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


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)


  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…  

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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!


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


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


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!


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.


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

Author Interview: Kim Vandel

Pen Friends~ Indie author Kim Vandel is here to share about her first book. She has a giveaway too! The first one to email us at receives her book for free!

Welcome Kim!

ITF cover 2x3Kim Vandel photo

SP: Who are you? 
My name is Kim Vandel. I’m a wife, mom, writer, and science nerd. I wrote short stories for fun when I was in junior high, but I didn’t pursue writing as a career until years later. I earned a degree in biology and worked in the field of environmental testing before staying home to be a full-time mom. When my boys were little, I felt the call to return to my love of fiction, so I honed my writing skills in the spare time I had. It was a long process, but all the hard work paid off last year with the launch of my debut novel Into the Fire.

SP: Can you tell us about your book? Blurb? Part two?
Into the Fire is a young adult urban fantasy set in the Seattle area. It’s sort of a mash-up between the X-Men and the book of Judges. Continue reading



Pen Friends, today we have an unpublished Young Adult Fantasy novelist writing us from Alaska.

SP: Who are you?

Hello! My name is Rebecca Henry. I grew up in Southern California, with a lot of sisters and a big backyard, perfect for acting out the stories we made up! I began writing down my stories soon after I discovered my older sister had her own writing journal. When I turned six and the question was put before me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I answered with conviction, “A teacher, mom and writer.” Through the unpredictability of a child, teen and college student, those three remained constant and describe who I am now.

SP: What do you write?

I love to read and write MG/YA fantasy fiction, and anything for children!

SP: What are you working on now?

I am always sifting through new ideas and adding extra details to old manuscripts, but my main project right now is SPEAK, a Young Adult Fantasy Fiction.

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