Suzanne Collins is the author of several novels for younger readers, including a best-selling trilogy that began with 2008's The Hunger Games. With a college background in theater and a graduate degree in fine arts, she began her writing career in television. Collins spent the 1990s writing kids' shows for Nickelodeon, including Clarissa Explains It All (1993) and The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo (1997-98). She switched to writing novels for young readers, and between 2003 and 2007 published five novels in The Underland Chronicles series: Gregor the Overlander (2003); Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (2004); Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (2005); Gregor and the Marks of Secret (2006); and Gregor and the Code of Claw (2007). She then wrote The Hunger Games, a dystopic tale of a teen girl forced to fight for her life in a fallen, futuristic U.S.A. Collins eagerly admits her stories are informed by the war experiences of her father, a veteran of the Vietnam War, and her childhood as a military brat. Her skill at cliff-hanging storytelling is what made The Hunger Games popular, and what was intended as a novel for teenagers became a hit with readers of all ages. Collins followed with Catching Fire (2009) and Mockingjay (2009), and both books entered the market as bestsellers. The success of the trilogy led to the movie version of The Hunger Games, and by 2012 Collins was heir apparent in the fantasy-lit franchise realm, following the career paths of authors such as J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).