cynsations

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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Author Interview: Nikki Grimes on The Power of Words

By Traci Sorell

Memoir is one of my favorite genres to read. When Nikki Grimes shared some poems from hers last summer, I knew I must read Ordinary Hazards (Boyds Mills & Kane, 2019), the entire book.

Written in verse, her words captivated me much as the act of writing did her at an early age. The acclaim she’s already received in starred reviews and from fellow powerhouse creators speaks to the truth telling found within its pages.

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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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Guest Post: Linda Joy Singleton on Attending SCBWI Annual Conferences

By Linda Joy Singleton

I’ve attended the SCBWI Annual Summer Conference in Los Angeles every summer since 1991—and for good reason! It’s a wonderful conference with something for every writer and illustrator.

The 2019 conference will always be extra special to me because of the amazing moment that happened just hours after I arrived at the Marriott Hotel.

I was returning from lunch with friends when I glanced down at an incoming message on my phone.

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Co-Authors Interview: Tami Lewis Brown & Debbie Loren Dunn

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m excited to interview two fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts graduates, Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn about their new nonfiction picture book, Instructions Not Included, illustrated by Chelsea Beck (Disney-Hyperion, 2019).

Congratulations on Instructions Not Included! It’s a fun and inspiring book. Can you tell us what drew you to this project?

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Survivors: April Pulley Sayre on Thriving as a Long-Time, Actively Publishing Children’s Author-Illustrator

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

April Pulley Sayre is a successful children’s author-illustrator with a long, distinguished career.

In children’s writing, maintaining an active publishing career is arguably an even bigger challenge than breaking into the field.

Reflecting on your personal journey (creatively, career-wise, and your writer’s heart), what bumps did you encounter and how have you managed to defy the odds to achieve continued success? 

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Native Vision: Weshoyot Alvitre on Illustrating At The Mountain’s Base

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Weshoyot Alvitre to Cynsations.

At the Mountain’s Base (Kokila, 2019) is illustrated by Weshoyot and written by Cherokee author Traci Sorell.

Weshoyot is Tongva (Los Angeles Basin) and is well established within the Indigenous art community.

A comic book artist and illustrator, she has contributed to numerous Eisner award-winning books,

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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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