May 29, 2012
A bestselling novelist and faculty member in Southern New Hampshire University’s MFA program in fiction and nonfiction is taking on another venture: leading a new young adult publishing division.
Jacquelyn Mitchard, author of 24 books for adults and young readers, will head Merit Press Books, a young adult imprint of F+W Media. She will work closely with authors to edit books and will also be acquiring new books for young readers.
“I’d wanted to be an editor for years, but didn’t see myself in a huge box in Manhattan,” Mitchard said. “F+W made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: the chance to work with new authors and established authors on something so important. It’s exactly where I want to be at this point in my career."
Mitchard was awarded the MFA program’s first faculty fellowship, which allows her to teach in the program while earning her degree from SNHU.
“Jackie is a gifted and patient mentor and editor for our students. I know she is going to be a wonderful editor in her new role,” said Diane Les Becquets, the program’s director.
Mitchard credits the mentorship of other professional writers in SNHU’s MFA program, including Mitchell Wieland and Wiley Cash, with helping her improve her writing. She is currently working on her MFA thesis, a two-book series of dystopian teen mysteries.
“I thought that after 20 books, I wrote as well as I personally could,” Mitchard said. But by working with other writers in the program, she said, “My YA writing has become stronger by orders of magnitude.”
In her new role, Mitchard plans to place particular emphasis on acquiring books that appeal to teenage girls, especially those featuring strong, savvy female heroes facing contemporary challenges.
“We knew we needed expert guidance for the creation and growth of the (young adult) line,” said Karen Cooper, F+W’s publisher. “Jacquelyn is the ideal partner for this new initiative, and we are thrilled to work with her.”
Mitchard’s novel, “The Deep End of the Ocean,” was the inaugural selection of the Oprah Winfrey Book Club and was named one of the most influential books of the past 25 years by USA Today.
Her most recent book, “Second Nature: A Love Story” was published by Random House in September. She lives on Cape Cod with her family.
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