A Celebration of Bridget Zinn + POISON Giveaway

A few years ago, when I was going through the process of looking for an agent and then an editor, I started noticing some names popping up over and over again on the websites and twitter feeds I haunted. (I’m pretty sure most of us do that — wannabe authors, I mean. We form a sort of virtual worldwide community, bonded together by the adversity of rejection and – finally, maybe – by success!)

 One of the other authors I noticed, just about on the same career trajectory I was following, was Bridget Zinn.


I didn’t know much about her until I saw a tweet with her name in it. She had gotten her book deal, it turned out!

But the tweet was about a fundraiser. Because in the middle of all her great writing-related news, Bridget had also learned something else. She had cancer.

Her smiling face prompted me to bid on items in a silent auction to help with her medical bills. I offered up prayers and thoughts of healing for this smiling woman I’d never met – because I did know her, in a way. I knew her hopes and dreams were the same as mine, her path very similar. We were both almost there, almost to the shining moment of seeing our books on the shelves, our names on the spines, our stories in the hands of young readers.

And then Bridget, the effervescent librarian, writer, and new member of the kidlit tribe, died.

She would have been an Apocalypsie, a member of the supportive group of debut kidlit authors whose first books were slated to come out in the 2012 (the supposed end of the world, according to Mayan calendars). Her book was delayed a bit, understandably, and it came out in March of this year.

And it’s fantastic. POISON, her debut YA fantasy, is delightfully funny and fast-paced, the exact sort of book I buy for my myriad nephews and nieces. The sort of book kids fall in love with and hand around to all their friends at school.


When Bridget’s cousin asked me to take part in the Austin leg of POISON’s national book tour, at the amazing local indie bookstore, Bookpeople, I was honored and excited. A whole group of Austin authors came together to help launch Bridget’s book, to celebrate for her. To celebrate her.

Photo from Bridget Zinn POISON book launch

PJ Hoover, Barrett Dowell (Bridget’s husband), me, Cory Putnam Oakes, and Mary Zuniga Johnson (Bridget’s cousin).


I have given copies of her amazing book to libraries in Texas and Japan – and I’ll probably keep giving them! I adore this book.

But the copy I got at the Austin signing – filled with the names of Austin authors and a stamped signature of Bridget’s – means something more to me. I keep it near my writing desk for a reason. On those days when I feel like surfing the Internet or eating my weight in M&Ms instead of writing, seeing Bridget’s book reminds me that we don’t know how much time we have to fulfill our dreams. And when I open it, and see the names of the writers who came to support her life, and her work, I remember I’m not alone, no matter how solitary the writing life can feel.


The world is filled with stories to write, moments to savor them, and friends to help celebrate every step on the journey. And if we’re lucky, books like Bridget’s can fill that journey with laughter and delight.

If you would like a special signed copy from the Austin launch of POISON, they can be purchased from Bookpeople directly.


I’d like to invite you to celebrate Bridget’s life, her book, and the community of authors that launched her debut novel by giving away a copy of POISON. If you would like to enter, leave a comment about someone who has inspired you (A writer? A teacher?). Comments will be accepted until May 24, midnight CST. Names will be printed out, placed in a hat, and the winner drawn by my ten-year-old kid. (Let’s not get too fancy, people.) If the winner does not respond within 48 hours with a valid email address to the contest notification posted on my blog, another name will be drawn until someone who’s paying attention wins!

Oh, and North America only for this, please. Good luck!







Posted in Children's Fiction, Miscellaneous, People I Love on 05/13/2013 12:39 pm


  1. You know me from wooldridge elementary.
    i would like to enter.
    Who inspired me was YOU and my fourth grade teacher,Ms.scagno.
    I now write vampire stories and scary stories in my journal.i also read them.

    From Wooldridge Elementary


  2. I’m in!

    Who inspired me the most was J.K Rowling. HP was more than just a book for me. I grew up reading the series. It’s part of my life.



  3. This post is so inspirational and wonderful as it is – that is just such a great story to share, and how Bridget’s book is able to shine even though she isn’t here to celebrate with it.

    One of my professors this year was someone who really inspired me – she has opened my eyes to a lot of new issues in education and has gotten me more motivated to gain experience in those areas.


  4. I know how hard cancer can be. My mom had breast cancer a couple of years back, and those were just about the darkest days in my life. I almost dropped school because everything was unraveling so fast, but my best friend helped me through it and so did her parents. If it hadn’t been for them… I don’t what I would have done.
    I hope to God someone will find a cure one day. No one should have to go through that terror.


  5. My mom inspired me always, but more than ever when she was battling cancer.


  6. I have visited Bridget’s blog before.
    Been meaning to buy this book. Bless you, Nikki Loftin!


  7. Joan Hodges

    Who inspired me? Hugh Scanlan, my amazing 9th grade English teacher who is also retiring this year. I tried to write him a letter in college to say how much he meant to me and how I wanted to teach because I thought it would be so cool to be “like him.” Don’t know if I did that, necessarily, but I know that I carry a little bit of his class into mine every day. (And PS, Nikki, I have a North American address, so even though I’m not there currently, keep me in the drawing!)


  8. mima tipper

    Hi Nikki,
    I, too, remember reading about Bridget during my agent-hunting days, and then saw a blog post about her illness on the Upstart Crow Agency site (I was interning with one of UCA’s agents) and was devastated by the news of first her illness and then her passing. There are many teachers and writers who inspire me, but I have to say that even though I never met Bridget, she inspires me, too,and has off-and-on through the past couple of years. Her name pops into my head some days as I keep writing, revising, and submitting. I’m sad she didn’t get to enjoy her own book tour, her own success, but am comforted that POISON is out in the world, and that her community is reading and sharing her work.
    Thanks for doing this.
    Mima Tipper


Leave a Reply