The Debut Club: An interview with Stephanie Oakes, author of THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY

Sweet Sixteener Shea Olsen recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Stephanie Oakes about her contemporary YA novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (June 9, 2015, Dial/Penguin).

StephanieOakes_imageAbout the Author: 

Stephanie Oakes is a teacher and YA author from Washington State. Her debut novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (Dial/Penguin, June 9, 2015), about a girl who escapes from a religious commune only to find herself at the center of a murder investigation, is based on the Grimm fairy tale, “The Handless Maiden.”

THE ARSONIST, her second YA mystery through Dial/Penguin, is scheduled for publication in fall 2016.

Find Stephanie on her website and Twitter.

StephanieOaks_bookcoverAbout THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY:

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY is available for purchase at AmazonBooks A Million, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound.
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Meet the Author: Shea Olsen

Shea OlsenShea Olsen lives and writes in a small mountain town in Oregon. She works as a producer for Rage Productions, a film production company, and shares a home with her husband, a dog named Diesel, and two cats. You will often find her reading or writing her next novel beside the lake where she and her husband are restoring a tiny 400 sq. ft. cabin in the Cascade Mountains. She is represented by Jessica Regel at Foundry.

Shea’s debut novel, FLOWER (Harlequin Teen, Winter 2016) is a Young Adult romance.

When Charlotte was twelve, she promised her grandmother she’d swear off boys until after college—she wouldn’t repeat the same mistakes as her mother and sister. Then, at eighteen, Tate Collins—pop star and heartthrob—walks into the flower shop where she works after school. And she is thrust into a romance and a Hollywood life she never imagined.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite book growing up: WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams.
  • Childhood aspiration: Vet (until she passed out while watching a cat undergo surgery in 4th grade).
  • Favorite time of day/place to write: Early morning & late, late at night, in the writing cave/palace.
  • Book currently reading: STATION ELEVEN by Emily St. John Mandel, and LETS GET LOST by Adi Alsaid.
  • Favorite thing to do other than reading: Yoga.
  • Surprising personal fact: She doesn’t like watermelon.
  • Greatest thing about being a 2016 debut author: Sharing this year with so many other sparkly authors!

Where to find her:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Add Book 








16th Day Update: Covers, Conferences and Congrats!

thegirlwhofell_comps_006COVER REVEALS

April saw two more cover reveals from 2016 debuts authors. One YA and one MG! 2016 debuts are coming, people!!

THE GIRL WHO FELL: YA Contemporary

HIS OBSESSION. HER FALL. Zephyr Doyle is focused. Focused on leading her team to the field hockey state championship and leaving her small town for her dream school, Boston College.

But love has a way of changing things… (read more at Shannon’s website)


BOUNDERS: SciFi Middle GradeBounders_cvr_LR-2

Thirteen years ago, Earth Force, a space-military agency, discovered a connection between brain structure and space travel. Now EarthBound Academy has recruited the first group of cadets, Bounders, to be trained as aeronauts and experts in quantum ship bounding—traveling anywhere in the universe in a split second.

Twelve-year-old Jasper is in the first group sent out to space. After being bullied back on Earth, Jasper is excited to serve in Earth Force and connect with the other cadets. (read more at Monica’s website)

Next Cover Reveal? Brooks Benjamin My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights on Pop! Goes the Reader on MAY 4th!




So many Sweet Sixteens were able to attend YALLwest  on April 11th and 12th on the sunny Cali coast. Among attendees were Sweet Sixteen members (L-R): Marisa Reichardt, Audrey Crass, Shea Olsen, Janet Taylor and Kerry Kletter.




Sweet Sixteen New England Retreat And on the opposite coast? A New England Retreat!

On Saturday, April 11th, Sweet Sixteens gathered at the home of Bridget Hodder for a productive and inspirational retreat by the sea. Highlights included reading the first pages from our debut novels, eating amazing food, and enjoying the long-awaited sunshine on a walk along the ocean. Pictured (L-R): Kim Savage, Monica Tesler, Jenn Biship, Emily Martin, Bridget Hodder, Victoria J. Coe and Ruth Lehrer.



Patrick Samphire’s short story “Five Things of Beauty” has been podcast on Toasted Cake.

Kali Wallace’s short story “Water in Springtime” will be included in The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror 2015, to be published by Prime Books in July. And her short story “No Portraits on the Sky” is in the Clarkesworld Year 7 collection, now available in print and ebook formats.

Ruth Lehrer’s poem Sweetheart is a Lilly Press pocket poem for National Poetry Month.

Two of Laura Shovan’s poems are on display in Baltimore. (aka Charm City). Here’s a photo of “Daddy Long Legs Speaks”. As part of the Baltimore Ekphrastic Project, Laura partnered with local artist Sanzi. Sanzi created a spirit mask in response to Laura’s poem “Symmetry” and Laura wrote a poem in response to Sanzi’s sculpture named Daddy Long Legs.

What? Pre-Order?… Yeppers!

Sweet Sixteen books are on Amazon for pre-order, people!!

Marieke Nijkamp’s YA  THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS  Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Marisa Reichardt’s UNDERWATER  Morgan is an agoraphobic trapped in the apartment she shares with her mother and brother; when surfer boy Evan moves in next door, she has to face the life she’s been missing.

Rights: Sweet Sixteen debuts will travel the globe!

Foreign rights to SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS by Darcy Woods have sold to Mondadori in Italy & Brazil.

Russian rights to Laurie Elizabeth Flynn’s FIRSTS were sold, making this the second territory for FIRSTS, which previously sold in Italy as well.

Patrick Samphire novel, SECRETS OF THE DRAGON TOMB, and its sequel, THE EMPEROR OF MARS, have both been resold to Germany.

Turkish rights to Meg Leder’s THE MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK, to Pegasus Yayinlari, by Fusun Kayi at Kayi Literary Agency on behalf of Lauren Abramo at Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Shea Olsen’s FLOWER has sold Polish rights.




Winter Weary? Check out all this heat!

Headliners & Titles

Marieke Nijkamp, author of THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS, will be the opening keynote speaker at the upcoming SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Amsterdam. She’ll talk about diversity, medieval maps, and the worlds we build.

THE GIRL WHO FELL is Shannon M. Parker’s new title for her YA debut in which a high school senior mistakes her boyfriend’s physical and mental manipulations for devotion, only to discover the truth when it may be too late. Publication is set for Spring 2016.

Jenny Moyer, Sarah Davies and Lindsay Eagar in NYC

Jenny Moyer, Sarah Davies and Lindsay Eagar in NYC

Agent sisters Jenny Moyer and Lindsay Eagar braved the February cold to meet in NYC with agent Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary.

Jenny Moyer’s is excited to announce that FLASHFALL is the official new title of her YA sci-fi/ fantasy (formerly ASHES FOR STARS)! A stunning debut that crosses genres of fantasy, sci-fi, speculative fiction and horror with a unique spritz of magic.

Amy Allgeyer’s YA novel, WATER FOR STARFISH (which previously sold to Egmont USA) has been picked up by Albert Whitman & Company. When 17-year-old Liberty is sent to live with her grandmother deep in Kentucky coal country, she realizes the mine is poisoning the water, and sets out on an Erin Brockovich-type mission to find proof, plunging her into a world of secrets, lies and danger. Publication is set for Spring 2016.

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