Author Interview: Kate Hosford on Poetry & Science in A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Author Kate Hosford‘s latest book, A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals, illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter (Running Press, 2019), explores the sleeping habits of 17 different animals through poetry and exposition. The book piqued my curiosity, and I’m very exited to share a peek at Kate’s process with Cynsations readers.

Poems about sleeping animals are delightfully specific.

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Guest Post: Abigail Hing Wen on Character Development the Brutally Hard Way

By Abigail Hing Wen

After twelve years of writing and hundreds of rejections as I learned to write, I can’t quite believe my first novel is coming out in just eight weeks.

My biggest struggle had always been my characters. I read dozens of character craft books and asked for advice from character gurus like Coe Booth and Sandra Nickel.

Even as a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts,

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Author Interview: Cate Berry on Making Connections

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today we’re chatting with Austin author and Vermont College MFA alumnx Cate Berry about her new picture book Chicken Break, illustrated by Charlotte Alder (Feiwel & Friends, 2019) and her creative marketing efforts to promote the book.

Congratulations on the release of Chicken Break! It’s an adorable bedtime counting book. Before we talk about all your eggscelent marketing efforts,

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Co-Authors Interview: Tami Lewis Brown & Debbie Loren Dunn

By Gayleen Rabakukk

Today I’m excited to interview two fellow Vermont College of Fine Arts graduates, Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn about their new nonfiction picture book, Instructions Not Included, illustrated by Chelsea Beck (Disney-Hyperion, 2019).

Congratulations on Instructions Not Included! It’s a fun and inspiring book. Can you tell us what drew you to this project?

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New Voices: Nikki Barthelmess & Laura Sibson on Using Memories to Create Authentic Fiction

By Stephani Martinell Eaton

Both Nikki Barhtelmess, author of The Quiet You Carry (Flux, 2019) and Laura Sibson, author of The Art of Breaking Things (Viking, 2019), revisited personal memories to write authentic stories of teens.

Nikki Barthelmess

What first inspired you to write for young readers?

Growing up in an abusive family,

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Guest Post: Carol Lynch Williams on Writing Craft, Perseverance & Writing Life

By Carol Lynch Williams

I’ve always been a writer.

The first thing I wrote, and produced, was a play. There were two members of the cast (myself and my younger sister), and one member in the audience. My grandmother, Nana.

I don’t think I was much more than seven years old.

Still, I composed a musical score. (I could sing it for you right now.

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New Voices: Meredith Davis & Nicole Valentine On Being An Author

By Gayleen Rabakukk

I’m thrilled to introduce two debut authors to the Cynsations audience today. I met both at Vermont College of Fine Arts several years ago while we were all working on MFAs in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Both write middle grade, but their books are very different, illustrating the depth and diversity that exists in children’s literature.

Meredith Davis is the co-author of Her Own Two Feet: A Rwandan Girl’s Brave Fight To Walk (Scholastic,

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Cynsations Intern: Gail Vannelli on Loving Literature

By Gail Vannelli

Long ago, a four-wheeler that started to swirl hit a car with a mother and four-year-old girl. And that girl, in a hospital, smelly and white, lay confused and alone, with her leg wrapped up tight in a cast in a sling pulled up high in the air, where it linked to all kinds of weird gadgets up there. And she wept and she whimpered each night and each day for her mother to please come and whisk her away.

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Guest Post: Mary Quattlebaum on Nonfiction, Connections & Environmental Change

By Mary Quattlebaum

At a recent book event, a little boy was nonplussed to discover that humans are animals, too.

“You mean, me?” he asked incredulously. “I’m an animal?”

Yup, welcome to the family!

I loved doing the research for Brother, Sister, Me and You (National Geographic, 2019), especially since this nonfiction picture book was inspired by my own tumble-bumble pack of three sisters and three brothers.

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Guest Post: Lisa Papademetriou on Writing Tools

By Lisa Papademetriou

What are we to make of the knowledge that we share DNA with a banana?

No, I’m not kidding. All life on earth evolved from a single-celled common ancestor—our genes and banana genes are over 60 percent identical.

I love thinking about this because stories are the same. The cellular structure that underlies the vast majority of fiction is descended from an ancient ancestor,

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