Author Emily Vajda



When I was young, it seemed I was limitless (aren’t all children?), and I wrote my first play in fourth grade, my first musical in fifth, and then writing fell away for a bit as the theatre took over. It wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I picked up the professional pen and co-wrote a play in one act—Resurfacing—which was staged at the Second Stage Theatre in Chicago, Illinois. Through my contacts in the film industry, I fell into screenwriting with my screenwriting partner, Teresa Schaeffer, with a focus on holiday screenplays, both of us obsessed with Hallmark.

It’s always been a dream of mine to become an author, a novelist, and so I wrote the first fifteen pages of my soon-to-be novel and applied to graduate school. It was there, in my MFA program at the University of San Francisco, where I learned to shape a novel and hone my craft. I then interned at Kimberley Cameron & Associates literary agency, eager to soak up all that I could of the publishing world, and became an assistant to literary agent Elizabeth Kracht.

Now, Liz has become my agent, my friend, and I’m thrilled to have her beside me as we begin to shop my debut novel, Pieces of Madison.

Author Emily Vajda


Words are my forte. Discovering the right turn of phrase to convey meaning and intention, to elicit or mimic an emotion, is my jam. I’m interested in exposing relationships, digging deep and cracking open my protagonist’s skull so that her/his/their secret heart and secret desires are allowed to spill forth.

Pieces of Madison (85,000 words), is Upmarket Women’s Fiction (with elements of psychological suspense), reminiscent of The Days of Abandonment, while the deep-dive into a character’s complex emotional landscape is in the vein of Ruth Ware’s often-dizzying pace.

Meet Madison (Maddy) Lee McMillan—a Chicago actor cast as Ophelia in Hamlet, with emotions too large for her skin; with each new role she inhabits, these emotions abate. But Maddy has played Ophelia for one full run and two extensions, and the lines between character and reality have blurred. She spots her ex-love, Alex, in the audience on closing night and memories flood. They have sex. And when she wakes the next morning, he leaves—back to his new fiancé, Olive. Maddened, Maddy hurls herself into a new role at Steppenwolf. But when her director sexually assaults her in the dressing room after rehearsal, Maddy snaps. She’s had enough of men who take and take and take with no repercussions. When her world in Chicago implodes, Maddy rises out of the flames of that destruction to return home to Michigan on a mission to stalk and destroy Alex and Olive. But Maddy hasn’t done her research for what may become the most important role of her life.

Book two, Pieces of Olive, follows Olive in the wake of Maddy’s destruction.

Pieces of Madison is currently being shopped for publication by Elizabeth Kracht with Kimberley Cameron & Associates.

Inn Buchanan Series, a three-book series that follows the three Buchanan sisters—Aila, Freya & Cameron—who have inherited their parents’ inn on an island outside of Seattle, in the moody Pacific Northwest.

The first book in the series follows Aila, the eldest Buchanan sister, as she navigates the complexities of being an innkeeper, overwhelmed by necessary repairs, drowning in financial uncertainty. Suddenly, an indefinite guest checks in—Will Walton—and Aila finally sees the possibility of financial stability on the horizon. Not to mention, the indefinite guest is charming and handsome, stirring latent desires inside of Aila. But what Aila doesn’t know is that Will Walton is actually Will Harrison, of Harrison Enterprises, the East Coast company that is trying to buy up her family’s inn and knock it down, resurrecting a luxury hotel in its place, and Will has been sent to charm and manipulate her into selling. But when Will meets Aila, he finds himself caught between family expectation and duty, and a woman he might just fall in love with.

Play Script

Resurfacing, a play in one act.

Step-siblings Abigail and Peter stumble back to Abigail’s apartment in Chicago after entertaining big clients for their father’s company with dinner and drinks—many, many drinks. Peter promptly shakes up another cocktail for Abigail, and, tipsy, Abigail falls onto the couch with Peter. Seeing an opportunity, Peter kisses Abigail. Things become heated and lines become blurred. She said, “no”, but did he hear her? Did she say it loud enough? Was it or wasn’t it rape? Resurfacing exposes and explores these delicate boundaries. And when the family comes together for Bebe and Felix’s anniversary party, emotions run high and a family is forever changed.

Resurfacing is available for production. Please contact me to request a license.


Snowed-In, a holiday romance:

Lost in a blizzard, city girl Sam finds herself in a magical Christmas village, learning that there’s more to life than what she planned.

Sam has it all—a wonderful job, the perfect boyfriend, soon-to-be fiancé, and a dynamic apartment in the city—and yet, something is missing. On her way to her boyfriend’s cabin for Christmas, she finds herself lost in a blizzard, snowed-in with a hunky stranger, in a magical Christmas village that challenges what she thought she wanted in life and who she thought she was.

Snowed-In is available to option or purchase. Please contact me for more details.

A Christmas Match, a holiday romance:

A thirty-year-old fourth generation matchmaker has made hundreds of love connections, but can’t seem to find love herself. This holiday season she may just find her perfect match.

Lacy Jennings finds love for everyone else. Usually filled with holiday cheer, this Christmas feels different. The lights on Michigan Avenue don’t spark happiness anymore, the barren trees, once a stunning picture of a snow-kissed wonderland now appears leaden and droopy. She’s taken over Chicago—has a thriving business in the Gold Coast, a stunning condominium, great friends, great family… so what’s missing?

Then a new client walks into her office, a handsome, quirky, charismatic man and Lacy feels something ignite. But Lacy doesn’t date her clients, so she distracts herself with another man. Will Lacy follow in her ancestors’ footsteps, pick the wrong man, and wind up alone? Or will Lacy finally give in, and follow her heart. Either way, she’s on a mission: finding love for the holidays.

A Christmas Match is available to option or purchase. Please contact me for more details.