New Voices: Evan Griffith & Sajni Patel on Reflecting Strength in Stories

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Above image: downtown Austin from Lady Bird Lake, photo by Ron Rabakukk

Today I’m chatting with two debut Austin authors with very different books, but both feature strong female protagonists who were envisioned by creators dedicated to letting readers see themselves in stories.

Evan Griffith‘s picture book biography Secrets of the Sea: The Story of Jeanne Power,

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Author Interview: Deborah Noyes on the Creative Life & A Hopeful Heart

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

I am excited to welcome Deborah Noyes to Cynsations to share with our readers her thoughts on the creative life, both about her own work and that which has influenced her.

Welcome, Deborah! Could you tell us about your new release?

A Hopeful Heart (Random House, 2020) is a biography of Louisa May Alcott before her break-out success with Little Women (Roberts Brothers,

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Guest Post: Tirzah Price on Retelling Jane Austen with Murderous Intent

By Tirzah Price

The biggest question I’ve received from readers when they hear that I’ve written a murder mystery retelling of Pride and Prejudice is why? I don’t know if they ask this because they think that Austen is somehow sacred, or if the mash up seems so incongruous, but I always think, Why not?

Pride and Premeditation, the first in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries (HarperTeen,

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Author Interview: Corey Ann Haydu on Finding the Joy in Writing

By Bree Bender

Today, I am excited to welcome the critically-acclaimed middle grade and young adult author Corey Ann Haydu to Cynsations. Corey Ann is the author of many books for middle grade and young adult readers including her Edgar Award nominated young adult novel Eventown (Katherine Tegen Books, 2019).  Corey Ann’s latest middle grade novel, One Jar of Magic (Katherine Tegen Books,

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Author Interview: Sue Ganz-Schmitt on Vulnerability in Picture Books

By Gail Vannelli

Picture book author Sue Ganz-Schmitt had two new picture book releases last fall, and both contained storylines that embrace differences and fostered inclusion.

In That Monster on the Block, illustrated by Luke Flowers (Two Lions, 2020), which won the 2020 Northern Book Lights Award for Humor, Monster learns that his new neighbor is not a greedy goblin,

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Guest Post: Erik Talkin on Finding the Book You Are Uniquely Qualified to Write

By Erik Talkin

I had been the talented “nearly” man for a while, with a middle-grade that was purchased by a mid-level publisher that promptly decided to get out of the MG market before the book was published.

This was followed by a novel that went to the final stages of acquisition with a major publisher, before the marketing department decided that series were out that week.

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Guest Post: Nora Shalaway Carpenter & Challenging the Rural Stereotype

By Nora Shalaway Carpenter

Recently I chatted with Nasugraq Rainey Hopson, Tirzah Price, Rob Costello, and Monica Roe, four of Rural Voices’ (Candlewick, 2020) talented contributors. Here’s what they said about rural stories, stereotypes, and the representation of rural life in literature.

What do you hope readers take away from Rural Voices?

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New Cynsations Reporter Bree Bender

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Today, I am so excited to welcome Bree Bender to the Cynsations Team! Bree joins us as a reporter-at-large covering the many facets of the children’s-YA community.

Welcome to Cynsations! Could you tell us about your vision for your coverage here at the blog? Why did you decide to take on this role in the conversation of books?

First,

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Author Interview: Martha Brockenbrough on Real-Life Inspirations for Stories

By Gail Vannelli

If you love old dogs and small kids, Martha Brockenbrough’s newly published picture book This Old Dog, illustrated by Gabriel Alborozo (Levine Querido, 2020) will capture your attention and your heart as you experience a friendship blooming between “old dog” and “his girl.” The story is remarkably well written, using one-syllable words that children—and dogs—can understand.

A nominee of the 2021 Pacific Northwest Book Awards,

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New Voices: Kelly J. Baptist & Jess Rinker on the People Who’ve Influenced Their Writing

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

A big welcome to middle-grade debut authors, Kelly J. Baptist and Jess Rinker. Both authors share with us how the people around them influence their writing as well as moments along their journeys to publication.

Kelly Baptist 

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

I think it was when I was reading Laura Numeroff’s If You Give A Mouse A Cookie,

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