I’d like to introduce you to my (well, they’re not really mine but I’m claiming them to be for now!) group of wonderful 2016 debut authors!

In no particular order we have…

Jeff Zentner is a singer-songwriter and guitarist who has recorded with Iggy Pop, Nick Cave, and Debbie Harry. In addition to writing and recording his own music, Zentner works with young musicians at Tennessee Teen Rock Camp, which inspired him to write for young adults. He lives in Nashville with his wife and son.

jeff zentner

Harriet Reuter Hapgood is a freelance journalist who has worked with Marie Claire, ELLE, and InStyle in the UK. The Square Root of Summer was inspired by her German mathematician grandfather and her lifelong obsession with YA romance, which includes an MA thesis on Dawson’s Creek, and a dissertation on romantic comedies at Newcastle University. She lives on a train between Nottingham, London and Brighton.

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Marisa Mohdi When I was five, I picked up a book by Enid Blyton and became addicted to reading. I loved spending rainy afternoons (I’m from a tropical country) getting lost in magical worlds, exciting adventures, and spooky situations. I used to write my own stories on pages torn from my older brothers’ notebooks. I stapled those pages together, drew a cover with color pencils and proudly called myself an author.

I’m lots older now, but I become that excited little five-year-old each time I find a book I want to read, and each time I think about writing. I’m a Malaysian, have lived in five different countries, and studied Psychology and Counseling in the United States. I try to include elements from Malay/Malaysian culture and Psychology in my writing. I’m also a married mom of two, and I spoil my cats rotten.


Sara Barnard lives in Brighton and does all her best writing on trains. She loves books, book people and book things. She has been writing ever since she was too small to reach the “on” switch on the family Amstrad computer. She gets her love of words from her dad, who made sure she always had books to read and introduced her to the wonders of second-hand book shops at a young age.

Sara is trying to visit every country in Europe, and has managed to reach 13 with her best friend. She has also lived in Canada and worked in India.

Sara is inspired by what-ifs and people. She thinks sad books are good for the soul and happy books lift the heart. She hopes to write lots of books that do both. BEAUTIFUL BROKEN THINGS is her first book and a dream come true.

Sara Barnard Author Photo

Perdita Cargill: I used to be the least numerate tax barrister ever to practise at the English bar but now I’m writing at last and it’s the best ‘job’ in the world – not least because I’m writing funny teen books with my daughter.

Honor Cargill: I’m 17, I’m in my last year at school doing A levels and yes, weirdly, I’m co-writing funny teen books with my mum and having so much fun with it. I used to do a bit of acting (mostly school but a tiny bit professional) and although Elektra, our main character, is nothing like me, I suppose that’s where the germ of the idea for Waiting for Callback came from.

perdita and honor

Emily France graduated from Brown University before going on to law school, where she was the editor-in-chief of the law review. She finds creative inspiration in all things spiritual, from sitting with Benedictine monks for 4 a.m. vigils in a Rocky Mountain monastery to trekking to Buddhist and Hindu temples in India. Now she writes full-time and lives with her husband and their fearless Tibetan Spaniel in sunny Colorado—the closest place to Nirvana she’s found. SIGNS OF YOU is her debut novel. Visit Emily online at http://www.emilyfrancebooks.com and follow her on Twitter @EmilyFranceBook.

Emily France - author photo final

Dana Longston is a sixteen year old writer from Pensacola, Florida. Currently, I attend West Florida High School of Advanced Technology in the Criminal Justice program. I enjoy learning about the universe, philosophy, and human behavior. My urban fantasy novel “November 21st” is coming out on December 11, 2015. You can learn more about it at langstonwriting.com.


Sofi Croft grew up in Swansea, studied in Liverpool, and has worked as a geologist and science teacher in several parts of the UK. She now lives in the Lake District with her family where she loves to walk the fells, canoe the lakes, daydream, drink tea, and read and write stories.

Sophie Croft

Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.

actual roshani

Lygia Day Penaflor is a private academic teacher for young Hollywood stars. Her students have included the young casts of “Gossip Girl” and “Boardwalk Empire,” as well as I AM LEGEND.


Originally from the Windy City, Julia Ember now resides in Sunny Scotland where she learned to enjoy both haggis and black pudding. She spends her days working as a professional Book Nerd for a large book distribution firm, and her nights writing YA Romantic Fantasy novels. She also spends an inordinate amount of time managing her growing city-based menagerie of pets with Harry Potter themed names. Presently, she is the haggard slave Sirius Black and Luna Lovegood the cats and Bellatrix Le Snake. She also owns a freakishly adorable cob pony called Africa.

A world traveller since childhood, Julia has now visited over 60 countries. Her travels inspire the fictional worlds she writes about and she populates those worlds with magic and monsters.

You can find her at http://www.julia-ember.com or @jules_chronicle or at http://www.facebook.com/juliaemberwrites

julia ember

Tara Sim is a YA author found in the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not writing about magic, clocks, and boys, she drinks tea, wrangles cats, and sings opera. TIMEKEEPER, her debut novel and the first book of the Timekeeper Trilogy, comes out Fall 2016 from Sky Pony Press. Follow her on Twitter: @EachStarAWorld.

tara sim

Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu – and although Hawaiian – should never be allowed on a surfboard. With more than twenty years in corporate merchandising, she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal; their baby boy, Kellan; a rowdy German shepherd named Ronin; and two crazy cats, Ono and Poke. She’s a member of both the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers.

SUMMER OF SLOANE is her debut novel, out May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion. Visit Erin online at Erin L Schneider or on Twitter: @ErinLSchneider1.

Erin is represented by literary agent Lisa Grubka of Fletcher & Company.

erin s

Ashley Herring Blake used to write songs and now she writes books and reads them almost incessantly. She likes coffee, her boys, gloomy music, guitars, anything with pumpkin in it, stuff hued in Tiffany blue, scarves, and walks. She doesn’t like olives or soggy asparagus, or humidity and has not a lick of visual artistic talent. Ashley lives in Nashville, TN with her witty husband and two boisterous little boys. Previous and/or current jobs include songwriter and performer (though she made about enough money to cover the gas to the gigs), teacher, barista, Applied Behavioral Analysis Therapist, and, the hardest job in the world, mommyhood. SUFFER LOVE, a YA contemporary novel that follows two teens as they wade through an intense relationship complicated by their parents’ infidelities, is her first novel and will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt BFYR in 2016.

Ashley Blake

Mild-mannered assistant by day, milder-mannered writer by night, Tarun Shanker is a New York University graduate currently living in Los Angeles. His idea of paradise is a place where kung-fu movies are projected on clouds, David Bowie’s music fills the air and chai tea flows freely from fountains.


Kelly Zekas is a writer and actor living in NYC. YA is her absolute favorite thing on earth other than cupcakes and she has spent many hours crying over fictional deaths. She also started reading Harlequin romances at a possibly too early age (12?), and still loves a good historical romance.

Tarun and Kelly met in a freshman year writing class at NYU and started writing These Vicious Masks a few years later. It is their first novel.

kelly zekas

Emily Skrutskie is six feet tall. She was born in Massachusetts, raised in Virginia, and forged in the mountains above Boulder, Colorado. She holds a B.A. in Performing and Media Arts from Cornell University, where she studied an outrageous and demanding combination of film, computer science, and game design. Her short fiction has been published by HarperTeen, and her debut novel, THE ABYSS SURROUNDS US, will be published by Flux in February of 2016.

Emily Skrutskie

Ami Allen-Vath was born and mostly raised in Minnesota.Since college, (SCSU, Hunter College, City College) Ami has performed with Just The Funny improv troupe in Miami, FL. She’s also performed in two productions of The Vagina Monologues in Atlanta, GA, the state she met her husband.She now lives with her family, including their dog Yoda, in New Jersey. Ami loves great and terrible TV, ice cream, books, and vacations. She loathes cilantro, live birds, and when guys do cartoon impressions.

Her debut novel, LIARS AND LOSERS LIKE US is forthcoming from Sky Pony Press in March of 2016.


Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona and writes for The Writer’s Almanac. She received her M.F.A. from the University of Minnesota. Her first novel for young adults, Girl in Pieces, will be published by Random House/Delacorte in September, 2016.

And there we go, you’ve been introduced to all 18 lovely debut authors. Keep an eye out, they’ll be another post soon introducing you to their even more wonderful books! (Am I allowed to say that? Is it a compliment or insult to them? Who know! Authors are mysterious creatures!)

Let me know in the comments. Which authors do you already know of and who are you meeting for the first time? Are there any authors in particular whose answers you’re excited to read?