Features

Teacher moonlights as best selling author

A local teacher with a passion for reading and writing will publish her 18th novel at the beginning of March. 

Suzanne Young is an english teacher, content marketer specialist, and renowned New York Times bestselling author.  

After Young graduated from Plattsburgh State University in New York with a degree in creative writing, she quickly decided never to be cold again. Young packed her car with her belongings, put her dog in the front seat, and drove across the country to Arizona in 1998. 

Her first job out of college and in a new state was at the Mesa Community College (MCC) bookstore for a few months before becoming a teacher in 2001. Currently, Young alternates between teaching middle school and high school. 

“I love writing, but I also love teaching. I love teaching writing, I love teaching english, I love teaching kids to love reading,” Young said. “I am their teacher everyday I am not walking in like an author. They are used to me giving them assignments. I think they appreciate my passion, but I would have that passion whether I was an author or not.” 

Young’s first book was published through the Penguin Publishing Group. However, her most recent series are published through Simon & Schuster. 

Despite the different career roles Young takes on, she manages to connect them all together. She encourages her students to help at book events and even participate with their own creative works by performing skits and even original songs. 

Young was named New York Times bestselling author in 2014 after the release of her first book in “The Program” series.  “The Complication” released in 2018 completing the six-book saga. “The Program” is the combination of three different stories Young was working on at the time. Since then, Young continues to develop more ideas and novels to be published. 

“A lot of the ideas were something personal that spun out to a bigger story; none of these are memoirs. It was supposed to be something that maybe affected me, or was on my mind or something from my past. And then I created characters around that,” Young shared. “They weren’t my stories necessarily. There was just something that I dealt with. I have personal experience in everything that I write, but it doesn’t mean it’s my story.” 

While Young is proud of the recognition “The Program” received and how it continues to sell and touch the lives of many, the book she holds the biggest connection to is “All in Pieces” published in 2016. 

Her most recent series is titled “ Girl with Sharp Sticks” and the sequel “Girl with Razor Hearts” will be released March 17. A recent contract signed with Amblin Entertainment plans to develop these books for television. 

Young continues to be active in the community with book events hosted by Changing Hands and participating as a keynote author at Phoenix Fan Fusion this summer from May 22-24. 

About Author

Kierra Sharman is a sophomore at Mesa Community College, majoring in journalism. She is the senior reporter for the Mesa Legend and has written for other community papers since 2016.