MJ McGriff

YA Fantasy Author

Who is MJ?

MJ McGriff Author

What drives me as a storyteller is a passion to tell the stories starring women of color that wouldn’t otherwise be told.

The kind of women that lead armies, face down monsters and isn’t afraid to be herself no matter what the world may think of her. I tell stories about their fears, their loves, and their talents regardless of the fantastical worlds they live in. These heroines look like you, like me, and all the other amazing women we know. Why? Because our daughters need to see themselves in the stories they love.

See themselves in types of stories I always wanted to write.

I was a shy kid from Queens, NY who walked around with a notebook and pen everywhere. Writing was a way to do the things I read about — like travel through magical mirrors, survive on an island, or fight evildoers with swords and lightsabers! I devoured read everything from Nancy Drew to the Wrinkle in Time Trilogy. In middle school, I discovered theatre and found my comfort zone pretending to be other people. I even wrote myself my own part in a play when I didn’t get the lead role in Grease. High School English Lit was my favorite class, studying how other people crafted novels and geeking out at the storytelling brilliance of writers like Faulkner and Orwell. I wanted to tell stories just as well as they did and tried to do it almost every single day.

Then college happened.

Due to a lot of outside factors and inner doubt, I abandoned storytelling to pursue a “real job”.

My dream of publishing a book was replaced by a dream of being in a courtroom, outsmarting the legal system Law and Order style. I got all the grades, made the right connections, and just knew that this dream was going to happen.

Guess what? It didn’t.

So, like the hero of any story, I was at a crossroads. Rejection after law school rejection came at me. I got another degree in Paralegal studies only to land a job at a law firm two years later that almost sucked the soul out of me. Two degrees later, I was working as an administrative assistant I was way off the beaten path, feeling totally lost and frustrated. And then, as if a magical fairy intervened, I found my sixth-grade yearbook. In it was a section where my classmates and I wrote down what we wanted to be when we grew up. Next to my name was the word that changed everything:


I found my north star, my second wind, my reason to keep trucking through this adventure called life.

That was 2008.

Now, I get to tell stories for a living. I’ve written. By day, I tell professional branded stories as a digital content marketer for a national company. Before that, I ran my own freelance writing and social media business, served as an online senior editor for a beauty magazine, and blogged for sites like Yahoo! and BuddyTV. By night I get to be my grade school self and tell stories of adventure, hope, and redemption. I get to infuse everything I learned from school, my love for Star Wars type science fiction, and Game of Thrones style fantasy to inspire people and challenge the way people think and feel. Most of all, I get to provide an entertaining escape from the craziness life can bring.

Who else has starring roles in my story?

My two beautiful daughters. They truly inspire and challenge me to see the awesome in everything as I watch them discover and interpret the world. I’m honored to give them stories that feature women that look just as brave and beautiful as they are!

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