The Inside Story: Speed Dating with Authors and Illustrators

Today the SCBWI launched its program, Inside Story, in cooperation with First Book[1] and select independent bookstores.


Taking place in ten cities, the purpose of the program is to introduce readers, librarians, and teachers to new releases and to build traffic at independent bookstores.

So, how does it work? Authors and illustrators are given a short period of time to talk about themselves and their books.  As we all know, it’s no easy task telling an author to keep his or her word counts down.


At Bank Street Bookstore in New York, middle grade and young adult authors were given three minutes to tell us their backstories and sell us on their titles.  Because of time constraints, I only had time to sit in on the middle grade authors, but let me tell you, those authors did not disappoint!

Patricia Lakin

Patricia Lakin, Steve Jobs: Thinking Differently 

Laurie Calkhoven

Laurie Calkhoven, Michael at the Invasion of France, 1943

Jane Breskin Zalben

Jane Breskin Zalben, Four Seasons: A Novel in Four Movements 

Josanne La Valley

Josanne La Valley, The Vine Basket

Maryann Macdonald

Maryann Macdonald, Odette’s Secrets

Chris Grabenstein

Chris Grabenstein, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

The three-minute snippets felt a bit like speed dating.  But those three minutes were jam packed with awesome details—the moment they knew they had a story, how a character came to life, and even why one author had no regrets for having sideswiped the M104 Broadway bus.  You learn something new every day!

Charise Harper

Charise Harper, Just Grace and the Trouble with Cupcakes

Jane Kelley

Jane Kelley, The Desperate Adventures of Zeno & Alya 

Beth Ain

Beth Ain, Starring Jules (As Herself)

Paula J. Freedman

Paula J. Freedman, My Basmati Bat Mitzvah 

John J. Bonk

John J. Bonk, Madhattan Mystery

For more information on the Inside Story, please check out the SCBWI’s website, by clicking here.

And to purchase any of the authors’ titles, please check out Bank Street’s website, by clicking here.

[1] First Book helps children in need obtain new books.  To learn more, please click here.

By rnewman504

12 comments on “The Inside Story: Speed Dating with Authors and Illustrators

      • Mike, In NY, Bank Street was hosting the MG and YA authors, while Books of Wonder hosted the PB authors. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were NJ/PA bookstores on the list too. (I only focused on NY.) If you’re interested in getting involved with this, I’d contact the SCBWI. Seems like a wonderful way to get the word out on your book. The info is on their website.

    • Tina, Maybe you’ll be a speaker at one of these events. It seems like a wonderful opportunity to get the word out on your books.

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