Author Interview: Lauren Karcz

Gallery of Unfinished GirlsHi friends! Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much. This is pretty much how well I’m balancing teaching, plus writing, plus trying to exercise, and have some kind of life. But I’m completely thrilled to have an interview with Lauren Karcz for you today. Her debut YA The Gallery of Unfinished Girls comes out tomorrow, and I can’t wait to read it.

When developing the story, did you begin with plot, character, or setting?

Characters, for sure. Three of the main characters in Gallery — protagonist Mercedes, her sister Angela, and her best friend Victoria — go way, way back with me. I started writing about them when I was in middle school, and they featured in all kinds of stories, from contemporary romances to mysteries to adventure stories. I carried those girls with me as I grew up, as I became their ages and then surpassed them. I think Mercedes and Victoria were aspirational characters for me at the beginning, but they’ve necessarily evolved over the years. I could always identify with parts of them, and aspire to parts of their personalities, while also acknowledging their flaws. And so I returned to them again and again. Continue reading “Author Interview: Lauren Karcz”

Sensitivity, Writing, & Grief

I have always, always been a sensitive person. Sometimes this serves me well, like in my writing. Sometimes it doesn’t, like in the fifth grade. Despite (or perhaps because of) this sensitivity, I tend to spend a lot of time in my head. It’s less overwhelming than living in the world of my feelings. This means that when things aren’t going well, like in the last month or so, I spend a lot of time trying to understand why. This is a completely futile exercise, but one I have a hard time stopping. Especially late at night. Continue reading “Sensitivity, Writing, & Grief”

Book Riot News


Pretty much since I started blogging here, I’ve been reading Book Riot. They were woke to the need for diverse books way before me (even before the hashtag). And they always, always lived up to their tagline: always books, never boring. For a few years, I’ve considered applying to write for them, but I’ve never felt brave enough.

This year, I summoned my courage and applied.

I wrote two try-out posts for them. One piece started as a post I almost put on this blog about boys often go through school without reading much or anything about the female experience. In particular, I wrote about how in middle school we read the play version of Anne Frank instead of the original source because the boys were uncomfortable with how personal the diary is.

In the second piece, I wrote about fat girls in romance novels. Both posts are personal, but this one was much harder to write. I stressed about whether to use the word fat. I stressed about admitting so publicly that I read romance novels. I stressed about how much to reveal about my experiences with body image and weight. But I was also really, really proud of what I wrote.

And I guess personal and scary and stressful works well on the Internet, because they offered me a contributor spot. I’m really excited to have another platform to talk about books on and to get paid for my writing for the first time ever (even though it’s probably not that much).

So that’s my news. Hope everyone else is having a fun and productive Wednesday!

I Did It!

giphy (5)

I just hit send on my last turn in of my thesis to my advisor. There will still be a little bit of work and polishing to do before I’m officially done, but this was the big deadline. The one I’ve been working towards all semester. Craziness. I don’t have much time to write or reflect on my emotions, because I have an hour to turn around and go to a mixer with editors and agents at my school tonight (also craziness). But I’m feeling so happy and proud of myself (I did finish a draft of the novel) and supported. Friends sent an amazing care package and flowers and got me pumpkin cheese cake to get me through this week. Even more sent nice comments through this blog or text messages or other social media.

I have no idea how I’ll feel tomorrow … or once I get the notes back on the draft from my advisor. But right now I feel filled with joy and very blessed.


Ten Bookish Accounts to Follow on Social Media


I don’t think this week needs much set up. I follow a lot, a lot of bookish social media accounts. Here are 10 bookish accounts/authors/bloggers/whatever that you won’t regret following ASAP. Let me know who I should be following in the comments and feel free to reach out to me on twitter too – @AlisonCDohertyContinue reading “Ten Bookish Accounts to Follow on Social Media”

We Need Diverse Books Chat @ New School


Happy Thursday, friends! I’ve written about diverse books a few times on the blog and more and more have been setting goals to read diversely. It’s wonderful to be in New York where so many people want to have these discussions in the book/writing/publishing world. Last week, there was a panel on We Need Diverse Books at The New School. It featured New School MFA alum Sona Charaipotra, Una LaMarche and Daniel José Older. They talked about research methods, negative representations, craft issues when writing cross culturally, and more.

A friend and I wrote a blog post about the event for school which you can read here if you’re interested. I’ve read (and loved) Sona’s book Tiny Pretty Things, and am really excited to dive into the books from the other panelists which I bought at the event.

Would love any of your diverse book suggestions in the comments!

What are you afraid of?

downloadI started reading Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, yesterday. Many friends and bloggers and writers have raved about the book, but I’ve held off so far because Eat, Pray, Love left a bad taste in my mouth (even though I know it’s been an important book to many people!). Whoa. This book punched me in the stomach right from the get go with a lot of truths I’ve known for a long time, but have been unable to articulate. I know I’ve been brave and chosen the creative life before, but with graduation little more than two months away I feel like I’m coming to another crossroads. It feels like I have to make the decision all over again, and figuring out what that looks like post school, well, it’s definitely been interrupting my sleep.

So this book found me right when I needed it. I’m only a few chapters in, but the part that’s resonated with me most is very early in the book in a section titled Scary, Scary, Scary. The author lists many reasons to be afraid of living a more creative life. I started the list reading item after item thinking no, no, no. And then – stomach punch – yes. Continue reading “What are you afraid of?”

Best. Writing Motivation. Ever.


I’ve used a lot of things to try to motivate myself to write in the past. But, this semester, I have a new method that has proven very, very effective. It’s an idea I stole from my thesis advisor. If I don’t make my target number of pages each month I have to donate $50 to a political campaign I don’t believe in. When she gave this advice back in October … I honestly didn’t think Trump would still be a considered serious candidate. But if every cloud has a silver lining, my silver lining is that the idea of giving money to his campaign is pretty much the best writing motivation I’ve ever had. Continue reading “Best. Writing Motivation. Ever.”