Feature Friday: Alexa Donne of Author Mentor Match

Pen friends, if you’ve spent much time around here, you know how much we love the writing community! One of our favorite ways of learning and growing within that community is by participating in contests and mentoring opportunities, and today we are thrilled to chat with one of the founders of Author Mentor Match, the lovely YA author Alexa Donne!

*The current round of submissions for AMM is open now through October 24th, so if you’ve been looking for a mentor, now is the perfect chance to apply!

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SP: Welcome, Alexa! We’re so excited to have you join us. Can you please tell us a little about who you are and what you write?

Hi! Thank you so much for having me! I am Alexa Donne, a YA science fiction & fantasy writer whose debut novel, BRIGHTLY BURNING, will be coming out from HMH Teen on May 1, 2018. It’s a retelling of Jane Eyre, set in space.  Continue reading

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Author Interview: Tracey Neithercott

Pen Friends ~ We are delighted to have Tracey Neithercott, debut author of Gray Wolf Island and an Author Mentor Match mentor, here with us today!

Tracey Neithercott FullSP: Hi Tracey! Thanks for joining us. First, will you please tell us a bit of who are you and how long have you have been writing? 

Hi! Thank you so much for having me.

I’m a magazine journalist and the author of the YA novel Gray Wolf Island. I’ve always written in some way or another: There was my sixth grade The Princess and the Mean Genie, which really made me aware of my inability to draw but had me feeling pretty proud of my talent for coloring within the lines.

In high school, I started (but never finished) a bunch of books in the voice of whatever I’d last read. I somehow ended up sounding like both Pip from Great Expectations and Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. This was not a good thing.

As I began thinking about college, I shifted my focus. It’s weird looking back at how my brain worked back then, but I was convinced authors were these super-special people who were, I don’t know, given their super-special talents from the heavens or something. I figured journalism was a more realistic career. And in a way, I was right: I did become a journalist.

Only after I began reading YA writer blogs—watching them go from unagented writers to agented writers to published authors—did I start to believe writing a novel was something I could actually do. And in 2010, I finished a novel for the first time. Continue reading

How to Write a Book (And Finish It) by Teen guest, Elizabeth Pau

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Most aspiring authors have been at the point where they have twenty different, brilliant ideas for book plots and try to write every single story all at once.

Or maybe some of you have an idea for one book and start writing without a plot or any sort of idea of where the book is going to end up  you just have a few ideas of what you want to include in your book.

The problem with these tactics, is that:

  1. If you start too many stories at once, you will end up mixing the characters’ personalities and possibly even confusing the plots (not to mention no one has time to finish 17 different novels)

and

  1. If you write a book with tons of events with no real goal in mind, your readers are going to be very confused.

Or maybe those tactics work for you just fine. In that case you can stop reading this right now.

But for those who want to write a book but just aren’t sure how…  

Continue reading

Editor Talk with BLINK YA’s Jillian Manning

Pen Friends ~ We are elated to have Blink YA Book’s Editor Jillian Manning with us today. Hope you enjoy her insights, tips, and recommendations!

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SP: Welcome Jillian! Let’s start personal ~Who are you and how long have you worked as an editor? Which books made you fall in love with the publishing industry?

I’m Jillian Manning, one of the editors at Blink YA Books. I’m a Michigan girl, cat lover, list maker, and avid YA reader. (Grown-up books? Yikes.) I’ve worked in publishing since my early college days, and have been an editor here at Blink for over two years. According to my mother, I started reading when I was two years old (though that may be a parental exaggeration), and I haven’t stopped since. I grew up reading Tamora Pierce, J.K. Rowling, and Caroline B. Cooney, and I decided I either wanted to be them or work with people like them. When I found out being an editor meant you could read for a living…well, I was hooked. Continue reading

Feature Friday: Rachel Griffin

Pen Friends ~ Meet Rachel Griffin, YA Writer and 2016 Pitch Wars Winner & Mentee, as she shares her writing journey and dreams. And don’t miss her blurb of the novel that won Pitch Wars! 

DSC07251.jpgSP: Hi Rachel! Will you tell us a little about yourself and how you started on your writing journey?

Thank you for having me! I’ve been writing ever since I was a little girl. By the time I graduated high school, I had binders stuffed full of poetry, songs, and short stories. I even had a poem published in a collection of poetry when I was thirteen. When I got to college, it was hard for me to find time to write, and before I knew it, years had gone by without creating anything new.

Several years after graduating college, I found myself dissatisfied in my work. I asked myself if I could do anything in the world, what it would be. Writing popped into my head instantly, and from that day forward I’ve taken my writing seriously. Continue reading

Between the Covers: A Look at Librarians, Part 1

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As writers, our thoughts are usually consumed with fantasy worlds, complex story lines and large casts of characters – and occasional daydreams about when we’ve made the New York Time’s Best-Seller List so we can quit our day jobs and write full time. Ahem. Back to reality.

But what happens when creation and editing and revising (and more revising) and publishing and printing are done? When THE BOOK is on shelves in bookstores across the world?

Obviously, you want to appeal to your readers so that they will A) buy your book, and B) want to read more! But what about those people who *gasp* help make your book accessible to an even wider crowd for free ? That’s right – we’re talking about LIBRARIANS!

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Author Interview: Andrew Peterson

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Pen Friends – Welcome Andrew Peterson! Come hear his take on writing, world building, and his journey in creating his epic series, The Wingfeather Saga, (which we cannot recommend enough).

SP: Can you tell us a bit of who you are and when you started writing?

Hello! I’m a father and a husband from Nashville. I started writing books about ten years ago, but as a touring singer/songwriter for about twenty years, stories have long been at the center of what I do. Ever since I was a kid I was into movies and music and drawing and books, and for a whole bunch of reasons my guitar was the horse that finally bore me out of town. I moved to Nashville right after college, signed a record deal, and have been doing music ever since. But the kinds of songs I love, and the kind I try to write, have always been the kind that have stories at their heart, partly because I’m a big reader, have always loved books, and never abandoned the dream of someday writing novels. About ten years ago, after reading the Narnia books to my kids, I decided it was time to stop messing around. Continue reading

Feature Friday: Chelsea Smith

Pen Friends~ Today’s feature is aspiring YA fantasy author Chelsea Smith to share about one of her novels.

Welcome Chelsea!

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SP: Who are you?

My name is Chelsea M. Smith.

SP: What do you write?

I try to write a little bit of everything. My publications consist mostly of romance shorts under a pseudonym and nonfiction articles here and there, but mostly I like to write fantasy for all ages from chapter books to YA. I’ve also been working on delving into contemporary fiction, verse, screenplays, and comic scripts.

SP: What are you working on now?

My active project is a YA that explores the darker aspects of fairy lore, particularly those from Wales, though I always have more than one project in the planning stages at any given time.

SP: Best writing scenario?

This is almost never the way it works out, but I love a day when I get so sucked into a story that I just can’t stop. Preferably with a scented candle burning, tea or wine, and a comfy couch cushion that doesn’t keep sliding out from underneath me. 

SP: What is your writing tip for us?

Get visceral with it. Describe it using all five senses. If it doesn’t make you feel queasy or giddy or cold or jittery, the audience won’t feel it, either.

SP: Thanks Chelsea!  We enjoyed having you and wish you the best of luck on the journey to get published!

Feature Friday: Caleb Robinson

Pen Friends~ Today’s feature is aspiring author Caleb Robinson to share about his first book.

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SP: Who are you?

My name is Caleb Robinson, and I sometimes call myself a writer. I say this because I am a high school student in southern United States where sports are the religion. Writing isn’t exactly something that makes you a whole lot of friends, so for the first three years of high school, I kept my writing on the down-low. Luckily, I was able to break out of that shell and own up to my passion. Most of my friends know that I’m currently writing a novel, and you know what, they’re really encouraging about it! I am currently playing soccer and just trying to make it through my senior year in one piece. I plan to attend college (though I have no idea which one) and earn a degree in something or other (I’m clearly really good at making life decisions). The end goal is to pay my way through college by either working or playing soccer for a college team. I’m hoping that I’ll have time to write even in the craziness of college! Continue reading