes from Randall Jarrell’s book The Bat-Poet, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, which is about a bat who writes poems for forest animals and gets paid six crickets per poem. We joked that we should all add a “cricket clause” to our first book contracts.

Agreed! Chirp chirp! Thanks for stopping by, Eric. Welcome to the world, How to Share with a Bear!

Visit Eric Pinder online at www.EricPinder.com, and follow him on Twitter @EricPinder.

 

 

 

 

Topics: eric pinder, Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2015 release, picture book

Jen White and SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE!

Posted by Tami Brown on Tue, Jun 09, 2015 @ 05:06 AM

Today welcome Jen White to the LaunchPad! Jen started VCFA with my class and all of us couldn't be more delighted to welcome her debut novel SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE!

Jen_Book_Cover_layered_fileSurvival Strategy #50:  If you can, be brave.  It’s important to be brave when your little sister looks up to you.  Twelve-year-old Liberty feels it’s her job to help take care of her eight-year-old sister, Billie, once the girls are sent to live with their father, whom they haven’t seen since they were very young.  Dad is unpredictable on his best days, but when he abandons Liberty and Billie at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, Liberty’s courage is truly put to the test.

As she and Billie struggle to make it home on their own, they encounter a cast of helpful and not-so-helpful characters, including a man with caterpillar eyebrows, a tattooed trucker with a soft spot for cats, a kid who is a little too obsessed with Star Wars, and a woman who lives with a houseful of very unusual pets.

Along the way, they learn that sometimes you have to get a little bit lost to be found.
Jen now thanks her parents for accidentally leaving her at a gas station almost thirty years ago, because that experience inspired her to write SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE.  Thanks, Mom!  Thanks, Dad! 
*   *   *
Welcome to the LauchPad, Jen! I'm so excited about this book and it's great to have you here! What was the spark that ignited this book?
When I was twelve and on vacation with my family, my parents accidentally left me, my sister, and my cousin, at a gas station in the middle of nowhere.  They didn’t see us climb out of the back of our camper truck to use the restroom.  They thought we had fallen asleep and drove three hours to their destination before they realized we were gone.  We were so scared.  Eventually, a policeman came and took us to the police station, where we were interviewed, and then sent to a foster home where we ate bean burritos, and watched the movie Mary Poppins.  After six hours, we were finally reunited with our family.  I remember I looked out of the foster home window at the desert, and wondered if I had to live there.  I could not figure out what had happened to my parents.  I knew they wouldn’t leave us on purpose, but I couldn’t understand why they hadn’t returned.  That raw emotion is what propelled me to write about Liberty, and her sister, Billie in SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE.

Tell us about how you sold this book. What was it like when you found out?  

I began writing SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE during my last semester at VCFA.   After I graduated, I finished it, and went to a local writer’s retreat where Joy Peskin was the visiting editor.  She read twenty pages and then asked for the full.  I was so freaking happy!  She then sent me a lovely editorial letter with many questions. She had some suggestions for the book, and said she would be happy to see the manuscript again, if I incorporated some of her suggestions.  It took me forever to figure out what I was doing with SSOTAB.  In fact, I wrote two other books while I was trying to figure out how to get Liberty and Billie across the desert safely.  Once I figured that part out, I wrote SSOTAB quite quickly.  (But, the middle part took forever!)  And the cool thing was: I was at VCFA as a grad assistant when I found out SSOTAB was going to acquisitions with Joy Peskin at FSG!  What a perfect, satisfying, ending for my manuscript.

As you know, Joy is my editor, too! Isn't she wonderful. It's a gift to work with someone as talented and supportive as Joy! Who were your advisors at VCFA?   

I had the great opportunity to work with Ellen Howard, Phyllis Root, Marion Dane Bauer, and Jacqueline Woodson.

Jen_Author_Photos15_1What do you wish you had known before you first set foot on the VCFA campus? 
 I wish I would have know that the student body and faculty at VCFA are so generous and lovely.  It was, and is, such a great writing community.  I also wish I would have realized that I was enough. Initially, I was terrified of VCFA.  I wanted to attend, but I was scared.  It felt like a huge accomplishment to even admit to myself that I wanted to write.  I spent my first semester convinced that everyone was more talented than me. If I could go back now, I would skip the worry part, and just jump into the beauty of having time to learn and to write.  I finally learned that my voice was just as valid as anyone else’s.  VCFA shaped me as a writer.  It was one of the best creative, decisions I ever made.    
You can find out more about Jen and her novel at www.jenwhitebooks.com 
And connect with Jen on Twitter at @jenwhite and @almostbravebook  
SURVIVAL STRATEGIES OF THE ALMOST BRAVE is published by Farrar Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers and it's available in bookstores everywhere TODAY! Thanks for dropping by, Jen!!

Topics: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2015 release, middle grade, Jen White

Calling All Writers! Agent Critiques, Marketing Packages And More at the VCFA Auction!

Posted by Tami Brown on Mon, Jun 08, 2015 @ 06:06 AM

Join us online and in Montpelier for the 2015 VCFA Writing for Children and Young Adults Auction! Bidding is open NOW at www.VCFAauction.com.  Tweet about it to your friends and followers using #VCFAauction 

11221594_10205503830973373_4189816087672062783_n-1

Do you have a new book coming out? Build a marketing strategy for your book (and your career) with incredible consultations offered PR and Marketing pros Deb Shapiro and Val Howlett. Grab a MOUNTAIN of swag, with design pro help. Or snap a great author photo, taken by own own Amy Rose Capetta. Do you dream of teaching writing? Check out this amazing apprenticeship

10259842_438124716347704_5675915138936129219_nA 45 minute one-on-one consultation with Farrar Straus and Giroux Editorial Director Joy Peskin can change your life!

We have critiques and consultations with a bevy of literary agents including Greenhouse Literary's Sarah Davies, Folio's Emily Van Beek and Erin Harris, Sheldon Fogelman Agency's Janine Lee, EMLA's Tricia Lawrence, and a FULL MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE by Prospect Literary (and VCFA's own) Linda Camacho

Retreat with your writing group, classmates (or even your family!) in glamorous Westhampton, Long Island or simply gorgeous Sutton, Vermont.

images-6_4.41.38_PMOr how about this once in a life time opportunity? You and a friend are invited for tea and conversation with  KATHERINE PATERSON! 

And we haven't even started to talk about the WHITE BOX RAFFLE- fantastic items, large and small. And a chance is just $2!

The auction is open NOW and runs to our live event on June 20. Anybody can buy raffle tickets or bid, live or online, VCFA community member or new friend. 

Money raised will fund WCYA scholarships and the Fund For VCFA-- this year's auction will support a brand new alumni website with a custom built COMMUNICATION FORUM. You asked for it. You've got it. Now support VCFA! Your auction bid says THANK YOU to VCFA, every day, every month, every year.

Visit us at www.VCFAauction.com and place your bid now!

Topics: katherine paterson, Farrar Straus and Giroux, VCFA auction, Agent Critique

Martine Leavitt and BLUE MOUNTAIN

Posted by Lisa Doan on Tue, Oct 28, 2014 @ 07:10 AM

 

Today we welcome Martine Leavitt to the Launchpad to celebrate the release of Blue Mountain, published by Farrar, Straus, Giroux. Martine is what we call a triple threat - a graduate of VCFA, a member of VCFA faculty and one of the nicest and most talented people we know.

Blue MountainWhen young Tuk is born on the mountain, life is simple for a young bighorn. Run, jump and play with his bandmates, eat and grow strong. But soon it will be up to Tuk to lead the herd to a new mountain he has seen far to the west. It will be a long journey filled with dangers. Wolf, bear, wolverine, puma — and man. The responsibility to lead the herd sits uneasily on Tuk’s shoulders. But Tuk is the one who has seen the blue mountain in the distance, and his bandmates are counting on him. There is little Mouf, full of questions. There is Sham, who must reach their new lambing grounds before her lamb is born. And there are his male rivals, who challenge his ability to lead them. After all, Tuk is just a yearling, and his horns are not even fully formed. Can Tuk lead them to a place where the bighorn can live in peace, on the gifts that the moutain provides.

What was the spark that ignited this book?

My father loved nature and the animal world and was an avid hiker. At one point he became intrigued with the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and made a study of their ranges, habitat, herd structure and social order. For many years he trekked into the backcountry of the mountains, photographing the bighorn and recording his observations. He loved their independence and their ability to live in the most forbidding places. Long before it was in style, he was concerned with wilderness environments and the effects of man’s encroachment.

Big HornSome years ago he showed me his writings, an account of a bighorn sheep through four seasons of the year. It was beautiful. I was transported to the mountain and the simple but adaptive life of these remarkable animals. I thought, here I have been writing for years, and he writes this one thing and it’s magical! One day my father gave me a gift of all his notes. I accepted his gift with gratitude and based this story on them. My story became a very different thing than his lovely and perfectly accurate rendering, but we tell the stories we can.

 

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

Tuk is the name of my viewpoint character – he is the biggest and the fastest and the cleverest sheep. I love him because he is smart and strong, and yet he doubts himself. It’s his journey, both physically and emotionally, and he deserves to be the main character. I loved his friends, too. But I accidently ended up loving Mouf the best. She isn’t very clever, but she is funny and brave, and funny and brave are two of my favorite qualities in people and sheep.

 

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

My editors will tell you that I have this thing with time. In My Book of Life by Angel, things that should have taken a few hours seemed to take days, and vice versa. The same thing is happening now with my work in progress, Calvin, and the same thing happened with Blue Mountain. I guess I get into the story and this time-warp thing happens. The worst of it is that even after my editors send four-page letters describing in detail why the time is all wrong, I still have a hard time getting my head around it. I’m not like that in real life – I’m always punctual, I always know when dinner is… Next time I’m going to keep a timeline as I go because otherwise it sure makes a mess of things when you go to revise.

 

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

Here is a very private magic secret: when I want something to be true for the sake of my story, I google it, and I always find a way to make it true. It’s almost like your imagination figures something out, and then you go out into reality to see if your imagination got it right. And yes, she did! At one point, Tuk is in danger of being pushed off the side of a mountain by a puma. I googled around to make sure that could happen, and I came upon a very grisly photo of a bighorn sheep dead on the road at the bottom of a cliff, and beside him was a dead cougar. The cougar still had a clump of the bighorn’s fur in his mouth. For a second I was scared that my story had caused it! Stuff like that always happens to me.

 

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

My favorite memories are of the times my colleagues and I sat together and talked and laughed in the landing lounge. It’s sort of tacky and frumpy, that room, but I feel happy when I walk into it because it is filled with good karma. The students should never doubt that our faculty has a culture of deep respect and regard for one another’s work, and love for each other. Is that cheesy? Yes, it is. But when you get old, you gain a new appreciation for all things cheese.

 

What advice would you give to prospective VCFA students?

When I first started as a student at VCFA, I was bowled over by all the talent and genius of my fellow students and faculty. I was envious, and I had much to envy. But that was a waste of my time and emotional energy. Don’t waste your time. 

Martine LeavittMartine Leavitt is the author of nine novels for young readers, including Tom Finder, winner of the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, and Heck Superhero, Governor General’s Award finalist. Keturah and Lord Death was a National Book Award finalist, and Martine’s most recent novel, My Book of Life by Angel, received five major starred reviews, won the CLA Young Adult Book of the Year Award and was an L.A. Times Book Prize finalist.

 

 


Topics: Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2014 release, middle grade, Martine Leavitt

Launch Day for Lindsey Lane's EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN!

Posted by Adi Rule on Tue, Sep 16, 2014 @ 08:09 AM

We're all hurrahs for Lindsey Lane, whose young adult novel Evidence of Things Not Seen is out today from Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers!

evidence

When high school junior Tommy Smythe goes missing, everyone has a theory about what happened to him. He was an odd kid, often deeply involved in particle physics, so maybe he just got distracted and wandered off. He was last seen at a pullout off the highway, so maybe someone snatched him. Tommy believes that everything is possible, and that until something can be proven false, it may be true. So as long as Tommy’s whereabouts are undetermined, he could literally be anywhere.

Told in a series of first-person narratives from people who knew Tommy and third-person chapters about people who find the things Tommy left behind—his red motorbike, his driving goggles, pages from his notebook—Evidence of Things Not Seen explores themes of loneliness, connectedness, and the role we play in creating our own realities.

Congratulations, Lindsey! Welcome, Evidence of Things Not Seen!

Check out the trailer here.

Visit Lindsey at lindseylane.net!

Topics: young adult, Farrar Straus and Giroux, Lindsey Lane, 2014 release

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.
unnamed

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 www.carolbrendler.com
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

Illinois Reads VCFA!

Posted by Adi Rule on Mon, May 26, 2014 @ 10:05 AM

chime Serendipity Market 9780061468759 330 winniefinn

 

Illinois Reads, a project that promotes reading for all ages, has selected its 2014 books, and we're thrilled to see some familiar faces! Huge congratulations to all the fantastic writers and illustrators on this list, with special Launch Pad shout-outs to alums Penny Blubaugh and Carol Brendler and faculty member Franny Billingsley!

Learn more about these books and their creators --

Serendipity Market by Penny Blubaugh 

Chime by Franny Billingsley

Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer by Carol Brendler, illustrated by Ard Hoyt

 

Topics: Farrar Straus and Giroux, Carol Brendler, Franny Billingsley, HarperTeen, Dial Books, Penny Blubaugh, congratulations

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