The Patron Saint of Beans
March 29, 2011

The Patron Saint of Beans

The storyline for this YA novel was inspired by a news story on parental kidnapping/alienation.

Violin prodigy Carey Benskin spent the majority of her fifteen years hidden away in the Obed Scenic and Wild River National Park, with her mute little sister, Jenessa, and their bipolar mother, Joelle. She didn’t expect Mama to go into town for supplies and vanish off the face of Tennessee, leaving the girls no choice but to return to the father who abandoned them long ago … or did he?


Usually, I would now include the first five pages, Kindle-sample-style. But, as an agented writer, I’m unsure about the protocol when it comes to first rights and manuscript excerpts.

I’ll find out and be back to post the pages if given the green light.

In the meantime, this novel is now in my agent’s hands.

UPDATE: I’ll be doing further revisions, but the manuscript has been accepted as my next novel!

 Not all of a writer’s manuscripts are guaranteed representation, even by a writer’s own agent. Scary, if you’ve never thought that far ahead. Yet, on the other hand, if a manuscript is a clunker, your agent is protecting your name and brand by refusing it.

Unless the writer disagrees …

You can read more about that particular twist in the road at agent Jennifer Laughran’s blog:

 Jennifer Represents…: When Your Agent Isn’t Feeling the Love

Thank goodness my agent felt the love!

I’ve loved books my entire life. As a writer with a manuscript on submission to editors, I appreciate books (especially their brave, hard-working authors!) that much more.

Why Write YA? Why Not Write “Real Books”?
January 31, 2011

There’s a great post over at YA Highway written by Kristin Miller, YA Inferior?, that really got me thinking:

A recent Publisher’s Weekly article discusses some of the big children’s titles that were being buzzed about at Mid-June’s Winter Institute. We were excited to see YA Highway friend Vernoica Roth noted for DIVERGENT, the first book in her new series. Yay Veronica!

Later in the article, however, we were disappointed with a comment made by a New England bookseller and co-chair of the New England Children’s Booksellers’ Association. From the article:

“The other, Judy Blundell’s Strings Attached (Scholastic), is so well-written, says Hermans, that it could be shelved with adult titles.”

Which leads to my question for today: why write YA? Why not write “real books”?

All I know is, YA and children’s books shaped me as a reader, a writer, a thinker, a human being.

That’s why *I* write YA. I want to serve — to help shape, enlighten, champion, comfort, applaud, reassure young people as they grow into adults in this often unfair, cruel, confusing and dark world.

I don’t care what anyone else thinks. I see YA as a noble pursuit that remains a noble pursuit regardless of others’ misinterpretations or misguided attempts (intended or otherwise) to portray it as less than it is: a valid, vital form of literature.

When I think of the books I love most in the world, that unleash(ed) that reading journey of magic and wonder, self-discovery and growth, it’s the titles of my childhood and young adult years that always come to mind, continuing to warm my heart and make me smile.

I can’t think of a more worthwhile pursuit than helping those tender, growing shoots of humanity find their way in this world, hearts touched and minds understood and, with a book in their hands, never EVER alone.

I believe there’s so much magic to be found in YA because those years *are* the magic years: the years of stunning, shiny firsts.

Writing YA, good YA, takes three things: heart, honesty, and a willingness not to look the other way.

What about you? Why do YOU write YA?