Saturday, March 11, 2017

1 Whitney Gardner, author of YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE, on emailing herself her first page

We are delighted to be able to chat with Whitney Gardner about her debut novel YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE.

Whitney, how long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I remember starting this book by sending the first page to myself in an email. I was away from my computer and I needed to get it down as soon as possible. I went through my inbox and found that I started YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE in 2013. I had written two graphic novels prior, but neither ended up finding a home.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Well, it all starts with coffee. I have a little office in my house, with a rainbow carpet and pet bed for my lazy pug. I do most of my work from there. But I can't write with music on; it's too distracting. I used to only be able to work in silence, but I've upgraded to nature sounds.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I never thought I would be a writer. I always imagined myself on the illustration end of things. And when I started testing the writing waters, I wasn't good at it. But there's only one way to get better: keep writing. Get critique partners and listen to them. Read widely. Editing is your best friend. Don't quit.


You're Welcome, Universe
by Whitney Gardner
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 3/7/2017

A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast as the only deaf student. The last thing she has left is her art, and not even Banksy himself could convince her to give that up.

Out in the ’burbs, Julia paints anywhere she can, eager to claim some turf of her own. But Julia soon learns that she might not be the only vandal in town. Someone is adding to her tags, making them better, showing off—and showing Julia up in the process. She expected her art might get painted over by cops. But she never imagined getting dragged into a full-blown graffiti war.

Told with wit and grit by debut author Whitney Gardner, who also provides gorgeous interior illustrations of Julia’s graffiti tags, You’re Welcome, Universe introduces audiences to a one-of-a-kind protagonist who is unabashedly herself no matter what life throws in her way.

Purchase You're Welcome, Universe at Amazon
Purchase You're Welcome, Universe at IndieBound
View You're Welcome, Universe on Goodreads


 Whitney Gardner is an author, illustrator, and coffee addict. Originally from New York, she studied design and worked as an art teacher and school librarian before moving to Portland, Oregon, where she lives by a bridge with her husband and two pugs. In the rare moment Whitney isn’t writing or drawing, she’s likely to be reading comics, knitting, and tending her garden or apiary. YOU’RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE, her debut novel, has been selected as an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Pick. Visit her at


Have you had a chance to read YOU'RE WELCOME, UNIVERSE yet? Are you new to thinking you'll be a writer? Take Whitney's advice and try it and get critiques, such as entering our 1st 5 Pages monthly workshops! Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

1 comment:

  1. Loved this book, teens will root for the heroine & the graffiti aspect was awesome! My goodreads review


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