The Author

The Short Official Version

Janice Hardy is the founder of Fiction University, and the author of the teen fantasy trilogy The Healing Wars, where she tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing was dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. Her novels include The Shifter, (Picked as one of the 10 Books All Young Georgians Should Read, 2014) Blue Fire, and Darkfall from Balzer+Bray/Harper Collins. The first book in her Foundations of Fiction series, Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure is out now.

The General Info Version
I write fantasy and science fiction for teens. My debut novel, The Shifter, came out in October 2009 from Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins, and the sequel, Blue Fire, came out October 2010. Darkfall, the final book of the trilogy released October 2011.

I'm represented by the wonderful Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency, and have been since October 2008. October has been a good month for me writing-wise. Good things seem to happen then. Maybe that's because Halloween is my favorite holiday.

I taught writing at Writers Digest Online Workshops for several years, and discovered how much I love teaching. Blogging about writing allows me to indulge this, and I run a site for writers called Fiction University. I also speak at conferences and teach at workshops across the country.

Currently, I live in Central Florida with my husband, three cats, and a nervous freshwater eel.

The Long Version

I was born in Pennsylvania, but since I was only ten days old when we moved, I don’t think it really counts. At that time, I was the youngest person to ever fly on Eastern Airlines and I needed special permission to do so. We moved around a bit my first two years, but I eventually wound up in South Florida, where I celebrated by toddling right through the living room, out the back door, and falling headfirst into the pool. My sister yanked me out by my feet and saved me from a watery death. (I’m told I was still chewing my gum.) As revenge, I threw all the shoes in the house into the pool and we had to go to dinner that night at the neighbor's in bare feet.

My life was pretty typical after that. School was fun when the subject interested me, less so when it didn’t. I had an English teacher who introduced me to the works of Harlan Ellison, and he’s been my favorite author ever since. I got into trouble quite often for reading in class, but it was a good kind of trouble. Teachers aren’t so hard on you when you’re reading, but you still wind up in detention if you do it enough. At least there you can read and no one bothers you. I started writing my first novels in middle school, and most involved horses of some kind. (I was terribly influenced by Walter Farely’s Black Stallion series.) There was also a strong comedic love story plots, influenced by Paula Danzinger.

The high school experience was normal for me. I did summer and weekend jobs working at a local ranch as a trail guide, and raised and trained my own horse. As it often is when you have horses, I had my share of injuries and once tore multiple ligaments in my left ankle training for a rodeo. Believe it or not, I hit a bridge. On horseback. (Don’t ask). Florida wasn’t a bad place to grow up in, and I spent a lot of days sitting on picnic tables at the beach by the volleyball and basketball courts. I don’t play either sport, but that’s where all the cute guys hung out.

After high school I went off to college (go Gators) to study architecture. I debated majoring in creative writing, but figured I’d starve a lot faster as a writer than an artist. After a few years, I found I really didn’t like architecture enough to do it forever, and didn’t have the skills—or the confidence—needed to design a building that wouldn’t fall down on top of people. I switched to art school and got my degree in graphic design. It's served me well ever since and that's how I've made my living while I do "that author thang" as the hubby calls it.

I got my first professional job in publishing (magazines, not books) and did fairly well for myself as a magazine designer. Won a few awards and everything. To counteract my boring bookworm nature, I got my PADI SCUBA certification as a Rescue Diver, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane (once, though I'd do it again), and braved the rapids on a river (which I'd love to do more of).

Photo credit: Nemo
Since then, the hubby and I travel when we can, enjoying out of the way places where we can read and explore, but we’re pretty much a pair of happy homebodies. He’s my best friend, which works out really well in the marriage department. We’re both big geeks and own most console platforms out there. Don’t even get me started on Civilization or The Sims. You could lose me for days.

On the family front, I have an older brother and sister, four nieces and one nephew. I’ve tried to spoil them mercilessly, but I don’t think I’ve done as good a job as I’d planned. Of course, I was also guilty of filling them full of candy and Yoohoo when I babysat, so it might balance out in the end.

And that’s about it. All the super exciting stuff came once I got an agent and sold my book, but that’s another story.