Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Guest Post with Melanie Crowder

Photo Content Melanie Crowder

Melanie Crowder is the acclaimed author of several books for young readers, including Audacity, Three Pennies, An Uninterrupted View of the Sky, A Nearer Moon and Parched, as well as the new middle grade duology The Lighthouse Between the Worlds.

Melanie’s books have been awarded the Jefferson Cup, the Arnold Adoff Poetry Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite, and the Bulletin Blue Ribbon; they have been recognized as a National Jewish Book Awards Finalist, Walden Award finalist, Colorado Book Awards Finalist, Junior Library Guild selection, YALSA Top Ten Books For Young Adults, ILA Notable Book for a Global Society, Parents’ Choice Silver Medal, BookBrowse Editor’s Choice, BookPage Top Pick, and The Washington Post Best Children’s Books for April. Her work has been listed as Best Books of the Year by Bank Street College, Kirkus Reviews, The Amelia Bloomer List, New York Public Library, Tablet Magazine, A Mighty Girl, and The Children’s Book Review.

The author lives under the big blue Colorado sky with her wife, two kids, and one good dog. Visit her online at

Here’s the thing about voice and style: even if it’s unique, I don’t want just one.

Let me explain.

When I first started writing, I had no clue what I was doing. I was just winging it, using the novels I loved as textbooks. I actually wrote two books that way. I had no idea all that I didn’t yet know about structure, point of view, voice, metaphor, emotion, character, etc.

No idea.

Those first two books were hopelessly derivative.

I could have kept writing that way. Maybe I wouldn’t have ever found a unique voice or style. Maybe I would have just gotten really good at mimicking someone else’s. But that’s not the kind of writer I wanted to be.

So I went back to school.

In my MFA program, we were made to study hard, but we were also encouraged to play, to experiment, to push the boundaries of what we were comfortable with. Trying new things is scary. After all, you might fail. I did sometimes. But I also learned how to channel that perspective that is uniquely mine, those qualities that are essentially me into whatever piece I was working on, whether it was fantasy or memoir, humorous middle grade or a YA novel in verse. Each one of those projects wants a different voice. Each one of those stories wants a different style.

I don’t want to get stuck with just one. I want to write them all.

I come from a musical family. A Crowder, in fact, is a minstrel. If you sit my sister or cousin down in a circle of musicians, they can make beautiful music come out of whatever is passed to them—mandolin, guitar, accordion, banjo, violin, cello—you name it. I can’t even comprehend the mental gymnastics that allows them to do that, but I know when it comes to my writing, to voice and style, I don’t want to always be playing the same strings either.

Here’s my advice:

Study hard.

Push the boundaries of your comfort level.

And most importantly, give yourself the freedom to fail.

Over time, you’ll develop the skill to bring you to whatever voice your story calls for, and whatever style it wants.

The inspiring story of Clara Lemlich, whose fight for equal rights led to the largest strike by women in American history

A gorgeously told novel in verse written with intimacy and power, Audacity is inspired by the real-life story of Clara Lemlich, a spirited young woman who emigrated from Russia to New York at the turn of the twentieth century and fought tenaciously for equal rights. Bucking the norms of both her traditional Jewish family and societal conventions, Clara refuses to accept substandard working conditions in the factories on Manhattan's Lower East Side. For years, Clara devotes herself to the labor fight, speaking up for those who suffer in silence. In time, Clara convinces the women in the factories to strike, organize, and unionize, culminating in the famous Uprising of the 20,000.
Powerful, breathtaking, and inspiring, Audacity is the story of a remarkable young woman, whose passion and selfless devotion to her cause changed the world.

You can purchase Audacity at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MELANIE CROWDER for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Audacity by Melanie Crowder.


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