The Name of the Star
(Shades of London: Book 1)
September 1, 2011
Available: September 29, 2011
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Vacations from Hell
May 1, 2009
Available: May 26, 2009
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Maureen Johnson

Photo Credit: Heather Weston

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I decided to be born during a massive snowstorm. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. I am an only child, which means that I know how to play Candyland by myself.

I was always one of those reading and writing kids. After a little dalliance with astronomy (I had a glow in the dark star chart) and archeology (I had a little shovel), I declared my intention to become a writer at the age of eight or nine or so.

Even though I am not Catholic, I attended an all-girl Catholic prep high school. (This is the kind of thing that passes for a joke in my family.) Despite slightly gulag-like conditions, total lack of contact with the male sex, and minor mental scarring, high school was a pretty good experience for me, as I met several of my best friends there. Captivity can breed this kind of warm feeling. However, the experience caused me to develop a lifelong aversion to polyester and knee socks.

I graduated from the University of Delaware, home of the Fighting Blue Hens. I was a writing major, but I spent most of my time working on shows. After college, I became the literary manager of a wonderful (but now defunct) Philadelphia theater company. Soon after that, I moved to New York to study theatrical dramaturgy and writing at Columbia University School of the Arts. As a graduate student, I held at least a dozen different jobs to pay my way through school. These included: working in a haunted house theme restaurant, being a fake employee for a company to make it look like more people worked there than actually did, working on a show in Las Vegas that had live tigers and malfunctioning smoke machines in the same enclosed area, and being an editor.

My first book, The Key to the Golden Firebird, came out in May 2004. I spent the day of its release walking around New York in incredibly uncomfortable heels, and almost got arrested in the HarperCollins building for an accidental breach of security. To cap it all off, I hobbled to my agent’s apartment, where I collapsed on her sofa and begged for ice cream. I have tried to celebrate every subsequent release day in this same inimitable style.

While on a writing fellowship in Edinburgh, Scotland, where I lived in a castle for a month, I completed final edits on my second book, The Bermudez Triangle. I also began work on a book called 13 Little Blue Envelopes. The 80 page (single spaced) journal of my time there provided a good deal of inspiration for Ginny’s travels—including the night I got lost on a dark Scottish roadside and thought I was going to be attacked by badgers.

Devilish, my fourth book, was very loosely based on my Catholic high school experiences. Sadly, there were no demons, angelic creatures, or walking beds in my high school. We did, however, have some scary statues and a marriage class taught by a nun, so it all balances out.

My fifth book, Girl At Sea, was released in June 2007. I refer to this book as the companion of 13 Little Blue Envelopes, as it is also a European fantasy, this time taking place off the coast off Italy. It features the three P’s: pyramids, pirates, and pizza. Also, a fancy tattoo, two handsome guys, one Swedish-English girl, an awesome bathtub, jellyfish, an exciting historical backstory in London, tiny paper hats, and DANGER!

My newest book, Suite Scarlett, is now out and is available! The sequel, Scarlett Fever, will be released in April, 2009. Also, Let It Snow, a book I wrote with John Green and Lauren Myracle, will be out on October 2, 2008.

In addition to writing books, I am also a scriptwriter for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Handheld videogames. I live in New York City, and travel to the UK on a regular basis.

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