Meet the Author: Elly Swartz

Elly SwartzElly Swartz is a middle-grade author, but that’s not the whole story. She’s been a Sesame Place ride operator, messenger, legal author, lawyer, business owner, and college essay adviser. To that add, mom of two amazing sons (19 and 22, yikes!) and wife to one great guy. Recently, the fortune in her Bazooka Joe gum read, “You have the ability to become outstanding in literature.” Elly continues to find inspiration in the most unexpected places!

In Elly’s middle-grade novel, FINDING PERFECT (Macmillan/Farrar Straus and Giroux, Oct. 18, 2016), when twelve-year-old Molly’s mom, aka The Juice Lady, leaves the family to take a job in Canada, Molly tries to deal with her out of control world by organizing, counting, and ultimately, winning her middle school’s slam poetry competition.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: Judy Blume, ARE YOU THERE GOD, IT’S ME MARGARET?
  • Childhood aspiration: To be a doctor (until she realized she faints at the sight of blood)
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: The early morning at her desk with her coffee and her puppy beagle, Lucy, sleeping next to her.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: Tara Dairman, ALL FOUR STARS/ Jeanne Ryan, NERVE.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Anything with her family, hike, run, work on crossword puzzles, cook, walk Lucy
  • Favorite sports teams: Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox
  • Surprising personal fact: When she was little, all she ate were hotdogs with yellow mustard and black olives!
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Everything! And, she gets a year and a half to enjoy the anticipation.

Where to find her:

WebsiteTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Meet the Author: Traci Chee

Traci CheeTraci Chee is an author of speculative fiction for teens. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at piano playing, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.

Traci’s YA debut, THE READER (Penguin/Putnam, Fall 2016), is a nonlinear, multi-POV fantasy perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone: When her only remaining relative is kidnapped, Sefia vows to save her—even if that means learning to read in a world where literacy is forbidden and sacrificing the boy she loves to the secret society that destroyed her family.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Childhood aspiration: to become a veterinarian
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: at her desk in the morning with a cup of English Breakfast tea
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir
  • Surprising personal fact: When she was in 8th grade, she was one of the top 25 spellers in California. (Although this probably wouldn’t be surprising if you met her.)
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Besides the fact that she gets to do books? Definitely the people. She’s met such talented, whip-smart, hilarious people on this journey, she’s seriously so so lucky to be here.

Where to find her:

WebsiteTwitter | FacebookGoodreads 

Meet the Author: Heather Smith Meloche

Heather Smith MelocheHeather Smith Meloche’s work has appeared in SPIDER, YOUNG ADULT REVIEW NETWORK (YARN), and ONCE UPON A TIME, and she has placed twice in the children’s/YA category of the WRITER’S DIGEST Annual Competition. Her short story, “Him,” won the HUNGER MOUNTAIN Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing in 2011. She lives in Rochester Hills, MI, with her husband, two boys, and more pets than anyone should ever own.

Heather’s debut, RIPPLE (Penguin Putnam, Fall 2016), is a Young Adult Contemporary novel. High school students Tessa and Jack navigate their way through their all-too-adult lives as they wrestle with their own uniquely destructive compulsions and struggle to find each other as well as themselves.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT’S ME MARGARET by Judy Blume
  • Childhood aspiration: She told her mother when she was four years old that she was going to be a writer. Looks like it’s sort of working out that way.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: She has a very messy writing cave with piles of stuff organized by strata that, somehow, seems very clear to her when she’s looking for something. She finds that when she enters that cave around 9:00 a.m. and gets rolling, she hits her prime writing period around 10:00 a.m., when all her best ideas somehow magically appear.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: Her dad’s childhood copy of APACHE GOLD AND YAQUI SILVER by L. Frank Dobie. Also WE ALL LOOKED UP by Tommy Wallach.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): She loves to travel. She and her husband did a slew of traveling before they had children, and now that the kids are older, they’re back at it. Heather lived in Mexico for a while and has traveled to Ecuador, India, and throughout Eastern and Western Europe. She’s never happier than when she’s planning her next trip!
  • Favorite sports teams: She love basketball, and her hometown Detroit Pistons are awesome. She also recently discovered she can’t stop watching hockey during its season. She says her Detroit Red Wings rock!!
  • Surprising personal fact: She’s an English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher as well as a writer. She has a Master’s in Teaching ESL, and she adores her students, who come from all over the world. She says she often feels they teach her more than she teaches them!
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: It’s not only meeting so many other amazing writers as she networks and really gets involved in the writing communities, but it’s also knowing that after twelve years of hard work, she finally accomplished what she set out to do. Determination is the ultimate key in this business, and she’s proud to have stuck it out to finally succeed in giving her story a life of its own out in the market. Now her goal is to do it again and again and again…

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Meet the Author: Adriana Mather

Adriana MatherAdriana Mather is the 14th generation of Mathers in America, and as such her family has their fingers in many of its historical pies – the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trials, the Titanic, the Revolutionary War, and the wearing of curly white wigs. Also, Adriana owns a production company, Zombot Pictures, in LA that has made three feature films in three years. Her first acting scene in a film ever was with Danny Glover, and she was terrified she would mess it up. In addition, her favorite food is pizza and she has too many cats.

Adriana’s debut novel, HOW TO HANG A WITCH (Random House/Knopf, Fall 2016), is a Young Adult Contemporary novel pitched as The Ghost and Mrs. Muir meets The Craft. When heroine Samantha Mather moves to modern-day Salem, Mass., the crimes of her ancestors—who were involved in hanging witches in the town 300 years ago—come back to haunt her. Samantha is ostracized by the witch descendants at school, confronted by an enigmatic ghost, and forced to trust her only friend and, ultimately, herself, as she unravels the lost secrets of the hangings and her family.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up:  It’s a tie between THE LITTLE PRINCE and SIDDHARTHA.
  • Childhood Aspirations: 1) Be in charge of everything fun and leave all the un-fun stuff to someone else (she still tries to negotiate this scenario with her mother but she’s not having it) 2) Have a pet monkey 3) Drive big trucks.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Her bed… She’s like the grandparents in Willy Wonka.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: FAR FAR AWAY by Tom McNeal.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Act, spoon her cats, eat, go to India, jump in the waves.
  • Favorite sports teams: soft pretzels with mustard… wait, she means all the NY teams
  • Surprising personal fact: She played rugby in college for three years and went to nationals twice.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Feeling vindicated for all that time she spent in bed.

Where to find her:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Add Book

Meet the Author: Jenny Moyer

Jenny MoyerJenny Moyer studied writing at Seattle Pacific University, and has written and voiced national commercial spots. She co-owns Luminary, a production company, ( with her filmmaker husband. Their creative exploits have taken them all over the U.S., but they currently make their home with their three boys in Des Moines, Iowa. Jenny writes young adult fantasy and sci-fi.

Pitched as Red Rising for teens, FLASHFALL (Henry Holt/Macmillan, November 2016) is the first in a series and tells the story of a girl who, with her people, is forced to mine terrifying tunnels for precious metal in return for freedom, only to realize that they’ve been betrayed but that she still carries a powerful secret that could change their world.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: FROG AND TOAD.
  • Childhood aspiration: Writer, pilot, actress, teacher, singer.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: In the morning after she gets her kids off to school. Coffee shop or curled up in the window seat with her dog, Emmy. With coffee.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: CRESS by Marissa Meyer.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Spending time with her kids, date nights with her husband, movies, traveling, running, assisting on set.
  • Favorite sports teams: Um . . . Gryffindor?
  • Surprising personal fact: She married her high school sweetheart!
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Connecting with readers and writers, and proving that dreams really do come true if you never give up!

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Add Book

Meet the Authors: Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer

Jonah Lisa Dyer & Stephen DyerIn a partnership exceeding 20 years, Jonah Lisa Dyer and Stephen Dyer have made lots of amazing things together. The films HYSTERIA and AWAY & BACK; a cozy home in the mountains of Idaho; a pact to always expect the best out of life; two exceptional human beings who love reading and laughing as much as they do; and a new book due out this summer. They intend to keep making amazing things for as long as they’re able.

Jonah Lisa and Stephen’s debut, THE SEASON (Viking/Penguin, July 2016), is a contemporary Young Adult novel. Megan is a college soccer star with Olympic dreams, but she’s not a girly girl.  When her socialite Mom secretly enters her in the 2016 Dallas debutante season, she’s furious—and has no idea what she’s in for.  The Season has officially begun, but the drama is just getting started in this funny, modern re-telling of PRIDE & PREJUDICE set in the heady world of Texas debutantes.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: Jonah Lisa’s favorite book was WATERSHIP DOWN while Stephen’s was RIFLES FOR WATIE.
  • Childhood aspiration: JL wanted to be an actor or a writer and has enjoyed experiencing both as an adult. Stephen wanted to play professional baseball. Alas…
  • Favorite place to write: They both write best in the morning. JL likes to write from home but Stephen needs to get out and go to the office or library. He also uses a standing desk.
  • Book currently reading: JL just finished a JoJo Moyes binge and Stephen is deep into ATONEMENT as a reminder of how gorgeous language can be.
  • Favorite things to do: JL loves to knit and make things and Stephen loves to ski. They both love the internet way too much.
  • Favorite sports teams: The Dyers are huge fans of US Women’s (and Men’s) National Soccer teams and the Dutch National team. They also support the Dallas Cowboys, bless their hearts.
  • Surprising personal fact: JL can juggle, was once a secretary at the UN and assisted in performing an outpatient vasectomy when she was 18. Stephen has read all three volumes of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago and was the first American volunteer at the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Meeting really wonderful, supportive and talented people who know exactly the kind of physical, emotional and financial turmoil you’re going through.

Where to find them:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Add Book