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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reading ... and Writing ... for Inspiration

“Maybe other writers have perfect first drafts, but I am not one of them. I always try to get the book as tight as I can, but you reach a point as the author where you have lost all perspective.” – Sarah Dessen

Born in Evanston, Illinois on this date in 1970, YA novelist Dessen said she got interested in writing early in life and can’t remember a time when she wasn’t writing.  After moving to Chapel Hill, NC as a child (her parents were college professors), she studied creative writing at the University of North Carolina and then dived right in – to a job as a waitress at a burrito restaurant, waiting tables at night and writing by day.  Her first novel, That Summer, hit the market in 1996 and by 1997 she was writing full time.  Both That Summer and her second novel Someone Like You were honored by the American Library Association in their “Best Fiction for Young Adults” category – the first two of seven of her books to achieve that honor.    Those two novels also inspired the popular movie “How To Deal,” starring Mandy Moore and Allison Janney.

All 14 of her books (to date) have been best sellers, and led to Dessen’s being selected for the ALA’s Margaret A. Edwards Award  “ . . .for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature.”

Dessen gives the same advice that many other best-selling writers do:  First be a good reader.  “I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were,” Dessen said.       “I really just love to read, period, whether it be books or magazines or the back of the cereal box. It's the one thing I can always count on to calm me down, take me away and inspire me, all at once.”

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