Jessica Burkhart – Read the pep talk
At the age of ten, Jessica Burkhart started “Jessie’s Tack Cleaning Service” to pay for horseback-riding lessons. She rode daily and, on occasion, wore her paddock boots to school. In eighth grade, Jessica had a spinal fusion for severe scoliosis, which forced her to stop riding. During her recovery, she read dozens of teen magazines and thought, “Ooooh! I could do that!” After many submissions, she finally wrote a piece about what she loved: volunteering with the Humane Society. The article became her first publication. Jessica started college at 16, but she kept freelancing and had over 100 pieces published in magazines such as Girls’ Life, Listen, and The Writer. In November 2006, she signed up for National Novel Writing Month and completed the first draft of Take the Reins. After being discovered by an agent through her blog, Jessica is now a full-time author of tween fiction. She released six Canterwood Crest books in 2009 and has two scheduled for 2010. She recently relocated to New York City and loves it!
Nancy Yi Fan – Read the pep talk
Nancy Yi Fan is the New York Times bestselling teen author of Swordbird, a fantasy novel she started writing when she was ten, and Sword Quest, a sequel to Swordbird. Birds, a lifelong passion of the author’s, provided the inspiration for her novels. When she isn’t talking and writing to readers worldwide, Nancy gets straight A’s in school, practices martial arts, and takes very good care of her pet lovebirds. She lives in Florida with her parents and is working on her third book, Sword Mountain.
John Green – Read the pep talk
John Green is the New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than a dozen languages.
D.J. MacHale – Read the pep talk
D.J. MacHale’s ten-book series, Pendragon: Journal of an Adventure Through Time and Space, is a #1 New York Times bestseller. He has also been a writer, director, executive producer, and creator of several popular television series and movies. As co-creator of the Nickelodeon show Are You Afraid of the Dark?, he produced all 91 episodes over eight years. D.J.’s work on other television series earned him the CableAce award for Best Youth Series, the Writers Guild of America award for “Outstanding Children’s Script,” and a Directors Guild of America award nomination. In his literary life, D.J. also co-wrote The Tale of the Nightly Neighbors, and penned the poetic adaptation of the classic Norwegian folk tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon. He is currently working on three new projects: Morpheus Road, a spooky trilogy; The Equinox Curiosity Shop, a fantasy adventure; and The Monster Princess, a picture book. D.J. lives in Southern California with his wife, Evangeline, and daughter, Keaton.
Megan McCafferty – Read the pep talk
Megan McCafferty is the author of the Jessica Darling series. sloppy firsts was an ALA Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, an ALA Popular Paperback, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Its sequel, second helpings, was also selected to the NYPL list, and was a Booklist Editor’s Pick for one of the best novels of 2003. charmed thirds was an instant New York Times bestseller and a NYPL pick. The series’ last entries, fourth comings and perfect fifths, also made the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Booksense, Barnes and Noble, Borders, and other national bestseller lists. Megan has contributed to numerous national magazines and nonfiction anthologies, and her work has been translated into 11 languages. Her latest book, Bumped, will be in stores soon.
Kaleb Nation – Read the pep talk
At age 12, Kaleb Nation telephoned the senior editor of a major publisher to pitch a book… and got to talk with security instead. But as with most dedicated writers, not even that could stifle his dream. In 2003, he had an idea that began the story of Bran Hambric, a novel that would take most of his teenage years to write. The first book in the series, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse, was published in 2009. Kaleb’s other major project has been the website TwilightGuy.com, which provides chapter-by-chapter insight on the Twilight saga. He is also an avid YouTuber, with over 15 million plays on his channel. In his free time, Kaleb enjoys photography, music, and blogging. A homeschool graduate and a black belt in taekwondo, he currently lives in Southern California. Bran Hambric: The Specter Key was released in October 2010.
Robyn Schneider – Watch the pep talk
Robyn Schneider was born in 1986 and spent a dissolute childhood listening to '80s rock, reading a good deal of Vonnegut, and generally being sarcastic and miserable. Since the age of 12, when she read her first Harry Potter book, Robyn knew that she wanted to become a writer. At 18, she sold her first novel to Random House, and by the time she graduated college, Robyn had sold six books to major U.S. publishing houses. Her two books for young adults, Better Than Yesterday and The Social Climber’s Guide To High School are both New York Public Library Best Books For The Teen Age. The first book in her Knightley Academy series, written under the pseudonym Violet Haberdasher, was published in March 2010. Robyn lives in New York City.
Sherwood Smith – Read the pep talk
Sherwood Smith has been married for 30 years, with two kids, three dogs, and a house full of books. She started writing novels about other worlds at the age of eight, and began sending them out when she was 13. (She typed them on a manual typewriter, and wow, did that take a long time.) It took 15 years for her to gain more skill, but in the meantime she went to college, lived in Europe, came back to get her Masters in history, worked in Hollywood, got married, started a family, and became a teacher. Sherwood discovered that studying history was a good thing for an author, and she used this knowledge to shape the world of Sartorias-deles, the setting of much of her work. She has published over 30 books, including Coronets and Steel and Crown Duel.