More About the Author
Carol Plum-Ucci received one of the nation's top literary honors for her first novel, THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED, a suspense story set in the historic woods of Southern New Jersey. The novel received one of four Michael J. Printz Honor Book Awards, sponsored by the American Library Association, recognizing the best literature published for young adults. The novel also was a finalist in the Edgar Allan Poe Awards and was named to the Reader's International Children's Choice Awards List.
She is happy to report that Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has purchased a SEQUEL TO THE BODY OF CHRISTOPHER CREED. It will be released in the spring of 2011. "For years, people asked if I would write a sequel. In fact, I don't think I've ever spoken for an audience where someone hasn't asked that," Plum-Ucci said. "I always said no because I couldn't think of anything good that would happen next. Well, one stormy Saturday night in the dead of winter, I got this totally hot idea and just went with it. It's a lot of years later, but I held out for artistic integrity--a story line that I knew would keep readers turning pages--and didn't try it just to piggy-back a book selling well. As the saying goes for me and HMH: 'We will sell no idea before its time.'"
The CREED SEQUEL focuses on Chris Creed's brother Justin, who, after four years have passed, is now 16. "The theme of bullying didn't carry over to this book--I'll be honest," Plum-Ucci said. "But that theme was always, to me, secondary to a relentless pursuit of truth theme, which engaged Torey Adams throughout. And that theme is still very present. I'm asking kids to look beyond what they can touch, see, smell--something they're not often asked to do by school districts, and I think it's both fun and important."
FIRE WILL FALL, a sequel to STREAMS OF BABEL was released by HMH in the spring of 2010. In STREAMS OF BABEL, terrorists poison the water supply in New Jersey (released in the spring of 2008), and in FIRE WILL FALL, the teenagers who drank the most WMD are fighting for their lives. "I think of FIRE as more of a character piece, so it surprised me pleasantly to see all the reviews coming in, calling it a page turner," Plum-Ucci said. Both books were immediately named Premiere Selections the Junior Library Guild upon release.
WHAT HAPPENED TO LANI GARVER, Plum-Ucci's second novel, is story of prejudice, friendship, popularity, tolerance, and individuality. The story raises a most important question: Might angels exist on earth? The novel has been selected as a featured book both in Seventeen Magazine and YM Magazine. It is named to the 2003 Best Books for Young Adults List, sponsored by the American Library Association, and is a 2004 Teen Top Ten nominee. It was nominated for the Michael L. Printz Awards for excellence in Young Adult Literature.
Plum-Ucci's third novel of THE SHE, was was nominated for BBYA (Best Books for Young Adults, The American Library Association) and received a starred review in Booklist. Her fourth novel, THE NIGHT MY SISTER WENT MISSING, was named a finalist in the Edgar Allan Poe Awards.
Plum-Ucci spent her childhood growing up on the barrier island of Brigantine, New Jersey, where her father was a funeral director. She lived overtop of the funeral home.
'My bedroom was such that if the floor were made of glass, I would have been gazing down into the face of a casket dweller,' she frequently tells audiences. 'When people ask me how I became a writer, I say it was in the middle of nights while growing up there.'
Plum-Ucci loves to tell her childhood funeral home antics, which have captivated teenage audiences across America.
She attended the Brigantine Public Schools, Atlantic City Friends School, and Holy Spirit High School, graduating in 1975. She earned her bachelor's degree in Communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana in 1979. She attended Rutgers University and received her Master of Arts degree 2004.
Plum-Ucci worked as Staff Writer and Director of Publications for the Miss America Organization in Atlantic City from 1984 through 1999. She is the third generation of women in her family to contribute to Atlantic City's well-known fanfare. Her mother, Ellen Plum, was the first woman President, and her paternal grandmother, Ads Plum, was a member of the Hostess Committee.
She retired from corporate employ in June of 1999, 'about two days after my advance arrived for The Body of Christopher Creed,' she says. 'I loved being part of something historical like Miss America, and I have many great memories of working there. But I'd spent many years trying to become a published novelist, and I wanted to started enjoying that lifestyle as quickly as possible."
Her husband Rick owns the Ucci Piano Service. Together, they love gardening, going to the Margate Beach in the summers, watching Academy Award winning movies, and raising their daughter, Abbey.