Who Am I?

I am Brent Hartinger, and I live to write.

For the last twenty years, I have made my living writing just about everything that involves words: novels, screenplays, plays, web content, even greeting cards. These days, I write in lots of genres in many different mediums.

I love mysteries and thrillers, and one of my latest projects is a dark and edgy gay teen book — part horror, part puzzle box thriller — called Three Truths and a Lie (Simon & Schuster). It was just nominated for an Edgar Award, which is the mystery genre’s top honor.

Click on the book jacket below (or in any of the columns to the right) for more information:


I’m also the author of a number of  books featuring a gay character named Russel Middlebrook, as well as his collection of quirky friends, as they try to make sense out of love and life. I tried to give these books a lot of heart and humor.

The first book about Russel, my 2003 young adult novel Geography Club, was adapted as a feature film in 2013, starring Scott Bakula, Ana Gasteyer, and Nikki Blonsky (and the movie is now being developed as a TV series). One of the book’s sequels won the Lambda Award.

The latest of these books is The Otto Digmore Difference, the first book in a new stand-alone series for adults, The Otto Digmore Series, about one of Russel’s friends.

  • The Otto Digmore Difference (book #1)


The next most recent books are Russel Middlebrook: the Futon Years, also a stand-alone series and also for adults:

  • The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know (book #1)
  • Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams (book #2)
  • The Road to Amazing (book #3)


Finally, I first wrote about Russel in a young adult series, for teens and adults, called The Russel Middlebrook Series.


(Are you a book reviewer and want a copy of any of my books? Go here.)

(Would you like to a buy a signed copy of one of my books? Go here.)

For the record, I try hard to write books that people like to read. The most frequent comment I get from readers is that my books are “page-turners,” which makes me very happy, because that is exactly what I want them to be. If I had to describe my own books, I would say, “Strong central concept, strong plot, strong character and voice.” (I may not always succeed in creating these things, but they’re what I always strive for.)

Brent HartingerMy biggest complaint with books I hate is that they don’t get to the point (or, worse, they don’t have a point!). I get frustrated that so many books have a cliche or overdone central concept, or that they’re all atmosphere and world-building (or “beautiful language” or “voice” in the case of some literary novels) with no real story.

Basically, I see myself as a storyteller. I think the important thing for a writer is to get out of the way and just tell the damn story.

Along with writing novels, my second great love is screenwriting and playwriting. I’ve won lots of screenwriting awards and currently have four movie projects in various stages of development. (Interested in reading some of my screenplay work? Check it out here.)

Meanwhile, my plays have been performed at dozens of theaters. And I adapted Geography Club into a stage play, which has now been produced all over the country. (If you’re involved with a theater and want a copy of the script, or my other gay teen script The Starfish Scream, contact me.)

MediaCarnivoresCover-150x150In addition, I’m the co-host of a bi-weekly podcast, Media Carnivores, which covers media-related news and opinion (and also honest writing advice and updates on my career).

I sometimes teach writing, at the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College and elsewhere, and I’m occasionally available as an editor-for-hire.

And I also do a fair bit of charity work, including The Real Story Safe Sex Project, an effort that organizes authors to help gay teens and twentysomethings fight HIV/AIDS.

Oh! I also sometimes write songs. Check out one of the songs I wrote (and sang!) for a recent book:

(You can even buy the song on iTunes, or wherever you purchase music.)

I live in Seattle, Washington, with my husband since 1997, Michael Jensen. Michael is also a writer. Together with our friend Sarah Warn, we co-founded a very successful entertainment website called AfterElton.com that was eventually acquired by MTV/Logo (but we don’t work there anymore).

I answer all emails (eventually), so if you have a question or a comment, if you want to buy a signed edition of one of my books (free shipping in the US!), or if you’re interested in having me speak to your school or group, contact me here. (There’s information about my fees, etc., here.)

Also, feel free to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Goodreads.

My “Official” Biography

BRENT HARTINGER is the author of many novels, including Geography Club (2003) and seven companion books: The Order of the Poison Oak (2005); Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (2007); The Elephant of Surprise (2013); The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know (2014); Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams (2015), The Road to Amazing (2016), and The Otto Digmore Difference (2017).

His other books include The Last Chance Texaco (2004); Grand & Humble (2006); Project Sweet Life (2008); and Three Truths and a Lie (Simon & Schuster, 2016).

A feature film version of his first novel, Geography Club, was released in November 2013, co-starring Scott Bakula, Ana Gasteyer, and Nikki Blonsky (and the movie is now being developed as a television series).

Also a screenwriter, eight of Brent’s screenplays have been optioned for film, and four are currently in various stages of development, including The Starfish Scream, a gay teen drama; and Decked, the animated “true” story behind a deck of playing cards.

In addition, Hartinger is the author of many award-winning plays, including a stage adaptation of Geography Club, which has received regional productions in Salt Lake City, Edmonton, and many other places.

Mr. Hartinger’s many writing honors include being named the winner of the Lambda Literary Award; a GLAAD Media Award; the Scandiuzzi Children’s Book Award; an Edgar Award nomination, and a Book Sense Pick (four times). Screenwriting awards include the Screenwriting in the Sun Award, a Writers Network Fellowship, and first place in the StoryPros, Fresh Voices, Acclaim, and L.A. Comedy Festival screenwriting contests.

Hartinger is the co-host of the Media Carnivores podcast, a sometime-member of the faculty at Vermont College in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and the co-founder of the entertainment website AfterElton.com, which was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2006. In 1990, he co-founded one of the country’s first gay youth support groups, in his hometown of Tacoma, Washington. He also founded and currently runs the Real Story Safe Sex Project.

He lives in Seattle with his husband, writer Michael Jensen.


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