No please, take your time. I’ll wait.



*I wrote this post late at night without any proofreading whatsoever.
You guys needed to know that. In case of, you know. Grammatical wretchedness.
That was all. Continue.

So today a friend and I were walking, discussing whether we liked the idea of the new Finding Dory film that Pixar announced. She has positive feelings about it. I said I was very, very hesitant because I was afraid they might ruin it. And then we got talking about how hard sequels are, how even when the film industry is trying really really hard to make an excellent sequel, there’s still a chance it won’t work. And then we got talking about book sequels and how those are sometimes almost even worse.

Especially when you liked the first book.

Especially when you LOVED the first book!

Laini Taylor did this post (semi-)recently about how lots of people wait until a series is finished before they start reading, and how she couldn’t understand it, and I felt a little bad, because I am Definitely One Of Those People.

I wait to read series as a rule. And I don’t think this is as bad as it sounds. It doesn’t mean I’m giving up on the author or not supporting them. What does suck is that my waiting three months, or until the end of the entire series, can injure that series while it’s in progress.

That is tough.

I try to be an optimist, guys I really do. But as someone who reads a ton of YA and as someone who also writes novels, I have extremely high standards when it comes to my books. So it takes a lot for me to love a book. Like really love it. And if I’m only “meh” about it, I know right away I probably won’t enjoy the sequel. That’s just how it is.

But if I LOVED the book, or if I quite enjoy it, then I have hopes for the sequel(s). I sort of cross my fingers and shut my eyes and maybe peek at the author with a mix of hope and trepidation.

Then I wait for their book to come out.

Then I wait for the reviews.

Then I read the reviews.

From the reviews and the collective census of other readers, I can tell with a huge level of accuracy whether I will like the sequel or not. (I know this because I used to read reviews and then read the book. And nope. It was pretty accurate.)

There have been times, like with Daughter of Smoke & Bone for example, or with the Shiver trilogy, that I trusted the author enough to read their sequels right away. But most of the time I wait. Because sequels are hard to write, and awkward in terms of where they land in the story arc of a series, and just, UGH. Most of the time I don’t want to know. I don’t want the maybe-okay or oh-dear-why? sequel to ruin the series for me. I would prefer to wait.

Did I mention that sequels are hard?

Thing is, I have a huge amount of respect for writers working on a series. The first book is such a different beast. It’s a shiny new idea. It can go anywhere you want. No only do sequels land straight in the middle of sophomore slump–the time when authors suddenly have pressures and struggles they never faced before, when they were unpublished and relatively free–sequels also have about a zillion requirements. There is PRESSURE. There is this intense clash of wants and needs–pleasing the fans, pleasing the publishers, pleasing yourself, making it enough like book 1 so everyone enjoys their favorite bits, making it different enough so it’s not a rehash, making it unique enough so it’s not all filler, developing all these characters whom everyone cares about and suddenly you have twelve people you have to fiddle with instead of three, figuring out how to make this romance interesting after happily-ever-after, figuring out how to stay true to these characters and the story and yourself and yet figure out ways to make their lives fall apart so you have actual PLOT and where is this all going? What will happen in book 3? How does this all tie together? There have to be implications and hint-dropping and surprises and in the end it has to be a story, a unique, crazy awesome story, and all that has to be as good or better than book one.

You guys. This is hard. Hard. HARD. I have never written a sequel, although I daydreamed enough about a MIRRORPASS sequel that I know mostly what I would write if a got the chance. Which actually is how I knew it was hard. Almost halfway through MP I started thinking of the sequel. (This is how we writer’s work. It’s insane. Plots just explode and spiral out into eternity.) And as I finished MP, I got a bit worried, to be honest, because my sequel ideas sucked.

There were all these freakin requirements.

  • I knew, to be a good sequel, characters needed to spend time on both the worlds.
  • I had to avoid conspiracy theory/dystopian government/government cover ups.
  • I should probably solve the Big Unsolved Mystery I’d hinted at all through MP, which would send everyone out in deepspace.
  • I needed to explore the relationship between my MC, Aria, and her brother whom she rescued by the end of MP.
  • I needed to show Aria developing as a character and all the fallout from her physical and emotional injuries in MP.
  • But I didn’t want a post-traumatic-stress-disorder kind of story. It needed to be positive, and she needed to be even more proactive than ever.
  • It couldn’t be messy. All had to make sense.

So essentially, I needed to get Aria to leave her home world that she just got back to, and go to Earth again for some reason that had nothing to do with government conspiracies, and also somehow go into deepspace at the same time and solve the Big Unsolved Mystery that had to somehow relate to why she was on Earth, aaaaaall while in rehab for her physical injuries and while diving deep into the relationship with this brother she barely knows.

Oh. I also maybe wanted romance in there. Because yeah. It’s what I wanted.

Do you know how long it took me to come up with a sequel idea that worked, and that I also liked, and that I actually felt like writing?

Three years.

Published authors writing on contract do not have three years to think about their sequel. They have maybe six months. Probably less than that.

And I think this, more than any other reason besides the general pressure of fans/publishers/expectations, is why so many sequels struggle so hard.

Writers have to dig to find the story. You take all this input, including your own doubts and such, and you have to worry and kvetch over it and sort through until you find the important bits worth considering. And then you have to throw the rest out and just write. Write what you want regardless of what you ought to do. Write with the door closed, as Stephen King (it was him, right?) said.

Write write write write write.

Then you can take a deep breath, show it to the important people, and ask them to help you turn the thing you had to write into something that will meet the most important of the important requirements.

And this. Takes. Time.

Which is why, when I see a sequel or third has been pushed back another year–or two–I don’t react with wailing. I actually breathe this sigh of relief. I’m like oh, thank goodness, they’re taking some time with this one. I fervently hope it will do them and the story good.

Because even though I can be very critical, it’s not because I doubt the author or the book; it’s because I want so desperately for it to turn out well. The friend at the beginning of this story told me once that every critic is secretly a romantic. Meaning that critics become critics because they were people who hoped the hardest, and therefore disappointed the worst, but who are still in that deep secret place hoping anyway.

I love it when a sequel turns out good. I love it when authors take their time (so long as they don’t abandon it altogether. In which case, AHEM. Trust = shattered.)

This is why I can wait patiently for The Host sequel (she is writing it. SHE SAID SO RECENTLY. THERE IS AN OUTLINE AND THINGS.) And the Robin McKinley Pegasus sequels. (Pegasus, cliff ending and all, is one of my favorite books ever. I would wait eternity for this sequel.) (If I’m being honest, I wrote this entire post because I was thinking about the Pegaus sequel. Le sigh.) And why, when I saw just today that the Daughter of Smoke & Bone #3 just got bumped back to Spring 2014, I was totally okay.

I want these books to turn out good. I am excited and hopeful. I want to authors to do what they need to make it happen to make themselves happy, because if they are happy, odds are I will be too.

I AM ROOTING FOR YOU GUYS. I support sequels. And trilogies. And series.

Even if it means waiting a while first.

Truly and always,
-Creative A


P.S. I’m too busy to be blogging and yet I keep right on blogging! This is what happens when I can’t write the current work in progress. STUFF JUST COMES OUT. Gah.



My Favorite Poem Ever




Ever since writing yesterday’s post on gradumacation, I have been thinking about all the other things I wanted to talk about. And one of those things is National Poetry Month.

I’m not a big fan of celebrating arbitrary holidays or theme-days that society invented to try and make other people think about things society deemed important. Every once and a while I get one of those calendars that has, like, All The Days on it. Society would probably yell at me for this, but I see those days and my immediate reaction is, pffft. Sorry, Society. I just don’t agree with you. My Earth Day is summer and fall and spring and winter, not April 22cnd.


I do see these days/months/themes as fun opportunities. And I had been vaguely aware (but mostly too busy to notice) that April was National Poetry month, until I saw the excellent post on Novel Sounds, pairing some recent YA books with fun poetry snippets, which she did for Pocket Poetry day.

And immediately I wished I had been aware of Pocket Poetry day (where one carries a favorite poem in their pocket and shares it with people) because I knew exactly the poem I would carry.

See, a few years ago I purchased this thin, crackly little book of antique school-children poetry with dates like 1912 scrawled inside it. Not only did it contain classics like Brighen on the Rhine, Briar Rose, and Invictus, it also had some more obscure poems that were apparently classics at that time–Darius Green and the Flying Machine, Sister’s Best Feller, The Two Glasses, and others. I fell in love with the quirky poems, many of which were hilarious. But one in particular I loved so much that I actually attempted to memorize it. Now I’m sharing it here.

You ready for this?

The Fence or The Ambulance

By Joseph Malines

Twas a dangerous cliff, as they freely confessed,
Though to walk near its crest was so pleasant:
But over its terrible edge there had slipped
A duke and many a peasant;
So the people said something would have to be done.
But their projects did not at all tally:
Some said, “Put a fence around the edge of the cliff”
Some, “An ambulance down in the valley.”

But the cry for the ambulance carried the day.
For it spread to the neighboring city:
A fence may be useful or not, it is true,
But each heart became brimful of pity
For those who had slipped o’er that dangerous cliff,
And the dwellers in highway and alley
Gave pounds or gave pence, not to put up a fence,
But an ambulance down in the valley.

“For the cliff is alright if your careful,” they said,
“and if folks even slip or are dropping,
it isn’t the slipping that hurts them so much
as the shock down below-when they’re stopping,”
So day after day when these mishaps occurred,
Quick forth would the rescuers sally
To pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
With their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old man remarked, “it’s a marvel to me
that people give far more attention
to repairing results than to stopping the cause,
when they’d much better aim at prevention.
Let us stop at its source all this mischief, cried he.
“Come neighbors and friends, let us rally :
If the cliff we will fence, we might almost dispense
with the ambulance down in the valley.”

“Oh, he’s a fanatic.” the others rejoined:
“dispense with the ambulance Never!
He’d dispense with all charities, too, if he could:
no, no! We’ll support them forever.
Aren’t we picking up folks just as fast as they fall?
And shall this man dictate to us? Shall he?
Why would people of sense stop to put up a fence?
While their ambulance works in the valley?”

But a sensible few who are practical too,
Will not bear with such nonsense much longer
They believe that prevention is better than cure
And their party will soon be the stronger
Encourage them, then with your purse, voice and pen
And (while other philanthropists dally)
They will scorn all pretense, and put up a stout fence
On the cliff that hangs over the valley.

Gradumacation, And Other Recent Things



So world, how has everyone been? Are you writing? Are you busy? Are you writing?

Did I ask that already?

I’ve been pretty brainless lately. An interesting result is that I’ve learned people are generally sympathetic of brainlessness. They’re quite impressed with my cavalier attitude, my cheerfulness about my mistakes (what great coping mechanisms you have, Mandy.) That is, until I do something stupid enough to mess them up. And suddenly my brainlessness is No Longer Acceptable and How Could You Mandy, That Was Very Bad, Serious Repercussions Angry Face!

Because I am still cheerful, you see, and it drives the normal people batty.


haters gonna hate


These are my coping mechanisms.


Three more weeks, and the brainlessness-inducing chaos should be over. Three major events have coincided–finals, moving, and graduation–and everything else, including writing, has been pretty much shelved. The good news is that I’m quite enjoying the work I’m doing for finals. In the one class I have to design a portfolio website, and I just had a huge breakthrough there, so that’s awesome. And for the other class I’ve been shooting a film, and we just finished the last major shoot yesterday, and I have the final scene to shoot tomorrow. So that is excellent.

As for moving craziness, half my apartment has already been shipping back home. So I have the two final week of classes to pack up the rest of my stuff and do all my cleaning before I graduate and my family comes down to help me move out.

Busy busy busy!

But grateful. And enjoying it as much as I can. The weather this past month has been gorgeous, and I’ve started exercising again, which feels about thirty times better than I could have imagined. And although I had to set Shutterbug aside since the beginning of March–which I hated to do, but otherwise I knew I’d go insane trying to write and do everything else–it has given me some free moments to have fun playing around with other novels I know aren’t good enough to write for real, yet, but are a lot of fun to play with, and keep my creative side stimulated.

As a result I have been a smorgasbord of mini creative projects and progress lately. This makes me happy, even if I have been brainless.

That said? I can’t wait to pick Shutterbug up again. Two months+ is too long. I miss my main characters.


That’s all for me. What have you guys been up to?


Truly and always and brainless,




Pasta, no Ragu Required!


So, being a college student on a severe budget, and living on my own these past two years, I’ve done a lot of experiments with cooking. Some of the early experiments pretty much sucked. (There was a gravy-making incident that involved crushed sardines* and black bean juice. I still gag at the thought.)

*Edit: OMGOSH I meant Saltines, not sardines; Saltines like the crackers!

But it was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot from it. I got brave and into it enough that sometimes I’d be like, “hmm, I feel like having this flavor. How could I create that flavor?” and trying it, or literally having dreams with weird recipes in them and trying those, too. My mom raised a few eyebrows at some of those particular dishes. Still. ‘Twas so much fun!

However, this is something I never blogged about on the old blog because I was pretty strict about discussing WRITING. STUFF. ONLY on there. But I don’t know, writing is this creative thing, and so is cooking, and I’ve always felt creativity generally spills into this big pool of creative inspiration. This new blog is more about being creative in general and how it all relates to writing in the end. So! Tonight! You get to hear about my cooking exploits.

Let me start it out by saying today was my first day back from a road trip to NY. The fridge only had a few non-perishables: some cheeses, milk, pasta in the cupboard, etc. And this month will be my last in Delaware (!) so I’m trying to buy less, use up the pantry items more. Pantry item #1?


Pasta it is!

So I have this friend who yells at me when I tell her I cook pasta and just dump Ragu and cheeses on it. She’s been telling me I need to try the whole, olive-oil-and-spices/parmesian thing. And I HAVE tried. Somehow it never ends up flavorful enough. I keep adding stuff until, guiltily, I crack open the Ragu and give up for the night.

I figure my problem has been using dried spices instead of fresh ones. So tonight on my drive home (whole story there–it was a GORGEOUS day, the kind that makes me love Delaware, and I was off in this park doing homework until dark) I swung by the grocery store. I knew I wanted chicken in case the pasta turned out lousy. (Ahem.) So I picked up some thin chicken breast cutlets. Then I poked through the spices and ended up with this package of Italian Parsley.

I had this vague idea of doing Italian themed pasta and chicken, FYI. Those vague ideas usually shuffle around depending on how the food actually looks and tastes once I cook it. But tonight it worked out quite well!

Back home, I put on some boiling water, sorted through my available pastas, settled on penne, and got the chicken cutlets marinating for a few minutes in this Italian salad dressing made from the Good Seasons packets. It’s literally just water, olive oil, white vinegar, and their packet of spices. I love using it on chicken because it’s such an easy marinade.

By the time the water was boiling, the chicken was ready, so I poured that in a frying pan along with some canola oil and more of the salad dressing. Basically my method is to keep basting the chicken in dressing while it fries, and add just enough canola oil to keep the dressing from burning. Which is pretty gross when it happens.




Blech. Anywho.

The penne finished first, so I drained it and added some butter. The plan was to chop my parsely and mix it in with a healthy dose of Parmesan…

But I was out of Parmesan.




         note the non-Parmesan here.                           again note the non-Parmesan.

That kind of killed things for a second. I had really been counting on having Parmesan. Cheddar is lovely, but no way does it go on top of raw pasta like that! So there I go digging through my cheese drawer, and it’s either mozarella or provolone.




I kind of crossed my fingers, shut my eyes, and shredded the provolone into my pasta. Then I chopped the spices and added them. And sprinkled on a little salt to up my confidence. And…it was actually looking pretty good!



Look! My beautiful creation! I shall call it Sans Ragu, and Sans Ragu it shall be called.


So I took a bite.

And it was NOM.

Guys, I didn’t even wait for the chicken to finish. I just sat there gorging on pasta until the chicken started looking crispy, and then I ate that too, because I cooked it, but really all I wanted was more pasta.


I do think it needed a tad more flavor. Or, wait, correction, that I would have PERSONALLY enjoyed it with more saltiness or cheesiness or something. But it was definitely better than I’d hoped, and a major success for being my third our fourth olive-oil-pasta attempt. And it was a great step toward my efforts in eating less cheese. (Meaning I only used two slices of provolone, instead of slathering it with multiple cheeses as I might have otherwise.)

It was a perfect meal. And then I went to check the fridge one more time. For what reason, I don’t know. I just kept thinking, if I looked again, maybe Parmesan would magically appear…


IMG_6626 IMG_6627 IMG_6628



Truly and always and PASTA,




Amnesia Spring

Dear Spring,
Are you sure
You’re feeling quite all right?
The doctor told me
You had a fight with Winter
And bumped your head
And got amnesia
We’re all so worried
Summer sends her regards
She asked me to ask you
If it’s coming back
The memories
Do you remember?
Warm days, fresh air?
Nobody can make the birds
Sing quite like you do
The doctor said
You should try
He said don’t worry, it will
Come back in due time
But I still wanted to check in
Even Winter said he’s sorry
We all thought maybe
A visit would do you good
Thaw those hard edges
A bit, maybe,
Loosen up the memories

I suppose I should go now
But I will see you tomorrow,
Same time, I believe?
And we all hope you
Feel better soon

Your dear friend,

-the Sun



© Amanda Smith, 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Please do not copy or reproduce without permission.



Ten Questions with Liesl Shurtliff, author of Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin

Hey everyone! It’s been a long time since I had a chance to do an author interview, and I’m so excited to start back up again. I just love hearing the story behind the stories, and I love supporting new and debut authors. About a year ago I stumbled upon Liesl Shurtliff’s blog and read the blurb for her new novel, RUMP, and I loved it. So I basically scoped her book out for the past year waiting until I could ask her for an interview! Hah. She was lovely enough to stop by and answer some questions. Without any more ado…Liesl!

Hey Liesl! Tell us a little about yourself. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to become a writer to begin with?

Hello! I’m just a regular gal living in Chicago with my husband and three kids, plus a cat named Felix. (So original, I know.) I have always loved writing for as long as I can remember, though the thought of being a professional writer didn’t ever cross my mind while I was growing up. I’m not sure I knew there was such a thing.

I’ve been writing seriously (with the intent to publish) for about nine years now. What inspired me? Well…here’s an embarrassing story. When I had my first phone call with my editor at Knopf, she asked the same questions and I blurted, “Boredom.” She gave a kind of awkward laugh and when I think of that moment I give a Homer Simpson “Doh!” But the truth is I did start writing fiction partly out of boredom. I had just had my first child. I couldn’t do all the things I was used to doing anymore, but my baby slept A LOT. I had to fill the hours with something besides Oprah. So I took a course on writing for children and I fell completely in love. I’ve never stopped and I’m not bored anymore. Strange to think that I ever was. But here’s a hint: Should you ever get a publishing contract, if you don’t have a wonderful story about why you started writing, make something up. That’s what writer’s do, after all.

So, RUMP is your first MG novel. Tell us a little about it!

RUMP is the story of Rumpelstiltskin casting the title character as a lovable hero instead of a demonic villain. Here’s a blurb:

In a magical kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke.

Rump has never known his full name—his mother died before she could tell him. So all his life he’s been teased and bullied for his half-a-name. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. For Rump discovers he can spin straw into gold. Magical gold.

His best friend Red Riding Hood warns him that magic is dangerous—and she’s right! That gold is worth its weight in trouble. And with each thread he spins, Rump weaves himself deeper into a curse.

There’s only one way to break the spell: Rump must go on a quest to find his true name, along the way defending himself against pixies, trolls, poison apples, and one beautiful but vile-mannered queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—Rump just might triumph in the end.

Basically RUMP answers all those questions about Rumpelstiltskin that go unanswered in the original tale, which I find vastly unfair since he is the title character. There are two sides to every tale and I just had to tell this one, in a humorous, yet totally sincere, way.


I must admit to giggling the first time I read the title. I feel like humor was part of your original idea for the Rumplestiltskin retelling. What else inspired this story?

I giggled the first time I thought of it! Humor was definitely there from the beginning, but names were also a big inspiration. I’ve long believed that names hold power and meaning, so I thought it would be interesting to create a world where name determines your destiny. This concept and Rump’s unfortunate name were the seeds of my story. Unanswered questions were also part of the inspiration. For the crucial role that Rumpelstiltskin plays in the story, we know so little of him in the traditional tale. We know nothing of where he comes from, what his name means, how he learned to spin straw into gold, or why on earth he would want someone’s first born child.

Quite apart from Rumpelstiltskin’s role, the miller, his daughter, and even the king’s behavior are odd. Why did the miller say his daughter could spin straw to gold when clearly she couldn’t? What kind of king threatens death on someone who can’t spin straw to gold? And why would the miller’s daughter promise her first-born child, even in desperation? Most answers I’ve seen to such questions are dark and sometimes gruesome, but I don’t really like dark or gruesome things, so I decided that if I were to tell my own version of Rumpelstiltskin, I would somehow make it humorous, something kids and adults of all ages could appreciate.

Being a published author always seems so glamorous, but in reality it can take years to get a book published. What did it take to get RUMP on bookshelves?

Getting RUMP published wasn’t too painful of a process compared to some I’ve heard. I wrote Rump in a little under a year, found an agent within a month of querying, and after some revisions we sold RUMP a couple months later. Yes, that’s fast and on the surface it seems I dodged several bullets on my path to publication. That said, I worked for years to get my writing to the level that I felt it needed to be to deserve publication. I have two shelved novels that I never queried and I find that all that work was all part of getting to RUMP. So if you look at it that way, it took me seven years to get a publishing contract, 9 years to RUMP on the shelves. I’ve heard other writers say it takes about a decade to get published. There are exceptions, of course, but I’d say that’s about the average.


Did you have any dark moments on the road to publication?

Absolutely. Most of my dark moment have been a result of my own psychological struggles with writing. Writing is something that takes great amounts of courage and confidence, almost to excess, I think. I struggled with that a lot in the beginning. I was afraid that I was wasting my time, that I really didn’t have anything of value to say or share. There are so many great books in the world and so many books period. What makes me think mine belongs on the shelf? And here’s a little secret: I still have to overcome those fears. I have to tune out the voices of self-deprecation, give myself permission to do what I love, and give others permission to love or reject what I do. I still struggle with these fears and many others, but at least I consciously recognize that they’re evil.

In addition to my own self-deprication, every single rejection on the road to publication was like a knife in my tender writing heart. It’s very painful to have someone dismiss your work, but I’m learning to deal with that, because when you’re a writer, the whole world can dismiss you without batting an eye. Agent and editor rejections are only the beginning. I don’t think I’ll ever develop a “tough skin”, like some people say writers should. I think writers are supposed to be sensitive, but I’m developing a resilient skin, one that heals quickly and keeps writing no matter what.


So did you have any special authors or books (or teachers, or friends…) who influenced your writing?

Lots! Influential authors include Roald Dahl, Gail Carson Levine, Shannon Hale, and Shel Silverstein. I’ve learned from every author I’ve ever read, but those are the one I think significantly influenced my writing. I’ve had many great writing mentors and teachers, but one of my earliest was my 9th grade English teacher, Ms. Edvalson. She was such an inspiriting role model during a tumultuous time in my life. She taught me to just write, let it out, worry about what it all means later. I think I remember her classes as being the first time I really wanted to be a writer, but it would be years until I came back to that desire. I wish I could get in touch with her today to let her know how much she meant to me, but I’ve lost track of her. (Ms. Edvalson, reappear!)


Talk to us about your awesome cover! I feel like it says so much about your book and characters–did you have any say in this? Did you get to see any of the cover development at all?

Thank you! I love my cover and feel it matches the tone of the book perfectly. There’s magic and humor, but also darkness and the sense of impossible tasks. My publisher did include me in the cover process. They asked what I envisioned and asked for some examples of other covers I thought were along the lines of what I wanted. I was thrilled when they showed me the artist they chose. Absolutely could not have chosen better myself. Zdenko Basic has this Tim Burtonish quality that I love, but he was able to capture the warmth of RUMP so well. When the cover came through, I had some concerns about certain elements being an accurate reflection of my story, and they did make some changes based on some of my feedback. All in all I was pleased with how everything was handled and I adore my cover. I love it when a kid sees it and goes “Ooh! That looks so good!” I know we preach never judge a book by its cover, but in my case, go ahead!


Do you have any fun promo stuff or events planned?

I get to have THREE launch parties! Aren’t I lucky? This is what happens when you’ve lived in lots of places. I’ll have two launches in the Chicago area and one in my hometown Salt Lake City, UT, plus a couple other signing in the Chicago area. It’s going to be a blast! You can get all the details on those and other events at my website I’m visiting lots of schools and I’ll also be running a few contests where you can win signed copies of RUMP!


What are some good places readers can find you on the web?





Best piece of advice for aspiring writers?

Oh man…be careful with advice. Good advice for one writer may be terrible advice for another. That said, here’s the best advice I can give that I feel is universal: Follow your guts and never give up! If you love writing and think you want to get published, then keep going, do your homework, and know that there are many, many paths. Know where it is that you want to land and then figure out what it takes to get there.


Thanks Liesl! Fantastic answers, it was great having you!




Liesl Shurtliff was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, with the mountains for her playground. Just like Rump, Liesl was shy about her name, growing up. Not only did it rhyme with weasel, she could never find it on any of those personalized key chains in gift shops. But over the years she’s grown to love having an unusual name—and today she wouldn’t change it for the world!

Before she became a writer, Liesl graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in music, dance, and theater. She now lives in Chicago with her husband and three young children, where she still dreams of the mountains. Rump is her first novel.