Thank the Admins!

As we near the end of 2016, we’d like to take the opportunity to Thank the Admins! For over two years, a core group of sixteen authors have been the tireless engine behind: ARC tours, Sweet Sixteen logo & web design, Facebook posts, Twitter love and so much more. To thank these incredible authors for their extra time and effort, we’ll be featuring a handful of administrators each month in a Thank the Admins post. We hope you’ll take a moment to extend your gratitude and give these peeps a virtual high five.

Kathy MacMillan

Kathy MacMillan (SWORD AND VERSE)Kathy MacMillanYour role as admin: Kathy was the founder of The Sweet Sixteens! *Huge shout-out to Kathy!* She coordinated EVERYTHING, including wrangling admins! The Sweet Sixteens wouldn’t be The Sweet Sixteens without the phenomenal amount of effort, time and caring that Kathy MacMillan has devoted to this debut group.

What’s up next:  An as-yet-untitled companion novel to Kathy’s YA fantasy debut Sword and Verse, scheduled to be published January 2018. Kathy’s fans are already drooling for this one!!

Thing you learned in your debut year: “Everyone will have different expectations of you and your book, and there is nothing you can do about that.  All you can do is focus on telling the story you need to tell.”


Victoria J. Coe

Victoria J Coe (FENWAY AND HATTIE)Victoria J Coe

30075003Your role as admin: Victoria formatted and posted all of the Meet the Author features. She’s been incredible about getting to know each and every Sixteener and making them feel welcome, both virtually and (for the lucky ones) throughout her book travels.

What’s up next:  Fenway and Hattie and the Evil Bunny Gang, the sequel to Victoria’s MG debut Fenway and Hattie, will be published on January 24, 2017. Victoria is currently revising a third Fenway and Hattie book that will be released in Winter 2018. More Fenway and Hattie means more smiles!!!

Thing you learned in your debut year: “This year has been life-changing! I’ve learned so much I can hardly get my thoughts together. But the biggest thing I’ve learned is I’m so glad I got to go through this journey with the Sweet Sixteens. To be part of this community of talented writers and outstanding human beings has been an honor.”

Marisa Reichardt

UnderwaterMarisa Reichardt

Your role as admin: Marisa posted all of the Fearless Fifteener interviews and kept our Sweet Sixteen Facebook page populated, along with help from MG author Laura Shoavn. Did you have your book news posted to Facebook this year? Throw a thanks Marisa’s way!

What’s up next:  Marisa is looking forward to foreign publications of her contemporary YA debut Underwater in 2017, as well as its paperback release. Today, she’s busy at work on another standalone contemporary YA novel. We can’t wait!!

Thing you learned in your debut year: “I can’t live without Shannon M. Parker.”


Brooks Benjamin

MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS cover for JenBrooks Benjamin NewYour role as admin: Brooks is our YouTube guru and tweets for The Sweet Sixteens account, sharing great news across both platforms.

What’s up next:  Brooks is hopping around to different states for conferences and festivals promoting My Seventh Life and Tights. In between events, he’s writing and has a couple of MG manuscripts on sub right now! Yay for more Brooks Benjamin stories to come!

Thing you learned in your debut year: “Things get seriously busy after your book comes out. This isn’t a bad thing, just surprising. But I’ve also learned that I the other Sweet Sixteeners are wonderful to rely on when you feel overwhelmed. They’re going through the same thing and they always let you know they’re there for you.”

Meet the Author: Dee Romito

Dee RomitoDee Romito lives in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. You’re likely to find her on adventures with her husband and two energetic kids, at the local ice cream shop, or curled up in a comfy chair with her cats. She loves to write, travel, and giggle like a teenager with her friends.

Dee’s middle grade debut, THE BFF BUCKET LIST (Aladdin/S&S 2016) takes us along as two best friends set out to complete each task on their list before the end of summer. But as new friends, epic opportunities, and super-cute boys enter the picture, the challenges on the list aren’t the only ones they face.

Dee is a member of the Sweet Sixteens Admin Team, helping manage the group’s Twitter account.

Fun facts:

  • Childhood aspiration: Actress, teacher
  • Favorite place to write: Wegmans (They have everything in that food court!)
  • Book currently reading: THE ROSIE EFFECT by Graeme Simsion
  • Favorite things to do: Spend time with family & friends, travel, take lots of pictures
  • Favorite sports teams: All her Buffalo teams and the Atlanta Braves.
  • Surprising personal fact: She can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious backwards.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Every time she hears “Sweet 16” she thinks of Sixteen Candles and Jake Ryan. #grewupinthe80s Also, debuting with so many writer friends!

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Add Book | Blog

Meet the Author: Marieke Nijkamp

Marieke NijkampMarieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, and wanderer. Marieke is a VP of We Need Diverse Books™ and the founder of DiversifYA, an inclusive community where people share advice and experiences. She wants to grow up to be a time traveler.

Her debut, THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS (Sourcebooks Fire, Spring 2016), is a young adult contemporary. THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS is told from the perspective of four teens in a high school held hostage who all have their own reasons to fear the boy with the gun.

Marieke is one of two Sweet Sixteens WordPress Administrators (with Jeff Garvin). She is responsible for coordinating posting of new content on the Sweet Sixteens blog.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: A Dutch children’s book that was very recently translated in English: Tonke Dragt’s THE LETTER FOR THE KING (Pushkin Children’s). She can still recite entire sections from that book verbatim. It’s still one of her favorite reads, and it’s one of those books that absolutely inspires her to write.
  • Childhood aspiration: On account of the previous book and many other historical fiction and fantasy, she grew up wanting to be a knight or a spy. Instead, she ended up majoring in medieval studies and started telling stories about courage and hope and darkness instead.
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Late at night. She’s definitely a night owl.
  • Book currently reading/most recently read: Some very amazing manuscripts from some very amazing authors. ❤
  • Favorite things to do (other than reading): Writing. Duh.
  • Favorite sports teams: Her local football (soccer) team.
  • Surprising personal fact: She speaks a lot of languages. Living languages. Dead languages. Coding languages. Mathematical/logical languages. She’s a bit of a language geek. She’s not entirely sure that’s surprising to anyone who’s ever met her, though.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Aside from getting to share this story with readers? Meeting more book people. She loves book people. Book people are the best. ❤ And from what she’s read so far, the 2016 debut authors are disgustingly talented. It’s an honor to be part of this group!

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Add Book 

Meet the Author: Jeff Zentner

Jeff ZentnerJeff Zentner lives in Nashville, Tennessee. He came to writing through music, starting his creative life as a guitarist, eventually becoming a songwriter. He’s released five albums and appeared on recordings with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, Warren Ellis, Thurston Moore, Debbie Harry, Mark Lanegan, and Lydia Lunch, among others. Now he also writes novels for young adults. He became interested in writing for young adults after volunteering at the Tennessee Teen Rock Camp and Southern Girls Rock Camp.

His debut THE SERPENT KING (Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, Spring 2016) is a young adult novel about growing up in the rural South. Three outcasts–the son of an imprisoned Pentecostal snakehandling minister; a sweet-natured, blue-collar fantasy fan; and a well-known teen fashion blogger–try to make it through their final year of high school with their spirits and senses of self intact.

Continue reading

Meet the Author: Laura Shovan

Laura ShovanLaura Shovan is poetry editor for Little Patuxent Review. Her chapbook, Mountain, Log, Salt and Stone, won the inaugural Harriss Poetry Prize. A Rita Dove Poetry Award finalist, Laura conducts school poetry residencies for the Maryland State Arts Council.

Laura’s debut middle grade novel, THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY (Wendy Lamb Books/Random House, Spring 2016), is written in verse. When fifth graders learn that their school will be torn down and replaced by a supermarket, they take their teacher’s 1960s political teachings to heart and fight to save it. Continue reading

Meet the Author: Nisha Sharma

Nisha SharmaAward-winning author Nisha Sharma was raised in the countryside of northeast Pennsylvania. With very little to do in a small town, Nisha filled her spare time with eighties music, Bollywood movies, and lots of romance novels. When she ran out of romances to read at her local library, she started writing sequels to her favorites and she’s been writing ever since. Nisha lives in central Jersey where she is surrounded by books and movie theaters that play Bollywood movies all the time. Continue reading