13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Matthew Kirby

May 22, 2012

As part of our continuing series of 2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference faculty interviews with interviewer Carol Lynch Williams. Here is a sneak peek at the instructor for the Fantasy Class: Matthew Kirby

Carol Lynch Williams: What book most influenced you to write?
Matthew Kirby:
The book that most influenced me to write was A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin.

CLW: If you had any advice for future-author hopefuls, what would it be?
The best advice I can think of is to read and write as much as you possibly can, and after that, give yourself permission to treat writing like any other career, rather than a hobby.

CLW: If you could work with any other author, who would it be?
MK: If I could work with any other author it would be M. T. Anderson. I would say Ursula K. Le Guin, but I don’t think I could be in her presence without being rendered incoherent.

CLW: What is your usual writing process?
MK: I usually sit down in the evenings after I get home from work and I’ve had dinner. I start by revising and fiddling with previous pages for a bit, and then dive into writing new material. I write for a couple of hours each night during the week, more on weekends, and full-days during the summer months.

Matt Kirby will be teaching the Fantasy Class at WIFYR this year. Register online today!

Matthew J. Kirby was been making up stories since he was quite small. He was less small when he decided he wanted to be a writer, and quite a bit larger when he finally became one. With a father in the military, Matthew has lived in many places, including Utah, Rhode Island, Maryland, California, and Hawaii. He received M.S. and Ed.S degrees in School Psychology from Utah State University, and he is the author of the middle grade novels The Clockwork Three (a Publishers Weekly Flying Start) and Icefall (winner of the 2011 Parents’ Choice Gold Medal).

13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction, A. E. Cannon, Julie Olson

13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Julie Olson

May 14, 2012

As part of our continuing series of 2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference faculty interviews with interviewer Carol Lynch Williams. Here is a sneak peek at the Illustration Class teacher, Julie Olson.

Carol Lynch Williams: Who was the first person to tell you you were capable of a successful career in illustrating?

Julie Olson: I really don’t recall anyone ever telling me I’d be successful at an illustration career. My parents always supported me in whatever I did, but more importantly, they instilled in me a very hard work ethic and gave me a lot of confidence. I think because of that, they knew and I knew I’d be successful at whatever I chose to do. That’s really what it takes…hard work and a bit of confidence.

CLW: What’s your favorite go-to, bored-to-death, fill-the-corners-of-your-notebook doodle?

JO: I doodle kids. As a mom, I’m surrounded by kids all day everyday. I know them well and kids are gosh darn cute. I think I’m better at drawing kids than any animal or anything else.

CLW: Do you ever have a hard time coming up with characters for books you’re illustrating?

JO: Sometimes. I had to illustrate a book with Snow White and Cinderella that couldn’t copy Disney’s characters but had to look enough like them that the kids would recognize them as such. Growing up with those images and having to be close but not copy was hard. Most of the time I get a general idea in my head of what they look like and then draw and draw until the character on paper matches the one in my head.

CLW: When in your career did you start seeing yourself as a professional?

JO: When I saw my name in print on a hardback picture book in a bookstore (back in 2001). It was pretty awesome. And then once I started doing school visits and being the one asked to speak at conferences and book fairs, I felt like I actually “worked in the business.”

Julie Olson will be teaching the Introduction to Writing for Children and Teens at WIFYR this year. Register online today!

Julie Olson graduated from Brigham Young University with a BFA in illustration. She is the illustrator of numerous children’s books. She lives in Utah and loves sharing her life of art with her husband and four children.

13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction, A. E. Cannon

13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction

April 24, 2012

by Carol Lynch Williams

This June 18-22, 2012 is the 13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference. This week-long, writing intensive conference has helped many writers and illustrators on toward their own publishing careers. Many of you may know that the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (WIFYR) has joined with The King’s English—our amazing book store—to offer the novels and picture books our faculty has written. We love working with The King’s English!

Over the next few weeks we plan to have several interviews with the authors, illustrator, agents and editors that will be at the conference. Here’s who we having coming:

  • A.E. Cannon (Introduction to Writing for Kids and Young Adults)
  • Trudy Harris (Writing the Picture Book)
  • Julie Olson (Illustration Class)
  • Tim Wynne-Jones (Writing the Middle Grade Novel)
  • Kimberley Sorenson (Introduction to the Young Adult Novel)
  • Matt Kirby (Writing the Fantasy Novel)
  • Mette Ivie Harrison (Writing Science Fiction/ Fantasy)
  • Kirk Shaw (Writing the Contemporary Novel)
  • Greg Leitich Smith (Advanced Class)
  • Carol Lynch Williams (Advanced Class)
  • Ann Dee Ellis (Boot Camp)

Agents are:

  • John Cusick from Scott Treimel NY
  • Jenni Ferrari-Adler from Brick House Literary Agents

Editors are:

  • Alexandra Penfold from Paula Wiseman Books from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Ruth Katcher from Egmont USA

If you have further questions, please visit our website HERE or email me at carolthewriter@yahoo.com for help choosing a class.

2012 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Introduction

Armchair Travel Mystery Group reads Charles Todd

February 29, 2012

by Wendy Foster Leigh

Raucous describes the discussion of the Inspector Rutledge series in the Armchair Travel Mystery book group. Ten women meet at the Hatch Family Chocolates for a discussion of anything about Inspector Rutledge and Charles Todd. Instead of a scholarly review of the books, it becomes an impassioned look at war and peace.

Rutledge returns from WWI with a ghost in his head—Hamish. But Hamish isn’t any ghost–he is an actual character in the books. He has his own personality and is as layered and complicated as any of the flesh and bones men and women in the book. Over 300 men were killed for cowardice during World War I and 17 of them died after the armistice. Should Rutledge have ordered the shooting of Hamish who consequently saved Rutledge’s life by sheltering him with his dead body? That question is at the core of every Inspector Rutledge novel.

No matter which book we talked about, that one moment in his life was its core. Most of the group had read book one, A Test of Wills, plus The Red Door but others could throw in details of A Legacy of the Dead and The Confession.  In each book the authors had to retell that tale in various forms. No matter what linear plot line Charles Todd creates, the execution is never far below the surface.

One group member emphasized her own anti-war feelings and the sympathy she felt for both Rutledge and Hamish. She recalled being raised in a military family where she was not allowed to play with the enlisted men’s children because her father might one day be forced to send their fathers into battle. Readers always bring personal reflections into the reading of a book. The group wants to know more about Rutledge and women. What is going to happen with the women who come into his life? Will Chief Superintendent Bowles ever give him credit for solving the cases? Will Rutledge ever talk openly about the war? Will Hamish ever leave him alone?

The group usually guesses at answers to unanswerable questions. This time, however, we look forward to asking our questions of Charles Todd, the mother-son writing team, when they come to The King’s English and learning more about the who, what, when, where, why, and how of mystery writing.

Editor’s note: Join us for a reading and signing of The Confession, the latest mystery by New York Times bestselling author Charles Todd, Tuesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.

An update from World Book Night

February 24, 2012

We’re really excited about the inaugural US World Book Night, April 23, 2012. How could we not embrace an annual celebration that is designed to spread a love of reading and books?

Any day now, those of you who signed up to be givers will receive an email with the title of the book you’ll be giving out on April 23! If not, you could check to see if the emails were blocked. However, if you registered more recently, after February 1, an email will be coming soon.

You’ll also be getting directions to go back online and choose from a menu of approved bookstores and libraries your box pick-up point for mid-April. The King’s English is an approved pick-up point and we would love to be yours! OR you may also get an email that lets you know a pick-up location will be designated for you. Either way, we hope it’s us…

You can also follow #wbnamerica and @wbnamerica on Twitter for updates and breaking news. World Book Night US is also on Facebook. And keep checking your email and the World Book Night website and our website for further updates.

And if you have questions, email World Book Night organizers at april23@worldbooknight.org. Please bear with them; they’re swamped, but happy! Their enthusiasm is infectious.

Thanks to all who signed up to be givers!

Spread the Joy of Reading with World Book Night

January 16, 2012

By Mona Awad

How would you like to give away free copies of your favorite book?

Sign up now to be a giver for World Book Night 2012, an annual celebration designed to spread a love of reading and books. Following its highly successful launch in the U.K. in 2011, World Book Night will be held in the U.S. on April 23, 2012, and will see tens of thousands of people go out into their communities to spread the joy of reading by handing out free World Book Night paperbacks. You’ll help promote the value of reading, printed books, bookshops and libraries to everyone all year.

How you can do it:

Sign up to be a giver. Receive free books. Give them away.

It’s as easy as going to the World Book Night website. Need some ideas? Consider these… Distribute Peace Like a River at the Trax station near the main library. Hand out The History of Love at the Senior Centre. Give out Wintergirls at your neighborhood school.

By signing up to be a giver, you’ll join thousands of givers on April 23rd in spreading the love of reading and books in your community. Remember, sign up only throughout the month of January.

Marissa Meyer | Cinder

January 4, 2012

Review by Margaret Brennan Neville

Editor’s note: Meet Meyer when she reads from and signs her book, Wednesday, January 11, 7 p.m.

Cinder, Marissa Meyer

Debut author Meyer takes Cinderella into the future with enough twists and turns to keep readers very interested. Her Cinder is a Cyborg, a second class citizen with a really nasty stepmother. New Beijing has a lot of problems, including a plague and impending threat of invasion from the lunar queen. Readers are going to be clamoring for the sequel because we will all want to know how Cinder actually gets Prince Kai. Fun read! – Macmillan, $17.99, (for ages 12 and up)