Currently live where?
Anything else, like website/blog/Twitter you are ok sharing?
My Twitter is @elphabasee.
What do you do when you’re not working on packets?
In pre-pandemic times I enjoyed traveling. When I’m not working on packets, I also enjoy
swimming, spending time outside, spending time with friends, crafting, reading, and petting
How did you hear about the Hamline MFAC Program?
My friend Jon came to our writing group meeting right from an MFAC information session. He
told us about how amazing the program sounded and how he wanted to do it.
What was your writing experience prior to entering the program?
I had taken writing classes in various settings. When I moved to Minneapolis, I answered a
classified ad on the Loft Literary Center’s website and joined a writing group with others
working on children and young adult books. The majority of my writing and critiquing
experience came from my writing group, the Uncommon Writers.
What do you especially remember about your first residency?
I remember being asked how I was doing frequently. I also remembered being frequently told to
do what you needed to take care of yourself. It’s a group of people and community that really
cares about your well-being.
Have you focused on any one form (PB, novel, nonfiction, graphic novel) or age group in
your writing? Tried a form you never thought you’d try?
I came into the program thinking of myself as a young adult writer. Although going into the
program, I knew I wanted to explore and learn about different genres and writing for different
age groups. I had the opportunity to work on fiction and nonfiction picture books, young adult
writing, and middle grade writing. When I entered the program, the one genre I thought I would
never write was a contemporary, young adult book.
Tell us about your Creative Thesis.
My Creative Thesis is a contemporary young adult book. Talia is tired of being desexualized
and boys just using her to get to her friends. She uses Reddit to crowdsource a list of songs that
make people feel sexually empowered and is determined to learn something from each song. It
features a fat main character, a playlist bucket list, and strong female friendships. It’s also a love
letter to pop music.
What changes have you seen in your writing during your studies?
My writing has improved immensely from this program! First of all, I have gotten better at
writing by just generating a lot of work. I learned how to revise and make my writing better both
from feedback and also critiquing the work of others in workshop. I have a much stronger sense
of how to revise from a craft perspective. I also feel much more confident in trusting my own
instincts and my process.
Any thoughts for entering students or for people considering the program?
Do it! For me it was a great opportunity to start prioritizing my writing more in my life. It is also
just a great community to be a part of.