monicahadley's blog

Stella by StarlightThe flu got me down this week, so we are going into the archives for a great interview, perfect to honor Black History Month.

Sharon Draper was a middle and high school English teacher for 25 years.  In fact, she was named National Teacher of the Year in 1997.  Her first book for young adults, "Tears of a Tiger" was published in 1995 and named one of the top 100 books for young adults for the millenium.

Writers' Voices host Caroline Kilbourn, herself a former high school English teacher, says "Stella By Starlight" should be required reading for all school children.  Inspired by the childhoold journal of Draper's grandmother Estelle, who had to quit school in the fifth grade to work on the family farmSharon Draperbut continued to write late at night, "Stella by Starlight" is set in 1932 in the fictional town of Bumblebee, NC.  Like many of Draper's books, it deals with difficult subjects; the Depression, segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, and voting rights, but told in a way that readers don't even realize they are learning history.

Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn how this book came to be and why it is so important, why Draper writes for young adults and middle readers, and how she got her first book published.  Originally broadcast 1/23/15.

52 Small Changes 

Brett Blumenthal is a bestselling author of books on wellness.  

Her newest book, "52 Small Changes for the Mind" comes from one of our favorite publishers, Chronicle Books.  

It focuses on mental well-being, which Brett sees as the basis for overall health.

Tune in to Writers' Voices this week to hear all about Brett's journey from fitness instructor to author.  For more on this book, check out

Confessions of a Headmaster



What exactly does a headmaster have to confess? Well, his successes and failures, for a start. 

Paul F. Cummins is a renowned educator, who has spent his life making sure that all students are treated with respect and encouraged to follow their passions.  

He was co-founder of many schools including Crossroads, in Los Angeles.  

Check out for more on "Confessions of a Headmaster." 

Judy Batalion



From Canada to Harvard to London to NYC, Judy Batalion takes the reader deep into the messy parts of life in White Walls: A Memoir About Motherhood, Daughterhood, and the Mess in Between.  


Tune in today for her live conversation with

Monica and Caroline on Writers' Voices.

The Edge of Lost



This week, Monica and Caroline talk with Kristina McMorris, a novelist with a very interesting path to publication.

Her achievements include over 20 national literary awards, best-selling status, and recognition as one of Portland's "40 Under 40."  

Check out for more on this great young writer.

All American BoysJason ReynoldsBrendan Kiely

“As a black man and a white man, both writers and educators, we came together to cowrite a book about how systemic racism and police brutality affect the lives of young people in America, in order to create an important, unique, and honest work that would give young people and the people and the people who educate them a tool for talking about these difficult but abolutely vital conversations," said Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.

Both Jason and Brendan are successful young adult novelists.  Jason's  "When I was the Greatest" received the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe award for new talent,  while Brendan's debut novel, "The Gospel of Winter" was named one of the Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults in 2015 by the American Library Association.'

Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn more about how the inspiration behind this book, and the authors' cowriting process.

gloria Dixon Gloria Dixon is a Cedar Rapids-based CPA.  When her husband died in early 2014 after a long illness, she thought she was prepared. But as she went through the process of arranging the service and wrapping up his affairs, she realized that there was a lot she didn't know, and no books available that spelled it all out in detail.

Gloria made it her mission to make this necessary information available to everyone, and the result is her book, "After Death: When You Lose a Loved One, Do You Know What To Do?"

Join us on Writers' Voices today to learn more, and also about Gloria's upcoming book, "The Wedding Ring Phenomenon."

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Sukey Forbes: "The Angel in My Pocket"

Sukey Forbes"The Angel in My Pocket: A Story of Love, Loss, and Life After Death" is a memoir written by a woman whose classic "stiff-upper-lip" New England heritage left her with no idea how to grieve when her six year old daughter died suddenly and unexpectedly as a result of a rare genetic disorder.

Angel in My Pocket Sukey Forbes turned to the example set by her great, great, great grandfather Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose young son also died of a high fever, and came to realize that her family history, which included Presidential advisers, Ambassadors and tycoons as well as the famous transcendentalist, also included many ghosts who still prowled the family residences and whose presence were taken for granted.  Thus, it was natural that she would seek a way to connect with Charlotte on the other side.

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"Backlands" - a Tale of Brazilian Folk Heroes by Victoria Shorr

Backlands When historical fiction is done well, the reader gets the opportunity to live in a different time and place; to be absorbed in the sights, the sounds, and the smells; to feel what it might be like to life a completely different life.

Victoria Shorr

Join us this week on Writers' Voices to learn how Victoria Shorr painted the backlands of Brazil in her novel, "Backlands."  Based on the legendary bandits, Lampiao and Maria Bonita, who ruled the desolate outback known as the Sertao in the early 1900's, Shorr evokes the romance and mystique, and foregone conclusion, of an era.

Billy's BoogerWriters' Voices is pleased to welcome award-winning author, filmmaker, and mixed media producer William Joyce back to the air with his latest book for children, "Billy's Booger: A Memoir."  Based on William's own first experience with writing a book, this delightful volume incorporates a true-to-life version of Billy's original manuscript about his booger with amazing math super-powers.

William won an Academy Award for his animated short film, "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore."  He won three Emmy's for "Rolie Polie Olie" on the Disney Channel and has another show, "George Shrinks" on PBS.  He, with help from the team at Moonbot Studios, has written and illustrated over 50 children's books, many of which have related video games and mobile apps.

In this interview, William talks about how he got his start and the many opportunities in creative media today.

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