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Francess Lantz, wrote surfer girl series

LOS ANGELES --Francess Lantz, an author of fiction popular with teen and preteen girls, including the ''Luna Bay" surfer girl series, died Nov. 22 of ovarian cancer at her home in Santa Barbara. She was 52.

Over the last two decades, Ms.Lantz wrote more than 30 books, including several juvenile bestsellers. She won the American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults award for her 1997 romance, ''Someone to Love." Her novel ''Stepsister From Planet Weird" was made into a Disney Channel movie in 2000.

Last year, the first of seven books she wrote for the Luna Bay paperback series began to appear. Aimed at 8-to-13-year-old girls, the books focus on five teenage girls who live in the fictional seaside town of Luna Bay. The books are produced in an unusual partnership between a clothing company, Roxy Girl, whose logo appears on the cover, and HarperEntertainment.

Born in New Jersey, Ms.Lantz aspired to be a rock musician and composer after she graduated in 1974 from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania. She worked odd jobs while playing guitar in coffeehouses and churches, but the big break she hoped for never came. She returned to school, received a degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston in 1975 and became a children's librarian in Arlington and Dedham town libraries in Massachusetts.

She organized an annual Dedham library event called ''Graveyard Story Hour," when she took children to a nearby cemetery and huddled with them around a kerosene lamp to read scary stories. After a few years, she found she was running out of stories that were short, easy to read aloud, and suitably spooky, so she began to write them herself.

She published her first book in 1982, a young-adult novel loosely based on her own life called ''Good Rockin' Tonight," about a 15-year-old girl who aspires to rock stardom.

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