Léna is also a Regional Manager for Writopia Lab whose mission is to foster joy, literacy, and critical thinking in kids and teens from all backgrounds through creative writing.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why I Heart Gae and YA

Last night I dreamed that I got 10k and a contract for a new book. While that part isn't a reality yet, I still woke up this morning glad to be a writer, and in particular, a Teen Writer.

Here I am with 6 other YA authors and the women who rule Dolphin Bookshop in Port Washington, NY. 

We had just done a 3.5 hour event called Falling Apart and Picking Up the Pieces which was the brain child of Gae Polisner (third from the left). Her debut novel, The Pull of Gravity came out in May and she has been tireless in promoting not only herself, but other authors as well. This is what we in the YA scene come to understand and appreciate very quickly; that we're all in the same boat and it's much more fun to paddle together than by ourselves.

Gae pulled together Christopher Grant (far left) with Teenie, Michael Northrup (back middle) with Trapped, Nova Ren Suma (third from right) with Imaginary Girls, Arlaina Tibensky (second from right) with And Then Things Fall Apart, and Matt Blackstone with A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie.

She had us all "prepare" by choosing 90 second excerpts from our books based on certain themes. Nine of them! We would read some, and then "mingle" with the audience. And what an audience we had!

All because of the muscle that Gae and the women at Dolphin had put into the event.

Gae started working on this event last July when she approached the women at Dolphin about a group reading and signing. These wonderful women started hatching a plan to get a couple of us into the local high schools to promote each other and the event, in order to ensure an audience. (You know that there's no guarantee of people showing up to these things, don't you?)

On Friday morning, before the reading in the early evening, Gae and I met at a Starbucks for breakfast before heading over to Schreiber HS to talk and teach. Hearts pounding with nerves and anticipation, we entered the halls of the high school and were led to the library where we were to meet with Honors students. How many could there be? I had been thinking forty, but then we were told one hundred, and it ended up being more like one hundred and fifty. Gae introduced us, and then we worked well together, talking about how we came to be writers, how we came to write our books, and reading short excerpts. The questions from the students were phenomenal. We had such a great time! Gae is an amazing public speaker, even though she swears up and down it doesn't come naturally. She's a wonderful person to share a stage with.

Then Gae and I were separated ("I'll miss you!") and went into different classrooms, where I talked mostly about different approaches to writing and where there were so many questions I didn't have time to give them my back-up writing exercise.

We were exhausted and happy, ready to move on to meeting up with our other friends at Dolphin Bookshop.

Thank you Gae for a wonderful day, for your vivacity and generosity. And tirelessness!

Can you see why I heart Gae and YA?


  1. I heart you back a thousand-fold. There is nothing better than a day spent with a fellow YA-author. And you, my lovely friend, are at the tippy top of my list. Thank you for this. I would not have wanted to do it without you.

  2. It was definitely fun and exciting!

    And I'm getting more and more experience for when I come visit you Wonderwegian, in Alabama!

  3. Great idea for promotion! Hope it brought you some new readers.

  4. just reading this now as research for the part of my project based on this...anyways thanks for the assembly at Schreiber it definitely got more people to read your books

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