There’s something extraordinarily remarkable about teen authors.
I mean, come on! It’s no sausage and salad picnic to write a book! And even once one is written, the process of querying and editing and waiting and more editing and then PUBLISHING?! It’s huge. It’s intense. I admire any author a lot, but it seems particularly special to complete a piece of artwork and be brave enough to give it to the whole world at any age — let alone before you’re twenty.
I really wanted to be a teen author. Obviously I didn’t get there (and maybe that made me cry) although I did sign with my agent at 19. In retrospect, I’m okay with it! I don’t think I was ready. (And, I won’t lie, I’m kind of mortifyingly embarrassed about my older books.)
Although, to be honest (and I’m nothing if not an honest cucumber), I don’t think age should define literature. Whether you’re 50 or 15, who cares? As long as you’ve written a good story. And being a teen author doesn’t automatically equal a good writer. It’s hit or miss — same with any author.
BUT STILL. I noticed in my authorly quiz post that a lot of people couldn’t name teen authors. So I wanted to share with you a small list of teenage authorly goodness. Because I’m nice and accommodating like that.
\\ all pictures lead to websites or goodreads because I’m organised //
CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI – age 19
Christopher Paolini is probably one of the most famous teenage authors (well, he’s the first one that pops into my brain). He started working on the famous Eragon series when he was 15 (after finishing school at 15, you know, because homeschoolers rock). His family actually published his book, but Christopher did SO MUCH promotion and tours that he eventually got picked up by Knopf in 2003. He became a NYT bestselling author at 19, bless his disgustingly talented soul.
KAT ZHANG – age 19
Kat Zhang sold her trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, when she was 19. To top off her awesomeness, she only queried for 2 months before being picked up by an agent (!!) and she wrote while balancing her senior year of highschool.
AMY ZHANG – age 16
Amy Zhang sold her book to Greenwillow when she was 16. But let’s just clear something up: AMY ZHANG AND KAT ZHANG ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE! But, you know, both teen authors and both with HarperCollins imprints so that’s not at all confusing. So much disgusting talent. Ugh, seriously.
I also used to follow Amy’s blog before she got published…so I felt very invested in her publishing story (after seeing her shelve drafts and start new books) by the time Falling Into Place came out. SHE IS AWESOME.
KODY KEPLINGER – age 19
Kody Keplinger was 17 when she wrote The Duff and it was published when she was 19. And, as you’ve probably heard, The Duff is now a movie as well. WOW.
And you know, some of us just spent our teen years eating corn chips and having Disney marathons.
STEPH BOWE – age 15
Steph Bowe is, firstly, AUSTRALIAN, which means she was born more awesome than the average pineapple (sorry, but it’s true, Australia is just the best place in the world). Secondly, she sold her book when she was just 15, which is seriously young and she’s amazing.
I also followed Steph’s blog
in a stalkish way very loyally and she’s actually been onto my blog and commented! YES! I TALKED WITH AN AWESOME AUTHOR. (‘Scuse me while I hyperventilate.)
She is definitely one of my heroes.
NED VIZZINI – age 17
Ned Vizzini is pretty famous for It’s Kind of a Funny Story (which is NOT a funny story, it’s sad, actually and I sniffled quite a bit reading it) BUT ANYWAY! He actually wrote Teen Angst…Nah when he was 17. Which is pretty awesome.
Also, just to explode your mind, Ned Vizzini also co-wrote a few episodes of Teen Wolf…though he wasn’t a teen when he did that. BUT STILL. He’s famous.
STEPHANIE DIAZ – age 19
Stephanie Diaz published the first of her Extraction trilogy when she was 19. Plus she was in university. Which is, you know, a LOT to handle at once! Also, my small claim to fame is, I used to blog at YAvengers and Stephanie was one of the contributors! YES. I know famous people! I also interviewed her before Extraction was published.
KATHERINE EWELL – age 19
Katherine Ewell was 17 when her book Dear Killer was picked up by HarperCollins. (I’m noticing HarperCollins loves their teen authors.)
LUCY SAXON – age 16
Lucy Saxon was only 16 when Bloomsbury picked up her book Take Back the Skies. I quite approve of the way her hair matches the book colour-scheme here. Well done, Lucy. How are you so coordinated? She also suffers from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and is still a writer.
KAREN BAO – age 17
Karen Bao started writing Dove Arising when she was 17. I’m not sure how old she was when it was published, but I think she was still a teen. Either way…AMAZING, RIGHT? Dove Arising is literally hot off the press…it only came out in February, 2015.
SAMANTHA SHANNON – age 19
Samantha Shannon not only was published with The Bone Season at 19, she also landed herself a 7-book deal. Let me just say: WOW. This is definitely not a typical phenomenon, peoples. Most authors are considered lucky if they land trilogy deals and, I believe (although I could be wrong) that even Sarah J Maas was only originally signed for 3 Throne of Glass books and had to wait on their success to be approved for more. (!!) But I digress, BACK TO SAMANTHA SHANNON. Clearly the world sees enormous potential in her.
ALICE OSEMAN – age 19
Alice Oseman was 19 when her book Solitare came out. She’s studying an English Literature degree, so, you know, balancing huge things like university and novel writing? Pfft. A breeze.
There is just too much talent in this post.
KAYLA KLUVER – age 16
Kayla Kluver was only 16 when she sold her first book, Legacy. She’s gone on to write 7+ books, and I particularly want to read The Queen’s Choice.
LINDSAY CUMMINGS – age 17
Lindsay Cummings was 19 when her book The Murder Complex sold. She looks very happy to be writing about murder. Being a teen is tough and venting space is needed, of course. Also, as always, WOW and TALENTED and AMAZING and murder.
so, my botanical blogglings…what did you do in your teenage years? did you write a book? (i did) and did anyone on this list surprise you?! also BIG QUESTION: do you care about an author’s age? does it spur you to want to read a book more or could you not care less? ALSO: can you add any other teen authors to my list??
Cait @ Paper Fury
…is currently reminiscing about watching Teen Wolf and excitedly thinking about season 5 coming in June (!!) and how many characters are going to survive it. Probably not many. ANYWAY. She also likes reading books by teen authors because, as said, it’s an admirable feat. Her father teen authors are Steph Bowe, Kat Zhang, and Kody Keplinger.