Hollywood's 25 Most Powerful Authors
The 34-year-old Philadelphia native is best known for creating the dramatic world of Pretty Little Liars, loosely inspired by her teen years. Shepard was working on her eighth Liars novel when she learned that ABC Family was itching to adapt the series about a high school clique’s dark secrets; it now is one of the net’s top-rated series. “The books had a whole developed world for the writers to mine,” says Shepard, who gave birth to her first child in 2011. Her The Lying Game, about a twin assuming her dead sister’s life, also has become an ABC Family primetime soap.
With at least six books and two e-books to come in the Liars and Game universes, Shepard is toying with a new adult mystery tentatively titled The Heiresses, revolving around wealthy cousins from a cursed New York family. She has a simple explanation for why her books have made the leap to TV. “The characters are relatable,” she says. “They have real problems that everybody goes through, may it be family, insecurities, sexuality, and I’ve always been a fan of a good, soapy mystery.”