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.
Jacqueline Lipton, Law Professor & Author
Jacqui Lipton is a law professor at the University of Houston College of Law, as well as a recent graduate of the M.F.A. in Writing for Children and Young Adults at VCFA. Her legal writing and consulting focuses on business and intellectual property law with an emphasis on legal issues for authors and artists. She holds a Ph.D. in intellectual property law from Cambridge University and has practiced and taught law in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Her debut Y.A. novel, INSIDE THE PALISADE (written under the pen-name K.C. Maguire) won the Purple Dragonfly Award for Science Fiction and Fantasy as well as placing in the Houston Writer’s Guild fiction writing contest the previous year. She is a reader for the Young Adult Review Network, and an intern at a literary agency. She also writes a column on speculative fiction for young adults at Luna Station Quarterly.
What attracted you to children’s books?
Is it terrible if I say THE HUNGER GAMES? I didn’t even realize it was technically YA until after I finished the trilogy. That’s when I noticed the burgeoning category of crossover books that appealed to both adults and younger readers. It was eye-opening because my young children were just beginning to read and, ever since, we’ve been able to share our passion for books. (Okay – so I didn’t recommend that my young children actually read THE HUNGER GAMES, but my son found the movies on Netflix and became hooked on them.) I have eclectic tastes in kidlit and, while I love a good dystopian (don’t tell anyone), I also love contemporary, magical realism, fantasy, anything where I can relate to the characters, and especially books that make me cry. I’m looking at you, Jennifer Niven!!!
What’s the best part of your job?
I have a lot of different “jobs” relating to the publishing industry – my own editing and legal/business consulting business, various teaching gigs, interning for a kidlit agency, and reading for a YA magazine. I think the favorite part of my job is having my eyes opened to new ideas from new writers: simple concepts that I’d never have thought of in a million years and then they’re right there on the page straight out of someone’s brilliant writer’s ind. I also love to help people polish their manuscripts and I especially like to help people avoid legal problems if I can.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
Finding time to do everything I want to do. I love teaching, writing, editing, consulting – basically everything I can do in the publishing world. Some people would call me indecisive, but I call myself eclectic. Life would be a whole heck of a lot easier if I could clone myself.
What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?
One of my writing instructors told me to “find the fun” very early in my career, and it’s been invaluable. I don’t think he meant it in a frivolous way either. It’s so easy to get caught up in stress, rejection, general angst, and all the other bad stuff out there in the world. We have the privilege of working with authors and illustrators – people with amazing ideas who want to share them with the world. Some of us even get to *be* authors some of the time! What a privilege! And if it’s not fun, something’s wrong. We’re facing hard times in the world and in our industry today. Our work is harder and more important than ever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t – or shouldn’t – enjoy it, or that we shouldn’t look for the silver lining. We’ll all do better if we can find what speaks to our hearts and our souls. I hope you all find your passion and your writing community and, when you do, hold on tight and don’t let go.
Come see Jacqueline at the 2017 Austin SCBWI conference, May 20-21, 2017