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Kiersten White Grows Up With “Hide”

Carlsbad YA author to release four books this year including a new Star Wars novel
Stacy Keck

By Seth Combs

Author Kiersten White - Hide

Author Kiersten White – Hide

Stacy Keck

Kiersten White knows she’s a household name. Sure, she’s a New York Times bestselling novelist who’s won multiple industry awards over the years. And yes, her clever takes on classic literature and legends, such as Dracula (The Conquerer’s Saga) and the Knights of the Round Table (the Camelot Rising trilogy) have sold millions of copies and been translated into multiple languages. And of course one of those clever takes (The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein) has even been optioned by Sony Pictures to be adapted into a TV series.

Still, she largely has teenagers to thank for that. For years, she has wanted to move beyond young adult (YA) fiction and fantasy writing, but was often encouraged to stay in her lane.

“Part of it has to do with the way I was raised, but I also felt I just wasn’t capable of engaging with certain ideas,” White says. “As I’ve grown and matured, I feel like I can.”

That maturity is on clear display in Hide, her first foray into adult fiction. Despite having penned dozens of YA novels, her new book (out this month from Del Rey Books) marks something of a lifelong dream for the Carlsbad-based writer.

“I feel like I’ve become a lot braver,” she says. “In the early days of my writing, I very much limited what I would engage with as far as topics, tones, and ideas. As I’ve become more self-assured, I’ve expanded the number of things I’m willing to engage with on the page and in the storytelling.”

Readers will have to muster a certain amount of bravery, too, to tackle the ideas in Hide. One part supernatural horror, one part fast-paced thriller, the story centers on a young woman who enters an extreme hide-and-seek competition in an abandoned amusement park only to find out the stakes of the game far exceed the cash prize the contestants hope to win. Inspired by a real-life adult hide-and-seek competition in Italy, White says the book has been on her to-do list for nearly a decade: “I mean, you invite a bunch of people to come to an abandoned resort town in the middle of nowhere and tell them they’re going to play a game of hide-and-seek. I’m sorry, but that sounds like the beginning of a horror movie to me.”

But that doesn’t mean her younger fans should fret that one of their favorite writers has turned to adult fiction full-time. Including Hide, White has four new books coming out this year, including the first two titles in a new middle grade series (Sinister Summer) and a new story that just happens to take place in a galaxy far, far away.

Author Kiersten White - bookstore

Author Kiersten White – bookstore

Stacy Keck

“I was like, ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi, are you kidding me?’” White reflects on getting the call from Disney and Lucasfilm about writing an official YA novel about the teenage adventures of the Star Wars galaxy’s most popular Jedi. “It was, like, the one thing I couldn’t say no to.”

The fact that White’s novel, Padawan (named for the distinction that young Jedi are given when they’re assigned a mentor), is being released mere months after the debut of the Disney+ series Obi-Wan Kenobi (with Ewan McGregor back as the titular Jedi Master) is no coincidence. White says it’s a dream come true, but that between that and the other books, the workload proved to be “very difficult.” Still, she thinks she’s setting a good example for the kids in her own household.

“I think it’s good for them to see that I work really hard at what I do. That I’m not always successful, but sometimes I am,” says the mother of three. “The interesting thing is that you’d think my kids would look at me and think they’d want a career in the arts, but instead they just see that it’s a lot of work, and they all say they want to get a degree in something practical.”


Despite the pandemic and her kids being home from school, Kiersten White managed to pen four new books, all of which are being released in 2022. Whether readers are looking for sci-fi thrills or supernatural chills, there’s something for everyone.

Hide - Kiersten White

Hide – Kiersten White


(May 24)

White’s first adult novel centers on a down-on-her-luck woman who enters an extreme adult version of hide-and-seek in an abandoned amusement park. If the popularity of similar books and shows (The Hunger Games, Squid Game) are any indication, she may have another hit on her hands.

Kiersten White - Wretched Waterpark

Kiersten White – Wretched Waterpark

Wretched Waterpark

(June 7)

Speaking of amusement parks, this first book in the Sinister Summer series of middle grade novels follows twin detectives Theo and Alexander as they attempt to solve mysteries at haunted summer vacation destinations in hopes of finding their missing parents.

Kiersten White - Padawan

Kiersten White – Padawan


(July 26)

White’s first Star Wars novel follows a teenage Obi-Wan Kenobi as he deals with the pitfalls of adolescence. It reckons with many of the same issues that are familiar to YA (young love, teenage angst), albeit from the perspective of a teen who’s also dealing with learning the ways of the Force.

Kiersten White - Vampiric Vacation

Kiersten White – Vampiric Vacation

Vampiric Vacation

(September 27)

The second book in the Sinister Summer series has the Sinister-Winterbottom twins travel to a spa in the Transylvanian mountains, where they (naturally) encounter some mysteriously pale adults who may or may not have a craving for blood.

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