Crissa-Jean Chappell was born in Miami, Florida. As a kid, she climbed the oaks in her backyard near the bay and imagined that their branches were the scaly skins of flying dragons. She spent a lot of time talking to invisible creatures. The hall closet was a time machine that could zap back to the days of brontos and T-Rex. Her friends were raccoons and foxes, opossums and burrowing owls, bats and blue crabs that scuttled up into the trees.
In high school, her city started taking cues from those neon-soaked television shows. The beach began to build fancy cafes and velvet-roped clubs. Miami was no longer a home for wharf rats. It was the treeless land of strip malls and sun-baked parking lots. Chappell watched it all from a distance. She put it down on paper, as she’d done since she could pick up a Crayola (starting with hand-stapled “horse books” on notepaper, which forced her unfortunate readers to turn the pages backwards). She studied fiction of all forms at the University of Miami: from black-and-white monster movies to ultra-serious plays. Chappell became known as the girl-who-writes-about-teenagers. It took a while to figure this out. Teachers said: write what you know. She wrote about elves and other dimensions. They said: write something that you’d actually want to read. She wrote about Florida girls who didn’t want to grow up.
Chappell now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her debut young adult novel, Total Constant Order (HarperTeen) is a NYPL Book For The Teen Age and a VOYA Perfect Ten. Chappell’s second novel, Narc (Flux Books) is currently optioned for film. More Than Good Enough (Flux Books) is a Florida Book Awards medalist, which Kirkus calls, “compelling and emotionally nuanced.” Chappell’s newest YA novel is Snowbirds (Simon Pulse). “…an engrossing mystery,” School Library Journal. She holds a PhD and MFA from the University of Miami and has taught creative writing and cinema studies for over fifteen years. She is a professor of film and creative writing at Lehman College. When she misses South Florida, she talks to the parrots in Green-Wood Cemetery.
Regal House Publishing and Fitzroy Books are delighted to be publishing Crissa-Jean Chappell‘s YA novel Sun Don’t Shine in the spring of 2024.