I can always tell when I’ve read a wonderful novel. Days afterward, I’m still thinking about the characters and wondering what they’re up to! Such was the case this past week when I inhaled Sarah Dessen’s 2019 novel, The Rest of the Story. The novel centers around seventeen-year-old Emma Saylor Payne. When her father…

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I suspect I’m not alone among book addicts in having piles of “To-Be-Read” (TBR) books all over my house. One of the advantages of having writing gigs and conferences cancelled and my public library being closed is that I’m doing lots more dipping into books I’ve always meant to read but never have. In the…

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If readers have enjoyed a writer’s book, I’ve noticed that there are two questions they repeatedly ask. The first is usually some variation of, “So what’s your next book about?” and the second is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Recently, I decided to redo my website (currently in progress) and took a stab at…

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In many ways, this has been a wonderful year for me. I’m so excited about my new YA novel coming out in January, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN YOU, and I continue to be crazy

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I’d barely unpacked my bags for my first grad school residency when I heard about one of the most revered teachers and mentors in the program, an accomplished horror author. “He’s brutal in his critiques,” an upperclassman informed me, “but if you survive, he’ll help you become a really good writer.”  He paused and said, “You’ll never get…

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My writer’s group takes turns leading mini-workshops on aspects of fiction writing. Recently, it was my turn. The subject was upping the stakes in our stories. When I re-read Donald Maass’s chapter on stakes from his outstanding  WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL,

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It’s not that my YA characters aren’t sometimes funny or snarky. But I have to admit that my books, like those of many contemporary YA novelists, tend toward the dark side. It isn’t only the murders

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