She previously did editing and research on ER, The West Wing, and Star Trek: Enterprise
If asked to name the inspiration behind our career success, few of us would cite a pair of magic scissors. Not so for author Shoshana Cohen Stopek ’00. The story she wrote at eight years old of a tailor and his willful, enchanted scissors launched her on a lifetime of writing that sees her first four books for children now coming to market.
“I’ve always been a writer,” says the English graduate. Today, she works for Warner Bros. Global Publishing to ensure that publishers properly portray the company’s many licensed characters—including Speed Racer, Harry Potter, Bugs Bunny, and Scooby Doo—in their books. “It’s a natural progression that I ended up where I am because I’m working in the publishing business and writing on the side,” she says.
When Bendon Publishing International approached Warner Bros. in need of a writer for a series of books for children ages 2-4, Stopek’s boss recommended her for the job. Those titles, Scooby Doo! New Friends at the Zoo, Scooby Doo! Your Everyday Hero, Scooby Doo! Team Player, and Scooby Doo! A Girl’s Best Friend, help young children find their place in the world through the rhymed antics of the titular mutt.
Growing up in Bridgewater, N.J., not far from her favorite childhood author, Judy Blume, Stopek enjoyed a house filled with books thanks to her mother, a sixth-grade teacher. Later, Lee Upton, professor of English, helped Stopek unleash her latent poetry skills. Stopek went on to win the Jean Corrie Poetry Prize and the Expressions of Lafayette Poetry Contest. She worked four years on the staff of Lafayette’s literary journal, The Marquis, serving as co-editor her senior year.
After completing her masters of fine arts at Boston University in 2002, Stopek heard Tinseltown calling and moved to Hollywood. “Originally, when I came out here, I wanted to write for TV,” she says. Not long after her cross-country move, she landed prime script editing and research work on such hit shows as ER, The West Wing, and Star Trek: Enterprise. Despite those successes, she concedes, “I wasn’t finding time to focus on my own writing,” so she used the connections she’d gained on the Warner Bros. television production lot to make the move to its publishing arm.
Stopek gained one other connection while working in TV; she met her husband, Jonathan. Married in September 2007, Stopek hopes one day “to be a stay-at-home mom writing children’s books.” For now, she enjoys married life, her job, freelance writing, and helping other West Coast Leopards through her volunteer work with Lafayette’s Office of Career Services.
Her advice to new grads is the story that’s worked for her: “Do what makes you happy and the doors will open for you.”