New Voices: Brian Weisfeld & Alicia D. Williams Share How the Children Around them Inspire Their Writing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Brian Weisfeld’s novel with Nicole C. Kear, The Startup Squad (Imprint, 2019) and Alicia D. William’s novel Genesis Begins Again (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy, 2019) were both inspired by the children around them. They’ve shared their inspirations and insights they’ve gained along their writing journeys. Welcome, Brian and Alicia!

Brian Weisfeld

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

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New Voices: Gita Trelease & Jodie Lynn Zdrok with YA Debuts Set in Paris

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Gita Trelease, author of Enchantée (Flatiron Books, 2019) and Jodie Lynn Zdrok, author of Spectacle (Tor Teen, 2019) both set their magical, historical novels in Paris. They share their inspirations, moments along their writing journeys, and advice for fellow writers.

Gita Trelease

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

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New Voices: Natasha Diaz & Kendra Fortmeyer, YA Debuts, Draw on Personal Experience

By Stephani Martinell Eaton & Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we welcome two debut YA authors with powerful stories grown from personal experience. Natasha Diaz‘s novel, Color Me In (Delacorte, 2019) explores the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds. Hole in the Middle (Soho Press,

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New Voices: Nikki Barthelmess & Laura Sibson on Using Memories to Create Authentic Fiction

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Both Nikki Barhtelmess, author of The Quiet You Carry (Flux, 2019) and Laura Sibson, author of The Art of Breaking Things (Viking, 2019), revisited personal memories to write authentic stories of teens.

Nikki Barthelmess

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

Growing up in an abusive family,

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New Voices: Nicole Melleby & Rajani LaRocca MG Debuts that Highlight Father-Daughter Relationships

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I’m excited to introduce you to debut middle grade authors whose books highlight father-daughter relationships in their novels. Nicole Melleby, author of Hurricane Season (Algonquin, 2019), and Rajani LaRocca, author of Midsummer’s Mayhem (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee, 2019), share their inspirations and perspectives on the writing journey.

Nicole Melleby

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

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New Voices: Caitlin Lochner & Nina Moreno on What Inspired Their YA Debuts

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Caitlin Lochner author of A Soldier and a Liar (Swoon Reads, 2019) and Nina Moreno author of Don’t Date Rosa Santos (Disney-Hyperion, 2019) talk about what inspired their YA debuts and the perseverance needed in the writing life.

Caitlin Lochner

Please describe your pre-publication craft apprenticeship. How did you take your writing from a beginner level to publishable?

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New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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New Voices: Former Teachers Bea Birdsong & Vivian Kirkfield Discuss Their Storytelling Journeys

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am thrilled to get to introduce Cynsations readers to Bea Birdsong and Vivian Kirkfield, two former teachers turned writers.

With their background in education and having spent years reading to children, it is no wonder that their passion is writing the absolute best stories that they can for kids.

Bea Birdsong

In terms of publishing,

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New Voices: Remy Lai & Cory Leonardo Reflect on their Middle Grade Debuts

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Remy Lai, author and illustrator of Pie in the Sky (Henry Holt, 2019) and Cory Leonardo, author of The Simple Art of Flying (Aladdin, 2019) reflect on the debuts of their middle-grade novels. For both, finding fellow writers as mentors or critique partners along the journey proved invaluable.

Remy Lai

What first inspired you to illustrate for young readers?

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New Voices: Creative Rulebreakers Among the Notable 19s

By Traci Sorell

For those of us newer to the field of children’s literature, the numerous writing rules for various age groups and in different genres can feel overwhelming.

As one who appreciates the guidelines but also creatively breaks them when necessary, I am thrilled to welcome a group of rulebreakers to Cynsations.

Members of the Notable 19s, all débuting their first picture books this year,

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