Guest Post: Shawn Stout on Historical Fiction: How Much Research Is Enough?

Guest Post: Shawn Stout on Historical Fiction: How Much Research Is Enough?

By Shawn K. Stout

Several years ago I had a story idea swirling inside my head. It was about three sisters who try to clear their father’s name after he is accused of being a Nazi spy.

The story was based on the real-life experiences of my grandparents, whose restaurant in Maryland in 1939 was boycotted by the townspeople over my grandfather’s purported “secret back room” and rumors of espionage.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Greg Leitich Smith on Time Travel & Tracking Dinosaurs

Guest Post & Giveaway: Greg Leitich Smith on Time Travel & Tracking Dinosaurs

Borrowed Time launch party at BookPeople in Austin

By Greg Leitich Smith

There’s a line from the first “Jurassic Park” movie to the effect that the place has all the problems of a major theme park and a major zoo.

I sort of feel the same way about writing time travel fiction: You have all the major problems of historical fiction and all the major problems of science fiction/fantasy.

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Author Interview & Giveaway: Angela Cerrito on The Safest Lie

Author Interview & Giveaway: Angela Cerrito on The Safest Lie

“The Power of Poetry,” an award-winning play!

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Welcome back, Cynsations reporter Angela Cerrito, and congratulations on the release of The Safest Lie (Holiday House, 2015). Could you tell us a little about the novel and what inspired you to write it? 

The Safest Lie follows the fictional Anna Bauman attempting to hide her Jewish identity and pass herself off as Anna Karwolska in Warsaw Poland during WWII.

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Meg Wiviott on Telling the Toughest Stories & Paper Hearts

Guest Post & Giveaway: Meg Wiviott on Telling the Toughest Stories & Paper Hearts

Interview with Meg Wiviott.

By Meg Wiviott

History is filled with horrible, frightening events. Still, history needs to be taught. Finding a gentle way to tell a tragic, truthful story is something for which I seem to have a knack.

Kristallnacht, Auschwitz, and death marches are not the usual stuff of books for young readers.

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Cover Reveal & Interview: Author Ashley Hope Pérez & Editor Andrew Karre on Out of Darkness

Cover Reveal & Interview: Author Ashley Hope Pérez & Editor Andrew Karre on Out of Darkness

By Ashley Pérez and Andrew Karre

From the promotional copy of Out of Darkness (Carolrhoda Lab/Lerner, Sept. 2015):

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them.


“No Negroes,

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Guest Post: Amy & David Axelrod on The History of Magic & The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure

Guest Post: Amy & David Axelrod on The History of Magic & The Bullet Catch: Murder by Misadventure

See facebook page, excerpt  & educator guide.

By Amy Axelrod & David Axelrod

When we began, we knew that we wanted to write a novel about a down-and-out magician during World War I.

We knew the setting would be New York City and that this washed-up magician,

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Guest Interview: Dana Walrath on Like Water on Stone

Guest Interview: Dana Walrath on Like Water on Stone

By Lyn Miller-Lachmann

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. In 1984, Dana Walrath journeyed to Palu, in Western Armenia (now part of Turkey), where she saw the mill and farmlands that once belonged to her maternal ancestors, who were forced to flee the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

Her family story became the basis of her acclaimed novel in verse Like Water on Stone (Delacorte,

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Guest Post & Giveaway: Anne Bustard on Musicality: Composing with Repetitions

Guest Post & Giveaway: Anne Bustard on Musicality: Composing with Repetitions

By Anne Bustard

Every writer wants her work to sing.

Writing that sings is exquisitely crafted. It lifts its voice in praise of language. Its story is pitch perfect. It invites readers to sing along and has the power to linger in a reader’s consciousness long after the last note.

Like a composer creating a musical score,

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