cynsations

Guest Post: Author Amy Alznauer on Artistic Collaboration

By Amy Alznauer

Discovering a New Magic at the Heart of the Creative Life

As artists, we spend most of our time alone in a room writing or drawing. On our bad days, we wonder if our efforts are nothing more than a narcissistic pursuit of a private vision.

I spent many days like this as I worked for over a decade – pre-agent,

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Guest Post: Nora Shalaway Carpenter & Rocky Callen Talk Mental Health Themes in YA Literature

By Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rocky Callen

Cynsational Note: Today we are honored to welcome two YA debut authors, Nora Shalaway Carpenter and Rocky Callen, who talk about the importance and representation of mental health issues in YA literature, specifically their novels.

Nora: Hi, Rocky! I’m so excited to chat with you about our books.

Rocky: I’m excited, too! Who knew that when we met at VCFA during my first residency that we’d be debuting together just a few short years later!

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New Voices: Jessica Kim & Risa Nyman Talk Truth in Fiction

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I’m interviewing two debut middle grade authors about what inspired them as well as how truth emerges through their fiction.

While Jessica Kim’s Stand Up, Yumi Chung! (Kokila, 2020) is a humorous read, and Risa Nyman’s Swallowed by a Secret (Immortal Works, 2020) is more serious, both books are heartfelt.

Jessica Kim

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book? 

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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich SmithGail VannelliGayleen Rabukukk, and Stephani Eaton for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Ghostober S2 E4: Ellen Oh & Staring at Your Inbox by Claribel Ortega from Write or Die Podcast. Peek: “Being a writer can be so lonely….I didn’t know at the time there was a [writing] community. It took me while to find that community but once I did…everything became easier…Having a sense of community makes the hard easier…That can be the difference from those who give up and those who still try.”

Reading YA Books May Increase Empathy and Integrity by Kelly Jensen from Book Riot.

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Guest Post: Michele Weber Hurwitz: Taking a Risk with Narration: Trust Your Instincts

By Michele Weber Hurwitz

When I first read Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan (HarperCollins, 2012), I remember being completely amazed.

A brown bear or a pigeon narrating a picture book are one thing, but a gorilla narrating a meaningful middle grade novel? This was something else entirely. Applegate’s brilliance took my breath away. The spare yet powerful writing as well as the non-human voice was absolutely perfect.

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In Memory: Betsy Byars

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Betsy Byars, award-winning and prolific author, died Feb. 26 in Seneca, South Carolina after complications from a fall. She was 91.

Obituary: Betsy Byars by Shannon Maughan from Publishers Weekly. Peek:

“Byars’s books were often lauded for their blend of humor, empathy, and realistic detail.”

Betsy Byars, Author of ‘The Summer of the Swans’ and Other Children’s Classics,

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New Voices: Arianne Costner & Sarah Kapit and the Journey to Publication

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Welcome to middle grade authors Arianne Costner and Sarah Kapit who discuss both their publication journeys, starting from the inspiration for their debut novels, as well as their favorite craft books. And we want to wish Arianne a very happy book birthday as her debut, My Life as a Potato (Random House, 2020), comes out today!

Arianne Costner

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

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Cynsational News

By Cynthia Leitich SmithGail VannelliGayleen Rabukukk, and Stephani Eaton for Cynsations

Author/Illustrator Insights

Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros by Mr. Schu from Watch. Connect. Read. Peek: “[W]e all have stories to tell. Each of our experiences is unique and equally important. In a sense, we are all authors, and every one of our stories is worthy of being told—and that is true of everyone,

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Guest Post: Mark Mitchell on Linear Perspective in Illustration

By Mark Mitchell

How to place things to ‘look right’ in your story illustrations…

Illustrators, let’s talk about a fundamental issue of draftsmanship that you’ve probably run up against in your pictures.

It falls under “linear perspective.”

The issue is eye level (or you might have heard it called “horizon line.”) Viewers are typically unaware of it. Not all illustrators get it.

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New Voices: Adalyn Grace & Rabiah York Lumbard on Character, Career & Connection

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am pleased to introduce YA debut authors Adalyn Grace and Rabiah York Lumard to our Cynsations readers. Both of these authors talk about the importance that their main characters’ identities bring to their work, their transitions to writing as a career, as well as connection to community.

Adalyn Grace

What was your initial inspiration for writing this book?

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