An Interview with Jessica Treadway,
Author of Lacy Eye


By guest contributor, Lisa Borders

A professor of creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, Jessica Treadway’s latest novel, Lacy Eye, was published earlier this month. The novel will also be published in the UK and Australia, and translation rights have been bought by publishers in six countries. Her story collection Please Come Back to Me received the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction in 2010. Her other books are the novel And Give You Peace, named to Booklist’s Top 10 Debut Novels of 2001, and the collection Absent Without Leave, which received the John C. Zacharis First Book Award from Ploughshares in 1993. Her stories have appeared in The Atlantic, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and Bellevue Literary Review, among others. Treadway has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is a former member of the Board of Directors of PEN New England, where she served as co-chair of the Freedom to Write Committee. She lives in Lexington, Massachusetts. Read More →

Friday Feast: Writing Conferences, Sleep Habits, Wes Anderson, and “Appropriate” Literature

Amy Poehler eat your feelings
Conference anxiety. Censorship. Coming of age. This post could have also been named Feelings.

All of the links highlighted this week have that certain something that provides people with a spectrum of feels.



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How the Pied Piper of Tucson Led Me to my Story


Life Magazine 1966

By Emily Ross

Some writers keep returning to the story they have to tell until they get it right.

When I started my YA novel Half in Love with Death (forthcoming from Merit Press 2016), I’d already abandoned two novels about a young girl who falls in love with a man who may be a murderer. This story drew me irresistibly, but every time I tried to write it I got stuck in the middle. Read More →

Sex in YA Novels

By Bonnie Waltch

There’s a lot of discussion online about sex in YA novels: too much of, not enough of, inappropriateness of, negative consequences of, condoning of, etc. etc. Among the critiques I received on the first draft of my YA novel was that I had avoided the subject altogether. It’s true I shied away from my 17-year old protagonist Chloe thinking more than “he’s cute” and sharing an innocent kiss during her first romantic adventure. Chloe’s experience traveling alone in a Latin American country is easy and hassle-free . When she meets not one, but two, guys her passions barely stir. She is living in an unrealistic, sex-less parallel universe. Because of this, my classmates and teacher Michelle pointed out, the book felt more Middle Grade than Young Adult. They stated, rightly so, that even if Chloe doesn’t choose to have sex, sexuality would be palpable all around her — sexual tension, sexual harassment, curiosity about sex, a friend having sex, or pressure to have sex. For a 17-year old, sex cannot be ignored! Read More →

Friday Feast: Cinderella Story, Narrative Tension, Self-Esteem, and Bad Seeds

Cinderella Kristin Wiig
There are many versions of Cinderella. I’m fond of the Brothers Grimm version, which includes severed toes and heels and an army of birds who peck out eyeballs. After long hours of toil and trouble, Cinderella weeps and prays at the tree growing on her mother’s grave three times daily.

Cinderella is the patron saint of writers. Think about it.

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Historical Fiction: Leap of Faith


“The Graduate” is a sculpture of WASP Dorothy “Dot” Swain Lewis.

By Lissa Franz

In September 2013 I travelled to Texas to research my novel featuring women flying in World War II. Despite reading nearly every account of The WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) in print, including memoirs and biographies, newspaper clippings, histories of women in general aviation, and corresponding with a former WASP, I still had not visited the WASP museum in Sweetwater, Texas. This is the former Army Air Base where some of my novel takes place. Read More →

Five Ways To Stay in Touch With Your Writing Life When You’re Not Writing

By Amber Elias

Life happens. And sometimes life happens in the big middle of your best writerly intentions. A work project explodes and takes all your spare time with it. A family crisis turns you inside out emotionally. Your kid finally makes that traveling hockey team (yay!) and you’re suddenly a rink-side nomad racing around the state (boo!).

When life goes nuts, priorities change. And you may find your novel sliding below other priorities like sleeping, brushing your hair, and pretending that things aren’t really that bad. You may sit down to write, and find that you just can’t. Your focus is elsewhere. Your heart isn’t in it. And every word that does make it out looks like garbage. Read More →

Friday Feast: 12 Links for Friday the 13th

popcorn scary movie
My primary association with Friday the 13th — as is the case for many of us, I suspect — is Jason Voorhees. But there are also those who are superstitious about making travel plans on this unluckiest of Fridays. Many buildings avoid having a 13th floor, opting to skip it altogether.

As a self-described but friend-validated unlucky person, I will not tempt the fates today. Here are 12 links.

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Simplify: Novel, Dogs, Job

keep it simple

By Kelly Robertson

As I got older, I thought life would get simpler. I’d go to work. I’d come home. I’d read away the hours. In my thirties, I discovered writing (well, rediscovered it after a particularly unhelpful, James Joyce-loving professor told me I couldn’t “paragraph” correctly), and I spent some of that free time working on a novel. Then I got a husband. Then I started to cook. Then I got a house and a dog, then another. I acquired a couple of cats along the way as well, but God bless them, they are so undemanding. Needless to say, my reading time is significantly less than I had thought it would be at this point in my life. Read More →

Lessons on Narrative Distance: What Essays Can Teach Novelists

By Lisa Birk

How Not to Write

I used to keep a book on my shelf to remind myself how not to write. The book, call it Stricken, consisted of a collection of essays on the author’s recent widowhood. She had written it perhaps too soon after her husband’s death. Read More →

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