Cynsations Return & Author Update: Cynthia Leitich Smith on Author Events, Balance, Social Media & What She’d Change About Publishing

Thank you, Cynsations readers, for joining us in the 16th year of this blog! We are so grateful to you all for reading, sharing and supporting our efforts. You’re the whole reason we’re doing this.

Thanks also to those of you who submitted questions for Cynthia over our winter hiatus. Full disclosure: Some of the wording was changed to fit the style of this blog. E.g., no profanity, even when  used in enthusiastic praise.

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Editor Interview: Louise May on I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we welcome Lee & Low editor Louise May to Cynsations to share her insights into poetry anthologies, working with Lee Bennett Hopkins, and I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage, edited by Lee (Lee & Low, 2019).

Congratulations on I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage! The book has received excellent reviews.

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Guest Post: Abigail Hing Wen on Character Development the Brutally Hard Way

By Abigail Hing Wen

After twelve years of writing and hundreds of rejections as I learned to write, I can’t quite believe my first novel is coming out in just eight weeks.

My biggest struggle had always been my characters. I read dozens of character craft books and asked for advice from character gurus like Coe Booth and Sandra Nickel.

Even as a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts,

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Native Voices: Kevin Noble Maillard on Writing Fry Bread

By Kim Rogers

Today, I’m excited to welcome Kevin Noble Maillard to Cynsations. Kevin is a professor of law at Syracuse University, a journalist, and a member of the Seminole Nation. His debut picture book Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story is illustrated by Pura Belpré-award winner and Caldecott Honor-recipient Juana Martinez-Neal (Roaring Brook/Macmillan, Oct. 2019 ).

What was your initial inspiration for writing Fry Bread?

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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: 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: 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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Poetry Anthology Editor & Illustrator Interview: Miranda Paul & Marlena Myles

By Traci Sorell

I adore picture book poetry anthologies. The variety of poems and artwork inspire me every time. Thanku: Poems of Gratitude (Millbrook Press, Sept. 3, 2019) marks the debut of artist Marlena Myles as a picture book illustrator. Edited by the award-winning author Miranda Paul, the anthology features many well-known poets and a portion of the book’s sales support the We Need Diverse Books nonprofit organization.

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Guest Post: Diane Telgen on Stories of Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology

By Diane Telgen

Fans of young-adult short stories may have noticed the anthology format making a comeback in recent years. But other outlets for original YA fiction, like magazines and websites, are few and far between—especially if they pay their writers. The options can be even more limited for new voices trying to break into the market.

Enter Foreshadow: A Serial YA Anthology,

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Hearts Unbroken: Writing Teen Love, Romance, Passion!

Inspirational HS relationship.

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

The fourth in a series of four posts celebrating the Oct. 9 release of my realistic contemporary YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick). Spoiler alert.

Let’s talk about teen love, romance, passion!

Which of course means talking about awkwardness, three-dimensionality, and emotional resonance.

My new YA novel, Hearts Unbroken (Candlewick,

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