MARK OF THE THIEF – 2015 Whitney Awards Finalist
When Nic, a slave in the mines outside of Rome, is forced to enter a sealed cavern containing the lost treasures of Julius Caesar, he finds much more than gold and gemstones: He discovers an ancient bulla, an amulet that belonged to the great Caesar and is filled with a magic once reserved for the Gods — magic some Romans would kill for. Now, with the deadly power of the bulla pulsing through his veins, Nic is determined to become free. But instead, he finds himself at the center of a ruthless conspiracy to overthrow the emperor and spark the Praetor War, a battle to destroy Rome from within. Traitors and spies lurk at every turn, each more desperate than the next to use Nic’s newfound powers for their own dark purposes.
In a quest to stop the rebellion, save Rome, and secure his own freedom, Nic must harness the magic within himself and defeat the empire’s most powerful and savage leaders.
A NIGHT DIVIDED – 2015 Whitney Awards Finalist
With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family suddenly divided. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city. But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?
Jennifer A. Nielsen
. . . was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband, three children, and a dog that won’t play fetch. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
For as far back as Jennifer can remember, she has shared her brain with imaginary characters. She figures it’s okay if she talks to them as she’s working on her stories, as long as they don’t start talking back.
Jennifer began writing in elementary school. Her first attempt at a full-length story was in 6th grade when she wrote about a girl who becomes trapped in her daydreams and that world becomes real. Not a bad idea, you say? Wrong. It was pretty awful, but Jennifer liked it at the time. She even called a locksmith to do research on how to pick locks. When he found out she was only 11, he ended the call and the story got set aside, unfinished.
But she began other stories, writing in spiral notebooks or plucking out keys on an electric typewriter (yep, she’s that old). Stories of a boy who tries to sell his annoying sister, of a celebrity who gets stuck in a small town (think Disney’s Cars, only with humans), and several other stories that all eventually wound up in a box in the back of her closet. She also drew cartoons and made up poems about the people in them. Jennifer has taken steps to ensure the cartoons never see the light of day again.
Jennifer has always loved reading and for most of her childhood, kept a tall stack of books at the side of her bed. She loved the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown series’, but her favorite childhood book was The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Her favorite book in junior high was The Outsiders. That book’s author, S.E. Hinton, published The Outsiders at the age of 17. Jennifer set a goal to be published sooner.
Jennifer didn’t make her goal, not even close. She got heavily involved in local theater and in school speech and debate competitions. The theater entertained the characters in her head, and the speech and debate filled her desire to never stop talking.
Jennifer completed her first book in her early 20’s. She told a neighbor she planned to be published one day. The neighbor smiled back like Jennifer had a greater chance of landing on the moon one day. That was understandable. The first book was pretty bad.
So was her second. And third. The fourth wasn’t terrible, but by then Jennifer had decided she was writing in the wrong genre. The characters in her head had changed from adult romantic suspense to young adult and children’s fantasy characters. Jennifer had to change her writing too.
Jennifer’s debut book was ELLIOT AND THE GOBLIN WAR (Sourcebooks, Oct 2010). That series became known as The Underworld Chronicles. The next series she released was The Ascendance trilogy, beginning with THE FALSE PRINCE (Scholastic, Apr 2012). She wrote the sixth book of the Infinity Ring series, BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Scholastic, Nov 2013). Her current series is MARK OF THE THIEF (Scholastic, Feb 2015), with the next book coming in January 2016. Her most recent release is a historical, A NIGHT DIVIDED (Scholastic, Aug 2015).
You can find Jennifer’s books HERE,
she tweets HERE,
and has a website HERE.