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My love of mysteries and ghost stories can be traced back to my childhood growing up in the small city of Waterloo, Iowa. One spring morning when I was seven years old, my mom declared I was ready to read "big books" all by myself. She ushered me into our attic, pointed at three boxes of novels from her childhood, and told me to pick whichever one I wanted. Thrilled, I immediately zeroed in on the Nancy Drew mysteries. I chose The Haunted Bridge...and barely stopped reading for the next five years. In fact, I wrote half of my own book called Mystery at Meadow Winds when I was eleven. 

Storytelling of all kinds has always interested me. As a kid, and later as a teenager in Columbus, Ohio, I took voice lessons and performed in plays and musicals. I studied theater at Northwestern University before I switched majors to radio/television/film. After graduation, I acted in small Chicago storefront theaters, improvised with comedy troupes, and freelanced in public relations (back then my name was Wendy Langlas). I got married, had two kids, and adored reading books aloud to them. Once my children were in middle school, I decided to concentrate on my childhood love of mysteries and scary stories—and write stories for kids. Today I live in Illinois with my family in an old house built more than a hundred years ago. I haven't actually SEEN a ghost...but I'm still looking.

 

Field of Screams is my debut novel. My next middle grade book, Stage Fright, will be published by Delacorte Press fall 2024. I can be found on Instagram at @wendyparrisauthor and @wlparri on Twitter!

 

View my MEDIA KIT.

  • My aunt Barb had a farm in Wisconsin when I was growing up and owned a one-eyed black cat named Jade (absolutely the inspiration for Jade in Field of Screams).

  • When I was twelve, my family stayed a few nights in an old hotel in Colonial Williamsburg. My brother Tom and I kept seeing the curtains move, even though the window wasn’t open and there was no draft. We were positive the place was haunted.

  • My great-grandfather's dentist was the model for the old farmer in Grant Wood's painting American Gothic

  • In college I performed summer stock theater on the Showboat Becky Thatcher (long gone, but once docked on the Ohio River in Marietta, Ohio).

  • The Chicago improv troupe I performed with for several years was called "Spontaneous Combustion."

  • Spooky places I've visited - where I've definitely gotten chills:

    • The catacombs beneath the city of Paris

    • The House of the Seven Gables in Salem, MA

    • Lafayette Cemetery in New Orleans, LA

    • The Capuchin Crypt ("The Bone Church of Rome") under Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini 

    • The Wort Hotel in Jackson Hole, WY

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