In May of 2005, Wil’s first novel for adults was published—‘Wave’ was a thriller about a tsunami strike on Long Beach Island, a barrier island off the coast of southern New Jersey, following a terrorist plot gone wrong. Even against the massive disadvantages of no marketing budget (not one penny) and a bankrupt distributor (Koen, who filed for Chapter 11 just days before the book’s release), ‘Wave’ sold through its first printing in less than six weeks. Retailers were unable to keep it in stock, and the booksignings that summer—every single weekend—saw lines out the door and down the sidewalk. All this buzz eventually caught the attention of Bloomberg Newswire, who ran a national story on the ‘Wave’ phenomenon. ‘Wave’ received the New Jersey Notable Book Award that fall, then New York came calling—Macmillan Publishing, one of the oldest and most respected in the business, acquired the rights for the paperback and eBook, both of which were released the following year.

In the decades since, Wil has been asked many times about a sequel—and not just by the fans. The original publisher has asked at least once a year, as it remains their bestselling fiction title to this day. The answer was always a regretful ‘no’, along with the explanation that Wil felt the story had fully resolved itself in the first book, so nothing further needed to be told. That changed, however, in June of 2022.

“It was a Monday morning,” Wil said in a recent interview, “and I was heading downstairs to my office. I hadn’t been thinking about ‘Wave’ or anything related to it. The only thing on my mind was what I needed to write that day. Then, on about the second or third step, it all came in a bright, forceful vision—bang! Just like that. By the time I got to the bottom of the staircase, I had the whole story.” An email to his publisher with the subject line ‘Wave sequel’ was met with a single-sentence response: “No f**king way.” The following Wednesday, they had a Zoom meeting to discuss the story in detail. And the following Friday, a contract was issued.

Fast forward to the present—the manuscript is nearly complete, a fantastic cover design has been finalized, and an ambitious promotional campaign is in the works. (One interesting bit of trivia, too—Wil has been writing the sequel on the same laptop he used for ‘Wave’ back in 2003.) The sequel will be released in May of 2025, twenty years to the day of the first. We are not yet ready to begin sharing plot details, but those will be forthcoming sooner than later. What we can say at this point is that all of the fan-favorite characters from the first book will be returning (in one way or another), plus a few new ones. Anyone who enjoyed ‘Wave’ will absolutely love the sequel. And for those who never read it, the sequel still functions as a standalone story, every bit as heart-pounding as its predecessor.

So please stay with us on this—there’s plenty more to come!


Happy 2024 to one and all! And we’re thrilled to begin the new year with an exciting announcement—the Rosa Parks biography that Wil wrote as part of the ‘Rookie Biography’ series, which he helped develop from the ground up for Scholastic Publishing, has been chosen by Book Authority as one of the four best American biographies for early readers in the nation! Book Authority curates the world’s leading web site for book recommendations by national figures in order to help librarians and other readers choose the most impactful books on any subject. Past recommendations have come from Bill Gates, Reese Witherspoon, Warren Buffet, Steve Jobs, and Sheryl Sanburg, and Book Authority council members have been featured on CNN, Forbes, Inc., and in other global media outlets.

“They look easy to write, the Rookie Biographies,” Wil said in his initial response to the news, “but trying to capture the essential life story of a historical figure like Rosa Parks with just three-hundred words, and using only language that can be easily understood by someone in the first or second grade, is a maddening challenge. That’s been essentially the formula for the Rookies all along—roughly three-hundred words, and a Lexile level no higher than about 400 to 500. Now I know how Superman felt when he had to change his clothes in a phone booth.” 

To see the list of four recommended biographies, click here—

For contact, please use All emails are answered within 24 hours.


NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: It was announced late yesterday that Wil Mara has been appointed the new Chairman of the New Jersey Center for the Book, with Sharon Rawlins, of the New Jersey State Library, to serve as Vice Chair. The Center is affiliated with both the United States Library of Congress and Rutgers University, in particular their celebrated School of Communication and Information.

For more than two decades, the New Jersey Center for the Book has “…advanced a dynamic literacy agenda, championing its definition as the ability to read and write while extending it to include literacies emerging in the 21st century.” It has focused particularly on the rich and ongoing literary heritage of the Garden State, in particular its students and educators, its talented authors and illustrators, and its many literary landmarks. The Center’s founder, Renee Swartz, had an inestimable impact during her tenure, initiating countless programs that sustain to this day, along with a supporting Board of Directors who have given selflessly of their time and considerable talents to ensure that the Center’s mandate was faithfully fulfilled. In the years ahead, the Center’s new leadership will carry Renee’s remarkable legacy forward with new initiatives designed to further the organization’s reach and influence.  

Wil Mara has served on the Center’s Board for many years. He has also been an author since the mid 1980s and has more than 340 books to his credit. His 2013 novel Frame 232 was a bestseller that won the Lime Award for Excellence in Fiction. His 2006 novel The Draft became the hit movie Draft Day starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner. And his 2005 novel Wave won the New Jersey Notable Book Award. In 2019, he launched the supernatural series ‘Twisted’ for middle-grade readers through West 44 Books (a division of Rosen Publishing), which has earned high praise from Booklist, School Library Journal, and librarians from around the country, as well as the Gold Standard Award from the Junior Library Guild. He was also an editor and production executive inside the publishing business for over twenty years (Prentice Hall, Scholastic, Harcourt Brace) and the creator and facilitator of the ‘Myth of the Reluctant Reader’ lecture series. His awards include the Literary Lion Award in 2019 and, from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, the New Jersey Author of the Year in 2020.

Sharon Rawlins, also a longtime Board member for the Center, has been the New Jersey State Library’s Youth Services Coordinator for over fifteen years. She has supported other librarians statewide through her work with the annual Summer Reading Program, the Collaborative Summer Library Program national initiative, and the fall Youth Service Forum. She has also forged critically beneficial alliances with a diverse collection of organizations—from the Franklin Institute Science Museum to the National Girls Collaborative Project. She also serves as the State Library’s representative to the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, attending both their meetings and their annual conference. She has been a steadfast presence at the annual National Book Festival in support of the New Jersey Center for the Book, and she plays an active role on the Garden State Book Awards committee. In 2019, she was recognized for her tremendous contributions to the state when she received the New Jersey’s Librarian of the Year Award.

For more information about Sharon—

For more information about the New Jersey Center for the Book—

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The 2023 fall conference for the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, which will follow the wonderful theme of ‘A World of Stories: A Celebration of Diversity in School Libraries,’ will feature numerous authors and illustrators from around the state, Wil among them. Wil is the author of more than 300 books, both fiction and non, and a past NJASL Author of the Year. The conference will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from December 3rd to 5th. If you haven’t yet signed up, you are strongly encouraged to do so, for the sessions and networking opportunities are always fantastic. The main portal page for this event is here—

As a featured participant in ‘Authors and Illustrators Alley,’ Wil is going have copies of his ‘Twisted’, ‘Izzy Jeen the Big-Mouth Queen’, and ‘Kid from Planet 27’ books on hand, along with varied offering of FREE posters, bookmarks, and informational flyers (including new ones for his ‘Best Bang for Your Budget’ author visits!). So if you attend, please make a point of stopping by to see him and say hello!

To visit Wil’s main site, which has further information about all of his books, please go to—

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Wil is going to be participating in this year’s ‘Beyond Access Forum’ event, hosted by the New York City Department of Education, as a panelist for the session on ‘Navigating Book Challenges: Insights and Advice from School Librarians and a Children’s Author’. Primary topics will include the rising threat of book banning, against which Wil has spoken out publicly on many occasions. 

He will be joined on the panel by Lindsay Klemas, former high school librarian, who will be discussing her experiences around inclusive displays, collections, and the emotional toll of pushing back on challenges. Also, Patricia Sarles, Library Coordinator and moderator of the session. And finally Melissa Jacobs, Director of Library Services, who will discuss NYC Public Schools Collection Development Policy and Selection Criteria, and why it’s essential to focus on building inclusive collections.

Please note that this is an entirely online event that will take place on Tuesday, November 7th. It features many other sessions and networking opportunities to aid in professional development. For full details and to register, please use the following link—

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