WRITE Club members gather advice, knowledge from young adult author Kayla Ancrum


Helen Citino

WRITE club members listen to author Kayla Ancrum describe her writing journey. WRITE club author talks are held during lunch in Ms. Diaz’s room.

Kayla Ancrum, author of Wicker King, Weight of the Stars and Darling, spoke to aspiring young writers for WRITE club’s weekly author talk on Jan. 27.

Ancrum is a young up-and-coming author who spoke to the WRITE club just for that reason: she’s young. Ancrum started her writing career at age 12 and published her first book in college. She spoke about how she felt no pressure in publishing a book, since she knew she had time to fail.

Junior Gargi Rakhade said she was moved by Ancrum’s story.

Junior Gargi Rakhade asked author Kayla Ancrum a question about her writing process. WRITE members are encouraged to ask and learn as much as they can from incoming authors. (Helen Citino)

“Honestly it was super inspiring how young Kayla was when she first got published,” Rakhade said. “It makes me feel a lot more capable in my own abilities to see an author gain success at such a young age.”

Ancrum went into college wanting to pursue a career in fashion, but quickly realized that the fashion world was too mean and stifling for her. Instead, she decided to pursue a degree in literature.

Rakhade, torn between her love of fashion and her desire to write, said she resonated with Ancrum.

“I found it really helpful how many times she switched her major,” Rakhade said. “Because it shows that I can go into writing late and still be successful which alleviates the pressure to have my whole life figured out now.”

Ancrum’s books are also known for their accurate teen and queer representation. Ancrum recognized that queer movements are cyclical in media. She said there will be a wave of LGBTQ+ renaissance and then queer awareness will once again be placed under a social taboo. She said she hopes that her work will survive her generation and be available to future queer teens who aren’t allowed representation of themselves and have to rely on past literature.

Ancrum draws on her own experience of discovering her sexuality and style during the drag resurgence in adjacent neighborhoods growing up. She includes themes of trauma, families created in friendships and descriptions of queer friend groups.

“I appreciate how much queer representation she includes in her books,” Rakhade said. “I really like how the queer narrative is centralized and not just a side plot, and also how intersectional the characters are, as that’s not something you often see in books or media.”

Ancrum also shared little tips and tricks she picked up as a writer with ADHD.

Junior Marie Khoury said she enjoyed how Ancrum discussed finding the discipline to commit and finish projects and her to outline the entire plot from start to finish “before you even think about starting to write.”

Ancrum explained the inspiration behind her books and writing tips for novice writers. She has a new book, “Out There: Into the Queer Yonder” coming out June 27, 2022. (Helen )

“I find it hard to stay focused and tend to jump from story to story,” Khoury said. “Having the entire plot in front of me would compel me to actually finish whatever story I’m writing.”

Khoury appreciated Ancrum’s advice to keep a list of names on her phone.

“I really liked Acrum’s suggestion to write down names that pique her interest immediately after she hears them,” Khoury said. “This helps speed the writing process as finding the right character name can be quite difficult. I’m going to start doing the same.”

Ancrum said that the best way to revise one’s work is to join a group of writers who don’t care about your feelings and will give you thoughtful and helpful criticism.

“I’m also going to take her advice on not asking familiar people about my writing in order to receive the most honest feedback,” Khoury said. “Although it may be harsher, honest feedback would truly enhance my work and help me grow as a writer.”