Author Crush Friday with Maureen Johnson

Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.


We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Maureen Johnson, New York Times bestselling author of the time-hopping mystery YA, the final in the Truly Devious series, The Hand on the Wall (January 21, 2020; HarperCollins, Katherine Tegen Books). Thank you for talking to us today, Maureen! We’re honored!  If you haven’t picked up the entire Truly Devious series yet, run, don’t walk, to grab it!


GLITTER: Tell us five things that people might not know about you.


  1. I have never had chicken pox.
  2. I’m not sure I have had any kind of pox?
  3. Also, have never had chickens.
  4. Also, am vegetarian, so chickens never come into it.
  5. Was the chicken pox a chicken thing? I know this is not a fact about me. I just want to know.


GLITTER: How would you describe your writing to a new reader?

MAUREEN: Word based? Errrr. Mysterious? I’m doing this wrong.


GLITTER: Do all of your ideas turn into books, or do you write a ton down until one resonates with you and then start writing that book?

MAUREEN: Oh, if you turned all of your ideas into books—well, you couldn’t do that. You pick. You play with them. You turn them over. You consider them for a while and develop them. I write some down, but often the idea will linger and grow in my mind until I know that’s something I want to work on.


GLITTER: How do you find the emotional truths in your writing?

MAUREEN: Truthfully, I have no idea. You just have to feel your way.


GLITTER: What one question sparked the whole plot of The Truly Devious series, and in particular, The Hand on the Wall?

MAUREEN: I wanted to write a proper, classic mystery. One with a detective and a mansion and a remote location and lots of tangible clues. So it was less a question and more a feeling of a place and time—bits of things knitted together in my head to build a picture. Mysteries are puzzles, very carefully put together.


GLITTER: Do you have any particular writing rituals?

MAUREEN: Are panic and procrastination rituals?


GLITTER: What character do you relate most to?

MAUREEN: Nate Fisher, the student who wrote a book and is now panicking because he doesn’t know how to write the sequel, so he freaks out and hides whenever anyone asks him about it.


GLITTER: Do you have anything that you love to collect?

MAUREEN: Board games! We are obsessive collectors. We love a meeple.


GLITTER: What book of yours do you hope to see on either TV or as a movie and why?

MAUREEN: I think Truly Devious, because I love a mystery show. I’m a true mystery addict.


GLITTER: What one piece of advice could you give any teen going through difficult times now?

MAUREEN: Whatever is happening, someone else has been through it. It’s all surmountable. It will sometimes feel like it is not, and that you are the only one. You’re not!


GLITTER: Did any of the authors you read in high school affect how you write now?

MAUREEN: Of course! All writing is based on reading! It’s almost impossible not to be affected by what you read.


GLITTER: What are you passionate about in life?

MAUREEN: Animals. Politics. Music.


GLITTER: What are you working on right now?

MAUREEN: Another book that just may be connected to the Truly Devious world!


Photo Credit: Angela Altus

Maureen Johnson is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen YA novels, including the Truly Devious series, the Shades of London series, Suite Scarlett, and 13 Little Blue Envelopes. Her collaborative books include Ghosts of the Shadow Market (with Cassandra Clare), as well as Let It Snow (with John Green and Lauren Myracle), now a hit feature film on Netflix.  She lives in New York City.