Get to know the amazing authors attending YA Fest in October 2015!
Author of Pandemic!
YA Fest: Favorite YA authors? Illustrators you admire?
Yvonne Ventresca: Favorite YA authors: Nova Ren Suma, Laurie Halse Anderson, Judy Blundell, Nancy Werlin, April Henry. Illustrators I admire: All of them, because I have no drawing or painting abilities.
YA Fest: Favorite YA books from the past year (2014/2015)?
Yvonne: The Secret Side of Empty by Maria Andreu
The Fix by Natasha Sinel
YA Fest: How/why did you start writing?
Yvonne: I was always an avid reader and wanting to work with words seemed like a natural extension of that. Sadly, I threw away the opening chapters of my first attempt at a novel entitled The Flood. I remember writing the story by hand on loose leaf paper when I was about thirteen. (I guess I’ve always loved disaster stories!) I took my first formal writing classes in college.
YA Fest: One piece of advice for young writers?
Yvonne: Persistence is definitely vital in this business. Good writing is also key, but there’s something to be said for not giving up. Pandemic, my debut YA novel, was actually the fourth one I’d written, and I received many rejections along the way to publication. It’s important to be realistic (rejections will happen), but to keep trying.
YA Fest: What are you currently working on? (Give us your elevator pitch!)
Yvonne: My next novel is a young adult psychological thriller set in Hoboken. Ella Benton isn’t sure if she’s being haunted or suffering from mental illness.
YA Fest: Are your characters/stories inspired by real people/events?
Yvonne: Yes, Pandemic was inspired in part by the Swine Flu pandemic that occurred in 2009. One afternoon after school was out, parents in my suburb lined up outside the local middle school to have their children vaccinated. At this point, the disease was known to be only as deadly as the regular seasonal flu. The local health department coordinating the event ran out of vaccines about halfway through the line of people, and it made me wonder what it would’ve been like if that particular flu had been more lethal.