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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New Voices: Vivian Elbee & Hannah Holt on Persistence

By Traci Sorell

Today we’re chatting with picture book authors Viviane Elbee and Hannah Holt, both members of the Epic Eighteen debut group.

Viviane Elbee

Viviane Elbee, debut picture book author of Teach Your Giraffe to Ski (Albert Whitman, 2018), crafts a story that according to Kirkus Reviews “conceals a how-to for conquering one’s fears.”

Illustrated by Danni Gowdy and told in second person,

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New Voices: Writing Partners Katy Loutzenhiser & Nicole Panteleakos Discuss Their Paths to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Writers spend a lot of time alone which is why it’s so important that writers find communities and support. There are lots of ways to do that.

It just so happens that the debut authors we are celebrating today are writing partners and have shared with each other the struggles and joys of the writing life.

Meet Katy Loutzenhiser,

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New Voices: Beth Anderson & Tina Cho on Bringing True Stories to the Page

By Traci Sorell

Picture book authors Beth Anderson and Tina Cho‘s debut books both explore actual events and both authors agree, craft study and critique groups are vital components on the path to publication.

Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson and I share a love of nonfiction. Her debut picture book, An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin &

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New Voices: Margaret Greanias & Melissa Stoller on Writing Craft Resources

By Traci Sorell

Today Cynsations features two debut picture book authors, Margaret Chiu Greanias and Melissa Stoller, both members of the Epic Eighteen group.

Margaret Chiu Grenias

Maximillian Villianous, the debut picture book of author Margaret Chiu Greanias, centers on Maximillian, a young monster who does not fit in with his ill-mannered family.

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