It’s no surprise that Kody’s writing mentors are all strong, barrier-breaking women: namely Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, and S.E. Hinton. “Each of them has done something I admire greatly. Austen broke the mold. Rowling never gave up. Hinton didn’t let her age hold her back. They’re all my heroes.” In real life, Kody names Buffa Hanse, the woman who taught her Braille, as her biggest inspiration. “She’s the one who convinced me to pursue writing in college and she never held anything back. I would not be here without Buffa, and I”m sure of that.”
Eighteen-year-old writer Kody Keplinger is agented and soon-to-be-published. But, more on that later because clearly the most amazing, wonderful, and awesome thing about Kody is that not only does she currently attend my Alma mater, Ithaca College, but she is about to dwell in the very suite I lived in my sophomore year! Obviously this coincidence trumps anything she’s done or will do in her career…
OK yes, Kody and I have had fun reminiscing about IC, but let’s get back to what really makes Kody worth knowing about. She is represented by Joanna Stampfel-Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation. “The funny thing is, I’d actually never heard of her when I queried her. I found her name on a writer friend’s query spreadsheet and I knew she repped YA, but that was it,” Kody says. Joanna was her first and only full request, which happened on May 12, 2009 (“One of the best days of my life!”), so Kody did further research and learned that apparently Joanna was known for being “awesome,” or, as Kody’s all-caps response put it, “She is AMAZING.”
The full manuscript request she’s referring to was for THE DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend), which she wrote for any girl who has ever felt like she is the odd friend out, the girls who never feel pretty enough, or who lack confidence in themselves. “I think every girl can relate. I want those girls to read it and put it down knowing that they aren’t alone,” Kody says.
Kody began the querying process when she was 17. It was for a novel she wrote before THE DUFF and she admits she “queried it badly.” When she decided to try again with THE DUFF, she did her research and lo and behold, Joanna happened! Right now she is working on another book for Fall 2011, and is planning a summer internship in publishing. “I’m fascninated by the agenting side in particular. And what better combination than agent/author? It’s my dream career!!!”
Whereas most 22-year-olds rarely have even one book to show for themselves, Kody hopes to have “a nice set of published books under my belt” by the time she graduates from college. THE DUFF (Little Brown/Poppy) will be available for you to buy/read/worship this September.