Shannon Hale

Aprilynne Pike had given up on writing until Stephenie Meyer—whose Twilight series had yet to come out—showed her the ropes. “Stephenie not only shared her work with me, but read mine and encouraged me to finish what I started,” Pike says. Now Pike is known for her successful Wings series about a girl named Laurel who discovers she’s a faerie. Disney now owns the film rights and Miley Cyrus is attached for the lead role, and the fourth book, Destined, hit shelves in May. 

Shannon Hale wrote for 19 years before her first novel, The Goose Girl, was accepted by a publisher. Now it’s one of the most popular among her fans, though she’s also known for her Princess Academy and Austenland series. Born and raised in SLC, she also scribed The Actor and the Housewife, an adult book about a Mormon wife who becomes BFFs with a celebrity heartthrob. Now she’s hard at work on a superhero adventure novel. 

Sara Zarr doesn’t write about faeries or wizards, but rather the girl next door. “I write contemporary realism,” she says, “so most of my books are family dramas centering on girls that are 16 or 17.” Zarr lives in the Avenues of SLC and has published four books. The first, Story of a Girl, a National Book Award finalist, came out in 2007 and has been optioned for a possible movie adaptation. Her next book, The Lucy Variations, hits shelves in 2013.

When Brandon Mull launched the final book of his Fablehaven series, which is about kids who discover their grandparents are caretakers of a secret wildlife preserve for magical creatures, more than 3,000 people came to the launch party. The local middle-grade author keeps getting more popular, and Fablehaven was almost made into a film twice. Currently, he’s working on a sequel to his novel The Candy Shop War called The Arcade Catastrophe, on shelves in October.

50 Shades of Fan Fiction

Last year UK writer E.L. James made it to the No.1 spot on the New York Times Best Sellers list with her Fifty Shades of Grey book series, based on her Twilight fan fiction story Master of the Universe

In the book, Edward is replaced by successful entrepreneur Christian Grey, who embarks in a passionate love affair with literature student Anastasia Steele, who stands in for Bella. 

As far as University of Utah fan fiction professor Anne Jamison is concerned, it’s not too different from other romance books, and it’s anyone’s guess why it sold so well. But she says its start as a well-reviewed fan fiction was a definite boost. “You pay an author for their story by recommending it or writing a review, and that’s how this story got its initial traction,” she explains. “Aside from what became Fifty Shades of Grey, some of the most popular fan fiction stories are the most explicitly erotic stories.”

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