Aussie author Markus Zusak was only 30 years old when international best seller The Book Thief was released in 2005. Some of the concepts of The Book Thief were drawn from the experiences of his family in Nazi Germany and occupied Austria during the Second World War. Markus was drawn to writing during his teens after reading books such as Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, authoring his first novel The Underdog at the age of sixteen. The Underdog was not published for several years, hitting shelves in 1999 with moderate success. It’s been followed up by two sequels. Markus then wrote The Messenger (alternatively titled I am the Messenger), released in 2002 which was the launching pad for his international career. The Book Thief will be released as a film in late 2010.