YA Authors Who Have Also Been Behind Your TV Screens
When it was announced earlier this summer that Veronica Mars fans would be blessed with books in addition to the 2014 movie, continuing the storylines of characters we last saw on TV in 2007, some people were pumped, some wary, and others just annoyed. I can understand some of the more negative emotions. Because those who haven’t experienced the true pain of writers taking a much beloved story too far until everything that was once good and holy in life feels tainted–well, you’re lucky. And for those who weren’t already fans of the show, the hysteria that surrounded the Veronica Mars Movie Kickstarter, which ended up raising $5 million, was apparently infuriating and/or irritating. We all know how mad the Internet gets when people un-cynically or un-ironically just really really like something.
To both camps, I want to hold up my palms and say, listen. Rob Thomas has got this. Creator and writer of Veronica Mars, Thomas in fact started out at as a young adult novelist, and a darn good one at that. His novels received praise from Paul Zindel and Chris Crutcher, two early heavyweights of the genre. And while I haven’t read all of his books, I loved Rats Saw God, his debut, which Simon & Schuster also announced earlier this year, pre-Kickstarter craze, that they would be repackaging new editions of, in both hardcover, paperback, and e-book. The book follows smart but disinterested high school senior Steve York, the son of an astronaut, as he writes a 100 page story in order to graduate on time. As in Veronica Mars, Thomas crafts quirky teenagers who live somewhat fantastic lives, while simultaneously making them completely relateable and likeable.
Inspired by the naysayers, I thought I’d research a list of other writers who have both written for TV and written young adult novels, in praise of the idea that good writers can, in fact, be versatile.
Before she penned both the Underland Chronicles and the Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins was a writer for Nickelodeon on shows such as Clarissa Explains It All and Little Bear. Imagine the fashion tricks Clarissa could bring to the Capitol!
David Iserson’s TV writing credits include New Girl, The United States of Tara, and SNL, and earlier this year he released Firecracker, a YA novel about a girl chockfull of character flaws who gets kicked out of a private academy and has to face the horror of public school.
Mark Frost’s resume isn’t too shabby, having co-created Twin Peaks and written for Hill Street Blues, among others. He has also been publishing fiction and non-fiction for decades now. His most recent venture is a page-turning YA thriller about a boy with mysterious power, The Paladin Prophecy. The first book was released last year, with the next installment coming in 2014.
Kruger is a current writer for the USA drama Necessary Roughness, who also wrote screenplays for old creepers such as Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, which sends creepy crawlies over my back just typing it. This August, he debuted his first YA novel, a bioterror mystery called Overpowered, which gets extra points for its gorgeous cover.
We have a lot to be thankful to Paul Feig for. He created Freaks and Geeks, which should already warrant his inclusion into halls of fame in my book; he’s directed for pretty much every TV comedy you can think of, including The Office and Arrested Development; and most recently, he directed this summer’s The Heat. He’s also co-written with Judd Apatow on projects such as Heavyweights. His middle-grades adventure story of Igantius Macfarland: Frequenaut! is about a–wait for it–nerdy anti-hero. This geek just wants to go to another planet, and may just get his wish.
The current executive producer of The Daily Show, Lieb has also written for almost 600 episodes of the show, as well as producing and writing for NewsRadio. Given this background in sarcastic smarts, it’s not surprising that his middle grade novel is called I am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to be Your Class President.
Really, it makes sense that so many young adult and middle grade authors have also been involved with TV, since smart people recognize that books and TV are two of the best things on our planet. The only thing they’d need to perfect the trifecta of awesome would be to also make ice cream or something. Wait, Hope Larson does that, too. Yeah, these people win.
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