College Writer Tag

Happy Thursday Readers, it’s almost the weekend!!!

College Writer Tag

One month ago, I was nominated for the College Writer Tag by Julia of Julia the Writer Girl (she’s pretty awesome, stop by her blog!…thank you, Julia!!!). Since this has been quite a busy Fall, I’m just now getting around to it. Here we go, folks!

The Questions

(all nominees must answer these)

1. What year are you? Junior! aka, the coolest, hardest year (-__- LOL)

2. What’s your major(s)/minor(s)? Political Science with a spattering of Creative Writing courses (basically a minor)

3. What type(s) of writing do you do? YA & MG Speculative Fiction but I’m waging a kind of bet with myself & characters on whether or not a Snow White retelling I’m working on will become NA (it’s currently YA Sci-Fi)

4. What are your plans for after college, both career-wise and writing-wise? I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this lately. I’m considering pursuing an MFA in Writing for Children at Vermont Fine Arts (it’s a low-residency program) while working within publishing or a child literary nonprofit. Basically books, books and writing 24/7. My love for reading and writing go hand and hand so anything that deals with getting children to read and write and/or getting more great books out there, I’m interested in it!

5. What is one thing you’ve learned about writing while in college? Taking a page from what Julia said, college has taught me that when you want to do something you’d better do it because you might not have time later. It’s taught me that I can write a full-fledged YA or MG novel (my first drafts are usually on the small side so 40-60,000 words) in 1-3 months (aka usually the length of a semester or Winter/Summer Break, and that I can’t live without writing. Because in college everything seems to be working against my ability to write, it has become even more precious to me. I horde time like Gollum horded the One Ring (and yes, I’m going to the midnight premiere of The Hobbit Part 2 & watching LOTR + The Hobbit Part 1 beforehand (it’s a tradition my friend and I complete every finals reading period)).


I nominate:*

Laura of Laura + the voices (which also sounds like a cool band name)

*Technically you’re supposed to nominate 4 but I don’t know that many college writers. Actually, I’m sure I do I just can’t think of them write now/don’t know they’re in college/they don’t have a blog.

Whimsically Yours,



Some Great (& Hilarious) Advice (for anyone really)

So this is already listed under my “Writer Resources” tab on this blog’s menu however I re-watched it yesterday and thought I should post it. It’s pretty darn good which is why I shall let it do the talking as I go back to doing what I (truly) do best, writing.

Many thanks to Veronica Roth for this!

What’s the best advice you’ve received?

Whimsically Yours,


Advice to Fellow Writers

Reblog of post from my writer’s site…some advice to fellow writers as a result of an email I received.

Patrice Caldwell

Yesterday I received an email from fellow writer Andrea Black, I replied to her email but I’d like to share it with you because I think it’s a question a lot of people might have:

Basically Andrea asked me “how do you get started, and how do you find a focus?”

First I would like to say I’m honored that you think I have such a focus and have a knack for writing, I often feel I have no idea what I’m doing.

Second:  My answer to Andrea as well as to other struggling/lost/confused (what have you) writers is to just write what you want.  A lot of time people say pick a focus but honestly how can you “pick a focus” before you know where your talent lies.

I write what I love, I write what the reader in me (who I like to think has amazing taste) loves.  My…

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Interview with MG Author Gina Willner-Pardo

As my sayonara to Middle Grade Mentions, I would like to introduce, Middle Grade Author Gina Willner-Pardo, enjoy 🙂

Hi! My name is Gina Willner-Pardo, and I’ve been writing children’s books for a long time!  My first book, NATALIE SPITZER’S TURTLES, was published in 1992, and my seventeenth book, PRETTIEST DOLL (published by Clarion), is coming out on November 6, 2012.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

I have been writing books since I was seven years old.  I didn’t seriously consider myself a writer until I published my first book.  I was thirty-three at the time.

How did you get the idea for your book?

I have a very embarrassing habit: I watch bad TV when I’m sick.  A few years ago, I happened to catch a reality show called “Little Miss Perfect,” about little girls who competed in child beauty pageants.  I was mesmerized and horrified all at once.  I thought, Those poor kids.  And then I thought, I wonder what would happen if one of them told her mother she didn’t want to do this anymore.

When & why did you start writing?

I started writing when I was about seven.  I loved books, I loved reading books, I loved having books read to me, and once I mastered the art of holding a pencil (yes, in olden times), I was besotted with the idea of writing books of my own.

What is the best piece of constructive criticism you ever received?

Get used to rejection fast, because there is no way to become a published writer without experiencing rejection.  Repeat: There. Is. No. Way.

How do you overcome “writer’s block” ?

I just start typing.  Even if it’s bad.  Even if I know I’ll have to take it out later.  If I just force the muscles to start moving, sometimes I can get started again.

If it doesn’t work, I listen to old R & B, take a walk, go for a drive.  Anything to get away from the computer.  But not for too long. 

Are you a full time writer?

Yes, in the sense that I don’t do anything else for money.  But I don’t work nearly as many hours/day as people who do different kinds of jobs.

Anthony Trollope wrote five thousand words a day, every day, before heading to his job as a postal clerk.  This is simply astounding to me.

When my kids were young, I considered myself a full-time mother who was a part-time writer.  But they’re adults now, so writing is my full-time job.  I am very lucky indeed.

Fun Fact about yourself most people don’t know?

My boyfriend and I walk around the house talking to each other with British accents, even though neither of us is British.  I can’t believe I’m telling anyone this.

How did you find a publisher for your book?

When I finished PRETTIEST DOLL, I sent it to my agent, Jennifer Laughran, of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  She asked for some revisions, which I made.  Then she sent it to several editors.  Most of them liked the book a lot, but Dinah Stevenson from Clarion was the first to make an offer.  I’ve worked with Dinah many times in the past and was very happy to work with her again.

What is some advice you would impart to aspiring authors?

1)      Read, read, read.

2)      Write every day, even if it’s only for ten minutes.

3)      Get used to rejection.

4)      Believe in yourself.  Believe you are good enough to do this.

 What is your favorite book?

I wrote a blog post about this recently.  Here’s a link:

What is your favorite movie?

Ooh.  This is hard.  “When Harry Met Sally.”  “The Big Chill.”  “Love, Actually.”  “Hope Floats.” The Thin Man series, with William Powell and Myrna Loy.  Anything with Fred Astaire.  “Witness for the Prosecution,” with Charles Laughton.

In other words, really good romantic comedies and very old movies.  I don’t care much for movies made in the last few years.  The last really good one I saw was “Winter’s Bone,” with Jennifer Lawrence.  That knocked me out.

What is the next book you want to write?

My agent is shopping my latest manuscript, which is a middle-grade novel about three friends and the secrets they keep.

I’ve started working on a new manuscript about a very dysfunctional family.  I’m not sure if it will be for kids or adults.  The working title is KNOWING FROM CRAZY.

Last words???

I am so grateful to Patrice Caldwell for including me on her blog and asking me such thought-provoking questions.  And I am so happy that there are people out there who still care about what writers have to say. 

Keep reading.  Buy books if you can; check them out of the library if you can’t.  Visit me at and, if you are on twitter, @GinaWPardo.  Send me an e-mail or a tweet, and I’ll write you back.  Love and blessings to you all.

Thank you Gina for doing this interview, you’re advice to aspiring authors is truly a gift!

P.S. I like speaking in British accents too!

Whimsically Yours,