Victoria Wlosok signed a book deal for her young adult thriller with a “big five” publisher when she was still a first-year student at UNC. On Sept. 19, her work will hit the shelves.
This summer, Victoria Wlosok has an extra reason to anticipate the start of her junior year at Carolina. Her debut novel, How to Find a Missing Girl, published by Little, Brown of Hatchette Book Group, hits the shelves in mid-September.
Wlosok, of Sylva, North Carolina, is a double major in English and comparative literature in the College of Arts and Sciences and business administration in the Kenan-Flagler Business School. She calls the combination of studies “the best of both worlds.”
“I’m standing on the shoulders of literary giants at UNC,” said Wlosok. “I think I’m too passionate about reading and writing to not be majoring in English and comparative literature in an attempt to follow in their footsteps.”
Carolina’s literary luminaries include authors Tracy Deonn (Legendborn), Jenny Han (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Summer I Turned Pretty), Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Tree House), Zayika Dalia Harris (The Other Black Girl) and Sarah Dessen (Along for the Ride), all of whom Wlosok named as writing inspirations, among others.
Wlosok also drew inspiration for her novel How to Find a Missing Girl — a young adult thriller — from her UNC coursework.
The class “Mystery Fiction,” taught by Henry Veggian, associate teaching professor, expanded how she reads and thinks about thrillers, she said.
“Being able to read and analyze mystery fiction — and trace the genre from Edgar Allan Poe’s nameless narrators to Arthur Conan Doyle’s detectives — impacted how I read and think about thrillers.”
That class is the source of a beloved detail in her own book, which follows 17-year-old amateur detective Iris Blackthorn as she attempts to investigate the disappearance of her cheerleader ex-girlfriend.
“One of my favorite details in the book is that my main character, Iris, has a collection of plants named after famous fictional detectives,” she said. “After ENGL 147 ended, I went in and added some names from the course text.”
Wlosok is thrilled for How to Find a Missing Girl’s September release — it has an advance review of 4.7 stars on Goodreads — and is proud to contribute to LGBTQ representation in young adult fiction.
The novel “is meant for fans of young adult thrillers who, like me, weren’t always able to see themselves reflected in the genre’s pages, and I hope it resonates with readers for that reason upon its release.”
By Jess Abel, College of Arts and Sciences
How to Find a Missing Girl is now available for pre-order.
Read more about Victoria and her forthcoming book in this article by the English and comparative literature department.