CURRENTLY: The Baby Kangaroo Edition

If all goes as planned, I’ll do a CURRENTLY post every other Tuesday—I heard of this through fellow 2017 debut author Katy Upperman, and you can find the origins of the idea here.

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April has been an incredibly eventful month. Last week, I attended both TLA’s annual conference and the North Texas Teen Book Festival—hello, exhaustion! Of all the things I expected to find at TLA (books, authors, more books, more authors), I did not expect to encounter the world’s most adorable baby kangaroo. Why was there a baby kangaroo at TLA? No one really knows. Did that stop us from collectively freaking out over him? Definitely not.


Benjamin Button: the softest, sleepiest, sweetest kangaroo on the planet. (Not that I have any other kangaroo experiences for comparison…)


Between TLA and NTTBF and endless hours on the road, I didn’t have many opportunities to sit and read. I’ve been stealing reading breaks wherever possible, though, because I’m reading WICKED LIKE A WILDFIRE by Lana Popović (formerly titled HIBISCUS DAUGHTER) and hoooooooooooly gorgeous writing, you guys. Every time I dive in, I’m transported instantly to the world she’s created—I can see it, smell it, taste it, and it is wonderful. I’m kind of just lingering in it as long as I can because I don’t want it to end. So! Yeeeeeah. More on this after I’ve officially finished it, but suffice it to say I think you should head directly to Goodreads and prioritize this book for your Summer 2017 reading lists.


Panels, panels, panels—and the over 8,000 teens who were *super* excited about their favorite authors. The North Texas Teen Book Festival was overflowing with talent, and I had a great time listening to them share wisdom/insight/random fun tidbits about their books and writing processes. Pro tip: if you’re ever at a book festival where Sarah Enni is moderating, you can bet her panels will always be full of rich conversation! (No pressure, Sarah! ❤)(Check out Sarah’s podcast here, btw.)


41199682-fa08-4cca-9691-bfdd5163c812_12731_CUSTOMHAMILTON! It had been a while since I’d listened to the entire soundtrack from start to finish, but I devoured it in a single sitting while driving home from TLA. So good! So sad! So brilliant! So extremely fun to sing! What’s your favorite track, if you’re into Hamilton? My favorites change every day…I love to sing the first four, along with “Guns and Ships” and “Yorktown”…and “Wait for It” is such an emotional powerhouse…you guys, they’re all just SO GREAT!


This week, I’m thinking about how wonderful the writing community is. I love how warm and welcoming other writers are, even if we’ve never met before, simply because we share common ground: we love to create, we put in hours and days and months and years of work, we write because we love the process but also because we want to connect with readers and share our stories. To the writers I connected with last week—the ones I had drinks with, the ones I shared a room with, the ones who I bonded with over the aforementioned baby kangaroo, and everyone I got to chat with in passing—thank you for being so warm and wonderful. I’m also excited because I got to meet a fellow member of the 2017 debut group, along with some lovely members of Team Root:

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Fellow 2017 debut author Caroline Leech (WAIT FOR ME, HarperTeen, January 2017) and I got to spend time with my friend Hannah K. West, whose beautiful book KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS comes out September 15, 2016!


Kirsten Squires, S.J. Kincaid, and I all share a literary agent (Holly Root)—Kirsten and I are so excited to read S.J.’s book, THE DIABOLIC (Simon & Schuster / November 1, 2016)!


In just a few short weeks, Alison Cherry is coming to visit me in Texas, and *basically* we are going to have an amazing time. You’ll find me bouncing in anticipation until then! (This is also because we’re planning a whirlwind trip to Austin, where I will eat ALL THE BREAKFAST TACOS!)



This week, I’m wishing I could plug in and recharge as easily as my laptop does. After a week of late nights, early mornings, thousands of steps, and endless, monotonous highways has me feeling more than a little worn out. It was a really great week, and very much worth the exhaustion, but I’ll definitely approach busy weeks more thoughtfully in the future.


Ever since last fall, when I moved Austin, an awful stretch of I-35 has separated me from some wonderful writer friends—this week, though, one of those friends is visiting me! AND she brought me a giant package of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups. (I’ve also been separated from those by said awful stretch of I-35, so this was a particularly timely and delightful surprise!) Thank you for coming to visit, China DeSpain!! ❤


China! And chocolate! In my kitchen! *insert happy Kayla here*

Okay, that’s it for today! If you’ve also done a CURRENTLY post, tweet it to me @olsonkayla *or* leave a link in the comments so I can check it out!


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