Meet the Author: Destiny Soria

Destiny SoriaDestiny Soria lives in Birmingham, AL, with her cat Sophie. She spends her time trying to come up with bios that make her sound kind of cool. She has yet to succeed.

Destiny’s debut novel, IRON CAST (Abrams/Amulet, October 11, 2016), is a Young Adult historical fantasy. The story follows two best friends and illusionists who live and work in a Prohibition-era nightclub and con the city’s elite, only to find themselves entangled with mobsters when a con goes awry.


Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: ELLA ENCHANTED by Gail Carson Levine
  • Childhood aspiration: An archaeologist, in the vein of Indiana Jones.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: She loves writing in coffee shops in the middle of the day, to take full advantage of the people-watching. But her day job means she usually has to make do with her bed in the middle of the night, while Sophie the cat tries repeatedly to climb on top of her laptop.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (for the fifteenth time).
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): When the weather is warm (which in Alabama is…almost always), she likes to practice her hula hooping. On those rare chilly nights, she loves nothing more than hot tea and Alfred Hitchcock Presents marathons.
  • Favorite sports teams: The Night Vale Spiderwolves. She has a t-shirt and everything.
  • Surprising personal fact: After college, she spent seven months backpacking across New Zealand, where she ate a lot of kiwifruit chocolate, went bungee jumping and skydiving (twice), and simply walked into Mordor.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Plugging into a fantastic community of writers and readers.

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Meet the Author: Tara Sim

Tara SimsTara Sim is a YA author found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not writing about magic, clocks, and boys, she drinks tea, wrangles cats, and sings opera.

Tara’s debut, TIMEKEEPER (Sky Pony, November 1, 2016), is a Young Adult LGBT Historical Fantasy. In an alternate Victorian era, every city in the world is run by a clock tower. Clock mechanic Danny wants to free his father from a city trapped in time, but to do so, he’ll need to stop a series of bombings taking down towers around London. Easier said than done when Danny falls for a boy who lives in one of the clock towers—and who becomes a target for the bombings.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Childhood aspiration: Tara initially wanted to be a world-famous singer, but when she discovered she could create (and destroy) worlds at her fingertips, she veered towards being an author instead.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: In a corner of her bedroom, right in front of the window, in the middle of the night.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Singing, traveling, watching movies, playing video games, cheese-binging, baking (and eating cookie dough), making friends laugh so hard they snort.
  • Favorite sports teams: With utmost loyalty to her home city, the San Francisco Giants.
  • Surprising personal fact: Despite being ridiculously pale, Tara is half-Indian. She recently traveled to India to see her family (and to do research for her next book).
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Getting to connect with talented, funny, intelligent authors.

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Add Book

Meet the Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh

Sarah Glenn MarshSarah Glenn Marsh writes young adult novels and children’s picture books. An avid fantasy reader from the day her dad handed her a copy of The Hobbit and promised it would change her life, she’s been making up words and worlds ever since. She lives in Virginia with her husband and four rescued greyhounds. When she’s not writing, she’s most often engaged in pursuits of the nerd variety, from video games to tabletop adventures and dungeon crawls.

Sarah’s debut novel, FEAR THE DROWNING DEEP (Skyhorse/Sky Pony, October 4, 2016), is a Young Adult historical fantasy. In 1913, a teen girl knows there’s something sinister in the waters around her Isle of Man home. Together with the mysterious boy who washes ashore, Bridey must face her fear–and the danger–before the ocean claims everyone she loves.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: Everything by Tolkien (yes, even the Silmarillion). And the Harry Potter series (she’s a Slytherin who loves to give hugs!).
  • Childhood aspiration: Dolphin trainer or vet.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Late morning with a good cup of coffee, surrounded by her dogs.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: PAW AND ORDER by Spencer Quinn.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Watercolor painting, gardening, bowling, spending time with her greyhounds, antiquing, playing tabletop games with her husband.
  • Favorite sports teams: The Packers, the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!) and the Virginia Cavaliers. And let’s not forget hockey: the Red Wings and the Washington Capitals!
  • Surprising personal fact: She can trace her grandmother’s lineage back to the Plantagenet Queens of England; her great-(now say that 25 times!) grandparents were Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry the 3rd!
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Getting to meet and befriend so many other amazing authors!

Where to find her:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Add Book


Meet the Author: Kathleen Burkinshaw

Kathleen BurkinshawKathleen Burkinshaw resides in Charlotte, NC.  She’s a wife, mom to a daughter in college, and dreading the reality of being an empty nester (most of the time), and owns a dog who is a kitchen ninja.  She also advocates for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy research. Writing has given her an outlet for her daily struggle with chronic pain. Writing Historical Fiction satisfies her OCD tendencies to research anything and everything.

Kathleen’s debut novel, THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM (Sky Pony Press, August 4, 2016), is upper middle grade historical fiction. THE LAST CHERRY BLOSSOM gives a glimpse into a 12 year old girl’s daily life in Hiroshima during the last year of World War II. Shocking family secrets are revealed just as her entire world is about to ignite and become a shadow of what it had been.  This historical fiction novel is based on her mother’s life in Hiroshima.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: NANCY DREW MYSTERIES and anything by Judy Blume
  • Childhood aspiration:  Veterinarian (until she found out she would also have to put animals down-couldn’t do it)
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: In the morning in her favorite chair by the window in her bedroom
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: She has more than one on her nightstand depending on her mood – RED BERRIES, WHITE CLOUDS, BLUE SKY by Sandra Dallas, HOLD TIGHT DON’T LET GO: A STORY OF HAITI by Laura Rose Wagner, and THE THICKETY: A PATH BEGINS by J.A. White
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading):  Writing, spending time with family and any crafts involving a glue gun
  • Favorite sports teams: NY Yankees, and to keep peace in family-Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Surprising personal fact: After college, she acted in a dinner theater group
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Seeing her book in print with other great debut authors and being able to be called sweet sixteen again-but this time can she bypass the permed hair and the SAT’s?

Where to find her:

Blog | Twitter

Meet the Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Julie EshbaughJulie Eshbaugh used to have trouble staying in one spot, having lived in places as varied as Utah, France, and New York City. She eventually returned home to the Philadelphia area, where she now lives with her husband, son, cat and dog. Early on, Julie focused her artistic energies on filmmaking and online video, making two short films and producing an online video series for teens.

Julie’s debut novel, IVORY AND BONE (HarperCollins, Summer 2016), is Young Adult historical fiction set in a time of wholly mammoths and saber-toothed cats that reads like fantasy. With a unique narrative structure, it tells the story of two star-crossed teens whose competing clans share a dark history, and who must choose between trusting—or fighting—each other.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: So many! One of her favorites was FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by EL Konigsburg
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Late morning, at her desk facing the picture window
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: A LESSON BEFORE DYING by Ernest J. Gaines
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Travel, especially to a place with a beautiful beach
  • Favorite sports teams: The Philadelphia Phillies
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Being able to share the experience with her family, friends, and the great authors in this group! (And how lucky to debut in a year that lends itself to a killer name like The Sweet Sixteens?)

Where to find her:

WebsiteTwitter | Goodreads | Add Book

Meet the Author: Cheryl Blackford

Cheryl BlackfordCheryl Blackford was born in Yorkshire, England but now lives in Minnesota where she’s raised two children, four cats, and two rats (despite the cats). As well as being an elementary school teacher she has worked for big and small companies and has written technical documentation, help files, and even scripts for The Oregon Trail© computer game. Cheryl loves her family, world travel, and hiking, but she especially loves to write children’s books.

Cheryl’s debut, LIZZIE AND THE LOST BABY (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt January 12, 2016), is a middle grade historical novel. Is it ever right to keep something that doesn’t belong to you? That question haunts ten-year-old Lizzie Dewhurst, a WWII evacuee sent to live with strangers in a remote Yorkshire valley. In a dual narrative, two worlds intermingle as Lizzie befriends Elijah, a local gypsy boy, and witnesses society’s discrimination against his people. When Lizzie discovers an abandoned baby, her friendship with Elijah is tested in a world clouded by prejudice and fear.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite Book Growing Up: Anything by Joan Aiken, E. Nesbit, or Frances Hodgson Burnett.
  • Favorite place/Time of day to write: She writes best in her office in the mornings after a brisk walk and a cup of coffee, but sometimes she does really good work on a plane.
  • Book Currently Reading: PAPERBOY by Vince Vawter.
  • Favorite things to do: Walk or hike in a beautiful natural setting, visit family in England, or travel somewhere new and interesting.
  • Surprising personal fact: She worked for a Fortune 500 company for 10 years before she realized she absolutely had to write children’s books. She quit and has never been happier – despite the rejection letters.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Knowing that children will finally read the story I’ve been gnashing my teeth over for three years.

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Meet the Author: Kelly Zekas and Tarun Shanker

Kelly ZekasKelly Zekas is a writer/actor and New York University graduate living in New York City. Young Adult literature is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and adores a good historical romance.



Tarun ShankerMild-mannered assistant by day, milder-mannered writer by night, Tarun Shanker is a New York University graduate currently living in Los Angeles. His idea of paradise is a place where kung-fu movies are projected on clouds, David Bowie’s music fills the air, and chai tea flows freely from fountains.


Tarun and Kelly’s debut THESE VICIOUS MASKS (Macmillan/Swoon Reads, February 2016) is a Young Adult Paranormal Historical novel. England; 1882: Evelyn Wyndham’s perfectly boring life is turned upside down when her beloved sister is kidnapped and she’s forced to join forces with her mysterious new neighbor, Sebastian Braddock, whose strange tales of “special powers” are soon proven true.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: Kelly has many, but probably the most enduring would be Harry Potter. Tarun always had the Wayside School series checked out of the library.
  • Childhood aspiration: Kelly very much wanted to be an actress. Tarun wanted to watch movies all day and call himself a film critic.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Kelly: Whatever time of day when she finds perfect soundtrack. Writing without music is almost impossible for her. Tarun: Mornings at the dining table, right next to the coffee maker and tea kettle.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: Kelly: THE MARTIAN – Kelly rarely reads popular adult fiction, but this one was just un-put-downable. Tarun finally started Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series with THE EYE OF THE WORLD.
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Kelly: Acting, always! Tarun likes getting sucked into video games and forgetting what time is.
  • Favorite sports teams: Kelly: Mets. Tarun: Celtics.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Kelly: Well … it is pretty sweet! Tarun: Having a book birthday and a real birthday on the same day.

Where to find them:

Tarun: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Add Book
Kelly: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Add Book