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.
This past month, I took myself off to a cabin in the middle of the woods for four days—no wi-fi, no TV, no indoor plumbing...just me, some books, and a bear for company (black, not toy). It was the perfect environment for doing nothing but reading. Some people need tranquility and birdsong to feel inspired or meet a writing deadline. Rachel Cohn is not one of them. She recently told me she left a writing getaway halfway through because it was too quiet. Whatever your creative needs, the following conferences, workshops, and retreats are held in a range of settings across the country to help you hone your craft, hear from the experts, and, hopefully, come away ready to send that book out into the world!
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...