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YA Authors Share Inspiration, Advice for Young Writers at Decatur Book Festival

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VOX teen journalists were able to interview three acclaimed Young Adult authors about their work and their advice to young writers at this year’s AJC Decatur Book Festival, held on the square in Decatur during Labor Day weekend. These authors included Jason Reynolds (“Ghost”), Shaun David Hutchinson (“We Are the Ants”), and Victoria Schwab (“This Savage Song”).

Three of my fellow VOX teen journalists, Catherine Boyd, Thalia Butts, and Jason Crichton, had the chance to interview these authors as I assisted some other fellow teens with shooting the video. Each of these authors had interesting things to say about their work. I found all of their inspirations to be both relatable and fascinating, with most of their work being inspired by events and people in their lives.

For example, Reynolds said in his interview, “So, I was approached first by a different company who wanted me to write a sports book … but they wanted me to do basketball, and I just feel like, when it comes to black kids, we do more than play basketball … I wanted to sort of delve into something a little differently, and so I felt like track would be cool because so many of us are dealing with the concept of running … and I wanted to explore that with books.”

What also fascinated me about these authors were their tips for young authors, with most of their advice having to do with conquering that all-too-familiar fear of getting your work out there. “When you’re scared to death for someone to read this,” said Hutchinson, “then it’s ready.”

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Similarly, Schwab said, “The best, best thing an aspiring writer can do is get to the end. It’s one of those things you have to do for yourself to know that you can do it.”

Mikael Trench, 18, is a freshman at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and VOX’s multimedia editor. 

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