Meet the faculty of the 2017 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.
Coe Booth, Author
Coe Booth was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. She has a master’s degree in psychology and has worked as a counselor for teenagers and families in crisis situations. She also has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. Her first novel Tyrell won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature, and her novels Kendra and Bronxwood were selected by the American Library Association as Best Books for Young Adults. Her first middle-grade novel Kinda Like Brothers was selected as an ALA Notable Book for Children and an NPR Best Book of 2014. In addition to writing, Coe spends her time traveling and speaking at schools across the country. She lives in the Bronx.
What attracted you to children’s books?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to write for teens. Even when I was in second grade, I wrote stories about teenagers! I think it was just the excitement of writing about young people who are going through so many experiences for the first time. And teenagers have to make so many choices, most of which are really challenging, all while trying to figure out who they are. It’s a great time to write about.
What’s the best part of your job?
I love spending so much time in my own head, nurturing my creativity. It’s so exciting when I’m able to work out a plot problem and make a story come to life on the page. I also love being part of the children’s/YA writing community. All the authors I’ve met are so supportive of one another. And they’re a blast to hang out with!
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
It’s very challenging trying to convert an idea that’s been living in my head into something that resembles a story. It’s often such a jumbled mess! I’m also a pretty slow writer, which is a source of a lot of frustration. It takes me a long time to figure out my characters and their stories. It always comes together, but I wish I could speed up that process!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?
Write the entire thing. Then edit.
Come see Coe at the 2017 Austin SCBWI conference, May 20-21, 2017