Vanessa Acton

Vanessa Acton is a writer and editor in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She enjoys stalking dead people (also known as historical research), drinking too much tea, and taking long walks during her home state’s annual three-week thaw.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

It changed depending on my age, but Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher had a good long run. So did Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Letters to Julia (NOT Letters to Juliet, Internet search bar—give me some credit) by Barbara Ware Holmes

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“Still, there are times when I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.” —Jhumpa Lahiri, Interpreter of Maladies

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

The ultimate trick question—so I’m going to cheat and narrow it down to the top three living authors of young adult fiction I’ve read this year: Elizabeth Wein, Kwame Alexander, and Rainbow Rowell.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

My life is more interesting if I’m also thinking about other lives—real or imaginary.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Other people’s routines or creative strategies might not work for you, because you’re not other people. Figure out what helps you be creative, whether that’s setting aside a specific time of day for writing or carrying a notebook (yes, a physical notebook) around with you. Don’t worry if your creative process is different from other people’s. Whatever you create will be unique too!