Thursday, July 15, 2010

Teen Phenom Kieryn Nicolas!


Meet Kieryn Nicolas, a teen writing prodigy (my opinion) that just hit the scene with her first novel, Rain. In just a few months, she's captured the attention of many with her upbeat attitude and commitment to the craft. This evening, I have the opportunity to host her in my Language Arts and Literacy graduate class. She'll speak to my students (pre-service teachers) about what teaching practices motivated, and continue to motivate her, as a writer.

Fortunately for you, she also agreed to an interview on my blogs. Check out her work. You won't be disappointed!

How long have you been writing, and what inspired you to begin seriously devoting yourself to the craft of writing?

I think I’ve been writing ever since I could write—and that does not necessarily mean I could spell. I have a journal from when I was four, and my first recorded story, from what I can decode, reads: "Laura wus pritty and nice it wus 12:00 at night Laura hred a strang naus. it wus bumping and sloshing and skraching. She did not know wut it wus. so she went out side and thar wus a Baer. She kickd the baer and pushed Him into the woods. the end"

Talk about climaxes.

I was in fifth grade, though, when I decided I wanted to be an author. I had an amazing teacher that year, and we actually did creative writing. That’s probably when I realized how much I loved writing long stories—aka, novels.

How do you live your life like a writer? What day-to-day habits must you incorporate into your routine?

Every day I have two emails and two Facebooks to check—my personal ones, and my author ones. I also have to remember to Tweet and do any other social media. Also, I always have something with me that I can record ideas on, whether that something is my phone or a notebook or the note app on my iPod. (I used that app a lot on the bus this year.) Pretty much I make sure that I stay in touch with my professional/author communications, and also the author in my head, who usually gets ideas at the least convenient times.

Who are some of the authors you lean on most for inspiration and craft when you get stuck in your own writing?

That’s an interesting question. Reading books that I like usually does motivate me to write my own stories. For example, J.K. Rowling is the queen of characters. Everyone in the Harry Potter series is incredibly real, and her writing makes me want to write my characters to life. Suzanne Collins—author of The Hunger Games and the Underland Chronicles—writes incredible action scenes, so when I read her books I want to make my own stories more exciting. I recently read the 1-800-WHERE-R-YOU series by Meg Cabot, and it had an incredible voice. Guess what I’ll be focusing on next time I write?

In your opinion, how important is the link between avid reading and strong writing?

I think the link is fairly important. I’m not saying someone who isn’t an avid reader can’t be an incredible writer, or vice-versa, but personally I attribute a lot of my strength in writing to the countless hours I’ve spent reading. Story ideas have always bounced around my head, and seeing how authors brought their stories to life helped me figure out how to put mine in words as well.

What’s the funniest/craziest/strangest story you have so far from your writing escapades?

I’m not sure this is the funniest/craziest/strangest, but I got a friend request from someone from Indiana a few weeks ago. Thinking it might be someone I met at the Lit Fest, I clicked on his profile, and did a double-take when I saw I was in his profile picture. Yeah, it was the picture he’d taken of us when I signed a book for him! That was a pretty cool experience.

What can you tell us about your current projects?

I’m currently working on a dystopian story that I absolutely love—but I’m really bad at summaries, so I’ll just leave it there for now. Also, I’ll have a “short” (I use quotes because my version of “short” always contrasts with other people’s version of “short,” like my English teachers who insist on page limits and nonsense like that) story coming as an eBook from Echelon in the near future. It’s called Poison Ivy, and I wrote it as a response to To Kill a Mockingbird last year in English. We had our choice of projects, so long as we incorporated a theme from the book. I asked my teacher if I could do a story, and she said sure, as long as it was “reasonably short.” Of course, I used my own interpretation of “reasonably.”

Where can we go to learn more about you?

My amazing and tech-savvy grandma designed my website, On there are links to buy my book, a page with links to media about RAIN and myself, the prologue/first chapter of my book, a short bio, reviews of RAIN, and links to my social media pages (like Facebook and Goodreads). Also, I (usually) update my blog,, at least once a week. Well, I try to.

"Live, Learn, Teach"

Monday, July 12, 2010

MDTLC on Hold


I have some sad and disappointing news to report. Mice Don’t Taste Like Chicken, originally slated for release in August 2010, will not see release as planned. I’ll bite my tongue about the why and simply tell you that I now have the rights to the manuscript again and will begin shopping it around with agents. And, while Drew might go King Kong over something like this, I must pick up my head and commit myself. Mice Don’t Taste Like Chicken deserves a home in the hands of readers, and I’m set on making that happen.

I appreciate all the support everyone has given Drew, Jackson, and the rest of the crew to this point. Please continue to follow the MDTLC blog for details on the new search.

“Live, Learn, Teach”
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