Catching Fireflies

finding magic along the way

Love to Discover NYS Authors!

I always love to research an author I enjoy and discover that they live within an easy morning drive of me. No, I do not stalk them! But it is nice to know that not all authors live in big cities like New York City or exotic locales. 🙂


Vivian Vande Velde was born in Rochester, NY in 1951, where she still resides. She has been writing and publishing for young readers and teens since 1984. She became a writer because she loves stories and I can think of no better reason! 🙂 She offers some great advice for writers on her website. The best piece of advice she offers is to write the kind of stories you enjoy reading.


The first book by Ms. Vande Velde that crossed my path was Curses, Inc. and Other Stories (1996).  I also loved her Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Sisters Weird (1995). I am a sucker for magical stories! I have found in my comparatively brief writing life that short stories have their own structure and pace. It is difficult to master and I am learning from her and other masters of short stories for kids.


A Hidden Magic (1985) is a story about a princess who follows all the rules only to discover that she may not be such a proper princess after all. In A Well-Timed Enchantment (1990), the main character loses her watch in a well and then falls through herself. She lands in medieval France. In User Unfriendly (1991), Ms. Vande Velde tells the tale of a role-playing game that plugs directly into your brain. You don’t play through the computer; you are really there.


Heir Apparent (2002) finds her main character in another virtual game where losing means dying. Dragon’s Bait (2003) tells the story of a girl who is rumored to be a witch and is sent out to sacrifice a dragon. The problem is she isn’t a witch!

Most of her books weave tales of magic and fantasy, which makes it clear why I enjoy them so much. 🙂

She has written over 34 books, many that I just discovered in researching this post! Ms. Vande Velde also won the 2000 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel for Never Trust a Dead Man. She won the ALA Best Book for Young Adults for Being Dead (2003), Companions of the Night (2002), Heir Apparent, Never Trust a Dead Man, and Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Sisters Weird. She has won many other awards, including the Writers & Books Literary Award in 2005 for her entire body of work. Most recently- as in October 2015!- she was awarded the New York Library Association’s Empire State Award for Excellence in Literature for Young People. Congratulations, Ms. Vande Velde!


Whether you are looking for wizards, witches, fractured fairy tales or a little horror, you can’t go wrong with Vivian Vande Velde’s books.


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