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This 13-year-old author will inspire you to pick up your pen

Elise Marra is the motivational BFF you need by your side at all times. She puts the "Yes" in "Yes I can!" by simply just being who she is—a young adult author. The now 13 year old wrote her first novel, Intellectual, when she was just 11 (wow!) and with the help of her mom, she got it published. 

Intellectual focuses on Grace and her crew of friends. When the group are assigned boring government jobs, it's not long before they realize there's more to these occupations than meets the eye. With the aid of an unlikely helper, the friends must find a way out and to Detroit to take a stand.

As if writing one book wasn't inspiring enough, Elise (who uses J.E. Bean as her author name) has *another* book, Camp Passage... If You Dare, hitting shelves soon, that is available for preorder right here. We chatted with the totally cool author about her writing process, her fave fictional world and what books *she's* reading these days.

GL: What first sparked your interest in writing?
Elise Marra: I actually always liked to write even when I was very young. At age 6, I made up a story and illustrated my own book. I did not write any books for a while after that. When I started doing some creative writing later at school, I enjoyed it and just kept on writing.

GL: How did you come up with the concept for your novel Intellectual?
EM: I absolutely loved and am obsessed with the both Hunger Games and Divergent series and wanted more books like that to read, so I started to write my own. The next thing I knew, I had an entire novel, Intellectual, written that I finished while I was 11 years old and in sixth grade. When I showed it to my mom, she was so impressed that she started to look for a way to publish it.

GL: Did you have to juggle school and writing? What was that like?
EM: Shh! Don't tell my teachers, but I write in the back of class in pencil in super tiny writing on loose-leaf paper so small that an adult can hardly read it, with about 1,000 words per side. I would write during any free time or when I had my work done early or when I was sort of bored in class. I did most of my writing during the school day. Then I would type in the words at home. I am pretty secretive about showing anyone my story while I am writing it because I don't want anyone else telling me what to do or how to write it.

GL: What’s your favorite genre to read? Why?
EM: My favorite genre is similar to what I write—action adventure, usually science fiction, fantasy or futuristic in some way, and with mainly young characters. Those are the kind of stories that I can relate to the best.

GL: Who are *your* favorite authors? What do you love the most about their writing?
EM: Of course Suzanne Collins, as I am obsessed with the Hunger Games, and it was my first inspiration. Another favorite author is Chris Colfer and his Land of Stories books. I really like how he writes in third person, and I never want his books to end! I also really like Marissa Meyer's The Lunar Chronicles starting with Cinder because her books are unique and not stereotypical stories. 

GL: If you could transport yourself into any fictional world, where would you go?
EM: I would go to the Land of Stories because who wouldn't want to live in a fairy tale world?

GL: What advice do you have for young girls who also have dreams of becoming an author?
EM: My advice is to just start writing and keep writing. Do not overthink it—just go for it!

Has Elise inspired you to do something you've always wanted to? If so, what?!

Photo credit: Elise Young.

by Sydney Adamson | 9/24/2016
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