Michelle Schusterman

Michelle Schusterman - Ghostwriter

Dallas, TX, USA

Author and ghostwriter of over a dozen middle grade and young adult novels published by Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Little, Brown.

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Overview

I'm the author of the I HEART BAND! series and THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES series, OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST (Booklist Starred Review), SPELL & SPINDLE (Kirkus Starred Review, Junior Library Guild Selection, SECRETS OF TOPSEA (Junior Library Guild Selection, and THE PROS OF CONS (Publisher's Weekly Starred Review). I also wrote three books in the ANIMAL JAM series (Call of the Alphas, The Phantom's Secret, The Lost Treasure) based on National Geographic's popular online game with over 65 million registered users, and the fourth book in the New York Times Bestselling GIRLS WHO CODE series, Spotlight on Coding Club. My books have been published by Penguin Random House, Disney Hyperion, and Scholastic.

My most recent project is a collaboration with Olympic Medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani. THE MYSTERY OF THE MASKED MEDALIST, book #1 in the Kudo Kids series, will be published by Penguin Razorbill on May 12th.

As an author with experience both writing my own original fiction and working with publishers on licensed properties and in-house projects, I have a unique perspective on ghostwriting. Working with clients like Girls Who Code and National Geographic on developing books for kids has helped me hone my collaborative skills, as well as my ability to take materials, sketches, and suggestions from a client and craft a story that fits their vision. And as the author of over a dozen original novels of my own, I understand how messy, exciting, and frustrating that early "idea" stage can be. While every client is different, my approach usually begins with a discussion about their vision for the project and a close review of any and all materials already written. Next, I craft a detailed synopsis that hits all the major plot points and send it to the client for review. Once I've received feedback, I begin writing the draft.

The following are real examples of the types of projects I've worked on for Reedsy clients:

~Writing the novelization of a screenplay
~Rewriting an early draft of a novel to improve voice and style
~Taking a one-sentence concept and developing it into a novel
~Developing and drafting a historical novel based on true events

I'm very flexible and happy to accommodate your needs, whatever stage your story is at!
Services
Short-Form Content
Languages
English (US)
Fiction
Action & Adventure
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
LGBTQ (Fiction)
Middle Grade
Middle Grade Fantasy
Young Adult

Awards

  • Junior Library Guild Selection
  • ALA Rainbow List
  • ALA Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List

Work experience

Author

Penguin Random House
January, 2013 – Present (over 7 years)

My first two series, I HEART BAND! and THE KAT SINCLAIR FILES, were published through Penguin's Grosset & Dunlap imprint. Since then, I have worked with the imprint on in-house licensed projects. Under the pseudonym Ellis Byrd, I wrote three of the four books in the ANIMAL JAM series based off National Geographic's popular online game with over 65 million registered users. Using an expansive bible filled with information about the characters and world of the game, I worked with my editors at Penguin and NatGeo to develop fun adventure chapter books aimed at children ages 8-12. I also wrote SPOTLIGHT ON CODING CLUB, the fourth book in the New York Times Bestselling Girls Who Code series. In addition to a series bible, I read the first three books before conceptualizing the next book, which was from a new character's perspective. I worked closely with my Penguin editors and Girls Who Code advisors to weave fun, accurate coding prompts into the story.

Penguin Razorbill will publish the KUDO KIDS series, beginning with book 1, The Mystery of the Masked Medalist, in May 2020. I'm co-authoring this series with Olympic medalists and U.S. National Figure Skating Champions Maia and Alex Shibutani.

Author

Random House Children
April, 2016 – Present (over 4 years)

My two standalone middle grade novels were published by Random House Children in 2017 and 2018. OLIVE AND THE BACKSTAGE GHOST received a starred review from Booklist, which called it "haunting and ethereal...nods to Edgar Allan Poe make it atmospheric, and Olive herself, a lonely heroine with ghosts in her past, give it soul."

SPELL & SPINDLE is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was hailed as "an excellent melding of horror and heart" in a starred review from Kirkus.

Author

Little, Brown Hachette
April, 2016 – Present (over 4 years)

SECRETS OF TOPSEA, a series I co-author with Kirsten Hubbard under the pseudonyms Kir Fox and M. Shelley Coats, is a two-time Junior Library Guild selection. The first book, A FRIENDLY TOWN THAT'S ALMOST ALWAYS BY THE OCEAN!, came out in 2018, and the sequel, THE EXTREMELY HIGH TIDE, was released in 2019.

Author

Scholastic
March, 2016 – Present (over 4 years)

Scholastic published THE PROS OF CONS, a YA contemporary novel I co-authored with Alison Cherry and Lindsay Ribar, in 2018. PROS was honored by the American Library Association with inclusion on both the 2019 Rainbow List and Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers List. Publisher's Weekly called it "a laugh-out-loud romp" in a starred review.

THE DOG'S MEOW, my next middle grade novel with Scholastic, will be published September 1st, 2020. This animal friendship story about a pack of huskies who rescue a lost kitten is perfect for fans of Because of Winn Dixie or the Warriors series.

Portfolio (18 selected works)

The Mystery of the Masked Medalist (Kudo Kids)

Maia Shibutani, Alex Shibutani, Michelle Schusterman

From two-time Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani comes a fun-filled, fast-paced middle-grade mystery set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo! The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can't believe they get to attend the Summer Olympics there. The siblings plan to eat tons of delicious Japanese food, watch every event they can, and win a super... read more

From two-time Olympic bronze medalists Maia and Alex Shibutani comes a fun-filled, fast-paced middle-grade mystery set at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.Andy and Mika are going to Tokyo! The Kudo Kids have never been to Japan before, so they can't believe they get to attend the Summer Olympics there. The siblings plan to eat tons of delicious Japanese food, watch every event they can, and win a super... read more

Spell and Spindle

Michelle Schusterman

Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms as a boy trades bodies with a wooden marionette.The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but she catches glimpses here and there: a stage, deep red curtains, long-fingered hands g... read more

Doll Bones meets Splendors and Glooms as a boy trades bodies with a wooden marionette.The Museum of Peculiar Arts holds many oddities--a mechanical heart, a diary bound in its owner's skin . . . and Penny, a child-size marionette who almost looks alive. Fog clouds Penny's memories from before the museum, but she catches glimpses here and there: a stage, deep red curtains, long-fingered hands g... read more

Olive and the Backstage Ghost

Michelle Schusterman

A ghost story with a literary heart for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Theater kids and ghost-story readers alike will find new meaning in the term stage fright. All great theaters have their ghosts. . . . After Olive Preiss freezes during a theater camp audition, she flees in despair. She finds herself at Maudeville, a beautiful old theater that she’s never noticed bef... read more

A ghost story with a literary heart for fans of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline and The Graveyard Book. Theater kids and ghost-story readers alike will find new meaning in the term stage fright. All great theaters have their ghosts. . . . After Olive Preiss freezes during a theater camp audition, she flees in despair. She finds herself at Maudeville, a beautiful old theater that she’s never noticed bef... read more

The Pros of Cons

Alison Cherry, Lindsay Ribar, Michelle Schusterman

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her i... read more

Drummer Phoebe Byrd prides herself on being one of the guys, and she's ready to prove it by kicking all their butts in the snare solo competition at the Indoor Percussion Association Convention.Writer Vanessa Montoya-O'Callaghan has been looking forward to the WTFcon for months. Not just because of the panels and fanfiction readings but because WTFcon is where she'll finally meet Soleil, her i... read more

Spotlight on Coding Club! #4 (Girls Who Code)

Michelle Schusterman

Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code!It's almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn't be more excited. It's her time to take center stage! Plus, she and her friends from coding club are putting together an awesome coding program for the show. But Erin has... read more

Perfect for fans of The Babysitters Club and anyone interested in computer science, this series is published in partnership with the organization Girls Who Code!It's almost time for the talent show at school, and Erin couldn't be more excited. It's her time to take center stage! Plus, she and her friends from coding club are putting together an awesome coding program for the show. But Erin has... read more

A Friendly Town That's Almost Always by the Ocean! (Secrets of Topsea)

Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats

Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom ke... read more

Welcome to Topsea, the strangest place you'll ever visit. In this town, the coves are bottomless and the pier has no end in sight. There's a high tide and a low tide... and a vanishing tide. Dogs are a myth, but mermaids are totally real. And seaweed is the main ingredient in every meal-watch out, it might just start chewing you back!New kid Davy definitely thinks Topsea is strange. His mom ke... read more

The Extremely High Tide! (Secrets of Topsea)

Kir Fox, M. Shelley Coats

Talise knows more about the ocean than any kid in Topsea. Any adult, too. As the best-and only-bathymetrist in Topsea, Talise is able to predict important things about the sea, like the next tide (Severely Low with a threat of Wildcard) or the arrival of Seaweed Season. What she can't predict, however, are her classmates' behaviors. Sometimes it's as if they're speaking different languages.Whe... read more

Talise knows more about the ocean than any kid in Topsea. Any adult, too. As the best-and only-bathymetrist in Topsea, Talise is able to predict important things about the sea, like the next tide (Severely Low with a threat of Wildcard) or the arrival of Seaweed Season. What she can't predict, however, are her classmates' behaviors. Sometimes it's as if they're speaking different languages.Whe... read more

Dead Air #1 (The Kat Sinclair Files)

Michelle Schusterman

Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . . When Kat Sinclair’s dad tells her his new job hosting the ghost-hunting TV show Passport to Paranormal means they’ll be living on the road and visiting the world’s most haunted places, Kat packs her bags without a second thought. But her new life as a ghostbuster isn’t as cool as Kat expected. The cast and crew don’t alwa... read more

Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . . When Kat Sinclair’s dad tells her his new job hosting the ghost-hunting TV show Passport to Paranormal means they’ll be living on the road and visiting the world’s most haunted places, Kat packs her bags without a second thought. But her new life as a ghostbuster isn’t as cool as Kat expected. The cast and crew don’t alwa... read more

Graveyard Slot #2 (The Kat Sinclair Files)

Michelle Schusterman

Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . .After a couple months at home dealing with her mother's upcoming wedding and trying on itchy bridesmaid dresses, Kat is more than happy to head off on another ghost-hunting and ghostbusting adventure with her dad—especially since the cast and crew of Passport to Paranormal are headed to Brazil and Argentina, and her new fr... read more

Kat didn’t believe in ghosts—until she became a teenage ghostbuster. . .After a couple months at home dealing with her mother's upcoming wedding and trying on itchy bridesmaid dresses, Kat is more than happy to head off on another ghost-hunting and ghostbusting adventure with her dad—especially since the cast and crew of Passport to Paranormal are headed to Brazil and Argentina, and her new fr... read more

Final Girl #3 (The Kat Sinclair Files)

Michelle Schusterman

Teenage ghostbuster Kat is back, but this time, traveling halfway around the world might not be far away enough to escape from whatever is haunting her! As Passport to Paranormal sets off for Beijing and Seoul, Kat is ready to take her ghostbusting abroad. She hasn't seen the Thing since Argentina, but weird things have been happening ever since. Kat's handwriting is appearing in strange place... read more

Teenage ghostbuster Kat is back, but this time, traveling halfway around the world might not be far away enough to escape from whatever is haunting her! As Passport to Paranormal sets off for Beijing and Seoul, Kat is ready to take her ghostbusting abroad. She hasn't seen the Thing since Argentina, but weird things have been happening ever since. Kat's handwriting is appearing in strange place... read more

I Heart Band #1

Michelle Schusterman

Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! Holly Mead’s first day of seventh grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her new band director has some surprisingly strict rules. Worst of all, it seems like her best friend, Julia, has replaced her with Natasha, t... read more

Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! Holly Mead’s first day of seventh grade isn’t going as planned. Her brother ruins her carefully chosen outfit, she’s almost late, and her new band director has some surprisingly strict rules. Worst of all, it seems like her best friend, Julia, has replaced her with Natasha, t... read more

Friends, Fugues, and Fortune Cookies #2 (I Heart Band)

Michelle Schusterman

Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! The band’s bake-sale fund-raiser pits the sections against each other, and Holly is positive the brass section will win. After all, the two most competitive kids in band are Holly and Natasha. When Holly hears a rumor that Aaron Cook is going to ask her to the winter dance, s... read more

Band Geeks unite in this fresh new middle-grade series by debut author (and former band director) Michelle Schusterman! The band’s bake-sale fund-raiser pits the sections against each other, and Holly is positive the brass section will win. After all, the two most competitive kids in band are Holly and Natasha. When Holly hears a rumor that Aaron Cook is going to ask her to the winter dance, s... read more

Sleepovers, Solos, and Sheet Music #3 (I Heart Band)

Michelle Schusterman, Genevieve Kote

Former middle-school band director Michelle Schusterman continues to celebrate the high notes and low notes of middle-school band! The band is off to New Orleans for a competition as well as a bit of sightseeing. But there is all sorts of boy treble in the band this spring. Julia has her first boyfriend, so Holly will have to keep focused to help her friends through their drama AND make sure t... read more

Former middle-school band director Michelle Schusterman continues to celebrate the high notes and low notes of middle-school band! The band is off to New Orleans for a competition as well as a bit of sightseeing. But there is all sorts of boy treble in the band this spring. Julia has her first boyfriend, so Holly will have to keep focused to help her friends through their drama AND make sure t... read more

Crushes, Codas, and Corsages #4 (I Heart Band)

Michelle Schusterman

Former band director Michelle Schusterman ends her adorable series about middleschool band geeks with the perfect coda!The band has been preparing for their big regional competition all year and it's time for all of their work to pay off. On top of preparing for competition, Holly is excited to go to the Spring Dance with Owen, but is he still interested after meeting a new girl at art camp ov... read more

Former band director Michelle Schusterman ends her adorable series about middleschool band geeks with the perfect coda!The band has been preparing for their big regional competition all year and it's time for all of their work to pay off. On top of preparing for competition, Holly is excited to go to the Spring Dance with Owen, but is he still interested after meeting a new girl at art camp ov... read more

Call of the Alphas #1 (Animal Jam)

Ellis Byrd

The first novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders called the Alphas.Welcome to Jamaa, a peaceful place full of forests, canyons, and beaches where all kinds of animals have adventures t... read more

The first novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders called the Alphas.Welcome to Jamaa, a peaceful place full of forests, canyons, and beaches where all kinds of animals have adventures t... read more

Mystery at Mt. Shiveer #3 (Animal Jam)

Ellis Byrd

The third novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders called the Alphas.Winter has settled over Jamaa, and the Alphas know the perfect way to celebrate: hosting the first annual Winter Game... read more

The third novel in a new fiction series based on the hugely popular online game, Animal Jam, enjoyed by over 65 million users! Learn all about the origin of the Animal Jam home called Jamaa, a lush natural environment, and its brave, adventurous animal leaders called the Alphas.Winter has settled over Jamaa, and the Alphas know the perfect way to celebrate: hosting the first annual Winter Game... read more

The Lost Treasure #4 (Animal Jam)

Ellis Byrd

The fourth novel in a fiction series based on Animal Jam, the popular online game enjoyed by over 65 million users! The adventures continue as the Alphas, brave animal leaders, head out on an exciting and dangerous voyage to find a hidden treasure.When an ancient treasure map is discovered deep in the Chamber of Knowledge, the Alphas set sail to uncover the mystery!But this adventure has its d... read more

The fourth novel in a fiction series based on Animal Jam, the popular online game enjoyed by over 65 million users! The adventures continue as the Alphas, brave animal leaders, head out on an exciting and dangerous voyage to find a hidden treasure.When an ancient treasure map is discovered deep in the Chamber of Knowledge, the Alphas set sail to uncover the mystery!But this adventure has its d... read more

The Dog's Meow

Schusterman, Michelle

Michelle has 6 reviews

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

Claude Vogel
Outstanding job, done on schedule.

Claude Vogel, July 2020


Jess Gray
Great communication! Thank you so much for your help.

Jess Gray, July 2020


Claude Vogel
Outstanding job. Very creative writer, and professional standards.

Claude Vogel, May 2020


Robin Jensen
Michelle was wonderful to work with. She was able to write the story exactly how I had envisioned . definitely would work with Michelle again .

Robin Jensen, September 2019


C C
Michelle helped me improved my book with better wording, clearer writing, adding necessary transitions and so on (I am an ESL speaker). Very professional. I highly recommend her services.

C C, August 2019

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