Interview: Kimberly Pauley

cat girl's day offKimberly Pauley, the author of Cat Girl’s Day Off (which I reviewed here) as well as several other hilarious books in the Sucks to Be Me series, was kind enough to answer a few questions for Rich in Color this week.

In Cat Girl’s Day Off, Natalie’s Talent is given away by the title — she’s definitely a cat girl. What made you decide on cats as Natalie’s Talent? Do you own any cats?

I’ve always had cats — at least, until we moved over to the UK about three years ago. We are currently pet-less. We had to leave behind our cat Gracie with my mother, as Grace was too ill too travel so far (or go through quarantine!). Sadly, Grace has since passed away from cancer.

I wanted the Talent to be the main character talking to some small furry creature and it had to be one that was common enough to be around everywhere. That left pretty much dogs, cats, or squirrels. Or, I guess I could have done birds, but cats were my favorite and, honestly, they are inherently snarkier than dogs. I needed an animal with a mind of it’s own and cats definitely have that!

Natalie’s friends and family are just as colorful and quirky as the cats. If everyone had Natalie’s Talent, do you think they would get along with the cats?

Oscar definitely would and probably Melly too. I’m not sure about Nat’s mother, as she is very strong willed and so are cats…there would be a lot of conflict there, I think.

How did you choose Natalie’s ethnicity?

I am half-Chinese and I always knew I wanted Nat to be half-Chinese as well. It was nice to be able to use some of my own experiences growing up and I consciously wanted the book to be multicultural (but not in an in-your-face kind of way — it doesn’t really matter that she’s half-Chinese to the story). Her last name (Ng) is actually from my aunt’s family, though our family name was Lee. That’s just such a common name that I thought it would be nice to go for something a little less common and potentially tongue-twisting for non-Asians (though, honestly, I don’t understand why people mispronounce it…it’s only got two letters!).

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Interview with Sarah Rees Brennan

UntoldPlease welcome Sarah Rees Brennan to Rich in Color! Untold, the second book in the Lynburn Legacy series, is out today, and we are excited to have Sarah on our blog to talk about diversity in young adult literature. Sarah has also provided us with a ton of great resources on diversity that you should check out.


Why is diversity in young adult fiction important to you?

Caring about diversity seems to me like the absolute bare minimum standard of decency.

I remember when I was still in school, I went to a gathering of people in my city, an informal fantasy nerds book group. So, we were all talking about books, and the subject of this one book series with a gay romance in it arose, and I began to tear it to pieces: I thought it was terribly written, I had to let everybody know how just so, so bad it was. And a girl who I hadn’t met before that day looked me dead in the eyes and said: “Those books saved my life.”

I sat there and stared at her, until I found my voice and said: “Wow, I’m so sorry, I was being an asshole.” She was very nice about it: she went “Eh, yeah” and then I asked her for some book recommendations and she asked me for some.

I was describing Unspoken to another writer, and I won’t say who they were but they are New York Times bestselling, and she reacted to the diverse elements of it saying “I wouldn’t do that: you can’t afford to do that with the sales of your last series, you can do those things after you’re successful” and I couldn’t help but remember that girl saying “Those books saved my life” and feel sick that anyone would ever say that. So I wrote the book the way I planned. I’m not saying I did a good job, or even a sufficient job, and it’s no excuse for the things I got wrong, but I did always remember that even doing what I’d thought was a lousy job, those books helped people by having representation. There’s no excuse for not trying.

I’m worried this story makes me sound self-congratulatory or big-headed: I don’t mean it that way. Nobody should ever be congratulated for having basic empathy. It’s normal to want to throw up if someone says something terrible to you. Other authors do a much better job of writing diversely than me–still more other authors, who don’t get the chance to be published because of institutional prejudice, would do a much better job than me. I’m just using the story to illustrate why I think diversity should be important to everyone. I just want to write good stories–and that means stories that are inclusive–and try not to be an irredeemable jerk. (Sometimes I fail at both those things.)

YA readers deserve it, too. The readers of YA tend, pretty naturally, to be younger than the readers of other genres. (Though older YA readers are v. welcome too!) It’s because of younger people who are actively engaged with social justice and working toward social change that the general attitude toward gay marriage has been altered. The 18-29 age bracket (in which I am myself, just ;)) is 81% in favour of gay marriage, and in response all the other age brackets have become increasingly in favour too.

It doesn’t mean that the fight for gay rights is over, or even a tenth of the way there, but it does show the effect of people talking of, fighting toward and believing in change.

Those same people are reading YA, and talking about its lacks, and doing so with energy, knowing that they matter and their opinions matter, and that they can be world-changing. Readers change how you write: readers asked me why the hero of my first book was a boy, and that and other reader responses made me sure that when I wrote a trilogy centred on one character, I wanted to centre it on a girl of colour. Books for these readers have been getting better, and should be getting better still.

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Interview: Kat Zhang

what's left of me
Kat Zhang, the author of What’s Left of Me (a book you should totally read!), was kind enough to answer a few questions for us this week —
The idea of two souls in one body is a fascinating one. What gave you the idea to create an alternate universe where this was the norm?

I don’t really have a super interesting story to tell about how I came up with the idea for WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, unfortunately. I wish I did! Really, though, I just started wondering one day–everyone has a bit of an internal monologue going at times; what if that little voice in the back of your head was a real person? What would it be like to live trapped in your own body? That was how the idea for Eva began, and the rest of the story grew around her.

There are a number of siblings in What’s Left of Me. Would you consider siblinghood a central relationship in What’s Left of Me?
I think so. I know my editor has said that it was one of the things that really drew her to the story. I’ve always been really interested in relationships–not just romantic ones, which are the ones most popularly explored in fiction–but the special, unique relationships that human beings can form with each other (or sometimes with animals or even inanimate objects!).
In WHAT’S LEFT OF ME, there are two kinds of sibling relationships–that between “normal” siblings, and that between the two souls that share a body. Funnily enough, I don’t think I based the latter off my idea of “real” sibling relationships (though many people do say it reminded them of such!).
It’s always said that authors are also great readers. So — any book recommendations? Who are some of your favorite authors? 
I’m sadly not as prolific a reader as I wish I were. The funny thing about publishing is that it often keeps you so busy (especially if you also have another job/school/ etc), that your reading time shrivels up! I tend to stick to recommending the classics of my childhood–things like THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and ENDER’S GAME, and SABRIEL 🙂 I have favorite books more than favorite authors.
So you just got back from the Young Authors Give Back Tour. Sounds fun, but what’s it all about? 
It was a lot of fun! Basically, Erin Bowman, Susan Dennard, Sarah Maas, and I traveled for 2.5 weeks all along the North East, starting in NYC for BEA and ending at Anderson’s in Chicago. We hit 7 cities along the way. The special thing about the tour was that we wanted to do something more than the usual book signing/panel stuff, so in each city, we also gave free writing workshops to people aged 13-22 (in general…some others slipped in ;P). It was a fantastic experience working with so many young writers!
Final question: Are you ready for the release of Once We Were?
Definitely! It’s nerve-wracking, too, because it’s the first book I wrote on deadline, and the first book of its kind that I’ve ever written (and really, just only the 3rd book in general I’ve ever finished). But I’m very excited for everyone else to read it, too!
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katKat Zhang spent most of her childhood tramping through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren’t riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would The Wizard of Oz have been like if the Cowardly Lion were replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many of Kat’s quirks today.
[Author photo and bio via Goodreads]
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Meet Meg Medina

PicCollage
In May, Jessica reviewed Meg Medina’s most recent novel Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. Recently, I was able to interview Meg via Skype to discuss that book and more. I’m thankful that she graciously shared a bit of her writing life with us.

What brought you to writing for young people?

I have written for adults and I don’t rule it out completely that I will someday find a story that is more suited to adults, but in one way or another my life has pointed me in the direction of children. I’ve spent a lot of time working with young people of all ages as a teacher, mother and volunteer. There is also something really wonderful about writing for young people. I consider it an honor. You’re learning about everything including yourself at that age and it’s a wonderful thing to be able to stay connected to that piece of yourself. I sort of picture myself in a cave with a lantern and I’m walking through and I just hold it up. I can’t solve anybody’s issues. I can’t make dark things go away, but I can shine a light and I can certainly help someone feel less isolated by the issues of growing up – the problems of growing up.

Also, when I write for young children, when I do a picture book — that is just joyous. Because it’s poetry really — a big story in a small number of words. It’s image. It’s emotion. And it’s the joyous part of being young that I like to capture.

I read an interview you did with School Library Journal and you mentioned that Yaqui Delgado was based on something in your past. Could you share a little about that?

I went to a middle school in New York and one morning a girl in a rabbit fur coat approached me and said someone told her they were going to kick my ass. I said, “Who’s that?” I had no idea. It was this very fierce girl — a Latin girl like me and not like me. What followed was two of the longest years of my life because I was really afraid to go to school. Afraid to go the bathroom. Afraid to be in the hall and run into one of her cronies or her. She never did savage me the way it happens in the novel for Piddy, but that feeling of dread and the way fear and being picked on can really destroy your sense of self, that is very true. And that is what happened to me. I started to make really terrible choices. I started to harden myself, to speak coarsely, to hang out with extremely questionable people, to do really unsafe things. In retrospect, they were really not healthy things for any young woman to be doing. It took years for me to feel better. It just seeped throughout all of middle school into high school. When we are in high school there’s a lot to be angry about. This just compounded it and it took a long time to feel better.

Are you part of a writing group?

Usually I write by myself and I work with my editor, Kate Fletcher pretty closely. I will write something and I have one or two trusted readers who are friends and authors. They give me their feedback, but really, once you have a close relationship with an editor at whatever your publishing house you land, in some ways it’s an audience of one. It’s a conversation between you and your editor of this work. The hard thing about a writing group sometimes is that it’s many voices & many opinions and not all equally great. That’s just the way it is. So I’m careful about that. It’s very easy to be blown off course.

Looking at your books, it seems like family is pretty important to you. I was just curious if any of your family members are kind of peeking out from some of your books.

They’re bleeding all over the pages. It’s bad for them really. Their lives and identities have been stolen. I take pieces of family of friends etc. I shamelessly melt them down to my purposes. I combine them with others and I create what I want. That’s how I really operate.

The most visible is Tia Isa Wants a Car, which is a picture book. There is a Tia Isa. She did buy the first family car. She lives with me. She lives downstairs. She, as in the book, she wanted to buy the car and no one in the family thought that she should because she was very nervous not necessarily a quick learner and we were all sure we were gonna die in the car. But she got secret lessons with a bilingual driving instructor and came home one day with this big Buick Wildcat and that car sort of liberated us. We could go anywhere we wanted to go after that. I had no notion I would write about Tia Isa, but when I sat down to write, the line that came to me was “Tia Isa wants a car” and it became a story of a little girl and her aunt conspiring to buy the family car. It’s about the whole notion of the person least likely, the least one among us, told she can’t do something, who does it anyway. That was a good lesson in life that my aunt provided for me and so it was wonderful to be able to honor her with that book. Now, of course, she’s very bossy, like she’ll look at the illustrations and she’ll say things like, “They didn’t get my hair right.”

There have been a lot of articles recently (CBC Diversity, Lee & Low, Betsy Bird) about the state of multicultural publishing. Do you have ideas or suggestions about how teachers, librarians, and/or bloggers can help change this?

I think it’s important, that the books offer the world of the multicultural child, showing the idiosyncracies of their culture as just a natural fact of life as the book examines the normal problems of growing up. It’s really just another lens, but at its core it still has to be a good story about the normal problems of growing up. Wanting friends, difficulty with friends, facing adult problems for the first time, falling in love, distancing from your family you know, all of those tried and true universal things, but superimposed with the lens of a Latino family or an Asian family or any culture but really staying true to what it is to be a child at whatever age teenage, preschool etc. That’s my core belief.

I think it’s important for schools and community libraries and so on to move beyond the notion of using books during Spanish Heritage Month, Cinco de Mayo or El Dia de los Niños. That’s a great time to use papel picado and piñatas, but we’re beyond this. It needs to be literature that is part of literature all the way around. When you are talking about a unit like girls on adventures, you might pick up my book Milagros or Maragarita Engle’s book Hurricane Dancers.

I also like to see partnerships with Latino authors and illustrators. One of the joys of coming to the table now, is there are so many wonderful Latino authors and illustrators making really compelling work and they are very community oriented and interested in youth, in creating a sense of pride, creating habits of reading and increasing literacy in the families and in the communities. They’re willing to come to schools, to skype, to do community shows of illustrations. I have found them to be a wonderful family of people. I would encourage librarians to reach out to Latino authors and illustrators in whatever way you can to come to your school – to visit your school to be part of the conversation. It’s a great idea. Our children need to see these examples of men and women being successful in many fields including the fields of art and literature. I wish sometimes that we would take a bigger view of what we bring to our children in what we call education. Part of education of course, is helping kids to see the possibilities for themselves.

Can you explain your Girls of Summer Program?

My friend Gigi Amateau is a Candlewick author too. Often we have strong girls in our books. Our daughters were getting ready to graduate and we started talking about how books helped us raise them and helped us as mothers and helped them as girls. So just very casually we wondered if we could come up with 18 books that we think are really amazing books for strong girls – and we could. We started talking about them passionately and then we decided to make it a blog. One thing led to another and we’re now in the third year of Girls of Summer. It’s basically this blog where every year we pick 18 of our favorite books for strong girls. We do it for picture books all the way to YA and every Friday we have one of the authors come and do a Q & A with us.

The Richmond Public library has these wonderful librarians. They promote the list and we have our Girls of Summer live launch party there. We bring two of the authors from the list to do a live Q & A. We give the whole list to two lucky winners, an elementary winner and a middle/high school winner. We also have other goofy give-aways like flip-flops and sunscreen — very necessary. The library funded free ice-cream for all of the girls. We had between 180 and 195 people. Mothers, daughters, teachers, librarians and girls of every age and every color and every ethnicity all in celebration of books that in turn celebrate what it is to go from being a little girl to a young woman who can determine what she wants for herself. It’s a beautiful thing. I love that project. I love that it helps the city library. I love that it helps girls in the community. I love that I get to work closely with my friend Gigi. It’s all good. There’s no downside to it, except maybe the work. There’s a lot of work and a lot of reading involved, but it’s all good.

What are you doing when you aren’t writing and working on The Girls of Summer?

This morning I am doing research for a new novel set in New York City in the late 70s during the time that Son of Sam was murdering girls. Isn’t that a cheery thought? I am just pulling together information.

Meg also added that she spends a lot of time with her family.

Medina_Web03

To learn more about Meg, her books, and The Girls of Summer, please visit her website.

Photo credit Petite Shards Productions

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Interview with Justina Chen

Welcome Justina Chen, author of some of my favorite books growing up! She took the time to answer a few questions for us on her books.

nothingWhere did Patty Ho come from? How much has your own life influenced your writing of Nothing but the Truth? Imagine being surrounded by teens who are mocking you in pseudo-Chinese. That’s exactly what happened to me and my kids one day. The next morning, Patty introduced herself to me while I was running the morning. To be perfectly accurate, she started dumping on me three miles into my run. She ranted about not being able to get a date, ironic since her last name is Ho. Then she told me about being half-Asian, half-white, and all-American. I couldn’t resist writing her story.

As an Asian American, how much of your cultural heritage do you try to reflect in your writing? I drew on my cultural heritage to write my first three novels–North of Beautiful, Girl Overboard, and Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies).

Why do you write YA lit? I have always loved YA! Let’s just say that I wrote my first YA novella when I was about ten. Teen years are exhilarating and bewildering and tumultuous and wonderful–and I adore exploring that important time in our lives.

What are you working on now? Talk about drawing from my past! If you can believe it, I went to 13 proms when I was in high school. And I drew hard on that experience to write my forthcoming novel, A BLIND SPOT FOR BOYS (August, 2014).

(And an obligatory silly question.) What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you? How about a different obligatory silly question. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten? When I was Peru, guinea pig was on the menu. Couldn’t do it. That said, I must say alligator tastes a lot like chicken.

Justina Chen TreeJustina Chen is an award-winning novelist for young adults whose most recent book, Return to Me, was called an “uplifting story” by Publishers Weekly. North of Beautiful was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus and Barnes & Noble. Her other novels include Girl Overboard (a Junior Library Guild premiere selections) and Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies), which won the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Additionally, she co-founded readergirlz, a cutting-edge literacy and social media project for teens, which won the National Book Foundation’s Prize for Innovations in Reading.

When she isn’t writing for teens, Justina is a communications strategist for executives and was the speechwriter and executive communications manager for a president of Microsoft. She conducts popular corporate storytelling workshops and has presented at prestigious organizations ranging from the Mayo Clinic to NASDAQ and AT+T to SAS.

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Interview and Giveaway with Sarah Ockler

brokenEveryone, please welcome Sarah Ockler to Rich in Color! We’re thrilled to have her answer some questions about diversity in young adult literature and The Book of Broken Hearts, which is out today. Sarah has also volunteered to give away a signed hardcover copy of her new book! The giveaway ends at midnight (Eastern) on Sunday. (U.S. mailing addresses only.)


Why is diversity in young adult fiction important to you?

This is such a huge, multi-layered question, but on the most basic level, diversity in YA fiction is important because diversity in *life* is important. Our stories both reflect and influence our lives, and life is anything but homogenous (just walk in the woods if you doubt that!). I want all kids and teens to know that they’re important and that their stories — whatever those stories might be — belong on the page. They belong on the shelves. They belong in our discussions and our imaginations. And as authors who write books for kids and teens, we have both a responsibility and a privilege to tell diverse stories, to give those characters voices. Yes, it’s challenging, and when we write about something outside of our own experience, we might get it wrong. But that’s no excuse not to try!

What were some of the challenges you faced while writing The Book of Broken Hearts? What did you enjoy most?

Speaking of challenges…. yes! This was the most challenging book I’ve written — which also made it the most enjoyable. All of my books so far have been contemporary realistic YA novels, but within that category, I love trying new things, which might mean exploring new family relationships, different cultures, totally new plot situations, new places. For this one, I had the opportunity to immerse myself in two different Latino cultures — Argentine and Puerto Rican — and to write about family, history, language, cultural traditions, and even foods so different from what I grew up with was a wonderful challenge that required a good mix of research and imagination.

The other challenge was more of an emotional one — researching the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s on a young family. It’s such a devastating illness, and there were times during the writing that I had to walk away, to take a break and work on something completely different. Throughout the process of writing a book, I often come to know my characters as real people, and I hated putting them through such tragic and painful situations in The Book of Broken Hearts. But I really wanted to tell this story, and it was important for me to portray it authentically — that’s where the challenge came in.

What appealed to you about having a set of sisters whose hearts get broken by a set of brothers?

Sibling relationships are perfect for YA novels because they’re naturally full of conflict and extreme emotion. I love writing about family loyalty, expectations, and the ways in which tragedy can both unite and divide families. So when I was first daydreaming about The Book of Broken Hearts and wondering how the conflicts would play out, I thought… hey. How about *more* siblings! With *more* drama! With *more* broken hearts and questions of loyalty and family history and what happens when one sibling breaks the accepted family “rules”! I wanted to write about a character who was stuck in the past, almost as if she was living the lives of her previous sisters, but who’d have to start breaking away and making her own choices and forming her own ideas about the world and her place in it. Emilio also has his own challenges and secrets, but… no spoilers. 😉

Which aspects of Jude and Emilio’s relationship do you hope readers will swoon over? What sets them apart from characters in your other books?

I hope readers swoon over the parts that I swooned over while writing — their flirty jokes and banter, the underlying insecurities that surface in sweet little ways as they get to know one another, and of course — the kissing! I think what sets them apart is the fact that despite the “forbidden” relationship (Jude’s sisters made her take an oath when she was twelve to never get involved with Emilio’s family, so… *insert ominous music here*), there isn’t a lot of angst between them. When they argue, they come back together to talk it out. They get to know each other under less than ideal circumstances, slowly peeling back the layers, both of them confronting the legacies of their older siblings. I had so much fun writing their relationship, and I still think about them even now and wonder where they ended up after the summer in the book. Sequel, maybe? 😉

Crystal’s father restored one of his motorcycles in the dining room one winter much to her mother’s consternation. Have you been privy to many motorcycle restorations or did this require additional research for The Book of Broken Hearts?

Wow, the dining room?! So fun! Well, not counting my obsession with the movie Grease 2 (yes, you should watch it! Cool Rider!)… My dad used to rebuild motorcycles when he was young, way before kids and mortgages and all that stuff, so he was totally my consultant on this project! He also used to drive me to school functions on the back of his Harley — something I didn’t appreciate until many years later. You know, the helmet always messed up my hair! But now I love that he did that. I also love that even though I asked him for help and advice on the motorcycle aspects of the story, he totally gave his two cents on the romance elements, too. It was very sweet. 🙂

Why did you set The Book of Broken Hearts during the summer before college instead of during high school?

I wanted Jude to be at a major crossroads in her life, kind of stuck in that floaty space between her past and her future. In many ways she’s still a child — she’s so wrapped up in her sisters’ “rules” and not wanting to disappoint them. But the summer after high school, she’s taking on so many adult responsibilities — caring for her father, helping him restore his motorcycle, trying to cook and help her mother. I wanted to take the naturally confusing transitionary time that so many teens experience, and then really intensify it with her father’s decline, the conflicts with her sisters, and of course… falling in love!

Do you have any high school experiences that would make a great springboard for a YA novel?

Oh, gosh. Don’t they all? 😉 Honestly, I never use my actual high school experiences in my fiction, but I do take the emotional footprint of them to inspire different characters, situations, and relationships. In that way, yes, I have a whole memory bank full of those kind of experiences! Scary thought!

What advice do you have for writers who want to include diverse characters in their books?

Take the leap! Use your imagination. Don’t make assumptions. And most importantly… ask questions! I’ve found that people are often more than willing to answer thoughtful questions, share their experiences, point out potential trouble spots, and help you craft authentic characters and situations. Get out there and talk to people, online and offline. Eat foods from the cultures you’re interested in, listen to the languages if they’re different from yours, learn about the history, check out family traditions, read other stories with similarly diverse characters. Embrace your own sense of adventure and wonderment, and explore! Then, write. 🙂

Which authors have been your biggest influences? Which authors do you look to for great stories about diverse characters?

When I first started writing YA, my big influences were the established contemporary realistic authors like Sarah Dessen, Laurie Halse Anderson, and Deb Caletti, and I still adore their books. The more I learned about YA and the more I read, the more I discovered other writers and diverse stories too — authors like Coe Booth, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Cassie Clare, Matt de la Pena, Justina Chen, Sherman Alexie, Laura Resau, Dia Reeves, Sarah Rees Brennan, Dream Jordan, and Neesha Meminger come to mind.

Who are your five favorite YA characters?

This answer changes for me all the time! At the moment, here are a few of my top faves: Kami Glass in Sarah Rees Brennan’s UNSPOKEN, Kit Cordelle in Dia Reeves’s SLICE OF CHERRY, Blue in Maggie Steifvater’s THE RAVEN BOYS, Annana in Cassandra Rose Clark’s THE ASSASSIN’S CURSE, Jael Thompson in Jon Skovron’s MISFIT. I’d love to hang out with any of them! Well, maybe not Kit — she might be best observed from a distance, since she’s got the whole serial killer thing going on. But yeah, great characters!

Which diverse YA books are you most looking forward to getting your hands on this year?

I’m really looking forward to reading Malinda Lo’s ADAPTATION series — I haven’t read the first one yet, but I’m going to double up when the sequel comes out so I can catch up! I’m scoping out Sarah Beth Durst’s VESSEL and Miriam Forster’s CITY OF A THOUSAND DOLLS to get my epic fantasy fix. HAMMER OF WITCHES by Shana Mlawski also looks awesome. And I recently made a Goodreads list of the 2013 ALA Rainbow List at http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/740903?shelf=2013-rainbow-list featuring LGBTQ books and I hope to check those out this year too. So many awesome diverse books!

Thanks for having me on Rich in Color, and thanks for continuing to host these important conversations about diversity in YA!

ockler_twitter2011Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of critically acclaimed young adult novels Twenty Boy Summer, Fixing Delilah, and Bittersweet. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, IndieNext list picks, and more. Her short fiction and essays will be featured in two upcoming young adult anthologies: Defy the Dark and Dear Teen Me.

Sarah teaches advanced young adult fiction writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver. She’s a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading, Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.


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