I have had the most boring life of any young adult author, and I’ve read a lot of young adult author bios, so I know. I have never sailed to Australia or trekked through Tibet. I have never been a race-car driver, danced on Broadway, or run with the bulls.
I grew up in Weiglestown, Pennsylvania, a little town a few miles north of York, Pennsylvania, which of course is famous for the Peppermint Pattie. I was an accomplished liar as a child, though I didn’t lie to be mean or to weasel out of things. I just made up things to make myself seem more interesting to friends, teachers, and total strangers. Even then, I had an amazingly boring life. But being a good liar is a great background for a writer. I started making up stories about people other than myself and writing them down in eighth grade. But when I graduated from high school in 1981, I’d had about enough of school and took the first of a series of secretarial jobs for the State of Pennsylvania, jobs where the primary directive was to “look busy.” So I sat at the typewriter and wrote. Reams and reams of stuff. It was a great opportunity to stretch my writing wings and learn the craft.
I left the state after eight years, and for a little while I made a living as a doll artist, sometimes making dolls for famous people like Demi Moore and Anne Rice, and that was about as exciting as my life ever got. The doll market crashed after 9/11 and I decided it was time to get serious about publishing a book. My first novel, Raising the Griffin, was published by Random House in 2004. Writing for teenagers appeals to me because being a teenager is all about change and choice and figuring out how you fit in the world, and those are great building blocks for stories.
When I’m not writing, I’m hanging out with my two boys and my husband or indulging in embarrassingly old-lady-like hobbies like gardening, bird-watching, and old movies. (I haven’t yet taken up knitting, but there’s time.)
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Remy Walker has it all: he found the love of his life at home in crumbling little Dwyer, West Virginia, deep in his beloved Appalachian Mountains where his...