Category Archives: News


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!


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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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—

To be notified of upcoming webcasts—

To see the ‘Twisted’ promotional video—

For librarians, the ‘Twisted’ titles can be ordered direct from the publisher—

Wil’s main site, which includes free downloads of all ‘Twisted’ opening chapters—

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