Writing the YA Novel

My husband, author Greg Leitich Smith, and I spoke yesterday to a crowd of about 40 on Writing the “Young Adult Novel” at the Barnes & Noble, Westake (TX) in conjunction with the store’s “Year of Writing” program.

My focus was on what the YA novel is and how to write it whereas Greg talked about getting published and led a character-building writing exercise.

The crowd was enthusiastic and included such local authors as: Frances Hill; Varian Johnson; Austin SCBWI RA Julie Lake; Lindsey Lane; April Lurie; Jerry Wermund; JoAnne Whittemore; Brian Yansky; as well as illustrator Don Tate.

After the event, Greg and I swung to the front of the store for Regan Johnson’s signing of her picture book Little Bunny Kung Fu (Blooming Tree, 2005). For more on the substance of the event, see the participant notes immediately below.

Cynsational Notes

“A Swift Kick in the Rear” from They Call Me Mr. V, author Varian Johnson’s blog, in which he discusses the substance of mine and Greg’s presentation.

“The Smiths Workshop on YA” from Devas T. Rants and Raves!, illustrator Don Tate’s blog, in which he does the same. (Note: Though he’s well-known as an illustrator, Don has begun writing now, too!).

Cynsational News & Links

Fuel for the Writer is a cookbook made up of recipes from alumni, students, and faculty of Vermont College/Union Institute & University MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. All proceeds go to benefit the alumni scholarship fund. It’s a fantatic book full of recipes, memories, anecdotes, quotes, and artwork, all related to the wonderful world of food and writing. Purchases can be made at Or call 1-888-573-3902.

Interview with Tracy Wynne, co-owner of Cover to Cover Bookstore in San Francisco, from