THE SHORT VERSION
The short version: Claire Swinarski is the author of multiple books, including What Happens Next (coming in 2020 from HarperCollins) and Girl, Arise: A Catholic Feminist’s Invitation to Live Boldly, Love Your Faith, and Change the World. She’s also the founder of the Catholic Feminist Podcast, a top-ranked spirituality podcast with half a million downloads that discusses the intersection between faith and women’s issues. She has degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Seventeen, Milwaukee Magazine, and many other publications. She lives just outside of Milwaukee, WI with her husband and two kids.
THE LONG VERSION
That’s me at age 12.
I was an awkward, big-hearted daydreamer. I wasn’t good at sports, I couldn’t sing, and I had zero art skills (I still draw stick people.) But what I had was a LOVE for books + reading.
I always knew what I wanted to be when I grew up: an author. I wanted to be like the people who created From The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwieler and Harry Potter and Holes and The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. But as I got older, I learned more about how difficult it was to become an author, and it started to seem pretty dang silly! Lots of people wanted to write books, and I didn’t feel like I’d ever be one of them. So instead, I worked at newspapers and magazines. I also started a faith-based podcast. Luckily, I was able to write a book through that experience, but I still wanted to write books for 12-year-olds finding their way.
My dream never went away, so when I was 24 years old, I recommitted to writing books for young readers and the grown ups who love them. After lots of hard work, rejection, and early mornings, I sold my first novel, What Happens Next, to HarperCollins two years later. I celebrated by buying ice cream with my husband, Krzysztof (yes, like from Frozen!) and my two kids, Benjamin + Tess.
I’m always working on my next project, but besides writing, you can usually find me reading great books, going on long walks with interesting podcasts playing through my headphones, trying new recipes, or enjoying beautiful Wisconsin summers at my family’s cabin in Boulder Junction, Wisconsin (the town Moose Junction from What Happens Next is based off of!)
Things I love: hot coffee, going to the movies and getting a huge bucket of extra salty popcorn, early mornings when I’m the first one awake, boating, candles, the smell of air conditioning, old libraries, any season but winter, burritos, and snuggling babies.