One of the fastest-growing new series of middle-grade novels, Wil’s ‘Twisted’ books have now begun distributing to more than a dozen nations around the world, including China, Japan, England, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and the Czech Republic. This follows the recent success of two new titles—‘A Pool of Deathly Blue’ and ‘The Other’—to add to the original five that launched the series shortly before the Covid pandemic. More ‘Twisted’ stories will be releasing later this year, including ‘The Mystery of Locker 24’, which was announced a short time ago.
The ‘Twisted’ books have already become a staple among
library collections, noted for their ‘Twilight Zone’-esque storylines, real-world
themes, fully formed characters, and particular appeal among reluctant readers.
The Junior Library Guild made the second title, ‘House of a Million Rooms’, one
of their Main Selection Picks while also giving it their Gold Standard Award
for middle-grade fiction writing. The latest title, ‘The Other’, received a
superb review in ‘Booklist’, and the series as a whole has received ringing
endorsements from librarians all across the United States, including one from
American Library Association president emeritus Betty Turock.
We are thrilled to announce that Wil Mara has been chosen by the New Jersey Association of School Librarians as the 2020 New Jersey Author of the Year! Wil is a 35-year veteran of the publishing industry with more than 300 books to his credit. He has penned both fiction and nonfiction for all ages, written over a span of more than thirty years and released through some of the biggest houses in the world, including Rosen, Macmillan, Dorling Kindersley, Scholastic, St. Martin’s Press, Tor, and others. Most recently, his ‘Twisted’ series has become a hit with parents, teachers, librarians, and middle-grade students, including those in the challenging reluctant and hi-lo categories.
Wil also served inside the industry as an
editor, production manager, and executive for twenty years, with tenures at
Prentice Hall, McGraw-Hill, and Harcourt Brace. He has since entered the realm
of Hollywood, now developing his ‘Twisted’ series for television with one of
the leading LA-based production companies, as well as three other projects
based on his published works. Peripherally, he does numerous appearances to
teach writing skills for schools and other institutions, is an executive
committee member on the board of directors for the New Jersey Center for the
Book, the host of the ‘Voice of American Libraries’ podcast, and was the 2019
recipient of the Literary Lion of New Jersey Award, whose past winners include
Gus Friedrich, Dean Emeritus of Rutgers University, and Joyce Carol Oates,
National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist.
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Mark your calendars—on Thursday, October 29th at 3:00 PM EST, the Junior Library Guild will be hosting a live discussion about paranormal and horror elements in modern children’s literature, and Wil is going to be one of their featured guests to talk about his bestselling ‘Twisted’ series. This is one you don’t want to miss!
The JLG webcasts spotlight prominent figures from all around
the publishing industry, including authors, illustrators, editors, librarians, and
many others. One of their recent guests was Jason Reynolds, the current Library
of Congress Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
The Guild has been wonderfully supportive of the ‘Twisted’
books, which have proven particularly popular with hi-lo and reluctant readers
(a topic that will likely be included in the discussion). The second title in
the series, ‘House of a Million Rooms’, was chosen as one of the Guild’s Main
Selection picks in 2019 and received the Gold Standard Award later that year.
More information about the JLG webcasts can be found here—
Some weeks ago, Wil interviewed Laura Penn, middle- and
high-school librarian for the central school district in Akron, New York, for
the ongoing ‘Voice of American Libraries’ podcast. The focus of their
conversation was the countless difficulties facing librarians as they enter the
start of the first academic year in the age of Covid.
The .mp3 file (running time just under 49 minutes) is HERE.
‘The Voice of American Libraries’ podcast is intended to
raise awareness of the many challenges in today’s library profession, both
school and public. It feature prominent industry figures discussing the most
pressing current issues in the hope of driving more widespread conversation
that will lead to best practices and effective solutions.
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In light of the recent spike in interest in Wil’s 2012 thriller The Gemini Virus, we’d like to remind you again of the supplemental publication The Gemini Virus Readers’ Companion—a free download that has a whole slew of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, deleted scenes with explanatory notes, rare interviews Wil granted at the time, and the full text of his lecture on pandemic preparedness that he gave along with Dr. Marty Hewlett at the University of New Mexico that September (and offers some eerie foreshadowing toward the coronavirus outbreak).