Cynsational News & Links

A Revision Story by David Macinnis Gill at I am Chikin, Hear Me Roar. Here’s a sneak peek: “Writing a first draft creates a sense of euphoria for me. I get a sustained rush learning about new characters, exploring new settings, and thinking of really bad puns that never get past the third edits. Well, some do. But the creation of a first draft has a dark side.”

“Let’s Talk about Sex” by Sarah Aronson at Through the Tollbooth kicks off a multi-post conversation. Here’s a sneak peek: “Sex in YA lit is not exactly a new topic. Whether we are ‘pro sex’ or ‘against sex,’ I think it’s pretty hard to write a YA novel and not have to deal with it, in one way or another. Whether a character wants to have sex, wants to abstain, or is falling in love, sex is omnipresent in the teen protagonist! Our young characters, like the young people we were, like young people today, are bombarded with images of sex. It is difficult to come of age without considering what sex means.” Series includes an interview with author Tanya Lee Stone, “Nuts and Bolts,” and “Reaching the Climax” (yes, that’s what she titled it). Read Cynsations interviews with Sarah and Tanya.

“How Far is Too Far” by Helen Hemphill at Through the Tollbooth kicks off another important topic–violence in youth literature. Here’s a sneak peek: “I’m not really opposed to violence in young adult fiction. My mantra is if it serves the story, use it…But just how far am I willing to go with it? How much raw detail am I willing to express on the page? How much psychic distance am I willing to give the reader?”Series includes Questions of Violence and more. Read a Cynsations interview with Helen.

Interview: Mary E. Pearson from Teen Book Review. Here’s a sneak peek: “I really don’t think of the teen years as a stage, as many people do, but the beginning of this long stage we call adulthood that is always in a state of change. You don’t finish the teen years and suddenly become this static adult. You continue to evolve.” Read a Cynsations interview with Mary.

River Friendly River Wild by Jane Kurtz, illustrated by Neil Brennan (Simon & Schuster, 2000). An exquisitely written and illustrated picture book of poems inspired by Kurtz’s own family’s experience during the flood in Grand Forks. Winner of the 2000 Golden Kite Award. Ages 6-up. Read a related Cynsations interview with Jane. Here’s a sneak peek: “When I got back to Grand Forks and dug into the mess, I found that it felt just right to peel off my yellow gloves from time to time and jot down phrases that captured a little of what I was going through.” See also classroom connections for this book.

Author School Visits by State: a state-by-state listing, not a booking service, from Kim Norman, author of Jack of all Tails, illustrated by David Clark (Dutton, 2007). Note: traditionally published authors may write Kim for a free listing; see details at blog. Source: Children’s Book Biz News @ Yahoogroups. Read a Cynsations interview with Kim.

Congratulations to Julie Larios on the publication of Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Harcourt, 2008). From the promotional copy: “Who is half gallop, half walk? Who can turn you to stone with one look? Whose voice do you hear in the splash on the shore? Centaurs, mermaids, and other curious creatures populate these wondrous poems and paintings, inspired by a mythological world full of imagination and mystery. Includes end notes about cultures and legends.” Ages 4-up. Read a Cynsations interview with Julie Larios.

Industry News & Thoughts

Michael Stearns Leaving Harper to Be an Agent from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Note: Michael is joining Nadia Cornier at Firebrand Literary. Best wishes to Michael in his new career!

[Editor] Allyn Johnston Leaving Harcourt from Alice’s CWIM Blog. Alice says: “Reading her piece, feeling her love of picture books, getting a glimpse of what an insightful editor she is, made me sad to think that someone who it seems was put on this earth to edit books for young readers could be let go as a result of a corporate merger (Houghton with Harcourt).” Read the whole post. Best wishes to Allyn in her next career move!

To those Harcourt authors/illustrators–especially new voices–who are going through this corporate merger with its resulting uncertainty and fallout: Please rest assured that others before you have survived similar circumstances, we’re all behind you, and if you’re feeling really stressed, you’re welcome to write me. Hang in there!


The SCBWI Bologna 2008 series is ongoing here at Cynsations! Check back Monday for more interviews with authors, illustrators, editors, art directors, agents, and more from the U.S. and around the world.

To register for the SCBWI Bologna Biennial Conference 2008, please visit and click on SCBWI@Bologna. Queries?