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AFTER THE FALL
"A wrenching, emotional read and an intense conversation starter about issues of sexual consent."
debut novel coming 1.24.17
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in which talented women say
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January 11, 2017

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Veronica Roth

Kate Hart
I know, I know. You already know Veronica Roth. You know she's the author of the Divergent series, a book she wrote during college, that's sold multiple millions of copies and stayed on the NYT bestseller list for years. You know the series was made into movies, and you probably know that her next book, Carve the Mark, is releasing next week as one of the most anticipated books of 2017.

But although I greatly admire the way Veronica has handled her unexpected success and resultant fame, that's not why I asked her for an interview. What makes Veronica a true badass is that despite leading a busier life than almost anybody, she's still the kind of person that, say, sends you a stuffed brain to hold when the one in your head is acting up. She's the kind of friend who texts you while you sit in the surgery waiting room, telling you silly jokes to help keep you calm. She's the kind of friend who uses her success to promote the work and causes of people she cares about -- and though she might kill me for mentioning this, she's the kind of person who shares her wealth privately behind the scenes, because she's not interested in cookies or attention for doing the right thing.

I'm glad to call her a friend, and grateful that she's shared her thoughts for this project.

*

Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Veronica: I’ve been writing for fun since I was a kid, maybe 10 or 11 years old. It wasn’t until college that I thought of it as something I could do for a job—and even then, I knew how hard it was to get published, so my official plan was to be a freelance copyeditor or proofreader, since I did that part-time while I was in school. But sometimes you’re just in the right place at the right time—or rather, sometimes you just have the right manuscript with the right people at the right time! I sold my first book, Divergent, a couple months before I walked at my graduation.

But the path that led me to Carve the Mark was basically just me, playing around with a story I found interesting, after the Divergent series was finished. I felt like I had finally shed the lingering shame that had surrounded my love of YA books and sci-fi/fantasy and all the delightful tropes therein, and I don’t know, I just charged into the story with joy and filled it with all the things I liked: space! Training montages! Family drama! Burgeoning female friendships! Weird mystery substances! The “people with powers” trope! The “girl used as weapon gains her own agency” trope! Alien languages! Space gladiators!

It was a powerful feeling.

covers of Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant, and Carve the Mark


veronica's fist punching a kickboxing bag
Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Veronica: Honestly, I am frustratingly single-minded. Writing was always my hobby—I crammed it into all the empty spaces in my life while I was in school!—so when it became my job, I had no hobbies to speak of, and I still don’t. I read, but that’s pretty standard for a writer. And it’s not creative, but I do love to exercise. I started kickboxing last year and I love it. Running, too.



Kate: What's your biggest challenge?

Veronica: I’m anxious! The diagnosed, medicated kind of anxious. So sometimes my biggest challenge is not obsessively checking WebMD, or not falling asleep in the middle of the day so I can avoid the things that stress me out, or having a conversation with more than one person over the course of an evening. Some days I feel really strong, like I can handle anything, and some days I’m completely helpless and can’t work and feel like a waste of space. Medication gives me more of the former days than the latter, these days, and that’s amazing. God bless you, chemicals.



sarah enni, kate hart, kirsten hubbard, veronica roth, and debra driza at YALLWEST 2015Kate: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.

Veronica: I have to tell you, I always feel like such a fraud talking about failure when I’ve been so fortunate, and really had very little to overcome to get where I am—being a straight white able-bodied woman from an upper class background in America is a pretty sweet deal, guys.

But I guess that just means redefining failure, because one of the things I think was a big failure of mine was a failure of sensitivity. I wrote a pretty careless sexual assault scene in Divergent, and one day I went on the Internet to discover that someone had pointed that out, pretty publicly. Digging deeper, I discovered that other people had had a problem with it, too. I wrestled for awhile about what to do about it, and ultimately I decided it was best to just own up to it. I wrote a blog post describing as honestly as possible what was wrong with the scene and what I had learned since I wrote it.

And this is the important thing, the thing I feel like we don’t believe enough in our culture: when you just acknowledge how you messed up and don’t try to make excuses, people are receptive to that. The world can be a very hostile place, don’t get me wrong. But the mistake a lot of people make when they fail the way I did is trying to hide it or downplay it. We all make mistakes; everyone knows that. But a sincere confession is good for the heart.



kirsten hubbard, veronica roth, and kate hart at ALA 2011
Kate: What's the best compliment you've ever gotten?

Veronica: I don’t receive compliments very well, to be honest—they make me want to disappear into a hole in the ground, so I’m not terribly gracious in my reaction to them. But I am proud of the person I’ve become. I think I’m pretty honest, and kind, and I try to support other people as much as I can. It’s hard to say this! Why is it so hard to say what we like about ourselves?



Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work? 

Veronica: Honestly, I think I’ve been through a bit of a feminist tornado in the past ten years. In high school I was one of those people who identified as “not like other girls,” who had negative feelings about female friendship. I certainly wouldn’t have called myself a feminist. Then, in college, I realized that I had female friendships that didn’t involve gossip, or competitiveness, or passive aggressiveness—all the things that I believed defined female friendships before then. It’s pretty hard to be a feminist if you’ve been culturally conditioned to hate your own gender, right? So God, am I grateful for the supportive, smart, and generous women who made me love being a woman.

I’ve been learning since then. Recently the biggest revelation I had came courtesy of Sumayyah Daud, which encouraged me to listen before I talk over people who experience marginalization in a different way (and, let’s be real, in a much greater way) than I do. That doesn’t mean not taking action. It means directing your efforts to boost marginalized voices and platforms, not your own. And most of the time, I still have no clue how to do that. But I try to be patient with myself, and with other people. We’re all fumbling for the light switch here.


sarah enni, kristin otts, kristin halbrook, phoebe north, somaiya daud, kate hart, kirsten hubbard, amy lukavics, veronica roth, and kody keplinger in seattle 2013
Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Veronica: Listen to them. Celebrate their accomplishments, even if the small, dark parts of you feel envious. Help—if they ask. Be present if they don’t.


Kate: Who are some badass ladies we should know, and why?

Veronica: Margaret Stohl – she’s an author of some great books, but she’d be the first one to say “who cares?” to that identifier. She co-founded my favorite YA-focused book festival in the country, Yallfest, and its sister festival, Yallwest, where she arranged transportation, a free meal, and a free book for kids from low income areas to come in. She often finds herself to be one of the only female voices in the room with other Marvel types, now that she’s writing Captain Marvel comics. She does a lot of work with Facing History in Los Angeles, an organization that seeks to increase students’ understanding of bigotry and prejudice. I want people to know these things about her because she really hates to talk herself up, so you might never have understood how great she is otherwise.

Sarah Enni – Sarah is one of the most talented writers whose work you haven’t gotten to read yet, but she has a short story in the upcoming anthology Because You Love To Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy. She also does a podcast called First Draft where she interviews writers about their craft, and she’s one of the best question-askers I’ve ever encountered, a skill I very much admire and want to cultivate. [Sarah's Badass Ladies profile is here!]

Somaiya Daud – Somaiya is another “one of the most talented writers whose work you haven’t gotten to read yet”. Her book Mirage, which is Moroccan space royalty wonderfulness, comes out in 2018, but in the meantime you should probably follow her on Twitter at @somaiyadaud. She is very smart. So smart I’d really like to crawl into her brain and live there forever, subsisting only on wisdom.

Emily Graslie – my fellow Chicagoan who works at the Field Museum, has a youtube channel called The Brain Scoop where she will get you Interested In The World Around You and make you put up the praise hands emoji for WOMEN IN STEM!


Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Veronica: Take one step toward what you want. That’s all you need to do right now—one call to a therapist, one page of writing in your book, one job application, one conversation. Step until you’re just a little bit uncomfortable, and after you’ve recovered, step again. A badass knows what she wants and goes after it. But that doesn’t mean she always feels like a badass or can grab it all at once, and that is okay.

And for fuck’s sake, be kind to yourself.


*


badass ladies you should know logo
Veronica Roth is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Divergent series, as well as the upcoming book Carve the Mark. She lives with her husband and dog in Chicago, Illinois.

website //  instagram  //  twitter  //  tumblr


Want more Badass Ladies? 
Check out more profiles, or follow and boost from any of these accounts:
     

January 6, 2017

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Jovanna Anzaldua

Kate Hart
In 2015, I profiled museum curator Jaclyn Roessel, whose "shine love" approach to life continues to inspire me every day. Today, I'm so pleased to feature her dear friend Jovanna Anzaldua, who not only co-hosts the schmooze-lady connected project supporting remarkable women in Arizona, but also works as an advocate for women's reproductive health and justice as she earns a PhD -- on top of her Masters in Public Administration and a position at the Arizona State University Art Museum. Her work and drive are an inspiration as we kick off 2017.

*


Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Jovanna: I am a PhD student, women’s reproductive health/justice advocate, and a consultant. I am also a proud board member for the Arizona Family Health Partnership and am a co-host of schmooze- lady connected. As a student in Biology and Society I focus on reproductive health mostly as it relates to policy, ethics and law. One of the projects that I am most excited to work on as a student is Reproductive Health Arizona (RHAZ). I have had an interest in reproductive health since I was in my late teens when I ran into some reproductive health issues of my own. I have a natural curiousness which led me to explore the topic probably more in depth than I needed to and since I am also naturally drawn to sharing what I know, I began sharing what I learned with my close friends and family. The shock on their face when I would share what I was learning about our bodies and the policies that policed them was validation for me that this is what I had to do- and that is still one of my primary drivers.


black and white photo of Jovanna eating
Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Jovanna: Cooking! It functions both as a way for me to zone out/relax and to connect with those that I love. The two women who have influenced me most, my mom and my nana, taught me how to cook. I carry many special memories and traditions that involve cooking. I’ve always known it was an act of love to make sure that someone is nourished and that their taste buds are poppin.


Kate: What's your biggest challenge?

Jovanna: My biggest challenge right now is imposter syndrome, that anxiety-inducing voice in the back of my head that tells me that I’m not a badass and that I’m a fraud who hasn’t accomplished all the things that I know I have. Clearly this is bullshit, I’ve done a lot of things that I’m proud of. I find that it helps to be open about these feelings and to talk to others who also feel the same. I’m both amazed and reassured when accomplished, seemingly fearless women in my life admit to feeling this way.


Jovanna at the White House's United State of Women summit
Kate: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.

Jovanna: Most recently, I received some tough feedback from my professors that hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course, it was somewhat expected as academia is known for being tough as one of its purposes is to produce high level thinkers and experts but the feedback really had me feeling like I was a failure one semester in. Through consulting with my professors, talking with former/current PhD students, reading related blogs, and leaning on my amazing support system I crawled out of the imposter syndrome haze. This is a new experience for me- I’m in the program because I have plenty of room to grow and must accept that part of that growth is going to be harsh. With newly gained perspective, I’m ready to go into semester two eager to grown, with slightly thicker skin. I invite anyone who finds themselves in similar situations to reach out to me - the strength I gained from those around me was invaluable and I’m so glad that I remained open about it instead of retreating.


Kate: What's the best compliment you've ever gotten?

Jovanna: One of the best compliments I have received was being told that I do a good job of balancing my straight forward message with a soft delivery. I value facts and feelings which can sometimes be viewed as juxtaposition. I strive to be balanced so I appreciated that someone saw that.


tools from Reproductive Health Arizona
Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work?

Jovanna:  I attribute my initial formalized understanding of my values as “feminist” to the riot grrl movement, a natural continuation of my love of punk rock as a teenager. I was in a riot grrl band and had a zine when I was 15; activism and the strive for equality (whether gender, racial, economic) have always been a natural part of who I am since about then. However, throughout my entire life I have been lucky to be influenced by a family full of strong women as well as a father who taught me that I could do anything I wanted and really reinforced feminist values without calling it that. My priorities as a feminist have morphed throughout the years along with my understanding of intersectionality and the many systems within which we exist.


Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Jovanna: Give them the credit and recognition that they deserve, whether it’s bolstering their unnoticed input in a meeting or submitting their name for an award. Listen to their dreams and ambitions then connect them with opportunities that can help them reach their goals when they arise.


Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Jovanna: Be fluid and change paths as necessary. If something excites you, explore it and don’t be afraid to change your mind if what you thought was for you ends up not being for you. Share your interests with others. You never know how opportunity will present itself – sometimes it won’t be exactly what you want but be creative in how you move forward. There is beauty in how things unfold when you’re open to a variety of possibilities.

*

badass ladies you should know logo
A true city girl, Jovanna Anzaldua enjoys living in downtown Phoenix with her partner and step daughter. They rescued Luna, a pit bull mix, from a shelter in 2013 which naturally turned her into an avid “dog person.” Luna can do no wrong, it doesn’t matter how many remote controls she chews. As the older sister to four brother’s Jovanna takes the role of big sister very seriously and loves spending time with her huge family. She makes time to travel often- exploring local bookstores, coffee shops and cuisine. Food & drink brings her an absurd amount of pleasure; invitations to schmooze over vodka or coffee will rarely be turned down. Cooking is her ultimate stress reliever and expression of love.

Jovanna’s passion lies in women’s issues, particularly women’s health. This includes everything from reproductive health to women’s cancers within the context of policy, education and the clinical setting. Jovanna currently works, volunteers and sits on the board of various women focused organizations both locally and nationally.

schmooze: lady connected  //  ASU profile


Want more Badass Ladies? 
Check out more profiles, or follow and boost from any of these accounts:
     







January 3, 2017

insta artists

Kate Hart


hello yes I am a quickie post full of recommendations for artists to follow on the 'gram, to go with this tweet thread.


curation accounts: 
https://www.instagram.com/thefiberstudio/
https://www.instagram.com/embroidery_instaguild/
https://www.instagram.com/makersvillage/
https://www.instagram.com/thejealouscurator/
https://www.instagram.com/thankstitching/
https://www.instagram.com/needleworksociety/
https://www.instagram.com/modernmakersretreat/
https://www.instagram.com/etsysociety/
https://www.instagram.com/modernquiltinglove/

starter project to join:
https://www.instagram.com/1yearofstitches/xsa

crossstitch:
https://www.instagram.com/fallendesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/thexstitchxbitch/
https://www.instagram.com/badasscrossstitch/
https://www.instagram.com/themodeststitchery/
https://www.instagram.com/peacockandfig/
https://www.instagram.com/caralynnedesign/
https://www.instagram.com/threestitchfifteen/
https://www.instagram.com/sewcd/
https://www.instagram.com/crossstitchyerheart/
https://www.instagram.com/bonnewitchstitchery/
https://www.instagram.com/_innocentbones/
https://www.instagram.com/homestitchness/
https://www.instagram.com/lexstitchit/
https://www.instagram.com/thecrossglitch/

felting:
https://www.instagram.com/begoodnatured/

kits and patterns:
https://www.instagram.com/ohsewbootiful/
https://www.instagram.com/faimyxstitch/
https://www.instagram.com/stitch_rebellion/
https://www.instagram.com/i.heart.stitch.art/
https://www.instagram.com/mycathatesyoushop/

quilting:
https://www.instagram.com/jackiegillies/
https://www.instagram.com/libselliott/
https://www.instagram.com/latifahsaafirstudios/
https://www.instagram.com/cactusbron/
https://www.instagram.com/bitsandbobbins/
https://www.instagram.com/threadedquilting/
https://www.instagram.com/madelinelaura/
https://www.instagram.com/playcrafts/
https://www.instagram.com/bloomingtwigquilts/
https://www.instagram.com/owensolivia/
https://www.instagram.com/qvilted/
https://www.instagram.com/kimemquilts/
https://www.instagram.com/jacquietps/
https://www.instagram.com/tarafaughnan/
https://www.instagram.com/carolynfriedlander/
https://www.instagram.com/builtaquilt/
https://www.instagram.com/sewnbyleila/
https://www.instagram.com/seasidequilting/
https://www.instagram.com/themqg/
https://www.instagram.com/missouriquiltco/
https://www.instagram.com/makemodernmagazine/
https://www.instagram.com/makervalley/
https://www.instagram.com/keatonquilts/
https://www.instagram.com/thebaronessdesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/quiltbystarlight/
https://www.instagram.com/sewingoverpins/
https://www.instagram.com/sotosewn/
https://www.instagram.com/suzyquilts/
https://www.instagram.com/brooklynquiltingco/
https://www.instagram.com/quilterpatsloan/
https://www.instagram.com/messygoat/
https://www.instagram.com/aquilterstable/
https://www.instagram.com/slostudio/
https://www.instagram.com/cassandra.beaver/
https://www.instagram.com/entropyalwayswins/
https://www.instagram.com/bellaquilting/
https://www.instagram.com/angbrandl/
https://www.instagram.com/handmade4thewin/
https://www.instagram.com/baby_karnelyen_designs/
https://www.instagram.com/jrm0501/

paper:
https://www.instagram.com/anetaszpunt/
https://www.instagram.com/lisajaystudio/
https://www.instagram.com/porkchopspapercuts/
https://www.instagram.com/yinggraphic/
https://www.instagram.com/alittlebluefox/
https://www.instagram.com/sma_arts80/
https://www.instagram.com/ninapearsepaperartist/
https://www.instagram.com/lrawnsley/
https://www.instagram.com/bagsyblueco/

collage:
https://www.instagram.com/theavera_art/
https://www.instagram.com/demiiwhiffin/
https://www.instagram.com/emilymooreart/
https://www.instagram.com/saraheisenlohr

beadwork:
https://www.instagram.com/c.holybear/
https://www.instagram.com/eleumne/
https://www.instagram.com/eliasnotafraid/
https://www.instagram.com/buffalogirlcreative/
https://www.instagram.com/alayneegoodwillquillwork/
https://www.instagram.com/jbird789/
https://www.instagram.com/molinas_lakota_beadwork/
https://www.instagram.com/bhartijesrani/
https://www.instagram.com/shoshoesquiro/
https://www.instagram.com/j.okuma/

artsy embroidery:
https://www.instagram.com/valeriamolinari/
https://www.instagram.com/usedthreads/
https://www.instagram.com/mori_embroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/s.lapre/
https://www.instagram.com/ittybittybunnies/
https://www.instagram.com/moonrisewhims/
https://www.instagram.com/sarahkbenning/
https://www.instagram.com/bellissima_embroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/avluworks/
https://www.instagram.com/llllllllillllllll/
https://www.instagram.com/pinsandpines/
https://www.instagram.com/toocrewel/
https://www.instagram.com/namaste_embroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/wildboho/
https://www.instagram.com/d_safae/
https://www.instagram.com/slow_stitch_sophie/
https://www.instagram.com/michelle.kingdom/
https://www.instagram.com/k.i.k.k.y/
https://www.instagram.com/oddanastitch/
https://www.instagram.com/nisasnisaa/
https://www.instagram.com/alexsembroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/memorialstitches/
https://www.instagram.com/knickerbocker_stitches/
https://www.instagram.com/emmaroselaughlin/
https://www.instagram.com/inknhoney/
https://www.instagram.com/siwooinparis/
https://www.instagram.com/heatherclaradesigns/  (sometimes does YA covers!)
https://www.instagram.com/lady_scrib/
https://www.instagram.com/tessa_perlow/
https://www.instagram.com/welcome.juniper/
https://www.instagram.com/lillybaik/
https://www.instagram.com/rocketfullofpie/
https://www.instagram.com/blackcatkustom/
https://www.instagram.com/hummingpea/
https://www.instagram.com/coricrafts/
https://www.instagram.com/frac.tion/
https://www.instagram.com/rematastudio/
https://www.instagram.com/looloogems/
https://www.instagram.com/oeroeboeroe2/
https://www.instagram.com/ladyjanelongstitches/
https://www.instagram.com/hooopthereitis_/
https://www.instagram.com/yourgothicgranny/
https://www.instagram.com/labuentiemperia/
https://www.instagram.com/thecatscanary/
https://www.instagram.com/tsurubride/
https://www.instagram.com/springfieldstitches/ (Simpsons)
https://www.instagram.com/starcrossedstitch/
https://www.instagram.com/venusemflor/
https://www.instagram.com/cut_and_rum/
https://www.instagram.com/maricormaricar/
https://www.instagram.com/salem.stitches/
https://www.instagram.com/artiststephaniekellyclark/
https://www.instagram.com/katiedidandco/
https://www.instagram.com/brynnandcoshop/
https://www.instagram.com/erinmcmom/
https://www.instagram.com/katehughes.art/
https://www.instagram.com/marigoldandmars/
https://www.instagram.com/escapethreads/
https://www.instagram.com/femme.broidery/
https://www.instagram.com/belo_cami/
https://www.instagram.com/fools.and.mortals/
https://www.instagram.com/buse_atelier/
https://www.instagram.com/embroideredham/
https://www.instagram.com/miy_fufutaba/
https://www.instagram.com/katie.m.doyle.embroidery/ https://www.instagram.com/moon_girl_stitches/
https://www.instagram.com/unpicking/

crafty embridery
https://www.instagram.com/ohjamieelizabeth/
https://www.instagram.com/jharmonart/
https://www.instagram.com/sloppyricamo/ https://www.instagram.com/honeyandthebadgerembroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/northregent/
https://www.instagram.com/sewjenaissance/
https://www.instagram.com/annielangart/
https://www.instagram.com/thimblethistle/
https://www.instagram.com/pixiecrafthandmade/
https://www.instagram.com/nonnasneedles/
https://www.instagram.com/handmadebykate_/
https://www.instagram.com/tesselaine/
https://www.instagram.com/stitchezwithattitude/
https://www.instagram.com/tinkerellen/
https://www.instagram.com/fox_in_the_hole_design/ https://www.instagram.com/badtimeembroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/stockandstitch/
https://www.instagram.com/brinnanabreadcrafts/
https://www.instagram.com/markotart/
https://www.instagram.com/mend_marthaellen/
https://www.instagram.com/thefolklohr/
https://www.instagram.com/threadhoney/
https://www.instagram.com/theflorary/
https://www.instagram.com/forestchorusstudio/
https://www.instagram.com/isewpose/
https://www.instagram.com/minaxmesa/
https://www.instagram.com/stitchqueer/
https://www.instagram.com/poorcreditcrafts/
https://www.instagram.com/walnutandlaurel/
https://www.instagram.com/willstitchforcoffee/
https://www.instagram.com/prettylittleneedlework/
https://www.instagram.com/sol.y.mano.studio/
https://www.instagram.com/pegsandneedles/
https://www.instagram.com/wildflower_threads/
https://www.instagram.com/yolish.designs/
https://www.instagram.com/bobbypinbandit/
https://www.instagram.com/nerdsandneedles/
https://www.instagram.com/rochilana/
https://www.instagram.com/knottydickens/
https://www.instagram.com/thekitschystitcher/
https://www.instagram.com/thelittleoystershop/
https://www.instagram.com/bugandbeanstitching/
https://www.instagram.com/gulushthreads/
https://www.instagram.com/larkrising/
https://www.instagram.com/littletwigdesigns/
https://www.instagram.com/destinycitythreads/
https://www.instagram.com/stitchingsabbatical/
https://www.instagram.com/hoffeltandhooperco/
https://www.instagram.com/highstitch/
https://www.instagram.com/mountainsofthread/
https://www.instagram.com/yesstitchyes/
https://www.instagram.com/threadthewick/
https://www.instagram.com/margdierembroidery/
https://www.instagram.com/seesophiesew/
https://www.instagram.com/thistleandthreaddesign/
https://www.instagram.com/mcreativej/
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December 16, 2016

loose ends of a long year

Kate Hart





It's hard to believe that the year is almost over -- and hard for me to believe that after almost seven years of working on my book, After the Fall will be on shelves in just a few weeks. But if that's too long to wait, good news: You can read an excerpt on Bustle!

It's not a book that would have been finished without the help of some very dear friends, however, and in the run up to its release, they've been as amazing as always. For example: This past week, I got to reveal four fantastic blurbs from four equally fantastic writers.


 
 


(full text for these images can be found on my book page)


I've also been happy to see several positive responses from trade reviewers. Here are a few highlights:

"Hart’s debut novel has a lot going for it—well-defined and believable major and minor characters, in particular—as well as a lot going on. ... Hart holds it all together and closes with an ending that retains a measure of hope without becoming unrealistically perfect." - Publishers Weekly
"Thought-provoking moments regarding such issues as female sexuality, racial microaggressions, and class differences add depth to the characters." - Booklist
"At first, this title seems like a well-written examination of the definitions of assault and consent. But as a relationship blossoms between Raychel and Matt’s brother, Andrew, questions about communication and honesty emerge even more strongly, and after a family tragedy, grief and guilt are also brought into the mix. Those are some pretty heavy themes for one book to explore, but Hart does a good job of handling her ambitious plot. VERDICT: Like Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak and Courtney Summers’s All the Rage, this is an important novel for teens and adults to discuss together." - School Library Journal

AND a STARRED REVIEW from VOYA!
"This memorable debut novel is told in the alternating perspectives of Raychel and Matt. Both characters are very well portrayed as complex characters with strengths and weaknesses.  The supporting cast is also well developed, with most characters avoiding the trap of falling into mere stereotypes. The story is well paced, flowing logically towards its conclusion. The ending ties up most issues, but leaves enough open so that the reader knows the characters are going to move on. This book deals with heavy issues concerning sexuality and grief, and as such might be difficult for some readers. Issues of jealousy, relationships, sexual consent, and grief run throughout. This would be an excellent addition to most high school libraries."


Meanwhile, badasses Kelly Jensen and Veronica Roth included me in some stellar book lists, which you should check out if you're still looking for holiday gift ideas: "Feminist Reads" at The Booksmugglers, and a holiday wishlist at Barnes and Noble.

Still need gift ideas? Well, there's always my new Etsy shop (she says, with no shame whatsoever). Or you could check out the latest edition of Shine Along, my monthly-ish newsletter that is about 15% my news, 90% links to cool art and articles, and 100% bad at math. This issue has an exclusive Badass Ladies gift list, plus I curated a collection of awesome online artists. (December's letter isn't in the archive, but if you subscribe I'll make you sure you get a copy.)

I'll be back next week with the final Badass Ladies profile of 2016 (may the year rest in dumpster fire peace), but I'm also finishing up some infographics, plus lining up profiles for 2017 and looking at ways to build that project into something bigger and even better. I hope you'll hang around and see what happens, and thanks for sticking around for the last seven years!



November 16, 2016

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Michelle Krys

Kate Hart
photo of michelle krys
If you ask me, nurses are superheroes. They study for years to work long hours on life-saving but thankless tasks, often disrespected both by patients and by doctors. Today's Badass Lady, Michelle Krys, works in one of the hardest nursing departments -- the NICU -- while also mothering two kids, writing books in her spare time, and being a really good friend. Scroll down for a chance to win a copy of DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY plus a poster!

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cover of HEXED by Michelle KrysKate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Michelle: I’m the author of the young adult novels HEXED and CHARMED, which are urban fantasies following a popular cheerleader who discovers she may be a witch. My next book is a standalone contemporary thriller called DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY, which follows a group of girls who receive anonymous invitations to join a high stakes game of dares, only the game isn’t all that it seems, and soon the promise of a prize is replaced by a fight to stay alive. It comes out this November. 9

I’m also a nurse, and I work in a busy NICU.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t actually give it a go until I was 25, on a year-long maternity leave. My baby slept through the night and napped 3+ hours during the day, and I suddenly found myself with all this time on my hands. I decided if I really wanted to write a book, I would never get a better chance. I spent my free time that year writing and editing my first novel (which I ended up trunking), but I’ve been writing ever since, around motherhood duties and 12-hour night shifts in the NICU.


Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)?

Michelle: Does watching Netflix count? Seriously though, I watch a lot of T.V. Besides being entertaining, T.V. really inspires me. And if it’s a teen television show, it counts as “research”.

I’m ashamed to admit I also spend a lot of time catching up on celebrity gossip. I am insanely well informed on the goings on of the celebrity world.


cover of CHARMED by Michelle KrysKate: What's your biggest challenge?

Michelle: Right now it’s finding the time to write. I just had another baby in April, and with nursing, meal prep, school and soccer practice it’s hard to carve out time for my own pursuits. And then when I do miraculously find time for myself, the challenge is to then spend it working instead of watching that Netflix I was talking about, which is infinitely easier than writing a book.


Kate: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.
Michelle:
Just one time? In all seriousness, the first book I wrote was an epic failure. I’d spent every spare minute of my maternity leave writing it, only to have all 120 agents I queried (can’t say I didn’t try!) roundly reject it. It was demoralizing, to say the least. But I was committed to getting a book published, so I tried very hard to view it not as a failure but as a learning experience. I dug deeper, got involved in the online writing community, read craft book after craft book, and wrote a better novel. This turned out to be my debut novel, HEXED, which was bought by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. I’m so glad I didn’t let that failure get in the way of pursuing my dreams.


Kate: What's the best compliment you've ever gotten? Or Tell us something that makes you proud.

Michelle: Someone recently told me that I’m a kind person. I’ve never thought of myself as a mean person, but to be told that and know that it was how another person viewed me was really nice.



cover of DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY by Michelle Krys
Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work?

Michelle: I think, like a lot of young people, I didn’t always understand what feminism was. It shames me to admit it, but the word feminist used to put me in mind of a woman who just wanted to stir up trouble. I can’t remember exactly when this changed, but I know that it was a gradual eye-opening process, wherein I started to really see all the unfairness and injustice in the world—the unequal pay, the slut shaming, the rape culture—and then I found myself suddenly explaining to others that feminism isn’t “we’re against men” but “we’re for equal rights and opportunities for men and women”. Now the issue is very close to my heart. You don’t have to read too closely in any of my novels to see my female protagonists come to realize their power, both figuratively and literally.


Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Michelle: Women are constantly being pitted against each other, but we’re stronger together. Instead of judging and criticizing each other, lift women up. Celebrate women. Give women the benefit of the doubt.


Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Michelle: Stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on how you can become the best version of yourself.

GIVEAWAY

US and Canada

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badass ladies you should know log
Michelle Krys is the author of Hexed and Charmed. When she’s not writing books for teens, Michelle moonlights as a NICU nurse. She lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada, with her family. You can visit her online at michellekrys.com.

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November 10, 2016

Badass Ladies You Should Know: Julia Good Fox

Kate Hart
photo of Julia Good Fox
This week makes it hard to write a catchy tagline, much less hope for an article to get traction online, and I debated whether I should wait for a different time to post. But now more than ever, it's important to raise our voices and support badass women, especially women of color and other marginalized communities. This project will keep going, and I hope you will too.

I've long been inspired Haskell Indian Nations University Dean Julia Good Fox, and I'm honored to share her wisdom today.

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Kate: Describe your career(s) and/or current projects. What path(s) and passions led you there?

Julia: I have been in academia for the past 16 years. I started off as faculty in Indigenous and American Indian Studies. About two years ago, I transitioned into administration. Currently, I am the Dean of Natural and Social Sciences at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, KS. Prior to making the leap into higher ed, I worked as a programmer, as a manager in Public Health, and I also spent time in the mental health field. All of these careers have assisted me in my current role as Dean.


Kate: Do you have any (other) creative outlets? How do they influence/affect your main work (if at all)? 

Julia: I still see myself as a writer, even though my writing has slowed down since I went into administration. My public writings focus on cultural studies, politics, and pop culture reviews. My scholarly writings mostly discussed decolonization in Indian Country and the United States


Kate: What's your biggest challenge?

Julia: Currently, I am exploring relationships and identity—and how these intersect community. So this involves asking myself a lot of questions and doing intentional observation of others. What makes people happy? How do people define and work toward a quality of life that makes sense for them? Why do people engage in bullying? How is resiliency fostered? Empowerment? Much of my job involves “people-work” and so these questions assist me in the everyday challenge of promoting shared purpose. It’s interesting!


Kate: Tell us about a time that you bounced back from failure.

Julia: I have had struggles, especially when I was younger, with depression and anxiety and general low confidence in my abilities. Therapy helped! A personal break-through was when I was in my 20s and realized that I did not have to create my unhappy past—that I could move beyond being stuck in what’s called post-traumatic stress and other dysfunctions that can arise from a violent childhood. The great thing about growing older is that it is now easier for me to get past these moments when they occasionally pop up. Developing a sense of humor is key.


Kate: What's the best compliment you've ever gotten?

Julia: An immediate one that comes to my mind happened decades ago. I worked at a drug rehab when I was in my late teens and early twenties. One day, I was eating at a restaurant and when I went to pay my tab, the waitress gave me a note that said “You helped me when I was at my lowest. I’ve been in recovery for a year now. The least I can do is pay for your lunch.” That was so moving. It helped me to understand that words and actions do matter in our interactions with others.


Kate: Did you have any defining moments that galvanized your understanding of and/or commitment to feminism? How does it inform/inspire your work? 

Julia: Feminism is awesome! The stories of my Tribe are inspiring. My mother was influential in this regard, too. She was active in the ‘70s Feminism movement, bringing her Pawnee wisdom to the mainstream. I also was fortunate to have teachers, particularly during my elementary school days, who would loan me books about female leaders. They took the time to mentor me, a child at that time. To this day, I am a firm proponent of mentoring. Young women (and men) have so much to offer, and as a Tribal feminist, I believe it’s my responsibility to assist them as they’re charting their way to whatever is their goal.


Kate: What are the best ways to support other women?

Julia: Besides mentoring, friendship is instrumental. When I was growing up, there was so much anti-Indianism then as there is now that sometimes those close to me would engage in lateral violence. I do not want to recreate that. Finding my close circle of ride-or-die women friends has been a salvation. I’m grateful for their support. In return, I do my best to support women in their work and creativity. This can be in the form of a sincere compliment or other show of support, such as buying their books or art.


Kate: What is your advice to aspiring badasses?

Julia: Believe in yourself! It was difficult growing up in Oklahoma because my circumstances were mired in by conformity, conservativism, and colonization. Sometimes my only solace was in music or the library, but I would seek it out because these activities would nourish me. I would like to tell all aspiring badasses that nothing is impossible for them to achieve. Just show up, attend to the day-to-day tasks that need to be done, and work to create your dream one step at a time.

Also, develop a thick skin.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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badass ladies you should know logo
Julia Good Fox is a citizen of the Pawnee Nation, and she was born in Oklahoma. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas, with her family, two dogs (Sammie and Mrs. Beasley) and two cats (Joe and Bowie). She writes about culture, politics, Indian Country, and the list goes on. Also, she enjoys thinking and reading.

www.goodfox.love



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