The Central Ohio writer has embraced her niche writing for preteen girls.

Close to two decades have elapsed since Central Ohio author Julia DeVillers burst onto the tween literary scene with her 2002 debut, “GirlWise: How to Be Confident, Capable, Cool, and in Control,” which offered advice on topics ranging from acne to budgeting.

Although many of the book’s first readers are now mothers themselves, DeVillers’ sweet spot continues to be writing for ages 8-12. The Albany, New York, native’s titles include “How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller,” the Liberty Porter, First Daughter series and the new UltraSquad graphic-novel series from Justice Studios.

DeVillers and her husband, David, a U.S. attorney, have two children, daughter Quinn and son Jack. Stay tuned for a true-crime project that departs from her usual tween turf.

How did you get started in tween books?

I’ve always been a huge book nerd—loved books, loved reading, loved to write.

When I started writing … I wrote a nonfiction advice book for teen girls on all of the things that I wish somebody had told me about when I was a teenager, and I interviewed experts. While I was doing that, I just realized I not only resonated with the audience, but apparently I had to channel a 12-year-old girl very well. I can really get into the minds of kids that age, so I really wanted to write for them and with them. I also keep in touch with them by doing focus groups and having kids contribute to my books.

Was it a leap of faith to go into fiction?

It really was. I did not think of myself as a novelist. Then my twin sister had a baby and I flew out [to Saratoga, New York]. The baby was in the ICU, and I had none of my notes and I didn’t really have the research for the nonfiction book I was doing, so I sat down and I honestly wrote the novel. I guess it was the book of my heart, and it was called “How My Private, Personal Journal Became a Bestseller.”

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