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I was born and raised in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. I've always known I wanted to be a writer and I've written all my life. I grew up in a very creative family. My mother was a homemaker and artist, and my father was an advertising writer. My brother Jeffery Deaver is also an author and writes the popular Colter Shaw series of novels. Jeff is a producer on the CBS show TRACKER, based on his novels.


Jacket art for Say Goodnight, Gracie by Michael J. Deas

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Sometimes readers ask me if my books are based on things that have really happened to me. Although the stories are fictional, I borrow a lot of details from my own life for my novels. In Say Goodnight, Gracie, for example, Morgan and Jimmy attend Glenbard West, the same high school I did. Morgan studies acting and improv comedy at Chicago's Second City, where I studied. (Studying acting is great training for a writer!)

I was eventually able to combine my love of comedy and writing by working in the world of television. The TV show I worked on was Adam's Rib, a series that starred Ken Howard and Blythe Danner.  The show was on the air less than a year, a ratings failure because it couldn't compete with the TV version of Planet of the Apes. Working in Hollywood can be really heartbreaking because you never know when a show you're writing for will be canceled.


Click script for a video of the opening of Adam's Rib.

I loved writing scripts, but then I discovered young adult fiction and fell in love with the genre. While I was learning the craft of novel writing (and collecting hundreds of rejection slips), I worked as a freelance artist for magazines like The New Yorker and Reader's Digest.

My first novel was Say Goodnight, Gracie. Aspiring writers out there might be interested to know that Say Goodnight, Gracie started out as a short story that Seventeen Magazine rejected. On a whim, I sent it to a book publisher who suggested I turn it into a novel, which I did. They bought the book, and I've often thought of how short a life the story would have had if Seventeen had accepted the story for publication. Sometimes what seems like huge rejection can eventually turn into something wonderful, so don't get discouraged, Writers of Tomorrow! Say Goodnight, Gracie is now on its second generation of readers. Sometimes parents who read the book as teens pass it along to their kids. Isn't that cool?

Clicking on photos will take you to corresponding websites.


Readers, please feel free to contact me at

This is the first letter I received from a young reader about Say Goodnight, Gracie over twenty years ago Answering reader mail is one of the best parts of my job. This reader is all grown up now and we're still in touch!

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And now, in breaking cat news: my cat photobombs an Edward Hopper painting.

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2021 Julie Reece Deaver

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