Georgia McBride: She May Not Want to be President Herself, But She Wants You to Be!
Georgia McBride’s name may not be the first person who comes to mind when you think about young adult (YA) novels, but her work helps support some of your favorite authors/books through her organization, YALITCHAT.org. Julia Hunter, an editorial intern at Teen Voices, interviewed McBride to learn more about her, since she is a sponsor and judge of our August writing contest asking girls what they would prioritize if they were president of the United States of America. McBride believes in teenage girls enough to encourages them to dream of being president themselves.
Teen Voices (TV): Can you tell me about YALITCHAT.org? What is it? When and why did you decide to start it? Who uses it, and what do you hope visitors take from the site?
Georgia McBride (GM): YALITCHAT.ORG is an organization that fosters the advancement of young adult literature around the world through the encouragement of reading, writing, and producing young adult literature. Founded in 2009, YALITCHAT.ORG is a spin-off of the popular weekly twitter chat of the same name (#yalitchat) that’s held on Wednesdays at 9 pm EST. We have more than 3,000 members from two [only two?] countries. Our members are readers, writers, teachers, students, librarians, booksellers, bloggers, agents, editors, educators, parents, and more. We believe that everyone has a role to play in the advancement of young adult literature, and we encourage all participants to do so at the highest level possible.
TV: Beyond the current writing contest with Teen Voices, have you sponsored any other contests through YALITCHAT.org?
GM: We try to do at least one large writing contest each year. In the past, we’ve done writing contests with St. Martin’s Press, Sourcebooks, and other organizations. We also do our own writing contests, pitch slams, and contests focused on teens who write!
TV: What do you think are some of the unique benefits of writing and reading books specifically for teenagers?
GM: Writing books aimed at teenagers is so important, especially today. Kids in the classrooms need to know that the folks who have authored some of the books they read aren’t dead, or a million years old, and out of touch with the daily struggle of teens. I want them to know that authors of today’s teen literature are alive, well, and available to them like never before.
TV: On your website, you label yourself as an author of “speculative fiction.” How would you explain that genre for those unfamiliar with the term?
GM: “Speculative fiction” is really an umbrella term for all things bizarre, scary, unexplainable, and fun. Think science fiction, fantasy, flying cars, unicorns, werewolves, angels on earth, and extra sensory abilities.
TV: Did you always know that you wanted to write?
GM: No. I’d never considered fiction writing as a profession until 2008. I have, however, always written professionally, as a marketing executive.
TV: What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What are some of your favorite parts of your job?
GM: I have lots of jobs! As the top executive of YALITCHAT.ORG, my job is to make sure that people--including members and potential members, partners, and the public at large—understand what we do, and that we are meeting or exceeding our corporate goals. I’m involved in staffing, grants administration, and of course, making our members happy. I don’t do it alone. I have a staff of very dedicated volunteers. Today, for example, I confirmed a grant, prepared questions for this week’s chat, judged a current writing contest, emailed agents with an invitation to participate in an upcoming event, and dealt with IRS and tax issues involved with running a 501(c)(3) non profit organization.
TV: Since the theme of the Teen Voices’ writing contest is about presidential aspirations, what changes would you make if you were elected president?
GM: I have no aspirations of the presidency. I already have enough gray hair, thank you very much!
TV: How do you feel things would change in America if a teenage girl were president?
GM: We’d definitely have a better-dressed President, and I think perhaps one that most people could relate to. Every adult has, at one time, been a teenager.
TV: Do you have a favorite book, young adult or otherwise?
GM: My favorite book is Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. I also love Lord of the Flies, War of the Worlds, Fahrenheit 451, and a slew of other classics.
TV: If you could share one piece of advice with teenage girls, what would it be?
GM: Take every moment in; savor every minute of time. It goes by more quickly than you realize, and you cannot get it back. Love, live, and read hard.
Visit: YALITCHAT.ORG to learn about McBride’s work and website.
For more information on the Teen Voices writing contest with YALITCHAT.ORG, see:
Tagged as: author interview, Georgia McBride, Julia Hunter, Writing Contest