Tell us about your Lit in the Mitten radio series at Delta College Q-90.1 FM. How did it start, how long will it continue, and how can we tune in?
Episodes are released bi-weekly on Mondays with on-air clips and full interviews available at Deltabroadcasting.org/podcasts. I hope to continue the program for the next few years. I’d love to offer Michigan authors the opportunity to talk craft and their latest projects until people get tired of me. One of our local hosts, Rod Bieber, has been producing shows with the station for 25 years and he’s still going strong, so the sky’s the limit.
I was honored that you read my entire novel to prepare for our interview. I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about children's and young adult literature and was impressed with your thoughtful questions. You're currently working toward your MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults at VCFA. Tell us more about your studies and your own writing.
The low-residency MFA program at VCFA is well-suited for cultivating the knowledge and discipline necessary for sustainable writing. Twice a year I get to surround myself with people who share my passion for writing for children and young adults. It’s basically like going to Hogwarts. The residencies are filled with great workshops, lectures and so many amazing conversations. In between residencies students work one-on-one with advisors with a TON of experience. I’ve worked on projects from picture book biographies and short stories to full-length novels.
My primary focus is on YA and Middle Grade science fiction and horror, but one of the great parts of the program is advisors who encourage you to work outside of your comfort zone. Challenging yourself with other genres and styles as well as with critical writing can be surprising. There’s a very specific kind of delight that bubbles up when you realize that you’ve increased the size of your comfort zone writing by venturing outside of it.
You've been reading a lot of books for all ages for your MFA program. Are any patterns jumping out at you? What aspects of a story grab your attention at the beginning and keep you engaged throughout?
Another exciting trend is the growing demand for books with diverse characters written by diverse authors. One of the most powerful aspects of kid lit is the opportunity for young people (and grownups for that matter) to grow through the reading process. The more readers can see themselves represented honestly in a story, the more impactful it will be.
Because I come from a journalism background I put a lot of value in truth in storytelling. I’ve read hundreds of books in my journey through VCFA and the unifying factor in the works I’ve really loved is their honesty. When an author is trying to capitalize on an industry trend or use their story to force a reader to a specific conclusion the work is so much less fulfilling than a story that comes from the reality of the writer’s own experience.
During our interview, you asked me about quality literature. I've been thinking more about this, and it's helpful when considering my own writing and what I'm hoping to accomplish. May I direct the question back to you? How do you define quality literature?
Anything else you'd like us to know?
|Adam interviewing author Nick Adkins|
Thanks so much for your time, Adam! To listen to Adam's interviews, go to the Lit in the Mitten podcast here. And stay tuned, he'll continue to add new interviews each month.
Coming up on the SCBWI-MI blog:Tips for Painless Self-Promotion (from Debbie Gonzales who is celebrating her Girls with Guts book birthday this week!), a recap and photos from the SCBWI Marvelous Midwest conference, Ask the Editor, and much more.
Have a great weekend!