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Tag: Writing

Ask the Author: Laurie Forest

The Black Witch is about a sheltered young woman named Elloren Gardner who is growing up in a strict and closed-off magical society. She’s the granddaughter an spitting-image of the late Black Witch, the greatest Battle Mage her people have ever known, but whereas her grandmother had vast elemental wand power, Elloren is thought to have none. When she has the chance to attend a university to pursue becoming an apothecary, Elloren encounters people from other countries and cultures for the first time and quickly finds that the wider world is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

Part of my inspiration for this book was the “evil lord” trope in much of fantasy (like Voldemort, Sauron, etc.). I thought it would be interesting if the evil lord won (here the evil lord is the Black Witch) and had a granddaughter – and the granddaughter grew up only surrounded by her people and taught history according to the evil lord’s POV. And then she got thrown into wider society amongst people who are horribly oppressed by her people and hostile to her – but she has no way to defend herself.

I thought that was a very interesting jumping off point for a story.

Ask the Author: Jake Burt

CLEO PORTER AND THE BODY ELECTRIC is a seriously sci-fi quest in a post-pandemic world. It’s got wild discoveries, dangerous drones, mile-a-minute action, and enough plot twistage to keep your head spinning. Its beating heart, though, is a twelve-year-old girl with more brains, courage, and compassion than a dozen of the most dedicated doctors.

Ask the Author: Nicole Melleby

“For Pluto, summer has always started with a trip to the planetarium. It’s the launch to her favorite season, which also includes visits to the boardwalk arcade, working in her mom’s pizzeria, and her best friend Meredith’s birthday party. But this summer, none of that feels possible. 
 
A month before the end of the school year, Pluto’s frightened mom broke down Pluto’s bedroom door. What came next were doctor’s appointments, a diagnosis of depression, and a big black hole that still sits on Pluto’s chest, making it too hard to do anything. 
 
Pluto can’t explain to her mom why she can’t do the things she used to love. And it isn’t until Pluto’s dad threatens to make her move with him to the city—where he believes his money, in particular, could help—that Pluto becomes desperate enough to do whatever it takes to be the old Pluto again. 
 
She develops a plan and a checklist: If she takes her medication, if she goes to the planetarium with her mom for her birthday, if she successfully finishes her summer school work with her tutor, if she goes to Meredith’s birthday party . . . if she does all the things that “normal” Pluto would do, she can stay with her mom in Jersey. But it takes a new therapist, a new tutor, and a new (and cute) friend with a checklist and plan of her own for Pluto to learn that there is no old and new Pluto. There’s just her.”

Ask the Author: Amy Noelle Parks

“The Quantum Weirdness of the Almost-Kiss is a dual POV young adult romantic comedy about a mathy, anxious girl who wants to overcome her anxiety to take on physics and maybe more. When her meet-cute with the new guy horrifies her BFF Caleb, shenanigans ensue – in real life and online.”

Ask the Author: Frank Morelli Returns

On the Way to Birdland follows the epic journey of sixteen-year-old, self-proclaimed philosopher, Cordell Wheaton as he attempts to reunite his family before his father loses his battle with a terminal illness. Cordy packs his duffel with forty bucks, a few clean pairs of underwear, and a page of his estranged brother’s prized sheet music and hits the open road, the rails, and even a steamship at one point, to travel from his hometown of High Point, North Carolina to Philadelphia to find a brother ravaged by addiction. He hopes to convince his brother, Travis, to travel with him to New York City to watch a show at the world famous Birdland Jazz Club, where Cordy thinks he can help Travis remember his musical past, acknowledge the traits he holds in common with his hero, John Coltrane, and convince him to come home to Carolina again. But along the way, Cordy is wracked by chaotic nightmares, haunted by disembodied voices, and shocked by strange visions that make him wonder if he’s hearing the voices of the fates willing him toward his destiny, or if he’s losing touch with reality altogether.

Ask the Author: Jasmine Warga

“I’m going to talk about two of my books! The first one is OTHER WORDS FOR HOME. OTHER WORDS FOR HOME is the story of 12-year-old Jude who due to the growing violence in her home country of Syria moves across the Atlantic Ocean to resettle in Cincinnati, Ohio. The book is about the struggles and joys of making a new life in a new place. My newest book, which comes out in May 2021, is called THE SHAPE OF THUNDER. The book is about two best friends–Cora and Quinn–who haven’t spoken to each other in over a year since a school shooting happened in their small Ohio town. Cora is still grieving with the loss of her sister, and Quinn is still dealing with the guilt and grief of her brother’s violent actions. The book begins with Quinn leaving a box on Cora’s doorstep. The box contains research and articles about time travel. She tries to convince Cora that they can fix the tragedy of what happened by time traveling to stop Quinn’s brother. The book is about the magic of friendship, believing in impossible things, the trauma of mass gun violence, and most of all the immense power of imagination and love to shape our world for the better.”

Ask the Author: Jess Hernandez

“FIRST DAY OF UNICORN SCHOOL is the story of Milly, a donkey with dreams of attending the prestigious unicorn school. With a few creative photos in her application, she’s accepted and must make it through the school without anyone realizing what she really is: a donkey in a party hat.”

Ask the Author: Danika Stone Returns

“Switchback is about Vale and her best friend Ash, two teens on a back country hiking trip with their school. When the weather changes and they get separated from the rest of the group, they find themselves lost deep in the Rockies, facing the dangers of weather and the animals who inhabit the forest. It’s a tense nail-biting read!

Fall of Night is also a high-tension story, but for different reasons. In it, a body is discovered in a lake that borders Waterton park and officer Sadie Black Plume must track down a killer who has targeted people in the tiny border town. With the same group of core characters as the previous two books in the series, this final book ties together all the loose ends and brings the trilogy to a climactic close.”

Ask the Author: Alyssa Zaczek

“Seventh-grader Martin McLean doesn’t know how to express himself. His mother is an artist, his colorful Tío Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle are outgoing and confident. But Martin can only find the right words when he’s answering a problem at a Mathletes competition—until his tío introduces him to the world of drag. In a swirl of sequins and stilettos, Martin creates his fabulous drag queen alter ego, Lottie León. As Lottie, he is braver than he’s ever been; but as Martin, he doesn’t have the guts to tell anyone outside of his family about her. Not Carmen and Pickle, not his Mathletes teammates, and definitely not Chris, an eighth-grader who gives Martin butterflies. When Martin discovers that his first-ever drag show is the same night as the most important Mathletes tournament, he realizes that he can only pull off both appearances by revealing his true self to his friends—and channeling his inner drag superstar. MARTIN explores both self-discovery and self-acceptance, and touches on themes every middle grader will recognize: Friendship, family, and first crushes, plus tougher topics like homophobia and bullying.”

Ask the Author: Denise Williams

“Dr. Naya Turner is a professor who threw herself into work following the end of an abusive relationship. Feeling in a rut, her friends encourage her to make a to-do list to aid in her attempts to “get a life.” After her initial failed attempts at flirting lead her to Jake, Naya finds herself falling in love. Unfortunately, her new happiness comes with strings that could endanger her career.”

Ask the Author: Elisa Bonnin

“a Filipino-inspired YA fantasy about a girl named Seri who just wants to start a new life somewhere far away from her hometown. But along the way, Seri gets roped into a heroic adventure. She meets and falls in love with Tsana, a girl who comes from a place Seri never thought existed, but in order for the two of them to keep their love alive, they have to keep their peoples from going to war.

It’s an epic fantasy full of magical, sentient beasts, high-stakes battles and heroic characters, but it’s also the story of a girl learning to be herself, no matter what anyone else says.”

Ask the Author: Elizabeth Kilcoyne

“WAKE THE BONES is a YA Southern Gothic about the ugliness and beauty of the rural South and the complicated feelings that arise when the place you call home becomes hostile. Nineteen-year-old Laurel Early drops out of college, hoping to resume life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist, but the sleepy little farm she grew up on has awakened in her absence. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile has stood up and walked away. Even worse, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her own future, and the fate of everyone she loves, is doomed.”

Ask the Author: Kristin Wright

“Kira Grant, a woman who is accused of poisoning another mother at the PTA-sponsored fifth grade graduation party, and Allison Barton, the single mom lawyer she hires to represent her. It’s a courtroom thriller told in alternating points of view with lots of PTA-mom juiciness along the way. Both women desperately need a victory, but as the court case proceeds, it becomes clear that this case isn’t as simple as innocent or guilty, and that a win may be the worst thing ever to happen to them both.”

Ask the Author: Angelo Surmelis

“It’s about a young Greek boy (Evan Panos) who comes back home after spending time at summer camp, and his best friend (Henry) all of sudden is hot. Evan struggles to be himself in a strict, conservative home while trying to pretend everything is fine. Ultimately, it’s about finding the power is standing out as you are.”