11. Stephenie Meyer
Author of the Twilight series—the pop culture phenomenon that became a successful movie franchise—Stephenie Meyer likes to tell the story of how the idea for the series came to her. She woke up one night after having a very vivid dream in June 2003, featuring seemingly real characters that she couldn’t get out of her head. "Though I had a million things to do, I stayed in bed, thinking about the dream. Unwillingly, I eventually got up and did the immediate necessities, and then put everything that I possibly could on the back burner and sat down at the computer to write.”
The mother of three boys never expected what would happen afterward. Twilight debuted at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list in 2005, and the sequel, New Moon, which was released in September 2006, spent more than 25 weeks in the number one spot. The third book in the series, Eclipse was one of the most highly anticipated books of the decade, and Breaking Dawn, the final book, sold 1.3 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release.
Meyer’s stand-alone sci-fi romance, The Host, debuted at #1 on both the New York Times and Wall Street Journal best seller lists in 2008. Since then, she founded her own movie production company and spent much of 2011 producing parts of Breaking Dawn and Austenland. In 2015, she announced that she will be producing a TV series based on Daniel O’Malley’s book The Rook.
12. Jennifer A. Nielsen
Jennifer Nielsen fulfilled a lifelong dream when The False Prince, the first book in her Ascendance trilogy, became a New York Times Best Seller in 2013.
Nielsen wrote on her blog, “Since becoming published, I’ve kept one big goal close to my heart. . . My editor called me the other day. . . her message was something to the effect of, ‘I have big news. And it’s so good I don’t want to leave a message. Call me back.’”
When Nielsen called her editor back, she received the news that her book had reached #14 on the “Middle Grade” list. Her new book in the Mark of the Thief series, Rise of the Wolf, was released on January 26, 2016.
Nielsen was born and raised in northern Utah, where she still lives today with her husband and three children. She loves chocolate, old books, and lazy days in the mountains.
13. Lindsey Stirling
A little over a week after hitting the shelves this January, Lindsey Stirling's autobiography, The Only Pirate at the Party, hit #10 on the New York Times Best Seller list for hardcover nonfiction.
As the highest paid female YouTuber, Stirling's rise to fame and success did not come easily. After being voted off of America’s Got Talent, she went on to amass more than 10 million social media fans, record two full-length albums, release multiple hits with billions of YouTube views, and tour sold-out venues across the world. Throughout her journey, Stirling has battled depression, an eating disorder, self-doubt, public criticism, and even hatred and persecution for her faith. But standing by what she knows is true and through the help of the Atonement, Stirling has overcome her trials and hopes her story can uplift others.
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14. Christine Feehan
Author of more than 40 novels, Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times best selling author multiple times over. Her books Dark Curse and Dark Slayer both made the New York Times Best Seller list, and all five of her book series have reached the top spot on the list as well.
Feehan grew up in California as one of 14 children and would often get in trouble for writing during class. Her first novel, Dark Prince, was published in 1999 and received three of the nine Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature. She has appeared at numerous writers conventions and now even has her own fan convention.
An avid lover of the outdoors, she is also involved in martial arts. She holds a third-degree black belt and has instructed both Korean karate and self-defense. She and her husband, Richard Feehan, live in California and have 11 children.
15. Anne Perry
London-born Anne Perry is the author of over 50 crime novels, several of which are New York Times best sellers. Her first novel, The Cater Street Hangman, was published in 1979 and was made into a made-for-television movie in 1998. Her novel Pentecost Alley was nominated for a Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1997 and The Shifting Tide won an RT Reviewers Choice Award in 2004.
When she was eight, she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and spent the next few years in the Caribbean and South Africa in hopes that the warmer climate would improve her health. She later moved to the United States, where she joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1968.
She has had numerous jobs over the years, including air stewardess, ship and shore stewardess, limousine dispatcher, and insurance underwriter. On her website, she says, “Although I had various jobs, there was never anything I seriously wished to do except write. It was my father who was responsible for encouraging me to write my ideas down.”