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Teen Author Interview: Joelle Anthony (J.M. Kelly)

I recently had the privilege to interview author Joelle Anthony, along with fellow Teen Ambassador Dorothy. Joelle Anthony is a playwright, actress, writing teacher, and author of three novels for teens, Restoring Harmony, The Right & the Real and Speed of Life (published under the pen name J. M. Kelly.) She is currently also an audiobook narrator. We discussed everything from writing advice to the process of audiobook recording, to even our favourite flavours of ice cream! Here are some of my highlights from the interview:

Dorothy: “How do you choose your topics for your books? Is it inspiration, and does it come suddenly, or do you have start with a basic idea?

Joelle: It’s a collection of different small things that all of a sudden come together.  For Speed of life, for example, I used to ride the bus a lot when I lived in the city. I saw these teen mothers with their babies and they got on the bus, and they had these strollers and groceries and they just looked so exhausted. The looked so young, too and I thought… these girls are well past the point of “Oh my God I’m pregnant” and they’ve made the decision that “I’m going to keep my baby” and now they’re living with that. It struck me that nobody ever talks about what it’s like to live with the baby afterwards. There are books about the big decision, there’s the upheavals of family, but nobody ever really gives them their little moment for people understand like OK you’ve made the decision and now you can’t go back on it. I thought, this is what total exhaustion 24-hours-a-day looks like, taking the bus because you haven’t had a chance to go to University, or learn a trade, and buy a car.

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Teen SRC 2018 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

SRC Teen 2018 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Image result for fangirl by rainbow rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Let’s get one thing out of the way – I read this book after reading ‘Carry On‘. Fangirl follows the story of Cath, a shy fanfiction writing nerd as she starts college without her sister and best friend, Wren, by her side. Cath meets her roommate Reagan, and Reagan’s ‘boyfriend’ Levi, and starts maneuvering her way through college life.

With full honesty, this book was slightly underwhelming. With more honesty, I’ve never really enjoyed any of Rowell’s books apart from ‘Carry On‘. Her style just isn’t for me, and I sometimes find the plot… messy? But this was a quick, gentle read that I found relatable at points, and it’d be nice if you gave it a chance 🙂

Digital Storytelling Series [Ages 10-14]

Calling all aspiring creative writers!

Have you ever wanted to write your own book? Or make a text-based choose your own adventure game? The Digital Services Team at the Richmond Public Library will be offering a three-part digital storytelling series this February to help you explore new ways of planning and creating stories online.

We’ve developed these programs to appeal to talented young artists-in-the-making like yourselves (ages 10-14).

Sign up for individual workshops. We hope to see you there!

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18th, 2018


Inkle – Choose Your Own Adventure Story

Want to write your own adventure story where the reader gets to choose the ending? Want to write that story as a simple, text-based video game? Inkle provides the tools, you provide the inspiration! Our digital services team will help you craft your story and learn how to turn it into a video game!

 

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24th, 2018


StoryMap JS

Create a map that tells a story with StoryMap JS. StoryMap can help you visualize the geographical context of your story, or help you map out your family’s last road trip. Add images, tweets and videos to bring your story to life!

 

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25th, 2018 


True Novelist – Write Your Own Novel!

Do you have a story in you wanting to get out? Do you have trouble organizing your research, keeping track of characters, creating places? True Novelist is free online software that is designed to help you achieve your word goals and do all the heavy lifting, leaving you free to write!