Category: Blog

To Outline or Not: A Novel Writer’s Story

One of the questions I’m asked most is about writing process and the *best* way to write a book. The honest answer, though, is that there is no best way, only whatever works for you, and it’ll most likely change the more you write. Outlining is considered a dirty word by many writers. Some say…
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Memorable Stories Need Memorable Characters

I’ve got characters on the brain. I’m preparing to teach my Throw More Stones: How to Build Character Through Conflict workshop for the Writers League of Texas next month, and it’s a subject I love to talk about. But developing characters was not always easy for me. The first novels I wrote had my characters…
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Interview with Saadia Faruqi on A Thousand Questions

I’m a huge fan of Saadia Faruqi‘s work. Her books are as wonderful as she is, which is why I’m thrilled to be able to interview her about her newest middle-grade novel A THOUSAND QUESTIONS. Here’s the publisher’s description: Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells…
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What To Do With Your Shiny New Story Idea

You’ve got an idea for a story. Yes! Congratulations? Now the fun begins. Ideas come in lots of different ways: just a title, an unusual character, a situation, or maybe even an entire story plops right in your lap (although this last one has never happened to me). When you get your idea, you might…
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How To Fold a Paper Boat

I’m so excited that my publisher, Simon & Schuster, has asked me to do a Facebook Live Snack & Read on the Simon Kids page. I’ll be reading from THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, sharing a snack and doing a craft. We’re going to have fun! For the craft, I thought it would…
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Two-Year Birthday Giveaway!

It’s hard to believe, but THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST turned 2 a month ago! I was busy working on my next books and missed the actual birthday. When I came out of my revision cave, blinking in the sunlight, I realized, It’s Time For A Giveaway! Because, not only did my debut…
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THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST is a Winner!

Something AMAZING has happened. THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award for the Texas/Oklahoma region! It’s always excited to know that your work is appreciated by readers, but this award in particular means so much to me for many reasons. Firstly, SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Awards are the only peer-voted…
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From Writing Conference Attendee, to Volunteer, to Faculty

Next week, I will be faculty at my first Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators writing conference, and it feels like a milestone. The first SCBWI conference I attended was in 2007. I was living in Los Angeles then, so attended the huge annual Summer Conference organized by SCBWI headquarters. As a wallflower who…
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Celebrity Meetings and Thanks to the Austin Public Library

I feel like I leveled up as an author recently. I got interviewed by a puppet! None other than Van of Austin Public Library’s The Van Show. I chatted with Van at the Texas Library Association convention in April about books, THE BOY, THE BOAT, AND THE BEAST, and zombie ants. So fun! The video…
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Tough Issues, Deep Impact at TLA

One of the highlights of this year’s Texas Library Association conference for me was my panel on Tough Issues – Deep Impact: How Middle Grade Books Can Inspire Empathy and Empower Young Readers. The topic is important to me, but the reason why this panel was a highlight is that the issue came up time…
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