J.R. Angelella

J.R. Angelella is the author of the adult literary debut Zombie: A Novel (Soho Press, 2012) that Barnes & Noble described as “simultaneously a bildungsroman à la Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, an homage to zombies in pop culture and a twisted mystery all wrapped up into one utterly original—and darkly delightful—novel” and Matthew Quick (author of The Silver Linings Playbook) called “an irreverent and twisted coming-of-age story with one of the most shocking endings I’ve ever read.”


His journalism, essays and award-winning short fiction have appeared in various journals, including The Literary Review, Hunger Mountain, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Sou’wester and Fiction Writers Review. His short story “Sauce” won The Coachella Review’s grand prize in 2012.


In addition, he has ghostwritten numerous novels, including both Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys novels.


He holds a BA in English Literature with a minor in Creative Writing from Ithaca College and an MFA in Creative Writing & Literature from the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College. He has taught fiction writing at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop in New York City and currently teaches writing at the University of Maryland, College Park and screenwriting at Towson University.

J.R.'s pronouns: he/him/his

Preferred age level & genre of expertise:

Literary fiction, contemporary fiction, genre fiction (crime, mystery, suspense, horror, science fiction, fantasy, etc.), short story collections, screenplays—all in both adult and young-adult



Services offered:

Editorial Assessment

Developmental Editing

Query Critique



Favorite books:

  • Gotham Central (graphic novels) by Ed Brubaker and Greg Rucka

  • Lush Life by Richard Price

  • Dodgers by Bill Beverly

  • The Force by Don Winslow

  • Why Did I Ever by Mary Robison

  • Samuel Johnson is Indignant: Stories by Lydia Davis

  • What Narcissism Means to Me (poetry) by Tony Hoagland



Favorite TV Shows:

Gomorrah, The Wire, Breaking Bad, The Killing, Banshee, Patriot, Buffy the Vampire Slayer





"J.R. Angelella is extremely personable and has a positive way of presenting his comments and criticisms. I highly recommend his services. When the edits and suggestions were done, we met via Skype and talked about how the idea for my novel came about, then reviewed all his editorial notations, as well as principles and examples of good dialog, reworking the Point Of View in one section, and ideas for rewriting certain portions of the manuscript to improve overall flow and find means other than dialog for ‘showing’ the story and moving it forward. J.R. took the time to answer all my questions. I agreed with all of J.R.’s suggestions and can honestly say my book is tremendously improved after I implemented them. Some were major rewrites. It was a lot of work and I’m glad I devoted the time and effort to the revisions. They have made all the difference in the quality and continuity of my novel."

-- Ernestine B. Colombo, author of RETURNING SOULS: A NOVEL


“A professional to the last dot and dash—J.R. Angelella thoroughly and effectively edited my manuscript. He provided balanced and specific direction for filling the voids where plot or dialogue fell short. His feedback was genuine and unfiltered, and he instinctively had an uncanny ability to understand my writer’s voice. I would highly recommend J.R. Angelella’s professional and compassionate approach to the editing process.”

-- Sharon CassanoLochman, author of MAN WITH THE SAND DOLLAR FACE: A NOVEL


"J.R. Angelella’s critique was thorough, respectful, and thought-provoking. Everything I’d hoped it would be. I knew there was something 'off' with my manuscript, as I’d received rejections that indicated I was close, but not quite there. I needed J.R. to help me identify my manuscript’s weaknesses; he made great suggestions. A revision can be overwhelming, but J.R.’s approach—breaking down his editorial letter into distinct topics—helped me devise a plan. I especially appreciate J.R.’s suggestion to slow the pace of the reveal and get more into the mindset of my main character, as painful as that might be. I highly recommend J.R. and would work with him again."

-- Kathleen Blasi, AFTERMATH: A NOVEL


"J.R. Angelella manages to unite a keen eye for detail with the ability to see the broad brush strokes of a story. In doing so, he is able to pinpoint areas of a manuscript that need to be tightened or clarified while at the same time coax other aspects of the story that are best explored in deeper ways. In the hands of such a capable editor, my manuscript went to the next level. Not only did my book reap the benefits of his talents, J.R. was a joy to work with as well!"