Judy Lopez, a big move, WIFYR, and deadlines!

The title of this entry is meant to be a kind of explanation. Sometimes I come to my own blog, look at the last time I posted, and I just stare at the screen in confusion. Has it really been that long? Yes, yes it has. And a lot has happened since then.

First, I am thrilled to announce that I am now a full-time writer. At the beginning of June, I officially resigned from my career in School Psychology, which I have loved, to pursue a career I love more. It had reached a point where I simply could not do both, and to continue trying meant compromising both in a way I could not accept. So with a mix of emotions, I gave my notice, and since then I have felt such relief and joy it’s difficult to describe. I will miss working in the schools everyday. I will miss the administrators and teachers and staff and fellow school psychologists I still count as dear friends. But hopefully school visits (which I love doing) will keep me in touch with my young readers.

The other big change is that I have moved from Utah to Northern Idaho. It’s so beautiful up here, with lakes and pine trees and wildlife. I will miss much about Utah. Family and friends, most of all, but also the amazing writing community. But I guess that’s what email is for, right? And I’m looking forward to meeting the writers who live here. We’re everywhere, you know.

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Icefall has won the Judy Lopez Memorial Award. It’s an award given by the L.A. chapter of the Women’s National Reading Association, and I am so honored. They presented me with a beautiful medal, which you can see to the left. They brought me to L.A. for the award ceremony, which was lovely, and I got to listen to Eugene Yelchin speak about what books meant to him during his childhood in communist Russia. A very powerful and moving speech. He’ll be at the SCBWI annual conference this summer, at which I am speaking, and I’m looking forward to talking with him again. Thanks to Rosalind and Meg for taking such great care of me and showing me around their corner of L.A.

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I recently got back from the Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop. It was such an amazing experience returning to the place where my journey as a children’s writer began. My students (not a term I’m comfortable with – I prefer to think of them as my fellow writers) were amazing. So much talent and so many wonderful stories. It was truly a memorable, exhausting, and rewarding week. I enjoyed my time with the other members of the faculty, and formed some lasting friendships. Thank you to Carol Lynch Williams for inviting me. I’ll come back anytime!

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The last thing I want to mention is that you shouldn’t be surprised if I go another month before I post again. I’m currently under deadline for my next book, due in a matter of weeks, after which I have to immediately begin writing my installment in the Infinity Ring series. It’s stressful, but I’m grateful for the stress, because it means I get to keep doing the thing I love, and do it full-time. I get to keep telling stories. And speaking of which, they’re waiting for me!

P.S. A few more reviews of Icefall.

Bookshop Talk

Books j’adore

Julian’s Abroad

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3 Responses

  1. Andrea

     /  July 5, 2012

    Congratulations on the Judy Lopez Memorial Award! What an honor–and so well deserved.

    WIFYR was amazing, wasn’t it? I came home feeling so enlightened. Our class had such a tremendous dynamic, and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. Thanks again for an incredible week.

    Good luck with your deadlines! And have fun:).

    Reply
  2. Jonathan S

     /  July 9, 2012

    Congratulations, Matt! Moving to full-time writing is a big deal–the holy grail for a lot of writers. Also continued much-deserved kudos on all your successes.

    I hope you love your new home. We visited Coeur d’Alene and explored the area for a week one summer, and northern Idaho was just plain gorgeous.

    Reply
  3. Yay for the award! And yay for email making the miles seem smaller.

    Reply

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