Have you ever struggled with juggling a full-time job and staying inspired to pursue your creative goals? Or how about keeping yourself disciplined to reach your writing goals? We talk about it all and so much more with Kelsey Ford!
Kelsey is the creator of Bookish in the ‘Burgh,’ Pittsburgh’s first teen book festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. She is also a contemporary fantasy author represented by Jessica Mileo at InkWell Management and one of our very own Storytellers and listener of 88 Cups of Tes for over three years.
During our conversation, Kelsey shares her journey as a writer, her experience querying and getting a literary agent, and how she balances her full-time job with her writing all while sharing amazing crafting advice. She also talks about Bookish in the ‘Burgh” and gives us a behind-the-scenes look into what inspired her to create the festival, the planning and research behind it, and what events will take place during the festival.
Books and resources:
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Save the Cat! The Last Book On Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman
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Check out these highlights:
- Kelsey shares her lightbulb moment when she fell in love with writing (4:45)
- She digs deep into the difficult pull of pursuing a creative career versus a career that can support your creativity and shares advice on how to cope with this decision (7:00)
- We talk about Kelsey’s second love of event planning and arts management (8:57)
- How her first full-length novel came to fruition and the inspiration behind it (9:40)
- Tips on keeping yourself disciplined to your craft to reach your goals (14:05)
- The important role critique partners play in helping you gain confidence in your story (16:00)
- Kelsey shares her strategic querying process and tips on approaching agents to get represented (18:15)
- How to prevent editing your story in the wrong direction to protect your time (24:40)
- Advice on financially supporting yourself as an artist while staying connected to your art (28:15)
- Kelsey talks all about her dream project, Bookish in the ‘Burgh,’ Pittsburgh’s first teen book festival and the inspiration behind it (35:00)
- She gives a behind-the-scenes look into the research and planning of the event to bring together a diverse panel of authors to celebrate teen stories and literature (39:25)
- How reading widely is a great tool when wanting to improve your craft (55:45)
“I can’t remember a time in my life I have not been associated with reading and writing. I was such a bookish kid and that has followed me throughout my whole life.”
“There’s something to be said with sitting in your story’s world without writing sometimes. Just thinking about it, just putting yourself there, letting yourself stay there and having that quiet time just to think about the characters and the world you’re crafting.”
“It’s really important for me to write books that I want to read myself.”
“The best craft insight I get is from reading the books that I really love over and over again and looking at how they put words together and how they build characters.”
Say “Hi” to Kelsey:
Learn more about Bookish in the ‘Burgh’
Bookish in the ‘Burgh is a free, two-day festival celebrating teen literature by bringing authors and readers together. On March 23 and 24, 2019, in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, eight acclaimed young adult authors will join their readers for two full days of conversation, book signings, and a celebration of all things bookish. Books will be available for sale at the festival.
Bookish in the ‘Burgh happens alongside the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. Presented in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University, the Humanities Festival features interviews, intimate conversations, and select performances focused on art, literature, music, science, policy, politics, and more in a lively, entertaining, and accessible format. The Pittsburgh Humanities Festival is smart talk about stuff that matters.
Learn more about Kelsey Ford
Kelsey Ford is the creator of Bookish in the ‘Burgh’, Pittsburgh’s Teen Book Festival, a production of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. She is also a contemporary fantasy author represented by Jessica Mileo at InkWell Management. Originally from a small town in Pennsylvania, she received her Bachelor of Science in advertising and public relations from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL and her Master of Arts in Arts Management from Bath Spa University in Bath, England. When Kelsey is not writing love stories filled with feminism and magic or working at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust creating and managing arts events for young people, you can find her visiting museums and libraries, nerding out over spreadsheets and to do lists, or crafting in her cozy apartment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.