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?

Continue Reading New Voices: Nicole Melleby & Rajani LaRocca MG Debuts that Highlight Father-Daughter Relationships »

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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Guest Post: Nanci Turner Steveson on Writing Mirrors

By Nanci Turner Steveson

My third middle grade novel, Lizzie Flying Solo (HarperCollins, 2019), came out a few weeks ago. It took me 13 years to get that book just right.

It was the manuscript my agent signed me for in 2010, but back in the heyday of Harry Potter [by J.K. Rowling, 1997-2007] and all things commercial,

Continue Reading Guest Post: Nanci Turner Steveson on Writing Mirrors »

Author Interview: Writing & Marketing for Multiple Age-Levels

By Robin Galbraith

In today’s world of author branding how do you market yourself if you’re interested for writing for more than one age level?  What are the joys and challenges of working across age levels? Are agents still willing to work with someone who doesn’t commit to just one age level?

These are the questions I asked five currently publishing authors: Hena Khan

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New Voices: Lisa Moore Ramée & Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo on Questions Arising During Middle Grade Years

by Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am excited to share the publishing journeys of Lisa Moore Ramée and Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo. Both are members of the Novel Nineteens author group. Both of their middle grade novels debuted this month.

Lisa Moore Ramée

What was your initial inspiration for writing A Good Kind of Trouble (Balzer + Bray)?

Continue Reading New Voices: Lisa Moore Ramée & Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo on Questions Arising During Middle Grade Years »

Guest Post: Suzanne Crowley on Finding Inspiration Close to Home

Young Suzanne with her Grandfather Tio
in Uvalde, Texas

By Suzanne Crowley

As writers, we are frequently asked where we draw inspiration from. I think it’s true that everything we write is somewhat autobiographical.

I know I scatter a bit of myself in everything I write – that’s what gives it a soul and makes my stories “sing,” if you will.

In Finding Esme (Greenwillow,

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Guest Post: Shutta Crum on A New Life for an Out-of-Print Book

Learn more about Shutta Crum

By Shutta Crum

So you’re zipping along—doing your thing—and below the radar one, or more, of your books goes silently out of print.

When a book goes out of print, it always hurts—it’s a death in the family. You’ve spent a significant portion of your life living with it, writing it, and cheering it on. Now, it’s no longer available.

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Guest Post: Deborah Halverson on Viewing Narrative Beats as “Revelatory” Beats in MG/YA Fiction

Deborah Halverson

By Deborah Halverson

We work hard to get to know our characters.

Creating bios, interviewing them, giving them personality tests. One discovery tool often overlooked in this great pursuit are the small actions tucked into the narrative beats.

Narrative beats are those little breathers in dialogue, sometimes filled simply with speaking tags like he said, she said.

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Guest Interview: Lawrence Schimel on The Treasure of Barracuda & The Wild Book for #WorldKidLit Month

Lawrence Schimel, photo by Nieves Guerra

By Avery Fischer Udagawa

September is #WorldKidLit Month, a time to notice if world literature is reaching kids in the form of translations. 


Read a Cynsations interview with co-organizer Marcia Lynx Qualey.


Lawrence Schimel wears many hats: translator,

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Guest Post: Karen Kane on Analyzing Feedback

By Karen Kane

How you use feedback can make or break your story.

Which feedback do you follow?

Which feedback do you ignore?

Most importantly, how can you make sure the feedback you do use deepens your writing, and not derails it?

Here’s what I know about feedback: you are in charge.

You are the gatekeeper for your stories.

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