Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Grand Plan Blog Tour, Day 4: VCFA Connections

Oh frabjous day! The Grand Plan goes exploring, approves of writer-friendly bookshelves, and ventures through the tollbooth to four grand destinations, each a part of the oh-so-grand-and-fabulous Vermont College of Fine Arts extended family:

Kathi Appelt is the award-winning author of The Underneath and Keeper, and the creator of possibly my favorite picture book characters in the whole world, Bubba and Beau (not to mention many other wonderful books. She was the MFA (Writing for Children and Young Adults) program chair at Vermont College when I was invited to apply there to teach. That was five years ago, and it's changed my writing life in more ways than I can count.  I'll be forever grateful. Kathi interviews me on her video-blog, Calloo Callay. We managed to snatch this time on a quick break after lunch at the Writers' League of Texas YA A to Z Conference.

Sarah Blake Johnson, who currently lives in Frankfurt and blogs at Explorations, is a VCFA graduate; I'm proud to say she was my student during a picture book semester. She's also the only person I know who can claim to have cooked a meal in a geyser in Iceland! Sarah's recently joined the sparkly line-up of VCFA alums who blog at Through the Tollbooth. A couple of months ago Sarah and I talked about the intersections of teaching and writing. That interview will be posted on Explorations today.

Bethany Hegedus is the author of Truth With a Capital T (Booklist calls it a "strong story about peer competition, race in a small town, and coming to terms with family history") and Between Us Baxters ("...beautifully described and believable...the richness of the characters is apparent." School Library Journal). She also edits the Young Adult and Children's Literature section of Hunger Mountain, the VCFA Journal of the Arts. Read my conversation with Bethany at Writer Friendly, Bookshelf Approved. Livejournal access here.

And finally, Michelle Knudsen is the multi-talented author of over forty books for children including picture books (the well-beloved Library Lion and her latest, a quirky, funny classroom tale, Argus) and novels (The Dragon of Trelian, chock-full of magic, secrets, an orphaned dragon, a hundred-year war and more, with a sequel on the way). Mikki was also my student, I am happy to add! I get to talk to her about conventions and breaking them, communication, character relationships and em dashes. Yes, em dashes. Where else but at Through the Tollbooth?

Tomorrow, childhood writing, writing for children, the real Sunny Villa. Perceptions and misperceptions at Mother Daughter Book Club.


  1. Thanks for your answers and a great interview. I'm enjoying all your blog tour.
    And yes, cooking in a geyser: works quite well for boiled eggs and lamb hot dogs and an Icelandic bread.

  2. I'm loving the blog tour! It's a thrill to have worked on such a wonderful story and to now see other people beginning to discover Dini's world. :-)

  3. Abigail, thanks. I loved your interview with Joy and the fact that she's turned it into an archive about the making of this book. What a treat.