Tags: cynthia leitich smith

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Back to the Grind

Okay, so I know all of you guys are faithful readers of Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations (and if not, add it to your Google Reader TODAY), so by now you've seen the interview that I did with her. If not, check it out. And be sure to sign up for the giveaway!

In other news, work seems to be going well on the critical thesis that I'm required to complete for the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program. I think I kinda-sorta know the general structure of the thesis, but I'll know better once I fill in a few pieces. I've done a fair amount of research, although I have a ton more to do--which is one of the reasons why I'm not posting the topic of my thesis--at least, not yet. Once I get through a first draft, then I'll feel more confident about what I'm writing about.

On the RIGHTEOUS front, I chatted with my editor, Stephanie Lane, last week, and it looks like the novel will be coming out on the Delacorte Spring 2010 line (I know the tentative release month, but I ain't telling). Now, I know that seems like a long time away, but I promise, it isn't. Plus, if any of you read my bumbling, rambling post from last week, you'll see that I could stand to use a little extra time before the novel comes out.

What else...a few people have called me out concerning the Alumni Award that I was given at the past Vermont College Residency. It's not that I was ignoring talking about it--it's just that I always feel strange talking about awards like this. Seriously, I can think of so many people that do so much for the program that deserve this recognition at least as much as I do--if not more. That being said, I am extremely honored and humbled, and I hope that I can live up to the ideals of the awards.

On the writing front, I'm working furiously on a new project that I'll call JG for now. I've workshopped it a few times, and uber-agent Sara has seen the first forty-or-so pages of it. It's a bit of a departure from my other work, but at this point in my career, I wanted to try something different.

My career. I have a writing career. God, it feels good to say that.

I hope everyone is having fun doing what he or she is supposed to be doing in life. At least for today, I know that I am. 
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More Good Stuff

We received another blurb this week, this time from author-extraordinaire Cynthia Leitich Smith.

"My Life as a Rhombus is a sensitive and powerful friendship story about two very different girls who connect over the toughest decision either of them will ever make. In his YA debut, author Varian Johnson offers a realistic, heartfelt, and thoughtful take on unplanned teen pregnancy from the perspective of a young math whiz trying to reconcile her future and past."

I've never told Cynthia this, but I the first time I saw her in person (at the 2004 Austin SCBWI Conference), I didn't have the courage to speak to her. I mean, she's Cynthia Leitich Smith--and I was just a lowly, unpublished author. Anyway, about a year later, after meeting her husband, Greg, at another SCBWI event, she sent me the following email:

Dear Varian,
How is it that I don't know you yet? ;-)

I'm happy to report that two years later, I'm privileged to call her both a friend and a mentor.