Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

2018 Conference Faculty: Elana K. Arnold

Meet the faculty of the 2018 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.

Elana K. Arnold, Author

Elana K. Arnold writes books for and about children and teens. Her most recent YA novel, WHAT GIRLS ARE MADE OF, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and her middle grade novel A BOY CALLED BAT is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Some of her books have been included on School Library Journal’s Best Books list, Kirkus’s Best Teen Books list, the New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles Public Libraries’ Best Books of the Year list, the Bank Street Best Book list, the YALSA “Best Fiction for Young Adults” list, and have been selected for inclusion in the Amelia Bloomer Project. Her YA novel, INFANDOUS, won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award and the Westchester Fiction Prize. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing/Fiction from the University of California, Davis and currently lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her family and a menagerie of animals.

Elana K. Arnold
Elana K. Arnold

What attracted you to children’s books?

Children are whole people, already. I write books about children and teens because I love people–children and teens among them–and because I’m curious about the characters and ideas that occur to me. I enjoy the process of following them where they lead.

What’s the best part of your job?

There are so many “best parts” about writing: the autonomy when I’m dreaming and drafting a book; the collaboration when I team with an editor in revision; the satisfaction when my story is read in a way I hoped or (even better) thought about in a way that surprises me, causing me to learn something about my book (or myself) that I hadn’t seen clearly on my own.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

There is a lot of waiting in the publishing life cycle. Waiting is hard for me.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

If you have access to a world that most people do not, write about that world.

Come see Elana at the 2018 Austin SCBWI conference, April 28-29, 2018