✨IT’S ALL HAPPENING✨ 😭🥳😃🥂 What a dream come true to work with the incredible team at Abrams and editor Maggie Lehrman on my forthcoming YA novel THE VANISHING STATION! A heartfelt thank you to all the amazing friends and family in my life helping me along this writer journey (and especially to Mike for always putting up with my rambling ideas). Cheers to fierce girls, everyday magic and fighting for the people you love 💕 I can’t wait for you to meet Ruby and my magical underworld in the trains beneath San Francisco. There’s no way I would have gotten this book deal without my incredible agent Kerry Sparks (and Rebecca Rodd) at LGR literary agency to gracefully navigate the business world and champion my books. And finally, a shout out to my MUG writing group for their ever-insightful critique notes on the first draft of this project, as well as the Tin House YA Workshop for pairing me with a fabulous group of talented writers and mentor Nova Ren Suma, who all helped me fine-tune my first chapters. Stay tuned for The Vanishing Station in 2023…
New job, new apartment, new manuscript. I’ve hardly had a minute to catch up and reflect. Over the years, my blog has been my mini-museum of life-changing writing retreats and milestones. I finally have enough of a breather to reflect on an incredible writing retreat I attended in March 2018. Holy cow, has it really been three months?
At the Madcap Writing Cross-Culturally Retreat in Nashville, Tennessee, I had the unbelievable opportunity to delve deep into writing with authors Laurie Halse Anderson, Marie Lu, Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, Tessa Gratton, S. Jae-Jones, Sarah Nicole Lemon, and Natalie C. Parker. Stop. Go back, read that lineup again. I couldn’t ask for a more talented, fierce, and diverse set of YA authors to learn from. And the fact was, they were all very open about how they’re still learning how to write respectfully and authentically across cultures. It made for the kind of retreat that broke down walls and opened up windows into new perspectives.
Not only were the faculty stellar, but the cohort of writers came from all over the US from all different backgrounds. It was inspiring to see such a range of perspectives in the mini-mansion tucked away in the Tennessee woods. And we slept in bunk beds. And I ate more grilled cheese than I have in way too long. I don’t want to make this sound like a fairy tale (okay, it was seriously a fairy tale); however, at the same time, we all dug deep into our own uncomfortable truths surrounding race, privilege, sexism, respect, and authenticity. These are generally topics people try to avoid around the dinner table. It was heartening to come together to talk about these issues in our own writing (and in the overall publishing industry) without heated arguments or defensiveness. It was an open conversation. And I learn so so much. I’m still in processing-mode, so I know there will be follow-up posts. But for now: