Pep Talk Archive
From 2007 through 2011, some of the most beloved authors around have packed their insights, encouragement, and experience into pep talks for you. We’ve compiled these into an ultra-inspiring archive of pep for your reading pleasure. We hope they help get you to 50,000 words, and beyond!
Piers Anthony, the New York Times best-selling author in the science fiction and fantasy genres, has published over 100 books. He is perhaps best-known for his long-running Xanth series. Among his many great achievements, Anthony has published a book for every letter of the alphabet, from Anthonology to Zombie Lover.
Kelley Armstrong is married with three kids and lives in rural Ontario, Canada. After graduating with a degree in psychology, she went on to study computer programming. Currently, Kelley is a full-time writer and parent. She is the author of the popular Bitten series, and Darkest Powers. Kelley has participated in NaNoWriMo since 2005 and organizes an online group of readers to join her each year!
Julianna Baggott is the author of four novels, including Which Brings Me to You: A Novel in Confessions, co-authored with Steve Almond, and three books of poems, most recently, Lizzie Borden in Love: Poems in Women’s Voices and Compulsions of Silk Worms and Bees: Poems. She also writes novels for younger readers, including The Anybodies Trilogy (The Anybodies, The Nobodies, and The Somebodies) and The Slippery Map. She teaches at Florida State University’s Creative Writing Program, is married and has four young kids. For more info on her, visit juliannabaggott.com. (photo credit: David G.W. Scott)
Lynda Barry is a cartoonist and writer, who has authored such titles as The Good Times Are Killing Me, CRUDDY, and the graphic novels One Hundred Demons and What It Is, which won the 2009 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work. She lives near Footville, Wisconsin with her husband.
Chris Baty is the founder of NaNoWriMo and a Board Member Emeritus at the Office of Letters and Light. He’s an author, a speaker, and a maker of posters for writers. His mercilessly pants-kicking books, No Plot? No Problem! and Ready, Set, Novel! are available at your favorite store. His quest for the perfect cup of coffee is never-ending, and will likely kill him some day.
Aimee Bender is the author of four books: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt which was a NY Times Notable Book, An Invisible Sign of My Own which was an L.A. Times pick of the year, Willful Creatures which was nominated by The Believer as one of the best books of the year, and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing at USC.
Holly Black is the best-selling author of contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children. Her first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, was published in 2002 by Simon & Schuster. Holly has since written two other books in the same universe, Valiant, and the sequel to Tithe, Ironside, which spent five weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. Holly collaborated with her long-time friend, Caldecott award winning artist, Tony DiTerlizzi, to create the bestselling The Spiderwick Chronicles. The Wrath of Mulgarath, the fifth book in the series, climbed to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.
Gayle Brandeis’s community activism shines through in her fiction; her novel The Book of Dead Birds won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction in Support of a Literature of Social Change. The Writer Magazine honored Gayle with the “Writer Who Makes a Difference” Award in 2004. She lives in Riverside, California where she was designated Communications Goddess of the international women’s peace organization, CODEPINK. Gayle wrote the rough draft of her novel Self Storage during NaNoWriMo!
This best-selling author has written nearly fifty books for adults and teens. Her books have sold fifteen million copies worldwide. The Princess Diaries series is being published in 38 countries, and has been made into two major motion pictures. Her other projects include Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls and Airhead.
Peter Carey was born in Australia in 1943. After four novels had been written and rejected Fat Man in History— a short story collection — was published in 1974. He moved to New York in 1990, where he completed The Tax Inspector. In 2003 he joined Hunter College as the Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Two of his novels, Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang: A Novel have won the Booker Prize.
Kristin Cashore is the author of Graceling, the winner of the 2009 Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and the SIBA Book Award for YA Literature, a Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and a finalist for the Andre Norton Award and the Indies Choice Book Awards. Her current project, Bitterblue, is a companion book to Graceling and Fire. Kristin lives and writes in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Chris Cleave is the author of the novels Incendiary and Little Bee, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller and shortlisted for the Costa Award for Best Novel of 2008. Both books have been published in twenty countries worldwide. He lives in Kingston-upon-Thames with his wife and three children. Visit him at www.chriscleave.com or on Twitter @chriscleave. (photo credit: Niall McDiarmid)
Dave Eggers is the author of six books, including his most recent, Zeitoun , and What Is the What, a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine (The Believer), and Wholphin, a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston.
This author of White Oleander and Paint It Black is a Los Angeles native, born to a family of avid readers. Despite her literary home life, Fitch initially pursued a degree in history as an undergraduate student at Reed College. During her time at Keele University in England that Fitch realized her desire to write fiction. Ms. Fitch teaches at the University of Southern California in the Masters of Professional Writing program.
Jasper Fforde is the best-selling author of the Thursday Next and Nursery Crime books. His eighth book, Shades of Grey, was published in January 2010. He lives and writes in Wales, has a large family, and likes to fly aeroplanes.
Neil Gaiman is the author of the New York Times best-selling children’s book Coraline and of the picture books The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, illustrated by Dave McKean. He wrote the script for the film MirrorMask and is also the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning novels and short stories for adults, as well as the Sandman series of graphic novels. Two of his most recent novels include InterWorld and the acclaimed Anansi Boys. Among his many awards are the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, and the Bram Stoker Award. Originally from England, Gaiman now lives in the United States. For more info on him, visit neilgaiman.com. (photo credit: Sigrid Estrada)
New York Times best-selling author Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages—including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. Like Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker, and John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—Sue Grafton has earned new respect for the mystery form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents. Books in her alphabet series, begun in 1982, are international bestsellers with readership in the millions. The series begins with A is for Alibi, and its most recent addition is U is for Undertow. Sue divides her time between Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky, where she was born and raised. For more info on her, visit suegrafton.com.
Lindsey Grant doesn’t much relish her bio following the likes of Sue Grafton’s, nor is she overly enthusiastic about her few and comparatively paltry credentials preceding John Green’s litany of literary accomplishments. Life is hard. On the other hand, she feels pretty darned lucky to occupy a place on this page among such fine company. And to be the NaNoWriMo Program Director. Life is great!
John Green is the New York Times best-selling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In 2007, John and his brother Hank created the vlogbrothers YouTube channel. Their videos, which have been watched more than 100 million times, led to the creation of the nerdfighter community, a group of people who fight for all things nerdy and beautiful.
Sara Gruen’s first novel, Riding Lessons, was published in 2004. She is an animal lover who lives with her husband, three children, five cats, two goats, a dog, and a horse in an environmental community north of Chicago. Many of the characters and incidents in the novel are based on real people and true stories gleaned from her extensive research into the world of traveling circuses of the 1930s. She has also published three other novels, all of which began their lives as NaNoWriMo manuscripts: Flying Changes, and the bestsellers Water for Elephants and Ape House. For more info on her, visit saragruen.com. (photo credit: Terence W. Bailey)
Brian Jacques is the New York Times best-selling author of the Redwall series, which is comprised of eighteen books and has sold over twenty million copies worldwide. Mr. Jacques created a recording company where he lent his own voice talents to the full-cast productions of his novels. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Liverpool, as well as an honorary fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
Maureen Johnson was both an only and indoor child. She is the author of seven YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Devilish, Suite Scarlett, and the joint-authored Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle). Her latest book, Scarlett Fever, was released in February 2010. The sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes and the first book in a new paranormal crime series are set for release in 2011. She has an MFA in writing from Columbia University and spends far too much time online.
Mercedes Lackey was born in Chicago Illinois on June 24, 1950. The very next day, the Korean War was declared. It is hoped that there is no connection between the two events. In 1985 her first book was published. She has over eighty books in print, with four being published in 2010 alone, and some of her foreign editions can be found in Russian, German, Czech, Polish, French, Italian, Turkish, and Japanese. Another current addiction is role-playing gaming in the online game City of Heroes, with the groups RPCongress and CCCP. From this collaboration with Dennis Lee, Cody Martin and Veronica Giguere came the Secret World Chronicle, podcast stories currently nominated for the Parsec award, and the first book of which, Invasion, came out in book form in March of 2011.
Jonathan Lethem has written eight novels that you know about. He lives in California and Maine. (photo credit: John Lucas)
Gail Carson Levine
Gail Carson Levine grew up in New York City and has been writing all her life. Her first book for children, Ella Enchanted, was a 1998 Newbery Honor Book. Her other books include Dave at Night, an ALA Notable Book and Best Book for Young Adults; and the six Princess Tales books. She is also the author of the nonfiction book Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly.
Robin McKinley has won various awards and citations for her writing, including the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Dragonhaven, Beauty, Rose Daughter, Deerskin, The Outlaws of Sherwood, Spindle’s End, and Chalice. Her novel Sunshine won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature. Robin lives in England with her husband, the English writer Peter Dickinson, two hellhounds, an 1897 Steinway upright, and increasing numbers of rose-bushes. You may visit Robin at www.robinmckinley.com and www.robinmckinleysblog.com.
Erin Morgenstern is a writer and artist. She is the author of The Night Circus. Most of her writings and paintings are fairy tales in one way or another. She lives in Massachusetts. (photo credit: Kelly Davidson)
Audrey Niffeneger is the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, which became an international bestseller, and has been made into a movie. Miss Niffenegger’s second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, was published in 2009 by Scribner (USA), Jonathan Cape (UK) and many other fine publishers around the world. In 2008 she made a serialized graphic novel for the London Guardian, The Night Bookmobile, which was published in book form in September, 2010. She is working on her third novel, The Chinchilla Girl in Exile. Miss Niffenegger taught book arts for many years as a professor in Columbia College’s MFA program in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts. She is now on the faculty of the Columbia College Fiction Writing Department.
Garth Nix grew up in Canberra, Australia. Besides being a full-time writer, he has worked as a sales rep, publicist, editor, marketing communications consultant, literary agent, and part-time soldier. He is the author of Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen, the books in the internationally bestselling Abhorsen Trilogy, as well as Shade’s Children and The Ragwitch. He now lives in Sydney, a five-minute walk from Coogee Beach, with his wife, Anna, his sons, Thomas and Edward, and lots of books. For more info on him, visit garthnix.co.uk. (photo credit: Robert McFarlane)
An avid reader of fantasy literature since age six, Naomi Novik is also a history buff with a particular interest in the Napoleonic era and a fondness for the work of Patrick O’Brian and Jane Austen. She studied English literature at Brown University, and did graduate work in computer science at Columbia University before leaving to participate in the design and development of the computer game Neverwinter Nights: Shadow of Undrentide. She soon realized she preferred writing to programming and decided to try her hand at novels and began the Temeraire series (His Majesty’s Dragon, Throne of Jade, Black Powder War, and Empire of Ivory). Novik lives in New York City with her husband and six computers. For more info on her, visit temeraire.org. (photo credit: Beth Guinn)
Katherine Paterson is the beloved author of Jacob Have I Loved, The Great Gilly Hopkins, and Bridge to Terabithia. Her work has merited countless honors, including multiple Newbery Medals and National Book Awards. In 2007, Ms. Paterson served at the Vice- President of the National Children’s Book and Literary Alliance. She remains on the Board of Directors, promoting literacy, educational activism, and passion for reading.
Tamora Pierce is a #1 New York Times best-selling author and has written more than two-dozen books, including her newest, Bloodhound: The Legend of Beka Cooper #2, as well as being co-author, with her husband Timothy Liebe, of White Tiger: A Hero’s Compulsion from Marvel Comics. Her books are translated into eleven languages and available in English worldwide. Pierce lives in Syracuse, New York with her husband, Tim, seven tame and three semi-feral cats, two birds, and various freeloading wildlife.
Philip Pullman is the award-winning author of the trilogy His Dark Materials, which has been honored with the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Book Award, and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award (for The Amber Spyglass ). In 2002, he received the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children’s literature. The first book in the trilogy, Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the US) was recently adapted into a major motion picture. In June of this year, Mr. Pullman became a Fellow at Oxford Brookes University supporting the MA in Creative Writing. He is currently working on The Book of Dust, a sequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy.
A sixth-generation native Texan, Deanna Raybourn grew up in San Antonio, where she met her college sweetheart. She married him on her graduation day, and went on to teach high school English and history. After three years as a teacher, Deanna left education to have a baby and pursue writing full-time. Fourteen years and many, many rejections after her first novel, she signed a three-book deal with the MIRA line. “Sex, lies and awesome clothing descriptions” is how one reader has described Deanna’s debut novel, Silent in the Grave. Deanna’s recent work includes The Dark Enquiry. You can visit her blog here.
In 1954, Robbins attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia to study journalism, but left due to discipline problems. He then moved to New York to become a poet. Later, under the threat of the Army draft, he enlisted in the Air Force. After serving for three years in Korea, he left the Air Force, and returned to civilian life in Richmond, Virginia in 1960 where he studied art. He later moved to LaConner, Washington in 1970, and has lived there ever since. His novels include Wild Ducks Flying Backward, Villa Incognito, and Jitterbug Perfume. He won the Golden Umbrella award at the Bumbershoot Seattle Arts Festival in 1997.
Brandon Sanderson has published six solo novels with Tor Books–Elantris, the Mistborn Trilogy, Warbreaker, and The Way of Kings–as well as four books in the middle-grade Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians series from Scholastic. He was chosen to complete Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series; 2009′s The Gathering Storm and 2010′s Towers of Midnight will be followed by the final book, A Memory of Light, in 2012. His newest Mistborn novel, The Alloy of Law,will be released in November 2011. Currently living in Utah with his wife and children, Brandon teaches creative writing at Brigham Young University.
Lemony Snicket is the author of many books, most famously the thirteen-volume chronicle A Series of Unfortunate Events, most recently the picture book 13 Words, and most alarmingly a forthcoming new sequence of equally dreadful books.
Jonathan Stroud has been a fantasy fanatic since childhood. In his words, “[stories of magical adventure] provided a more complete escape.” After getting his degree in English Literature at York University, he landed a job as an editor at Walker Books in London. It was there that he penned his first novel, Buried Fire. After becoming a full-time writer in 2001, Stroud went on to write the award-winning fantasy favorites that comprise the Bartimaeus Trilogy. His other work includes Heroes of the Valley.
Deb Olin Unferth is the author of the memoir Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War, the story collection Minor Robberies, and the novel Vacation. Her work has been published in Harper’s, McSweeney’s, The Believer, the New York Times, the Boston Review, and elsewhere. She has received two Pushcart Prizes, the Cabell First Novel Award, and a Creative Capital Grant for Innovative Literature. She teaches at Wesleyan University. (photo credit: Margaret Olin)