Ten Things You Didn’t Know about John Corey Whaley

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We’re totally proud of John Corey Whaley, the WEbooker who found an agent through AgentInbox…and then got a book deal with Atheneum, leading to the May 2010 release of Where Things Come Back. Corey's debut earned him recognition all over town—he might not be Kardashian-famous just yet, but he did scoop up the American Library Association's William C. Morris Debut Award, and ALA's Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Kind of a big deal.


We caught up with Corey on his most recent trip to New York City, to chat about how much has happened in his career since he first clicked on to a little writers’ community called WEbook. We heard about recent excitement, like when the National Book Foundation named him to their Five Under Thirty-Five list, and upcoming fun, like going on tour with Daniel Handler and Maggie Stiefvater later this spring. Turns out, iced caramel macchiatos just might be his truth serum, because we also learned a whole lot more.  


 John Corey Whaley…you think you know…but you have no idea.



  1. He loves going to birthday parties.

  2. When he gives author readings, he doesn’t usually read from his work – he tells jokes instead.

  3. He can name the ten largest cities in the country.

  4. He judges books by their covers and their titles.

  5. It takes him about five weeks to write a book. (Yeah. We kind of hate him, too. Just a little bit, just for a second.)

  6. Even though he writes YA fiction now, he spent his actual teenage years reading Vonnegut, Salinger, and Chbosky.

  7. He thinks sex in books should be funny, not dreamy.

  8. He loves Strand Books in New York City (but who doesn’t?!).

  9. He worked at a library in high school.

  10. He loves public speaking, but advises against picturing the audience in their underwear.


While it’s clear that Corey is enjoying life on the other side of the Printz Award, he’s not taking his success lightly. “Writing is so much fun for me. Finding a character, putting that character’s story together – it’s just fun. And I get to do that as my job! I’m like a kid in a candy store. And I’m eating all the candy.” And though he didn’t plan his career to be a YA author, he considers it something of a noble task. “When you ask someone what book changed their life, they always name something they read when they were a teenager. And that’s really an honor, to be the one putting books out there that might have that impact on someone.”


Corey’s second novel is currently pegged for Fall 2013. In the meantime, two lucky WEbookers won signed copies of Corey’s amazing Where Things Come Back by participating in our recent giveaways (are you following us on Twitter? Don’t miss out!)  


And we’re giving a copy to the winner of our latest Writing Challenge – we're extending it to this Friday, March 2, so get writing! You could be the next proud owner of a signed Whaley.  



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