Writers

The following is a list of our current, regular contributors:

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Mandy Hubbard

Mandy Hubbard grew up on a dairy farm, where she was more likely to be seen in mismatched rubber boots than couture high heels. In 2003, while searching out fanfiction of The Backstreet Boys (that is a story for another day), Mandy ended up at a site called Fictionpress.com. Once there, she became addicted to the stories told by novice writers and eventually decided to try writing one of her own. A semi-biographical horribly melodramatic tale was born. Although it was quite a bad attempt at fiction, Mandy became enamored with writing. She wrote several more novels over the next few years.

In 2005, she read a book called THE BRIDE’S NECKLACE by Kat Martin, a romance set in regency England. The hero was an earl. His friends were dukes and barons. Mandy fell in love with all of them. She wanted to wear dresses and hang out in ballrooms. Instead, she wrote a novel set in 1815, and began querying agents. She would eventually realize that a writer had to research a novel set in a different time period.

To avoid doing so, she decided to write a contemporary YA novel. Again she queried agents, this time with more luck. In January 2006, she signed her first agent, and when that didn’t work out, she got a different one that September. In October 2006, after three years of writing, her first work went out on submission. Rejections poured in. Later that year, her second attempt at publication, PRADA AND PREJUDICE, went out on submissions.

In June 2008, after nine drafts and twenty-six rejections, Mandy sold her debut novel to Razorbill Books in a two book deal. She was 25 years old. It hit shelves on June 11, 2009. Although no one threw her a parade, she was still pretty excitetd.

Her second young adult novel with Razorbill Books is expected in 2010, along with DRIVEN, a novella for Harlequin’s NASCAR series. She has also written articles which have appeared in DISCOVERY GIRLS magazine and THE WRITER. Mandy is currently a literary agent with the D4EO Literary Agency.

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Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas grew up believing she was truly a fairy princess, much to the chagrin of her practical parents. When she wasn’t busy gallivanting around the concrete jungle of her native New York City, she was creating fairy tales of her own. At the age of sixteen, she embarked on the seven-year writing journey that would eventually become QUEEN OF GLASS: a YA epic fantasy trilogy that retells the Cinderella story from the point of view of a young, female assassin whose political maneuverings get her entangled in the makings of the legend.

While undertaking QUEEN OF GLASS, Sarah decided to post some of her progress with FictionPress (then FanFiction.net). From April 2002 to December of 2008, QUEEN OF GLASS received almost 7,000 reviews, and the positive response bolstered and encouraged her dreams of publication. After a major rewrite that completely overhauled the QUEEN OF GLASS series, and many rounds of revisions, Sarah began querying agents in November of 2008.

It took a few months of querying (and a few rejections), but in January of 2009, she signed with her fabulous agent, Tamar Rydzinski of the Laura Dail Agency. Then began a back-and-forth revision process that lasted for a month and a half, and through her agent’s maternity leave. When her agent returned in July, they did a final round of revisions before starting submissions to editors.

In March of 2010, her dreams of being a published author came true! QUEEN OF GLASS will be published by Bloomsbury in fall 2012.

Since completing QUEEN OF GLASS, she’s written three different YA fantasy series that also feature strong heroines growing into themselves: A FARAWAY LAND, a two-book series steeped in the legends surrounding fairy godmothers; HADES, a retelling of Graeco-Roman mythology; and A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, a trilogy that blends together the tales of Beauty and the Beast, Tam-Lin, and East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Now twenty-five, Sarah lives with her husband in Los Angeles, and over the years, has developed an unhealthy appreciation for Disney movies and bad pop music. She adores fashion and ballet, drinks too much coffee, and in her spare time, she can be found exploring up and down the coastline of Southern California.

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Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard grew up in the southern US, where she suffered from mosquitoes, humidity, and a desperate desire to live in a castle.  Oh, and crazy vegetarian parents who never let her eat meat.  (Needless to say, she read a lot in those days and often composed stories for her sister’s amusement.  Some of those wretched stories even made it onto Fictionpress.)

Susan went to university, got a degree in marine biology and statistics, and thought she would devote her life to saving the world from overfishing. (Hahaha!)  She then moved to Canada, where she got her masters in marine biology and also met a handsome Frenchman.  A year later, when it came down to pursuing her PhD or joining aforementioned Frenchie in Europe, she chose the latter.

With no oceans nearby, Susan turned her strong self-motivation (read: crazy OCD) toward learning how to Write For Real. (Sorry, fishies.  Someone else will have to save you.)  After much hard work, criticism, and gummy bears, Susan finished SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY, a young adult paranormal.  Not long after, she signed with the ladies of Nancy Coffey Literary & Media Representation.

Then in mid-November of 2010, she jumped the hardest hurdle and all her dreams came true!  HarperCollins Children’s bought SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY (and its two sequels)!  The novel’s expected release is the summer of 2012.  And the best part of it all is that Susan gets to make new dreams now!  (She’s considering ’round-the-world-in-a-hot-air-balloon–whaddaya think?)

You can hear more about her journey and crippling cookie-addiction on her blog or twitter.  Oh, and you can call her “Sooz” — all her closest friends do.

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Vahini Naidoo

Vahini grew up in South Africa, where an elephant tried to kidnap her four-year-old-self from a shopping trolley and the afternoon cookies she had in the backyard  were stolen by devious monkeys. A baboon also may or may not have tried to kill her as a baby – and no, none of this is an experience common to those who dwell in South Africa. She really is just somewhat unlucky.

Fleeing the hatred of the animal kingdom (or possibly, and less dramatically tagging along with her parents), Vahini moved to Australia in 2000, where she still resides.

Vahini has always wanted to be a writer. She’s been dabbling with novel-length works since the ripe old age of twelve, and has since completed three other complete novels.

Recently, after battling her way through endless papers, and examinations so set upon killing her that they seemed to yell “Avada Kedavra!”  (or perhaps that was the sleep deprivation talking) Vahini has finally graduated high school.

In 2010 she signed with her amazing agent Ammi-Joan Paquette at the Erin Murphy Literary agency.  Her novels, THE GNOME IS WATCHING and THE COLORS OF SKY, both of which she swears aren’t as lame as her bio, were both on submissions at the same time, and she sold THE GNOME IS WATCHING (currently in the midst of a title change) to Marshall Cavendish in December 2010, a week before her 18th birthday.

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Kat Zhang

Kat Zhang spent most of her childhood traipsing through a world weaved from her favorite stories and games. When she and her best friend weren’t riding magic horses or talking to trees, they were writing adaptations of plays for their stuffed animals (what would The Wizard of Oz have been like if the Cowardly Lion were replaced by a Loquacious Lamb?). This may or may not explain many of Kat’s quirks today.

By the age of eleven, the stories crowding her mind took up too much room to remain unwritten. They swarmed out onto notebook after notebook—terrible, scrambling stories pieced together from bits of stolen plots. But she improved, and after several false starts, completed her first novel at the age of 17.

That novel will never see the light of day until she takes a chainsaw to it.

Now an English major, Kat is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen of Judith Ehrlich Literary Management. Her book WHAT’S LEFT OF ME–about a girl with two souls–sold to HarperTeen as the first in the Hybrid Trilogy and will be released in Fall 2012. She also writes for her college newspaper and performs as a Spoken Word poet. Recently, Kat has begun remote interning for a literary agent, specializing in Young Adult fiction.

When she is not exploring the world of her characters, she is exploring her own. To date, she’s had the pleasure of visiting five countries, including more than half the United States. She blogs about her travels and writing related adventures here. You can also read her livejournal here.

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Savannah J. Foley

Savannah J. Foley was born and raised in Washington State on a small farm outside of Seattle. She grew up the oldest of three sisters, feeding chickens, riding horses, and running wild in the woods. Her dream ever since 4th grade is to be a published writer and live in Italy (almost half-way there!)

She completed her first novel (which was first titled WOMAN’S WORLD, then ANTEBELLUM, and eventually NAMELESS) at age 15 by attempting to answer the question, ‘what would a world ruled by women truly look like?’ It was published online at FictionPress, where it received the love and attention of thousands of reviewers. By 18 she had finished the NAMELESS series and added two more books to her collection. She began to seriously pursue the representation of a literary agent, and signed with the Bradford Literary Agency in December 2008.

Savannah moved with her family to Illinois, then Alabama, where she met her boyfriend in an Enchanted Forest. No joke. Her most-admired authors are Toni Morrison and Chuck Palahniuk.

Savannah is currently living in Alabama, working, attending college, contract writing, and collaborating with her agent to publish NAMELESS.

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Julie Eshbaugh

Julie Eshbaugh grew up outside of Philadelphia, and spent her first few years after high school travelling widely and living in places as varied as Provo, Utah; Paris, France; and New York City.  When she finally wrestled her wanderlust into submission, she headed back home to the Philadelphia area to attend college.  She graduated summa cum laude from Rider University.

Before exploring writing, Julie focused her artistic energies on filmmaking and eventually online video.  She made two short films (the second of which showed at film festivals around the country) and then spent several years producing an online video series about a teenage boy.  That series, “Dylan’s Couch,” achieved a respectable amount of success and received several honors from the Webbie Awards.

Julie writes fiction for young adults, and is represented by Natalie Fischer.

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Vanessa Di Gregorio

Vanessa Di Gregorio Campbell is a self-proclaimed geek living in Toronto, where there are only two seasons: Winter, and Not-Winter. She spends most of her time playing video games, reading graphic novels, watching anime, writing, and devouring any YA fantasy she can get her hands on. And if she isn’t doing that, she’s probably geeking out on her tumblr, Something Geeky.

Joining Fanfiction.net at a young age, she began to write what she lovingly called her first novel; too bad she was using someone else’s characters. A few stories later, Vanessa decided to move to FictionPress, where she continued to write (albeit sporadically). But eventually she found herself leaving the site, and taking her work with her. She is currently working on RIFT, a YA fantasy.

Vanessa also works on the opposite side of the publishing desk. With a Publishing Certificate under her belt, she works as an Account Manager at ampersand inc. (formerly Kate Walker & Co.), a book sales agency; representing publishers like Kids Can Press, Dorling Kindersley, Macmillan, and Chronicle (just to name a few). Previously, she interned at a literary agency in Toronto called The Rights Factory, where she did just about everything – from design, to publicity, to marketing, and to editorial – and yes, that means she managed the slush pile.

Vanessa loves to review books, and co-maintains LTWF’s Twitter account alongside Julie Eshbaugh and Sammy Bina. The twenty-four year old is currently trying to juggle married life with her job and all her hobbies (along with this blog!) – all the while trying to find the time to write what she hopes will be her first (real) novel, and a children’s non-fiction series. She is an avid supporter of the serial comma.

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Sammy Bina

Sammy’s been jotting down stories since she was old enough to hold a pen, but it wasn’t until she saw the movie Left Behind, starring her then-crush, Kirk Cameron, that she realized she wanted to be a writer, although it wasn’t until high school that she began to come up with ideas of her own. She was encouraged by her math teacher — probably because he saw how bad she was with numbers.

She began posting on FP her senior year of high school. After completing four novels, she ran into some trouble with people plagiarizing her work, and at age 22, co-founded Plagiarism Haven, a live journal community for those authors whose work had been stolen. Since then she has completed three other novels, and plans to begin querying in the very near future.

Previously she spent three years as a member of The Madison Review’s fiction staff, and was their office manager for over a year. She also interned at the Elaine P. English Literary Agency, which is when she decided she wanted to become a literary agent herself. She now resides in Brooklyn, New York, where she is the literary assistant at N.S. Bienstock.

When Sammy isn’t doing literary-esque things, she’s usually watching bad 90s television, baking, or people watching on the subway. She tweets a lot and blogs every once and a while.

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Biljana Likic

Biljana Likic (Bil-yana Lik-itch) used to be the type of person that, when asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she’d give a big grin and say “Actress!” Years passed and that turned into the significantly less exciting “Scientist!” But upon entrance to an arts high school, with drama as a major, her answer switched back to actress, and she swore to anybody who would listen that it had never changed. She always liked to dabble in writing, coming up with, quite frankly, some very silly stories in elementary school, until high school came along and she decided she’d try her hand at a novel.

She spent a year dreaming up scenarios revolving around a much too forward and slightly obnoxious girl called Ingrid. Then, in June of her Grade 9 year, while (like every responsible person should) she was procrastinating from studying for a science exam, she started to write them down. And so her first novel was born, which she is currently revising. Upon finishing the first draft in 2009, she had the epiphany that she wanted to do nothing else but write. She swears to anybody who will listen that that’s how it’s always been.

Apart from writing, she enjoys music, shows and plays, photography, movies, books, all with no specific taste, and is attending the University of Toronto for a double major in Medieval Studies and English.

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On Hiatus:

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Lynn Heitkamp

Lynn Heitkamp decided she wanted to become a published author sometime around the age when she learned how to hold a pen.  Her first stories were dictated, with her parents acting as her secretaries and book binders.  Later on, she spent many hours sketching out how the cover of her first novel should look, although her title and plot kept changing and she never seemed to get past writing chapter one.  She majored in journalism in college, partly because she heard her favorite professor once say: “It worked for Hemingway.”

Strangely enough, she can credit George Lucas with helping lead her to FictionPress.  After seeing Star Wars Episode II during the summer of 2002, her mind went into overdrive, trying to figure out how all the saga’s loose ends would tie up in Episode III.  That led to her first piece of fanfiction — and FanFiction.net, where she adopted the pen name of “poohba.” Lynn had no intention of ever posting original work online, but she was having so much fun writing stories people were actually reading that when FF announced it was spinning off a sister site for original fiction, she caved.  Besides, she had a story idea about an orphan who had grown up alongside a prince that would just not leave her alone.

Lynn posted THORN OF THE KINGDOM to FP over a two month period in early 2003.  The warm response she received from the community amazed her as THORN evolved from a mere outline of a fairy tale into the most personal thing she had ever written.  It took her months to admit she was writing a novel to her family, and years more to let them read it, but her FictionPress friends were there for her from the very beginning. You can still find some of Lynn’s stories on FF and FP, but she took down many of them, including THORN, several years ago due to copyright and plagiarism concerns.

Lynn recently completed a master’s degree in library and information science. When she’s not answering questions at a reference desk or cheering on her favorite baseball team, she’s likely hanging out at a coffee shop, discussing books with fellow unpublished authors from her writers’ group. Lynn signed with Mandy Hubbard of the D4EO Agency in February 2010.

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June Hur

Sitting by a window and being immersed in historical romance is what June Hur would consider a day well-spent. Alas, she is currently occupied by her English and European history textbooks, which are necessary for her courses at the University of Toronto.

Inspired by the works of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, June took up a pen and let her fantasy unwind onto paper. In 2004, she decided to share her writing on FictionPress (under the pseudonym of J.E.Wyatt). The first few historical romances she completed helped her grow as a writer. Then she began writing THE RUNAWAY COURTESAN in 2007, which was well received by many readers. However, the day her work got plagiarized, she immediately took it down. Since then she’s kept her writing to herself and only allowed those whom she trusts to read it.

Currently, she is awaiting the responses from agents she either queried or sent her partial to. Everyday, with a pounding heart, she checks her email account to see if an “Re: QUERY” message arrived, and then runs outside, to see if any stamped envelope from an agent is waiting for her to tear open. But she does have a life outside of trying to get published–such as wandering through the bookshop, searching for a Great Love Story to read and analyze. Or walking through the soccer field near her place, imagining herself to be strolling through the vast, wild English moors.

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We are not currently accepting new members, but if you would like to be a guest blogger please send us your article, a biography, and links to your blog/facebook/fictionpress/twitter, etc.

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