Here's a fun fact for you guys... a lot of female authors use initials instead of their first names. Many of them do it because it's hard for women to get certain types of books published (yes, even in 2014).
S E Hinton (The Outsiders) did it. J K Rowling (I hope you know who she is) did it. And apparently R J Palacio did it. I read this week's book (Wonder) assuming that the author was a man. So I guess that says something about assumptions and society and whatnot.
Palacio started off illustrating for book covers, and eventually decided it was time for her to write a book of her own.
She does school visits, is on Twitter (@rjpalacio), and for a long time she was Skyping with fans and readers (but she is currently on hiatus from that).