13th Annual Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference: Kirk Shaw

May 31, 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 Contemporary Novel Class: Kirk Shaw.

Carol Lynch Williams: If you had any advice for future-author hopefuls, what would it be?
Kirk Shaw:
Keep on writing. Don’t stop while your manuscript is out to agents/publishers. Don’t stop when your writers’ group hates it. Don’t stop when Goodreads “critics” eviscerate your story. Don’t stop because you’re worried you won’t make any money on your debut book or worried that you won’t get an agent. Keep writing, improving, and aiming high!

CLW: At what point did you know that you had made it in the world of writing?
KS: At university I was so drawn to books, publishing, and the idea of finding talented, brilliant authors and making their books a success. That element–finding those wonderful people whose talent I can foster and build–is still my favorite part of being an editor. Some of the highlights that have made me say, “Yes, I love this business and I am there!” are editing a Broadway-debuting play, editing the words of one of my all-time heroes (Bob Woodward), and finding and publishing Regency romance novelist Sarah Eden. But, in all honesty, I am still trying to “make it” and will continue that quest until the end, I think.

CLW: If you could work with any other author, who would it be?
KS: Carol Williams. But if she’s not available, then I think I would really enjoy working with Dan Wells. Sadly, Moshe Feder is doing a great job with Dan’s work, so he’s not going to come pitch to me anytime soon. But I think he’s one of the freshest new voices in fiction, and I look forward to seeing where his career takes him.

CLW: What genre of book do you most enjoy reading?
KS: Lately, I have really been enjoying urban paranormal detective series like Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files and Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series. But I’m sort of a chameleon and like reading in broad strokes with various colors on my palette. Next on my list is a book on the history of the Supreme Court and one on anti-Nazism shown through literature.

Kirk Shaw will be teaching the Contemporary Novel Class at WIFYR this year. Register online today!

Shaw is senior editor for Covenant Communications. He has also done work for many freelance clients, including Boston publisher David R. Godine, Northwestern University Press, and the scientific journal Western North American Naturalist. During his career, he has produced and edited fiction (in most genres), memoirs, historical, art, theatrical, gardening, gift, technical, scientific, scholarly, creative nonfiction, and other nonfiction. He enjoys writing short stories and especially relishes reading speculative fiction, historical and suspense novels, young adult, post-apocalyptic, and dystopia novels. This summer he edited his first Broadway-debut play.

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


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