Author Spotlight: Brigit Young
Aug. 10, 2018
We are excited to feature middle-grade author Brigit Young and her debut book, WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan, August 14, 2018) illustrated by Boyoun Kim.
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|cover design © Boyoun Kim|
After moving from Michigan to NYC at age 19 to pursue acting, I soon discovered I preferred art forms that didn’t involve anybody staring at me as I bared my soul! I liked to bare it while on my bed with a La Croix and only a cat to watch me work. I soon began writing poetry and short stories, and when I dove into the novel form, I felt compelled to write about young people. A part of this stemmed from the fact that many of my day jobs involved children, and also that my pre-teen years remain crystal clear and present for me.
Congrats on your debut, WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS. Tell us about your book and what inspired it.
WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS tells the story of Tillie, a 12-year-old loner with chronic pain and a severe limp, who can find any lost thing, but whose loner status is threatened when the class clown asks for her help to find his missing dad. The idea for the book came to me when my life-long friend, Tillie, told me she’d always wanted to read a book about a girl who “finds lost things,” and, truly inspired by that nugget and my own experiences with chronic pain, I set off to write a mystery with a chronic pain-having, mystery-solving heroine!
What projects are you working on now?
I’m in the editing process for my next middle-grade novel, THE PRETTIEST. In THE PRETTIEST, an anonymously written list announcing the “Top 50 prettiest girls” has thrown Ford Middle School into chaos. “Number one,” the painfully shy Eve, can no longer disappear into her poetry with her newfound celebrity status, “Number two,” popular perfectionist Sophie, desperately wants to be number one, and Nessa, who is not on the list, defies all the shame she’s told to feel. The three girls, along with others who join them along the way, attempt to uncover the writer of the list and, in the process, band together in the face of cruelty and superficiality.
Your favorite classic MG books?
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. As a child, that book opened my eyes and heart by beautifully emphasizing the profound importance of justice. My other favorite classic is The Giver by Lois Lowry. I’ve read that book over and over, and yet each time I read it I still feel like I’m sitting down with it for the first time.
Your favorite recent MG book?
I adore PENELOPE MARCH IS MELTING by Jeffrey Michael Ruby. Penelope’s strength and wit inspire me, and Ruby’s work reminds me of Roald Dahl! I also love THE LAND OF YESTERDAY by K.A. Reynolds, an evocative and magical tale of an intrepid girl searching for her mother who has disappeared into the Land of Yesterday to find the girl’s deceased brother. Reynolds captures the earth-shattering pain of grief, while still managing to impart a life-affirming message
What is the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Persevere! Never stop writing and never stop submitting. We all have triumphs and failures at different times. Keep faith that the triumphs you dream of will come if you keep going, just maybe not on the timeline you expect or even in the exact manner you expect.
What is one thing most people don't know about you?
I am also a poet. Although I’ve published short stories and essays over the years, poetry is a form of writing I continue to actively work on and pursue. My favorite poem is “Tonight I Can Write the Saddest Lines” by Pablo Neruda!
Where can people find you online?
My website is brigityoung.com, and I’m on Twitter at @BrigitYoung. I’m on Instagram at @BrigitYoungBooks, where I post lots of pictures of Brooklyn, books, and the occasional Walt Whitman quote.
Brigit Young is a middle-grade author living in New York with her husband and young daughter. Worth a Thousand Words is her debut novel.
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