We Need Diverse Ya Sale

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores

Kids' Q&A

J. M. Steele

Describe your latest project.
The Market is a novel about a girl who discovers that there's a social stock market at her high school where all the senior girls are valued and traded as equities. Horrified that she's ranked as a "junk bond", and with a crush on resident cool guy Will B., she goes on a mission to climb the market and become a "blue chip"... but loses her soul along the way. It's a fun cautionary tale about popularity and the danger of losing a sense of your own self-worth.

  1. The Market

    The Market

    J. M. Steele

What is your favorite family story?
I've always been close to my mother and it's probably one of the reasons I gravitate toward writing strong female protagonists. Anyway, when my mother was in high school, she was dating a guy and he'd given her a friendship ring. One morning at school she found out that he'd gone out on a date with another girl behind her back, so she went to the shop, took off the ring, and melted it with a blow torch. Soon after in the lunchroom — and with a smile on her face — she gave him back his "ring", now just a lump of metal. Every time I think about this story it makes me laugh.

Describe your most memorable teacher.
I would say a professor I had in college named Tom Roche. He was old-school — tweed jacket, always wearing a tie, office half-filled with the OED — and though very demanding, he was a great influence on improving my writing. But his toughness was legendary. He once wrote in the margins of a paper I'd turned in; "You have a germ of an idea here, but it seems to have infected your ability to use the English language."

What is your favorite literary first line?
In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. — The Great Gatsby

How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
I recently became a reader for the Young Lions Fiction Award, which is an award The New York Public Library gives each year to the best work of fiction by a writer under the age of 35. The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer won in 2004 and I'd never read it so I picked it up. It's brilliant.

What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
Alpha-Bits. It's true!

What was your favorite story as a child?
There was a great series of books for young adults that were published in England called Biggles written by Capt. W.E. Johns. It was about a teenage English World War I pilot and his adventures in the war. My parents spent a lot of time in the U.K. when I was a child so I was introduced to a slew of children's books that I'm not sure were ever published here. I loved Famous Five series by Enid Blyton as well.

J.M. Steele is a pseudonym for two writers. What's it like writing with a co-author?
We were friends first, and we discovered that we loved the same books and films, so there's a common language we have for storytelling. Needless to say there's a huge amount of trust involved, but in our case two sets of eyes really does make the work better. Fortunately, we had the good sense to can our first book idea, which was the ill-conceived "Stunt Boy". Even the title's bad, right?

÷ ÷ ÷

J. M. Steele is the pseudonym for two New York entertainment industry professionals. Together they wrote The Taker and The Market. One author lives in New Jersey, the other in New York City.


  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.