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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Even as a kid, I loved reading the newspaper, especially the advice columns. The problems people wrote about fascinated me—cheating husbands, in-laws from hell, warring siblings. Long before there was reality television, there was Ann Landers. Half the fun was in reading her salty responses to the letters she received. Not surprisingly, “advice columnist” landed…

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