Lisa Yee

How did you become a writer?

Since I was about ten-years old, I’ve wanted to be an author. But I was too scared to do anything about it. So after college I wrote ads, jingles, commercials, TV shows, menus, everything but books. It wasn’t until I had kids that I realized that writing novels was something I still dreamed about and needed to try. So, I got The Writers’ Market and looked up editors, then sent a manuscript to Arthur Levine, the editor of Harry Potter. He pulled me out of the slush pile. We’ve done eight books to date.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

Beverly Cleary, Harper Lee, Thomas Wolfe, Anne Lamott, Sharon Creech, Mary Calhoun, my mom, Mr. Glick (7th grade teacher).

When and where do you write? 

When I was working full time and the kids were young, I got into the habit of writing late at night when the house was quiet. These days, I’m still at my most productive in my studio from 11p.m. to 3a.m. However, I also write in libraries and coffee houses. I tend to goof off a lot during the day, so knowing I’ve paid of coffee somehow makes me stay in the chair.

What are you working on now? 

I’m working on the fifth book of the DC Super Hero Girls series. These are original novels featuring DC Comics most iconic female superheroes. Previous books were about Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl, and Katana, which will be out this summer.

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? 


What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Stop thinking about your audience and just write the story it needs to be.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Read, write, write, read, read, read, and then write some more. Also, your goal should not be to write a bestseller. Your goal should be to write a great sentence, then another one, and another one.

Lisa Yee’s debut book, Millicent Min, Girl Genius, won the prestigious Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Her 18 novels for young people include Warp Speed, Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, the Bobby series, and several American Girl books. A Thurber House Children’s Writer-in-Residence, Lisa's books have been named a NPR Best Summer Read, Sports Illustrated Kids Hot Summer Read, and USA Today Critics’ Top Pick. Lisa also writes for NPR Concierge's Best Books. The Kidney Hypothetical is Lisa's latest novel for teens. She is the author of the DC Super Hero Girls middle grade novel series. Visit Lisa at