The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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Author Spotlight: Jennifer Nielsen

Author of the very popular “Ascendance Series,” as well as the trilogies “The Traitor’s Game” and “Mark of the Thief” and several standalone historical fiction novels, Jennifer Nielsen is an author certainly worth checking out. Her books have not only entertained and been loved by fans from all over, but have also been incredible inspirations for emerging writers.

Born and raised in Utah, where she lives today, Nielsen became interested in being an author around sixth grade, after reading “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton.

“It was the first book where I became curious about the author,” Nielsen said. “When I found out she wrote that book as a teenager, it made me feel that writing was something I could do too.”

Similar to other authors, Nielsen’s work wasn’t published at first; in fact, her manuscripts were rejected multiple times.

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“Before getting published, I wrote a manuscript called Apprentice to a Madman. I loved it and I knew it would be loved if only an editor somewhere on planet earth would love it too,” Nielsen said.

After being rejected more than once, she finally sent her fourth manuscript to a publisher who was “known to accept nearly anyone.”

“Fast forward to my birthday, when two things happened. First was I got a phone call from a friend who, on her very first manuscript, sent her very first query letter to this same publisher, and she called to tell me that she had been accepted,” Nielsen said. “That was discouraging because the manuscript I had submitted was the fourth one I’d written and all of them had failed to get published. An hour after that, I went to the mailbox, and inside was my letter from this publisher who accepts nearly everyone, and when I opened it, there was yet another rejection.”

It was the worst birthday ever, but it also taught Nielsen many things about herself, eventually leading to her development as an author.

“I learned something about myself that day. First is that it is not in me to quit. I just am not that person. And second, if quitting was no longer an option, then I had to figure out how to not fail. So I threw out everything I thought I knew about writing and started over again. The second thing I learned is that I needed the failure to teach me how to write well enough to be published,” said Nielsen.

Challenges arise for not only every author but every human being, after all. Nielsen decided to learn from the failures she faced, turning them into stepping stones to her success, and is now an author and co-author of many books.

“Interacting with fans,” Nielsen said when asked about her favorite part about writing. “They are always the best and give me a great boost to keep writing!”

She is also a great inspiration, as her books are written both thoughtfully and carefully, causing many aspiring authors to look up to her.

When asked what message she would give young and emerging writers, Nielsen said, “Don’t judge your ability to write based on your first draft. Your first draft will never be as good as the idea in your head, and that’s okay. We create art in the rewrite, so my advice to young writers is to learn to love the rewrite. It’s one of the most important parts of the writing process.”

Additionally, to the excitement of many fans, she is currently writing a new book due to release on Mar. 4, 2025.

“My next book will be called ‘One Wrong Step,’ and is a story about Atlas Wade, who always climbs high mountains with his dad. But now it’s Everest in 1939, before anyone had reached the summit. Because of the danger, Atlas’s dad leaves him behind in Base Camp,” said Nielsen. “Every day, Atlas watches the mountain to see where his dad might be. One morning he looks up and sees the signs of an avalanche. Atlas rushes to the walkie-talkies to contact his dad’s climbing team, but he gets back only one answer in return: Help. So Atlas will begin a rapid ascent of Mount Everest in the hope of saving his father’s life.”

This story was originally published on The Cougar Star on May 9, 2024.