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Writing YA When You’re Not a Teen

A friend asked me lately how I, as an adult, write YA. In particular, she wanted to know if I need to be around teenagers to write for them.

It helps, certainly. I taught high school English for years, I’ve volunteered with teen writers, I’ve raised my own kids, and I have teenage nieces and nephews. I once was a teen, too, which counts for something. Still, since I’m not around teens on a daily basis right now, I’m conscious of my limits.

For instance, I would not attempt to… Continue reading

Playtime is Messy

Messy ToysI like toys and colorful messes when I’m playing. When I need to concentrate, though, I often have to tidy up a bit so that I’m not itched by tippy clutter in the background. Similarly, I’ll make a list of pesky things I need to do and park them for late in the afternoon so phone calls or errands don’t chop up my writing time.

When I’m starting a new writing project, though, the mess is in my writing. I land in a world I can’t see clearly and start… Continue reading

Summering, 2020

Island Lake, MinnesotaIt’s hard to know where to start these days, isn’t it? Those of us fortunate enough to be well and working from home have seen the isolation of the pandemic’s early stay-at-home orders smear into the social distancing of the summer. The effect is a timelessness that’s difficult to explain or capture.

I’ve attended a couple of protests, an online bridal shower, a virtual conference, and a long-distance funeral, but most of the time, my days are defined by a sameness that blurs them together. I lose track of which… Continue reading

Picture Books for Summer Delight

Those of us with little ones who cuddle close know the pleasure of reading picture books in the best company. Though libraries have started opening again in a limited fashion, ordering picture books from them is still a challenge because browsing to facilitate discovery isn’t possible. I’ve turned the recent hardship into a justification to purchase more books than I normally would, and I’m so happy with the results. By perusing award lists and recommended titles, I’ve discovered a bunch of new books that have quickly become favorites. I’ve rediscovered… Continue reading

Keep Creating

Protesters in Willimantic, CT, June 5, 2020

Peaceful citizens gathered in Willimantic, CT on June 5, 2020 to protest the killing of George Floyd and rally in support of Black Lives Matter. I marched with them and in the days since, I’ve watched as countless protests continue across our country and around the world. For once, I feel hopeful that the voices of the people will affect real change.

Our world is a daunting place these days. It can seem pointless to focus on writing a novel in the… Continue reading

Where I Stand

I regularly feel like a coward, the exact opposite of the brave characters who people my novels. In my private life, I am outraged by injustice. The tragic murder of George Floyd sickens me and haunts my nightmares. Yet I’m reluctant to say anything publicly the way other writers I admire do. I reason that people who agree with me don’t need more revving up, and that the people who don’t agree with me will shut me out. I don’t trust the Internet to be a safe place for my… Continue reading

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Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop


Caragh's books »

Audio Books

The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, PROMISED, and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Audible.com.
Book Trailer for Promised