Their middle-grade novel, Every Shiny Thing, was published in April and tells the story of Lauren and Sierra, unlikely friends who navigate tough family circumstances together. Jensen and Morrison wrote the book together after having been critique partners in our program. The pair used the admiration for each other and the friendship they had built within the program and began working together researching, writing, and polishing the text. The authors wrote the book half in prose and half in verse to highlight their individual strengths as writers.
Jensen says, “The best piece of writing advice I ever received was from one of my advisors at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Julie Larios. She told me in every poem there should be an image, idea, and music.”
Maggie Lehrman, an executive editor at Abrams Amulet, and also a ’12 graduate of the WCYA program, edited Every Shiny Thing. She says, “I was so thrilled to be able to edit Laurie and Cordelia’s book. I met them during our time in the program and they’re wonderful writers, so when the submission came across my desk I was delighted to dig in. There’s something really lovely and complex and true about the relationships that Laurie and Cordelia have written here.”
Lehrman is also a YA author and her next book, The Last Best Story, comes out this August. Of her experience at VCFA, Lehrman says, “Everything about VCFA has helped me be a better editor.”
The WCYA love continues in the authors’ decision to dedicate the book to VCFA.
Below: Authors Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison.