the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog

Gwendolyn Heasley and THE ART OF GOODBYE

Posted by Adi Rule on Tue, Mar 04, 2014 @ 07:03 AM

It's launch day for Gwendolyn Heasley's new young adult novella!

The heroine of Where I Belong (HarperTeen, 2011) is back in The Art of Goodbye (HarperImpulse), a romantic digital novella about first loves and second chances.


It's Corrinne Corcoran's last night in town before heading off to college, and she's determined it'll be the most epic night ever. She's planned every detail of each hour of the night, from what dresses she'll wear, to what parties she'll hit, to which of her best friends will be with her. But Corrinne's perfect plan for her last night in New York goes awry when she runs into a ghost from her past, and the boy she's never been able to forget—her ex-boyfriend, Bubby, from Broken Spoke. And Corrinne starts to wonder if her expertly planned goodbye to New York City was as perfect as it seemed. . . . Set over the twelve-hour period before Corrinne sets off for college, The Art of Goodbye will make you believe that true love can find you when you're least expecting it . . . again.

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

This e-novella picks up two and half years after my first novel Where I Belong left off. But I wrote the e-novella sequel over four years after I first wrote my first novel. Not only had my characters changed, but I had too! It was fun revisiting my heroine Corrinne and seeing what she had been up to . . . and it also made me reflect how my own life—both writing and personal—has evolved.

Revisiting my first heroine felt—in many ways—like going home. I loved re-finding her voice.

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

I have googled “mutton busting,” which is when little kids competively ride sheep at rodeos.

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

I used to play all kinds of music while writing. Now I write in silence because I don’t want to wake my sleeping three-month old daughter.

Who were your advisors at VCFA? 

Franny Billingsley, Shelley Tanaka, Tim Wynne-Jones, and A.S. King.

How did attending VCFA affect your writing life?

First of all and most importantly, VCFA gave me community. Because of my experience there, I feel more comfortable and confident in the title of “writer.”

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

Revealing our class name. Being a M.A.G.I.C. I.F. is now an integral part of my identity.  

What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?


What do you wish you had known before you first set foot on the VCFA campus?

That being part of VCFA is a lifelong experience, but that the actual MFA experience goes too fast, so cherish it!

Thanks for stopping by, Gwendolyn! Happy launch!

Check out Gwendolyn's website, and find her on Facebook and Twitter!

Topics: young adult, 2014 release, Gwendolyn Heasley, novella, HarperImpulse

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