Cathryn Hankla has been a poet, a writer, and an artist for almost her entire life and has just published her thirteenth book. She has been at Hollins College almost exclusively since she was eighteen, first as a student and now as Professor of English. Born in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, she has gone on to win a PEN Syndicated Prize in Fiction, the James Boatwright II Prize for Poetry, and a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.
If you don't want to get addicted to an author, look away now. Melina Marchetta's books are some of the most captivating I have ever read; from page one you will be absorbed by characters and worlds that will feel both incredibly familiar as well as wonderfully mysterious. But don't just take my word for it—Melina won the Michael L. Printz Award from the American Library Association for On the Jellicoe Road in 2009, Looking for Alibrandi was turned into a movie in 2000 in her native Australia, and her books have been translated into eighteen languages.
Rabbi Marc Katz is that rare person who can go from teaching a room full of restless children to a room full of work-weary adults, speak passionately about the environment and feminism and then relate them to Torah passages, and lead a powerful sermon before telling you in detail where exactly you should go for pizza in Park Slope. Marc is the Associate Rabbi at Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn, has published a number of articles, and his first book came out in September, The Heart of Loneliness: How Jewish Wisdom Can Help You Cope and Find Comfort. Here, Marc talks about what it's like to be a first-time author, the struggles of self-marketing, how loneliness seeps into all of our lives, and the ways in which we can reach out for ourselves and for others.
I'm lucky enough today to not only have an incredible book designer here on the Anablog, but the person who designed the cover of Rachel Cohn's newest fiction book, Kill All Happies (out May 2017). The cover is revealed at the end of this interview. Marci Senders is designer extraordinaire at Disney-Hyperion and you can see some of her beautiful work below. Marci received her BFA in Graphic Design from Tyler School of Art at Temple University, previously worked at Alloy Entertainment and Random House, and now lives in Brooklyn where she loves to crochet when she isn't coming up with stunning Pinterest boards for her newest book covers.
There are many reasons Jaclyn Moriarty is one of my all-time favorite authors. Aside from the fact that she is an incredibly lovely person with excellent taste in chocolate who wrote her undergraduate thesis on Roald Dahl, her writing is so thoroughly enchanting and gripping that I constantly find myself wishing I was living in one of the many extraordinary worlds she has created. From the pie-loving Farms in the Kingdom of Cello to the home of the Zings and Listen Taylor, Jaci's imaginative plots and unique voices will keep you enthralled time and time again.
Before I ever knew Paul, I read Ten Mile River and was so blown away by his writing, his intensity, his ability to look vulnerability in the eye and somehow leave the reader feeling stronger, that I knew I had to meet him. In person, Paul is one of the most warm-hearted individuals I have ever come across and I'm thrilled he agreed to be interviewed for Behind the Desk. His new book, When Friendship Followed Me Home, is out today (June 7), and is already being hailed as one of the best summer reads!
Kass Morgan has that special ability to make a splash wherever she goes, be it Brown and Oxford as an undergraduate and graduate, respectively, the New York publishing scene where she is an incredible editor at one of the top publishing houses, or the New York Times Best Seller List, which is where her first book, The 100, ended up whilst being turned into a hugely popular TV show by the same name. But Kass is more than just her accolades. She has a sharp wit, a passion for culture and coffee, and a fashion sense that makes you want to go out and buy hundreds of dresses. The fourth installment of The 100 series will be out in December, so catch up on the previous books if you haven't already!
I've done the math and it turns out that Jen is my oldest friend. We met when I moved to Saluda, North Carolina at the age of five, became pen pals when I returned to England at the age of eight (playlists on tape, yin yang necklaces, and lots of colorful ink were involved in these letters), and last year I attended her beautiful wedding back in Saluda. Jen is not only adventurous, smart, and kind-hearted, but she's also a champion of books and reading. Can there be a greater type of person on the planet?!
Patricia McCormick writes about some of the darkest subject matters known to humankind, yet she remains one of the sweetest people I've ever met. Her literary efforts have been rewarded with two National Book Award nominations and countless other awards. But, more importantly, her moving and true-to-life books impact readers, teachers, students, and artists around the world. This month sees the release of Sold, based on her novel of the same name, starring Gillian Anderson, David Arquette, and the utterly brilliant Niyar Saikia.
Rachel Cohn is not only a New York Times bestselling author nor is she just an author who has published thirteen YA and children's books (with four more due out in the next couple of years!); she also happens to be my brilliant half-sister. If it weren't for her, I may never have entered the world of publishing (or been an extra on her book-turned-movie, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist). Rachel was kind enough to be my first subject for Behind the Desk, so I'll let her take it away...