Notable Debut Authors October 2008

Check out these up-and-coming debut authors for the October issue of Writer's Digest and the highly successful habits that helped them get published. by Jordan E. Rosenfeld
Publish date:

WRITES FROM: Piney Woods, Texas •
DEBUT BOOK: Courage in Patience (Kunati Books)

Courage in Patience is the story of 14-year-old Ashley Asher, who has been abused by her stepfather for six years. With help from other troubled teens and the inspiration found in Chris Crutcher’s novel Ironman, Asher finds the courage to begin healing.” WRITING HABITS: “I prefer the very early morning, when it’s completely quiet, before I go to work as a teacher.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “The main thing that helped me land a contract with Kunati Books was my websites and how hard I work at promoting my work.” TIME FRAME: “About a year from first draft to final edit. It was a labor of love, definitely.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “Perseverance. No doubt about it.” ADVICE: “Write from your heart; don’t edit as you’re writing, just let what wants to come out, come out.” INFLUENCES: “Chris Crutcher. In reading his books I realized that I could write the kinds of stories that were inside me. He graciously allowed me to integrate elements of Ironman into my novel, and I’ll be forever indebted to him.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “I use music to teach English. I create lyric sheets and leave out words that the kids have to fill in from hearing the song.” WHAT’S NEXT? “I’m rolling a sequel around in my mind. It will be called Hope in Patience.”

Image placeholder title

WRITES FROM: Danbury, Conn. •
DEBUT BOOK: Something Happened (Simon Pulse)

“Something Happened is a serious YA book about a boy who, still grieving the death of his father, falls prey to the attentions of his hot new English teacher.” WRITING HABITS: “I normally write for an hour in the morning before work and then a few hours late at night. On weekends I keep hitting it off and on again like a rat in a cage.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “My wife’s also a writer and one of her editors asked to see a few sample chapters. I guess she liked what she saw.” TIME FRAME: “About six or seven months. Whenever I finished with a character it felt like I was losing an old friend.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “I’ve kept at it. Even though it took a while to get published, I don’t consider anything I ever wrote to be ‘wasted time,’ even if it spends eternity buried in the back of a drawer, never to be read by anybody but me.” ADVICE: “Write every day. Don’t dream about writing; just write. Also, don’t be afraid to cut, slash and burn. But always save the good stuff.” INFLUENCES: “Kurt Vonnegut, Russell Banks, Miles Davis, Mary Shelley, John Kennedy Toole and of course my wife, Lauren Baratz-Logsted, who’s taught me more about writing than anyone.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “I’ve spent a lot of time working on ladders, so sometimes when I’m bored I sit down and try to figure out how much of my life I’ve spent without my feet touching the ground.” WHAT’S NEXT? “I just finished Alibi Junior High and I’m very excited about it. It’s another book about a 13-year-old boy, only this one is an adventure.”

Image placeholder title

WRITES FROM: Collingswood, N.J. •
DEBUT BOOK: The Silver Linings Playbook (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: He believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki.” WRITING HABITS: “I do my best work in the early morning when my mind is fresh; afternoons are a struggle, but night is good, too.” HOW DID YOU GET YOUR BREAK? “Slush pile, baby, and proud of it!” TIME FRAME: “I got the core idea for my protagonist 12 years ago when I was working in a neural health facility. Later, I wrote a personal essay about my relationship with the Philadelphia Eagles. It took me a while to marry the two things. Sarah Crichton bought my book in May 2007.” SECRET TO SUCCESS: “The writing has to come first, period.” ADVICE: “If you hear someone complaining about the writing life or the publishing industry, don’t walk—run away from them! Find people who will nurture your need to write and make you feel like you’ll succeed.” INFLUENCES: “Recently, I’ve been in awe of Gao Xingjian and Haruki Murakami. I grew up on a diet of Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and Albert Camus.” WEIRD HOBBIES: “I like to play Kubb—the Swedish Viking game—against houseguests.” WHAT’S NEXT? “I have another novel ready, and I have my eye on the YA market.”

Image placeholder title
Personal Essay Awards

Announcing the First Annual Personal Essay Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the first annual Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards!

From Script

Movie Theatres Return While Indie Cinema and TV Turns to Horror and Beyond (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by, read movie reviews from cinephile Tom Stemple. Plus, exclusive interviews with Amazon’s Them creator and showrunner Little Marvin, horror film Jakob’s Wife director Travis Stevens, a history lesson with Dr. Rosanne Welch about trailblazer screenwriter Anita Loos, and much more!

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 17

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a waiting poem.


Your Story #112

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

Self-Published Ebook Awards

Announcing the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards Winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards! Discover the titles that placed in the categories of contemporary fiction, fantasy, memoir, mystery, and more.

Greg Russo: On Writing a Film Based on a Video Game

Greg Russo: On Writing a Screenplay Based on a Video Game

Professional screenwriter Greg Russo discusses the joy and challenge of converting a popular video games series into a screenplay and the balance of enticing a new audience while honoring a franchise's fans.

April PAD Challenge

2021 April PAD Challenge: Day 16

Write a poem every day of April with the 2021 April Poem-A-Day Challenge. For today's prompt, write a city poem.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Under the Influence

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, let a character fall under the influence of something or someone.


Suspended: Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards Winner

Congratulations to J.E. Stamper, grand prize winner of the Writer's Digest Personal Essay Awards. Here's his winning essay, "Suspended."