Weronika queried a middle grade spy novel when she was only twelve years old. “But, of course, the darn thing wasn’t ready for the world,” she admits. Over the next six years, Weronika has had a few poems and essays published in various magazines, e-zines, and anthologies, and is now, obviously, focusing on her novel. She also writes on her blog, Weronika Janczuk: Writer & Intern. On writing: “I love to write and I love the possibility of exploring worlds and other people, so despite the hurdles that continue to arise I’ll always write.”
Among her influences are
So after she accomplishes her dreams of becoming a published writer and graduating from college, Weronika hopes to turn her current internship at a literary agency into a career. “I’ve come to realize that I love this world of books and writing and quirky/witty/awesome people,” Weronika says of her “overarching plan” to eventually open her own agency. “It’d be awesome to do all of that within ten years,” she adds.
Teen Writer Week continues with another talented adolescent. Steph Bowe is sixteen years old and has been running the popular blog, Hey! Teenager of the Year, since April 2009. Being from a rural area in Australia, Steph says she didn’t have many people to talk to in real life about what she was reading. So, she started a blog to fill that void. Since then, she’s also used the blog to review books and interview authors.
In addition to finishing high school, Steph is currently working on her next novel and hopes to someday work in the publishing industry in Australia. Girl Saves Boy, will be published by Text Publishing in Australia this September and then in the U.S. by Egmont USA in 2011. It is a moving story about a girl who saves a boy from drowning, leaving the two to deal with the consequences of a romance. Steph would like for Girl Saves Boy to speak to teens who feel isolated or misunderstood, which, she admits, “is basically every teenager ever.”
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.”