Amber J. Keyser

Evolutionary biologist-turned-author Amber J. Keyser has a MS in zoology and a PhD in genetics. She writes both fiction and non-fiction for tweens and teens.

Her young adult novels include Pointe, Claw (Carolrhoda Lab, 2017), an explosive story about two girls claiming the territory of their own bodies, and The Way Back from Broken (Carolrhoda Lab, 2015), a heart-wrenching novel of loss and survival (and a finalist for the Oregon Book Award). She is the co-author with Kiersi Burkhart of the middle grade series Quartz Creek Ranch (Darby Creek, 2017).

Her nonfiction titles include The V-Word (Beyond Words/SimonTeen, 2016), an anthology of personal essays by women about first-time sexual experiences (Rainbow List, Amelia Bloomer list, New York Public Library Best Book for Teens and Chicago Public Library Best Nonfiction for Teens) and Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes (Twenty-First Century Books, 2015), among numerous other titles.

Her forthcoming books include Tying the Knot: A World History of Marriage (Twenty-First Century Books, 2018) and Underneath It All: The History of Women’s Underwear (Twenty-First Century Books, 2018). More information at Connect with Amber on Twitter @amberjkeyser.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis

What’s your favorite line from a book?

“What is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
—Mary Oliver

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

Zora Neale Hurston, Mary Oliver, and Alice Walker

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I’m curious about everything. Writing books is the best possible excuse for indulging my obsessions!

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read widely. Believe in the power of your stories. Don’t wait for inspiration. Creativity needs persistence.