Author and Legend Bruce Coville,
2014 Golden Kite for Fiction Award-Winning Author (for "Better Nate Than Ever") Tim Federle,
"Freakboy" Author Kristin Clark,
Agent Adriana Dominguez,
Agent Danielle Smith,
Art Director Laurent Linn,
Editor Emma Dryden
and our conference attendees.
Over 40 of us sat in a large circle. It was warm and friendly, and first we quickly shared our names, if we wrote and or illustrated, and the genre/age category we were working on.
Then, we got to the substance - attendee questions for our faculty guests. So many topics were covered, from what to do if you're invited to do a school visit and then, when they find out about the LGBTQ content in your book, you get dis-invited, to the awesomeness of librarians, to how few submissions Adriana and Danielle get that include any LGBTQ characters or themes.
Bruce: "Write what you believe in. Anything else is going to be false to you and false to the world as well."
Tim: "You will get pushback and you will be celebrated."
|Kristin Elizabeth Clark|
Kristin: "We need the straight white kids to read these books!"
Adriana: "For me, speaking about diversity is half passion and half strategy."
Danielle: "Don't be afraid to write the characters you want to write. Kids need them."
Laurent: Sometimes it's the little things. Like Marla Frazee including two dad and two mom families among many other diverse families in Everywhere Babies. And the impact of that can be huge.
Emma: The best way to get kids back to empathy is through books. Keep writing.
And one of the best moments was when an attendee shared that two years ago they had come to this LGBTQ Q&A because they'd started working on a teen novel with an intersex character, and they weren't sure if they should continue working on it. Attending that session convinced them they should write the story they wanted to write. Now, their book is done, and they shared a sense of gratitude at the session helping them get past that fear.
And that's what it's about!