Allison's Book Bag

What’s with Author Wendy Mass and Candy?

Posted on: May 14, 2015

When I was that age, reading was such a huge part of my life. I wouldn’t be the same person today if I didn’t have those wonderful stories living inside my head. It seems to me that those years, between ten and fourteen, are when kids figure out what kind of person they want to be-both inside and outside, and how they want to live their life … We can experience things in books that we can never experience in life, but these experiences show us what is possible in our own life.

–Wendy Mass,

WendyMassWendy Mass is the author of eleven novels for young people, all of which have been translated into several languages and nominated for multiple state book awards) One novel Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life is soon to be a feature film. She also wrote the storyline for an episode of the television show Monk, entitled “Mr. Monk Goes to the Theatre,” which aired during the show’s second season. Tomorrow I’ll review her popular book, The Candymakers. Save the date: May 15!


Born in New Jersey, Mass’s favorite subjects in school were reading and writing. Wipipedia reports that as a child, Mass would compete with friends to see who could read the most books; this helped develop her writing skills. Mass’s first story, co-written by her two siblings when she was in junior high, starred a cat that somehow turned into a goat and destroyed her neighborhood. She also wrote a non-fiction story about a zoo which won a prize in an 8th grade writing contest. In high school, Mass worked at town libraries and ghostwrote her friends’ college applications.

In her twenties, Mass continued to diversify herself as a writer. Wipipedia reports that throughout college, where she also pursued an English major, Mass mostly wrote stories. When she moved to Los Angeles after college, she tried her hand at a multitude of writing businesses too, including being an assistant to a literary agent, editor of a magazine, and a script reader for a film producer.

According to, after realizing that she wanted to write books for young people, Mass moved back to her New Jersey hometown. Here, she worked as a book editor, but also wrote seventeen successful educational books for teens. After earning the Schneider Family Book Award from the American Library Association for her 2003 novel A Mango-shaped Space, Mass switched her focus to fiction for teen readers.

Mass currently resides in New Jersey with her husband, two sons, and two cats. Scholastic writes that Mass tells people her hobbies are hiking and photography, but really they’re collecting candy bar wrappers and searching for buried treasure with her metal detector.


When asked by The BookNut about how she comes up with ideas for her stories, Mass explained that she basically keeps her eyes open for a topic that interests her and figures that if she finds it fun to learn about, then others will too. She builds a story around the theme, with characters that lead her through the book.

Mass admits to The BookNut that juggling family, writing, and traveling for school visits is really hard. When she started renting an office in town, that helped a lot. Just having someplace to go where she could focus made it easier to buckle down to work. She also does a lot of “writing” in her head, so when she does sit in front of the computer she’s worked a lot of it out already.

Her favorite book is A Mango-Shaped Space due to it being her first. However, Mass feels she learned the most while writing Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life. Naturally, she ate the most candy while writing The Candymakers.

Blue Rose Girls shares that when asked “What’s with you and candy?” Mass shared some childhood memories of candy: her parents never really had candy in the house, so of course Halloween was especially exciting, and she has fond memories of coming home for trick or treating and dumping out all of her candy and sorting and counting it all. She also recounted how she and sister would make “Starburst people” by softening the candy in their hands and then molding them into shapes.

While writing The Candymakers, Mass sent out a questionnaire to young people and asked them to invent a candy. Their answers were actually used in the book!

You can help with the movie development by writing about your favorite parts. Details can be found here: Candymaker Assignment for You!

You can help with the sequel by submitting a candy advertisement. Details can be found here: Candymakers 2

The Candymakers was initially titled The Candymaker’s Son and it revolved mainly around main character Logan. After one full draft, Mass and her editor both realized that the story wasn’t quite working, and that the supporting characters needed a voice too. This lead to Mass writing a new version told from four perspectives instead of one. Even so, Blue Rose Girls reveals, Logan remains her favorite character. To her, he’s such a sweet character, and has such an amazing sense of wonder.

You can read an excerpt here: The CandyMakers

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