Archive for August, 2013

Will I Get a Chance To See You?

August 21st, 2013 by Terra | 1 Comment | Filed in Appearances

Fall is on the horizon, and for me that means lots of exciting appearances and events to look forward too! Here’s a lineup of where I’ll be headed in September and October. Maybe I will see you there!

Sunday, September 1st at 2:00 on the Teen Stage

AJC Decatur Book Festival (Decatur, GA)

I am always psyched about AJC DBF, but this year I am especially so, because I will be on a panel with my pal Sara Shepard, whom I met in 2009 when she was kind enough to join us on the teen stage in its second year. I haven’t seen Sara since the PLL explosion, so this will be extra-fun for me. Our panel,  “When Good Girls Go Bad” will also include Caprice Crane, author of Confessions of a Hater, but I don’t think there’s going to be any real hating going on between us!

I’m also excited to be moderating the “Love and Romance” panel on the teen stage Saturday at 3:00, where I’ll get to guide conversation with Lauren Morrill, Robyn Schneider, and Bridie Clark!


Saturday, September 28th, Hotel Arista
Young Adult Lit Conference (Naperville, IL)

I got to visit Anderson’s Book Shop a couple of years ago, so I know they know how to host a girl. The lineup for their 10th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference includes several friends and people I can’t wait to meet!


October 11-13th (Time TBD)
Southern Festival of Books   (Nashville, TN)

The lineup of young adult and children’s authors for this incredible literary festival is already impressive (Sarah Dessen, Rick Riordan, Gabrielle Zevin), and I can’t wait to see how things finally shape up once I have the schedule. For now, it’s an honor to be included in their 25th annual celebration!

Saturday, November 2nd, 1:15 PM
Vegas Valley Book Festival (Las Vegas, NV)

I have never been to Las Vegas, but I have heard amazing things about it. (If “Swingers” and “Ocean’s 11″ count as hearing things.) I’ve heard even better things about this book festival, and am already impressed with the organization (run so far by Crystal Perkins, who is a doll). To add a giant cherry on top of all of this, I’ll also get to see my good friend Eileen Cook while I’m there, plus a bunch of other great YA authors. To get there I’ll be flying on Halloween, so  I am also currently taking costume suggestions.


It’s also time to line up school visits for the fall semester, so if you are interested, drop me an email! Thanks, and hope to see you soon!

What He Said: Advice To Young Writers

August 7th, 2013 by Terra | No Comments | Filed in Writing and Reading

This summer I’ve spent a lot of time working with young writers, so when this interview with John Updike (brilliant short story writer and also author of Rabbit, Run et al) came across my desk, it felt timely and poignant in a way that made me want to share it here.

There’s a lot packed into this one little bit, but to me the two most important things Updike says here is “Try to develop actual work habits, and even though you have a busy life, try to reserve an hour, say — or more — a day to write,” and “Other than that, don’t try to get rich . . .”

The first part is important because it underscores that writing is a thing that you must work at and practice. Most people know this, but even I don’t always do it. However, when I do practice–when I just make it a habit to write every day–I’m always surprised by what good stuff comes out, even if I don’t have an idea of what I’m going to do that day. And the more I do it the more excited I get about doing it. Getting into the habit of an hour a day–or 500 words a day, even–may be difficult at first, but remember that even if you’re writing nonsense, or something you never end up using, the doing of it is the important thing, and it will eventually get you to something brilliant.

The get rich part I also wanted to briefly mention, because so many times, when I speak to young people, they have this inflated idea of what an author’s salary is like. There are several mega-successful authors in the limelight these days, but the reality of being published for most people is much less glamorous, money-wise. One or two people will, yes, make it to that level, but book deals and movie deals of that size and success aren’t a thing you can necessarily (ha ha) bank on, and it often takes a lot of hard work, rejection, and pennilessness before you get there.Very many authors I know (including myself) supplement their book income with teaching jobs, or other “real life” jobs. In my life, my work at Little Shop of Stories is awesome, but it’s also necessary. It’s not to say that you can’t make a living that includes being published, or that you’re either super-rich or not making money at all (that’s not true either, and I also know several authors who have a perfectly comfortable life thanks to their book income)–it’s just that it might take a lot of patience and a little creativity on your part to get there.

Mainly, I like this interview because it is also a good reminder, for me, that what this is all about, really, is words and language, emotions and relationships, good storytelling . . . all the things that make a remarkable book, story, or poem a thing that causes our hearts and brains vibrate with “YES!”  For me, that’s the ideal–to endeavor to write in the same way that my most favorite authors have written. I don’t think I’ve reached it yet, personally, but that goal –rather than money or fame– is what drives me to my own keyboard (almost) every day.