New Voices: Katia Raina & Sofiya Pasternack on the Challenges of Using Personal or Family History in Your Novel

By Robin Galbraith

I had the pleasure of interviewing Katia Raina and Sofiya Pasternack, two authors who each have a 2019 debut novel that takes place in Russia and deals with anti-Semitism. Although Katia wrote a realistic young adult novel and Sofiya wrote a middle grade fantasy, these two debut authors each chose this very specific setting because of their own personal or family history.

Their discussion on how they were each drawn to such a specific setting,

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Native Voice: Anthony Perry on Growing as a Writer

By Traci Sorell

Tony, I’m delighted to welcome you to Cynsations! You have written a detailed, well-paced historical middle grade novel, Chula the Fox (White Dog Press, 2018), set in the Chickasaw homelands of what is now Mississippi in the 1700s.

Congratulations on winning the 2019 Ben Franklin Award Gold Medal from the Independent Book Publishers Association and the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards Bronze Medal for Multicultural Fiction in the Juvenile-Young Adult category for your debut work!

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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: Gillian McDunn & Julia Nobel Find Inspiration in Real-Life Settings

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today I am excited to introduce Gillian McDunn and Julia Nobel, two middle grade, debut authors who have found real life settings as inspiration for their stories.

Gillian McDunn

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

As a kid, I was a voracious reader and re-reader. I read some books so many times,

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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)?

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Guest Post: Yona Zeldis McDonough on Staying True to Yourself

Yona Zeldis McDonough

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

I hate weapons, especially firearms. Always have, and always will. Even the sight of a legally sanctioned gun—police office, hunter—makes me recoil and I literally take a step back.

Along with hating weapons, I hate war and though I concede that some wars have been necessary, I fail to see warfare as heroic or noble.

So when Scholastic tapped me to write a book about the evacuation at Dunkirk [of World War II.],

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Interview: Joseph Bruchac on Telling Stories and Two Roads

By Traci Sorell

I’m delighted to feature the prolific, award-winning poet and author Joseph Bruchac and his latest middle grade novel, Two Roads (Dial, 2018) on Cynsations.

From the promotional copy:

It’s 1932, and twelve-year-old Cal Black and his Pop have been riding the rails for years after losing their farm in the Great Depression. 


Cal likes being a “knight of the road” with Pop,

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Guest Post: Barbara Dee on Keeping it Middle Grade: Handling Tough Topics in Fiction

Learn more about Barbara Dee.

By Barbara Dee
for Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s Cynsations

About a year ago, on a NerdCamp panel called “Tough Topics in Middle Grade Fiction,” we were talking about how middle grade was evolving, growing up, tackling subjects that used to be considered taboo—for example, sexuality, terrorism, refugeeism, and drug use.

I asked the educators in the room which underrepresented topics they’d like to see on their bookshelves.

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Interview: Author Christine Marciniak & Editor Madeline Smoot on Once Upon a Princess

By Gayleen Rabakukk

The popularity of the recent royal wedding illustrates society’s continued fascination with monarchies. 

A new middle grade novel, Once Upon A Princess by Christine Marciniak (CBAY, 2018) offers a twist on familiar tropes. From the promotional copy:

After a coup in her country, Her Royal Highness, Fredericka Elisabetta Teresa von Boden don Morh (or Fritzi to her friends),

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New Voices: Inside Scoop on Debut Author Groups with J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Jonathan Roth & Deborah Schaumberg

By Robin Galbraith

After years of writing you finally have your very first book deal! Now what? How do you promote your debut novel? I talked to four Maryland debut authors from the Electric Eighteens to get the inside scoop on how debut groups for young adult and middle grade authors work.

Deborah Schaumberg, J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Continue Reading New Voices: Inside Scoop on Debut Author Groups with J.H. Diehl, Lauren Abbey Greenberg, Jonathan Roth & Deborah Schaumberg »