PODCAST

Middle Grade Ninja

Middle Grade Ninja

Rob Kent interviews fellow authors, editors, literary agents, and other publishing professionals to discuss the craft and business of producing middle grade and young adult novels. New episode every Saturday. MiddleGradeNinja.com. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/middle-grade-ninja/support

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171 Author Zetta Elliott
4d ago
171 Author Zetta Elliott
Zetta Ellicott and I chat about her bestselling middle grade series, DRAGONS IN A BAG, and lessons learned writing more than 40 books for children (so far). We talk about how she envisions her success with a vision board and how she trains in puppetry, film, and other art forms to ensure she’s using all the parts of her brain. We discuss the importance of mirror books, how she learned to decentralize whiteness and decolonize her imagination, how she uses rage as fuel while remaining hopeful, why she’s going to Virginia where a book of hers has been banned, a mysterious ghost in a top hat, a possible flying saucer sighting, and so much more.   PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:)  Buy DRAGONS IN A BAG by Zetta Elliott:   Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   Zetta Elliott is a Black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. She was born and raised in Canada, but has lived in the US for over 25 years. She earned her PhD in American Studies from NYU in 2003; she has taught at Ohio University, Louisiana State University, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Bard High School Early College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her poetry has been published in New Daughters of Africa, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, the Cave Canem anthology The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers. Her novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers, and her plays have been staged in New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. Her essays have appeared in School Library Journal, The Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Her picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Her young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called “a revelation…vivid, violent and impressive history.” Ship of Souls was published in February 2012; it was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth and was a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award. Her YA novel, The Door at the Crossroads, was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the 2017 Cybils Awards, and her picture book, Melena’s Jubilee, won a 2017 Skipping Stones Honor Award. She received the Children’s Literature Association’s Article Award for her 2014 essay, “The Trouble with Magic: Conjuring the Past in New York City Parks.” She is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing, and has self-published numerous illustrated books for younger readers under her own imprint, Rosetta Press; 3 were named Best of the Year by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature, and Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged was a first-grade fiction selection for the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was published by Random House in 2018; the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) named it a Notable Children’s Book. Its sequel, The Dragon Thief, was named a Best Middle Grade Book of 2019 by CBC Books. Say Her Name, a young adult poetry collection, was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in January 2020; A Place Inside of Me was published in July 2020 by FSG and was named a Notable Poetry Book by NCTE. She currently lives in Evanston, IL.   This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
171 Author Zetta Elliott
4d ago
171 Author Zetta Elliott
Zetta Ellicott and I chat about her bestselling middle grade series, DRAGONS IN A BAG, and lessons learned writing more than 40 books for children (so far). We talk about how she envisions her success with a vision board and how she trains in puppetry, film, and other art forms to ensure she’s using all the parts of her brain. We discuss the importance of mirror books, how she learned to decentralize whiteness and decolonize her imagination, how she uses rage as fuel while remaining hopeful, why she’s going to Virginia where a book of hers has been banned, a mysterious ghost in a top hat, a possible flying saucer sighting, and so much more.   PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:)  Buy DRAGONS IN A BAG by Zetta Elliott:   Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   Zetta Elliott is a Black feminist writer of poetry, plays, essays, novels, and stories for children. She was born and raised in Canada, but has lived in the US for over 25 years. She earned her PhD in American Studies from NYU in 2003; she has taught at Ohio University, Louisiana State University, Mount Holyoke College, Hunter College, Bard High School Early College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College. Her poetry has been published in New Daughters of Africa, We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, the Cave Canem anthology The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Check the Rhyme: an Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, and Coloring Book: an Eclectic Anthology of Fiction and Poetry by Multicultural Writers. Her novella, Plastique, was excerpted in T Dot Griots: an Anthology of Toronto’s Black Storytellers, and her plays have been staged in New York, Cleveland, and Chicago. Her essays have appeared in School Library Journal, The Huffington Post, and Publishers Weekly. Her picture book, Bird, won the Honor Award in Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Contest and the Paterson Prize for Books for Young Readers. Her young adult novel, A Wish After Midnight, has been called “a revelation…vivid, violent and impressive history.” Ship of Souls was published in February 2012; it was named a Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy Title for Youth and was a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award. Her YA novel, The Door at the Crossroads, was a finalist in the Speculative Fiction category of the 2017 Cybils Awards, and her picture book, Melena’s Jubilee, won a 2017 Skipping Stones Honor Award. She received the Children’s Literature Association’s Article Award for her 2014 essay, “The Trouble with Magic: Conjuring the Past in New York City Parks.” She is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing, and has self-published numerous illustrated books for younger readers under her own imprint, Rosetta Press; 3 were named Best of the Year by the Bank Street Center for Children’s Literature, and Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged was a first-grade fiction selection for the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Dragons in a Bag, a middle grade fantasy novel, was published by Random House in 2018; the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) named it a Notable Children’s Book. Its sequel, The Dragon Thief, was named a Best Middle Grade Book of 2019 by CBC Books. Say Her Name, a young adult poetry collection, was published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in January 2020; A Place Inside of Me was published in July 2020 by FSG and was named a Notable Poetry Book by NCTE. She currently lives in Evanston, IL.   This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
170 Author Aisha Saeed
Jun 18 2022
170 Author Aisha Saeed
Aisha Saeed and I discuss her career and her newest middle grade novel OMAR RISING, a companion novel to AMAL UNBOUND. We chat about the difficulty she had submitting to traditional publishers and how that led her to seek out other diverse authors and the founding of WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS, which is a movement that gives us hope even when the world seems disparaging at times. We also talk about the pressure of writing about Wonder Woman in DIANA AND THE ISLAND OF NO RETURN, advocating for children in education and as a writer, Unsolved Mysteries, flying saucers, and so much more.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:) Buy OMAR RISING by Aisha Saeed: BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free: Saeed is an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of books for children. Her books, including the middle grade novel Amal Unbound (Penguin), the young adult novel Yes No Maybe So (co-written with Becky Albertalli), and the anthology Once Upon Eid (co-edited with S.K. Ali) received multiple starred reviews. Amal Unbound was selected as a Global Read Aloud for 2018 and was the winner of the South Asian book award. Her picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal (Simon and Schuster) received an APALA honor. Aisha is also a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books™.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram via @aishacs.   This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
169 Author Hilde Kate Lysiak
Jun 11 2022
169 Author Hilde Kate Lysiak
Hilde Lysiak and I chat about her new memoir, HILDE ON THE RECORD. As she’s just now 15 years old, presumably it’s the first of many, though she’s already led a very interesting life that’s the subject of the Apple TV series, HOME BEFORE DARK. We talk about how Hilde started her first newspaper at age 7, investigated a local murder at age 9, signed a deal for a 4-book series at age 10, won the Zenger Award for Press Freedom at age 12, and became the youngest person in U.S. history to deliver a commencement speech for the graduating class of West Virginia University’s Reed School of Media. We also discuss ghosts, naturally. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:)  Buy HILDE ON THE RECORD by Hilde Kate Lysiak:   Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   Hilde Kate Lysiak, American journalist and founder of the Orange Street News, has been profiled by the New York Times,  NBC Today and The Washington Post. She’s interviewed former First Lady Michelle Obama for The National and is the inspiration behind AppleTV+ mystery series Home Before Dark.  Oh yes…and she’s only 15. Hilde has brazenly shared news stories with the world since she was only seven, and now she’s putting the spotlight on herself in a poignant, coming-of-age story Hilde on the Record: Memoir of a Kid Crime Reporter (Apr 19, 2022; Chicago Review Press). Appealing to tweens, teens and aspiring young journalists, Hilde's story may also intrigue those familiar with her father Matthew Lysiak, best known for his investigative reporting for the New York Daily News and comprehensive account of the Sandy Hook tragedy, Newtown: An American Tragedy. 2022 marks ten years since the horrific event.      --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
168 Literary Agent Kristin Ostby
Jun 4 2022
168 Literary Agent Kristin Ostby
Kristin Ostby and I discuss how she grew up a reader and daughter of a librarian who went on to edit for Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers before becoming a literary agent with Greenhouse Literary. We talk about why she made that change, the types of projects she’s looking for, how writers and agents can make an editor’s job easier, how to grab an agent’s attention, how she evaluates authors on social media and over Zoom calls, her communication style, using humor as a crucial tool in dramatic fiction, writing for the official Mad Libs, and so much more.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:) Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   Kristin Ostby represents authors of middle grade and young adult fiction, as well as picture book author/illustrators. She is primarily seeking voicey, character-driven middle-grade as well as literary and contemporary young adult fiction. In particular, she is looking for stories with unabashedly intersectional overtones. As the daughter of a librarian and a businessperson, it’s really no wonder Kristin wound up in the book business. Kristin moved from Michigan to New York to begin her life in publishing at Penguin Random House and rose to become a senior editor at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. In her sixteen years as a children’s book editor, Kristin had the joy and pleasure of editing children’s book legend Tomie dePaola; New York Times bestselling authors like Stuart Gibbs (Spy School) and US soccer star Alex Morgan (The Kicks); and award-winning creators including Daniel Miyares (Float), Jessica Lawson (Nooks & Crannies), and Heather Vogel Frederick (The Mother-Daughter Book Club). She also edited the mainstay bestseller I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy and Elizabeth Baddeley. Kristin loves guiding authors and illustrators toward their best work and advocating for them in service of building successful, sustainable artistic careers. Kristin lives in Brooklyn, New York.         --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
164 Author Maurice Broaddus
May 7 2022
164 Author Maurice Broaddus
My friend Maurice Broaddus and I discuss his newest novels UNFADEABLE and SWEEP OF STARS. We also chat about some of the older ones, Afrofuturism, using writing to procrastinate from writing, worldbuilding through short stories, grants for writers, writing for video games, Black Panther, British cozy mysteries, running your own writers conference, Arthurian urban fantasy, doing your job as an author for younger readers, vampire communes, and so much more.  PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:)  Buy UNFADEABLE by Maurice Broaddus:   Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   An accidental teacher (at the Oaks Academy Middle School), an accidental librarian (the School Library Manager which part of the IndyPL Shared System), and a purposeful community organizer (resident Afrofuturist at the Kheprw Institute), his work has appeared in Magazine of SF&F, Lightspeed Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Asimov’s, and Uncanny Magazine, with some of his stories having been collected in The Voices of Martyrs. His novels include the urban fantasy trilogy, The Knights of Breton Court, the steampunk novel, Pimp My Airship, and the middle grade detective novel series, The Usual Suspects. As an editor, he’s worked on Dark Faith, Fireside Magazine, and Apex Magazine. His gaming work includes writing for the Marvel Super-Heroes, Leverage, and Firefly role-playing games as well as working as a consultant on Watch Dogs 2.      This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
163 Literary Agent Mark Gottlieb
Apr 30 2022
163 Literary Agent Mark Gottlieb
Mark Gottlieb and I chat about how he was born into the business of books and how Maxwell Perkins’ love of editing convinced him to become an agent with TRIDENT MEDIA GROUP. We discuss his strategies for finding clients and submitting their work, his passion for making their dreams come true, why it’s important to demystify literary agencies, positioning a book for success, dealing with the frustrations of the publishing industry, hypotheticals involving Ralph Ellison, and so much more. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE for more great content:) Download BANNEKER BONES AND THE GIANT ROBOT BEES for free:   Mark Gottlieb is a highly ranked literary agent, both in overall deals and other individual categories. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his client list of authors. Mark Gottlieb is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available at book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. Through his work at Trident Media Group, Mark Gottlieb continues to represent numerous New York Times bestselling authors, as well as major award-winning authors, and has optioned and sold books to film and TV production companies. He previously ran the agency’s audiobook department, in addition to working in foreign rights. In his free time, Mark Gottlieb tutors free English language classes to adults from low-income immigrant families, via the Literacy Volunteers program at Family Centers, a nonprofit organization offering education, health and human services. He is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres and looks forward to bringing new and established authors to the curious minds of their future readers.      --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
160 Public Relations Expert Ellen Whitfield
Apr 9 2022
160 Public Relations Expert Ellen Whitfield
Ellen Whitfield and I discuss how she went from being a reader to a copyeditor to a book reviewer to a publicist with BOOKS FORWARD. We talk specifically about budget numbers for authors preparing to promote their newest launch, strategies for promoting backlists, entering awards contests, what every author should include in their email signature, working with a publisher’s in-house publicity team, and so much more. Ellen balances her understanding of “the other side of the desk” when it comes to media pitching, with a true love of an avid bibliophile. She was part of the journalism community for more than seven years, working at respected print and online media outlets including The Dallas Morning News, The Advocate newspapers of Baton Rouge and New Orleans (where she coordinated book coverage), the Waco Tribune Herald and others. Her experience on the editorial side of the travel, community and lifestyle sections of newspapers, along with her social and online media savviness as a popular Bookstagrammer, is to the benefit of authors across genres. She has an eye for design and a passion for detail. Ellen provides daily mentorship to the Books Forward team and trains incoming publicists to provide expanded services to our growing and beloved Books Forward family. A Louisiana State University graduate, Ellen lives in the Bayou State with her newspaper-executive husband, bright-and-spirited daughter (we know where she gets that from!) and an ever-growing collection of 550 books. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
159 Author Gregory Maguire
Apr 2 2022
159 Author Gregory Maguire
Gregory Maguire and I chat about his career and why he continues to write for children when WICKED is now the fifth longest-running Broadway musical. We discuss writing about depression in animal fables such as in his newest middle grade novel, CRESS WATERCRESS, how a lack of television and a lot of writing set him up for early success, the mystery of inspiration, and so much more. And he gives a very brief sneak preview of his next book, THE WITCH OF MARACOOR. Gregory Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University, and his B.A. from the State University of New York at Albany. He was a professor and co-director at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature from 1979-1985. In 1987 he co-founded Children's Literature New England. He still serves as co-director of CLNE, although that organization has announced its intention to close after its 2006 institute. The bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, Lost, Mirror Mirror, and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, and A Lion Among Men. Wicked, now a beloved classic, is the basis for the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical of the same name. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He has three adopted children and is married to painter Andy Newman. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast:
157 Authors Don Handfield And Joshua Malkin
Mar 19 2022
157 Authors Don Handfield And Joshua Malkin
Don Handfield, Joshua Malkin, and I talk about the differences between writing screenplays and collaborating to write a graphic novel, such as their newest, UNIKORN. We talk about acting with Robert Duvall, getting around lawsuits from McDonalds for THE FOUNDER, persevering to make KNIGHTFALL, being a videogame architect, guest staring on SAVED BY THE BELL: THE NEW CLASS, a potential rift in time/between universes, ghost hunting, and so much more. Don is the co-creator of History Channel's drama series Knightfall and produced The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, and Kill The Messenger, starring two-time Academy-Award nominated actor Jeremy Renner. Don also wrote and directed the Saturn Award-winning film Touchback starring Kurt Russell and Christine Lahti. His first comic series The Rift was produced by Steven Spielberg/Amblin Entertainment as an episode for the upcoming Apple reboot of Amazing Stories. His second series, The Mall, was optioned by Ivan Reitman (Ghostbusters) for development into a TV show. Don was named one of the top new faces of independent film by Filmmaker Magazine and has written screenplays or produced films for all the major studios. Joshua has written feature projects for Sony, Warner Brothers, Cross Creek Entertainment, Universal Pictures as well as for more than a dozen production companies, both big and small. These include: an adaptation of the 80's cult franchise Beastmaster, a supernatural thriller for Australian company See Films and a “re-boot” of the franchise Buck Rogers In the 25th Century. He also wrote and produced three documentaries: two about the art of puppetry, and the other about underground comics. In 2008, his screenplay Cabin Fever 2: Spring Fever completed production for Lionsgate. He is currently developing an animated family film for Intrigue Entertainment, a horror movie for Traveling Picture Show, and a TV series for showrunner Jonathan Glassner (Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1.) Joshua is a professor of screenwriting at the University of California Riverside, a story architect for the video game industry, and the proud father of twins. --- This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. this podcast: