Guest Post: Erin Cashman on The Role of Research in Writing Fantasy

Learn more about Erin Cashman

By Erin Cashman

Recently, someone commented to me that writing fantasy must be easy, since I can just make up what I need to fit my plot.

I wish! As Lloyd Alexander said,

“Once committed to his imaginary kingdom, the writer is not a monarch but a subject.” 

To me, world building is both the hardest and the most wonderful part of writing fantasy.

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New Voice: Andrea Page on Sioux Code Talkers of World War II

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Andrea M. Page is the first-time author of Sioux Code Talkers of World War II (Pelican Publishing, 2017). From the promotional copy:

In World War II, code-making and code-breaking reached a feverish peak. The fabled Enigma Cipher had been broken, and all sides were looking for a secure, reliable means of communication.


Many have heard of the role of the Navajo Code Talkers,

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Author Interviews: Kate Hannigan & Janet Fox on Facts in Historical Fiction

By Gayleen Rabakukk

My current work in progress is a middle grade historical fantasy set in 1903. 


Delving into the past has made me think about how history is presented in novels and the balance between real and imaginary. 


For more insight on that topic, I turned to the authors of two of my favorite recently published books,

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New Voice: Christian McKay Heidicker on Cure for the Common Universe

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Christian McKay Heidicker is the first-time author of Cure for the Common Universe (Simon & Schuster, 2016). From the promotional copy:

Sixteen-year-old Jaxon is being committed to video game rehab…ten minutes after he met a girl. A living, breathing girl named Serena, who not only laughed at his jokes but actually kinda sorta seemed excited when she agreed to go out with him.

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Guest Post: E.M. Kokie on Hands-On Research & Getting Out of Your Character’s Way

By E.M. Kokie

From the flap copy of Radical by E.M. Kokie (Candlewick, 2016):

Preppers. Survivalists. Bex prefers to think of herself as a realist who plans to survive, but regardless of labels, they’re all sure of the same thing: a crisis is coming. 

And when it does, Bex will be ready. She’s planned exactly what to pack,

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New Voice: Sonya Mukherjee on Gemini

By Cynthia Leitich Smith

Sonya Mukherjee
is the first-time author of Gemini (Simon & Schuster, 2016). From the promotional copy:

In a powerful and daring debut novel, Sonya Mukherjee shares the story of sisters Clara and Hailey, conjoined twins who are learning what it means to be truly extraordinary.

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins, Clara and Hailey, have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore.

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Author Interview: Heather Lang on Fearless Flyer & Writing Strong Women

Visit Heather Lang’s official author site & @Hblang

By Helen Kampion

Congratulations on your new picture book biography Fearless Flyer: Ruth Law and Her Flying Machine (Calkins Creek, 2016) and the starred reviews from Booklist and School Library Journal! 

I was captivated by your account of Ruth Law’s record-breaking flight from Chicago to New York City one hundred years ago,

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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

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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Guest Interview: Kate Hosford & Cynthia Levinson: Children’s Authors & Circus Fans (Part II)

By Kate Hosford

Cynthia Levinson’s book Watch Out for Flying Kids! How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community (Peachtree, 2015) is an in-depth look at the world of social circus —a movement that brings kids from different cultures together to perform.

Cynthia follows the story lines of nine kids in two circuses: Circus Harmony in St.

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