Rachel Renée Russell Biography

Rachel Renée Russell is an American attorney and author of children’s books. Check out this biography to know about her childhood, family, personal life, career, achievements, etc.

Rachel Renée Russell
Quick Facts

Birthday: March 13, 1959

Nationality: American

Famous: Novelists American Women

Age: 60 Years, 60 Year Old Females

Sun Sign: Pisces

Born in: St. Joseph, Michigan

Famous as: Author


children: Erin Russell, Nikki Russell

U.S. State: Michigan

More Facts

awards: NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work - Children's

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Rachel Renée Russell is an American attorney and author of children’s books. She is best known for her series of children books known as ‘Dork Diaries’ and a spin-off book titled ‘The Misadventures of Max Crumbly.’ She was born and raised in Michigan and was always interested in writing and drawing. She made illustrations on her siblings’ birthdays. Although she wrote as a hobby, she studied in college to become a lawyer. While working as an attorney, she got the idea for a children’s book series from her daughters, Erin and Nikki. She based the leading character of her novel series on her daughters’ experiences in school. She released the first instalment of ‘Dork Diaries’ in June 2009. She immediately started working on the sequel. Since then, she has released an instalment of ‘Dork Diaries’ almost every other year. Almost all her novels have made it to ‘The New York Times Best Sellers’ list. Collectively, they have spent a total of 206 weeks on the list. Despite achieving success as a children’s author, Rachel still works as an attorney and takes help from both her daughters to complete her novels.

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Rachel Renée Russell
Childhood & Early Life
  • Rachel Renée Russell was born on March 13, 1959, in Michigan. She was the eldest of the five children in the family and had two younger brothers and two sisters.
  • As a child, she was artistically inclined. Once, on her twin brothers’ birthday, she gifted them a book of illustrations that she had made. She was in middle school back then. She read a lot and also wrote, but it never occurred to her that she could become an author someday.
  • Soon, she became serious about the idea of becoming an author. After her high-school graduation, she got enrolled at the ‘Midwestern University,’ where she joined a professional writing course. However, she became extremely disheartened when one of her college professors criticized her writing skills in a rude manner.
  • She decided to quit writing once and for all. She decided to pursue law instead and upon receiving her bachelor’s degree, she started practicing law. She worked in the consumer bankruptcy sector and became a successful lawyer.
  • Once she got married and settled into her new job, she decided to give writing another chance. She was inspired by the real-life school experiences of her daughters, Erin and Nikki. Soon, she started working on her debut children’s novel.
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  • Brainstorming on several ideas gave birth to the ‘Dork Diaries.’ The book was written in the form of a diary and included drawings, doodles, and comic strips that collectively took the story forward. The core story followed the life of a teenage girl named ‘Nikki Maxwell,’ and the series chronicled her life. Rachel named the lead character after her younger daughter, Nikki.
  • The first book in the series was titled ‘Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life’ and was released in June 2009 by ‘Aladdin Paperbacks.’ The story followed the life of Nikki, an introverted and lonely teenage girl, struggling hard to make friends in school and facing direct competition from the most popular girl there, ‘MacKenzie Hollister.’
  • The first book mostly introduced the main characters of the story. The book picked up pace slowly and became a massive success over time. It held its place on the ‘USA Today Best Sellers’ list for seven weeks. The book graced ‘The New York Times Best Sellers’ list for 42 weeks, which was a huge achievement for a debut author.
  • The surprising success of the first book enabled Rachel to work on her second book, which was a direct sequel to the first book. Titled ‘Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl,’ the book took Nikki’s story further and showed her struggling some more to tackle her insecurities. The book was yet another success, spending 42 weeks on ‘The New York Times Best Sellers’ list and 12 weeks on the ‘USA Today Best Sellers’ list.
  • The third book took the story forward as new characters made their entry. It narrated Nikki’s struggles with the humiliation brought on by her father’s low-end job of a bug exterminator and her attempt at buying an ‘iPhone’ to mingle with the kids at school.
  • Her rivalry with ‘MacKenzie’ and her crush on ‘Brandon’ have been recurrent themes in almost all the books. The book series received widespread critical acclaim due to its funny yet sad treatment of the life of a “dorky” girl. It also ventured into dark comedy occasionally, and most of the acclaim was directed toward the light treatment of a serious issue.
  • Both her daughters have provided strong inputs in all the novels in the series. Her elder daughter, Erin, helps her with the writing, while her younger daughter, Nikki, contributes to the illustrations. Nikki is also working on her debut children’s novel.
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  • The ‘Dork Diaries’ book series has 11 volumes and has sold around five million copies in the US. The books have been translated into 28 languages, across 32 countries.
  • The ‘Dork Diaries’ books have spent a combined 206 weeks on ‘The New York Times Best Sellers’ list, as of May 2017. The series has been widely regarded as one of the most successful children’s book series of the 21st century.
  • The books have also been converted into audio books. In September 2010, the first two books of the series were released as audio books.
  • Furthermore, the popular film production company ‘Summit Entertainment’ has bought the rights for the film adaptation of the book series.
  • One of the minor characters from the series, ‘Max Crumbly,’ caught the author’s attention. Soon, she began writing a spin-off book to ‘Dork Diaries,’ chronicling the life of ‘Max.’ It was titled ‘The Misadventures of Max Crumbly.’ However, it could not become as successful as ‘Dork Diaries.’
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Personal Life
  • Rachel Renée Russell once admitted that she was a lot like ‘Nikki Maxwell’ when she was in school. She was a “dork” and found it difficult to fit in with the other girls at school.
  • Not much is known about her husband. She got divorced in 2009 and has been living alone with her pet cat since then. Both her daughters are married.

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How To Cite

Article Title
- Rachel Renée Russell Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- November 06, 2018

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