Adalyn Grace graduated Summa Cum Laude when she was 19-years-old. After working various jobs in live theater and at a non profit newspaper, she studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s The Legend of Korra (sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender).
Adalyn splits time between San Diego and Arizona with her bossy cat and two dorky dogs, and spends her days writing full time while trying to find the city’s best burrito.
Her debut YA fantasy, ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, will be out February 2020 from Macmillan/Imprint. She’s represented by Hillary Jacobson at ICM Partners.
Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog. THE GRAVITY OF US is his first novel, but he’s no stranger to writing. His self-insert Legend of Zelda fanfiction came with a disclaimer from the 14-year old author: “Please if you write a review don’t criticize my work.” He has since become more open to critique… sort of.
Isabel Ibañez was born in Boca Raton, Florida, and is the proud daughter of Bolivian immigrants. A true word nerd, she received her degree in creative writing and has been a Pitch Wars mentor for three years. Isabel is an avid movie goer and loves hosting family and friends around the dinner table. Isabel is also an artist who works on a variety of freelance projects ranging from illustration, graphic design, branding, and doodling greeting cards. Her work has been sold at Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel, and Paper Source. She currently lives in Winter Park, Florida, with her husband, their adorable dog, and a serious collection of books.
Shveta Thakrar is a writer of South Asian–flavored fantasy, part-time nagini, and full-time believer in magic. Her YA fantasy novel Star Daughter is forthcoming in summer 2020 from HarperTeen, and her short fiction and poetry have appeared in a variety of magazines and anthologies. When not spinning stories about spider silk and shadows, magic and marauders, and courageous girls illuminated by dancing rainbow flames, Shveta crafts, devours books, daydreams, travels, bakes, and occasionally even plays her harp.
Alechia Dow began writing princess cat stories in kindergarten, and has dreamt of being an author ever since. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Baking & Pastry Arts, and a Master’s in Library Science. She has worked as a pastry chef, food critic, culinary teacher, and a Youth Services librarian. When not writing YA sci-fi/fantasy featuring determined black girls (like herself), you can find her having epic dance parties with her little girl, baking something chocolaty, mentoring in Pitch Wars, or taking teeny adventures whenever possible.
Kim Smejkal lives with her family on muse-satiating Vancouver Island, which means she’s often lost in the woods or wandering a beach. She writes dark fantasy for young adults and not-so-young adults, always with a touch of magic. Her debut novel, INK IN THE BLOOD, will release from HMH on February 11, 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. She is represented by Daniel Lazar of Writers House.
Andrea Contos is a writer of young adult mysteries and thrillers. After a childhood spent hiding beneath the covers to read books by flashlight, she obtained a degree in business, where the only writing involved legal responses and termination letters. She happily traded those for works of fiction, and she still loses far too much sleep creating and enjoying a good book.
Andrea is a Pitch Wars 2018 Mentor, a 2017 Mentee, and a member of Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
She grew up in Detroit, and thanks to the tours given by her policeman father, she can tell you exactly where the morgue is. She currently lives outside the city with her tiny-feminist daughters, her husband, and their very fluffy cat.
Andrea is represented by Sarah Davies of The Greenhouse Literary Agency.
Liz Lawson is an author, a music supervisor, a wife, a mom, and a bunch of other things, too. She’s been writing for most of her life in one way or another — in high school her SAT II Writing essay about gopher throwing was awarded a perfect score, and in college she held a position on the editorial board of the campus newspaper.
Since college, she’s written for a variety of publications, including PASTE MAGAZINE, went to grad school, lived in six states + D.C., worked on a multitude of films and many, many episodes of television, got married, birthed a child, birthed three books (the last of which is her debut, THE LUCKY ONES!), and has done some other stuff, too, probably.
Currently, Liz resides in Los Angeles, CA, where she lives with an adorable toddler, a fantastic husband, and two VERY bratty cats.
Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired Young Adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She attended Thomas Aquinas College, a Great Books college in California, and graduated with a BA in liberal arts. After studying Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School, she decided academia wasn’t for her. In the midst of marriage, child-bearing, and the identity crisis that followed, she rediscovered her early love of writing and adverbs. In 2011, she moved with her family to Denver, where she currently divides her time between teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs.
Jenny Elder Moke writes young adult fiction in an attempt to recapture the shining infinity of youth. She was a finalist in the 2017 Austin Film Festival Podcast Competition, and studied children’s writing with Liz Garton Scanlon. She teaches writing workshops through the Austin Public Library.
When she is not writing, she’s gathering story ideas from her daily adventures with her two irredeemable rapscallions and honing her ninja skills as a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Jenny lives in Austin, TX with her husband and two children.
Her debut novel, HOOD, about the daughter of Robin Hood and Maid Marien, will release from Disney/Hyperion in Spring 2020. She is represented by Elizabeth Bewley of Sterling Lord Literistic.
A graduate of Vermont College of Fine Art’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults program, Nora Shalaway Carpenter wrote her first story (Lion, Unicorn, and Wolf) in Kindergarten. Her writing ability has progressed substantially, but she remains drawn to the same qualities she unconsciously personified in that first story: the strong, the magical, and the darker, edgier impulses that reside in each of us. Nora is the author of the forthcoming YA contemporary novel, The Edge of Anything (Running Press Kids), and the picture book Yoga Frog (Running Press Kids). Before she wrote books, Nora worked as associate editor of Wonderful West Virginia magazine and has been a Certified Yoga Teacher since 2012. She currently lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, three young children, and one not-so-young dog.
Erica Waters writes YA contemporary fantasy with a Southern Gothic feel. Her stories often feature f/f romances, complex family relationships, and atmospheric settings. She has a weakness for old forests, Southern voices, and beautiful sentences. She’s originally from the pine woods of rural Florida but has made her home in Nashville, Tennessee, where she’s learned to love bluegrass and has even started learning to play the banjo. She is represented by Lauren Spieller of Triada US Literary Agency. Her debut novel, GHOST WOOD SONG, will be published by HarperTeen in summer 2020.
Marisa Kanter writes young adult novels featuring ambitious girls, soft boys, and all the feels. She grew up surrounded by books outside of Boston, MA. Her love for books took her to New York City, where she graduated from New York University with a B.S. in Media, Culture, and Communications and a Creative Writing minor. She has worked in publicity for major publishers, covered YA books for MTV, and wrote for the New York Coffee Guide. Currently, she works in sales, on the distribution side of publishing. Her debut novel, WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU will release from Simon & Schuster BFYR in spring 2020.
Shannon Takaoka is a young adult fiction writer who loves books (of course) and all things nerdy. (Time travel? Weird science-y stuff? Alternate realities? Yes, please.) She grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, and now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two children and one very needy dog. Her debut novel, EVERYTHING I THOUGHT I KNEW, about a 17-year-old girl questioning her identity following a heart transplant, will be published by Candlewick Press and Walker UK in 2020.
Roseanne “Rosie” A. Brown was born in Kumasi, Ghana and immigrated to the wild jungles of central Maryland as a child. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and was also a teaching assistant for the school’s Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House program. Her journalistic work has been featured by Voice of America among other outlets.
On the publishing side of things, she has worked as an editorial intern at Entangled Publishing. Rosie was a 2017 Pitch Wars mentee and 2018 Pitch Wars mentor. Never content to stay in any one place for too long, Rosie currently teaches in Japan, where in her free time she can usually be found exploring the local mountains, explaining memes to her students, or thinking about Star Wars. Rosie is represented by Quressa Robinson of Nelson Literary Agency.
Jennifer Moffett grew up in Arkansas, where she spent her childhood playing in creeks and climbing trees while dreaming up stories about faraway places. A college study abroad program sparked her lifelong passion for travel. After working in children’s television in New York City, she received an MA in Creative Writing from The University of Mississippi and wrote book reviews for regional publications. Her short stories and poems have appeared in various literary journals, including New Orleans Review and descant. She teaches creative writing at a community college on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, where she enjoys kayaking, gardening, reading outdoors, and planning trips to new places (preferably with great local yarn shops and bookstores).
Her debut YA thriller, THE REMNANT, will be published by Atheneum, Simon & Schuster in Fall 2020.
Jeff Bishop is both alive and a college graduate. His mother is equally proud of both feats.
His debut novel, A HEAVY DOSE OF ALLISON TANDY, will be published by Putnam/Penguin in Summer 2020. He is represented by Christopher Schelling of Selectric Artists.
Kim Johnson held leadership positions in social justice organizations as a teen. She’s now a college administrator who maintains civic engagement throughout the community while also mentoring Black student activists and leaders. Her debut novel, THIS IS MY AMERICA, explores racial injustice against innocent black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Maryland, College Park. Kim lives her best life in Oregon with her husband and two kids. THIS IS MY AMERICA will be published by Random House Childrens Books in July 28, 2020. Kim is represented by Jennifer March Soloway from Andrew Brown Literary Agency.
Laynie Bynum is a Young Adult and New Adult fiction author who primarily focuses on the contemporary romance genre, but loves to get lost in fantasy and sci-fi as well. She is an Editorial Intern at Entangled Publishing and a contributor for Alabama Family Connections Magazine. In her personal life, she strives to be an excellent mom to her two children, her “bonus kids”, and the small army of woodland creatures she has amassed including a turtle, rabbit, and hedgehog. She has a terrible case of wanderlust and just may be the only person in Alabama with a British Indie Rock playlist.
KayLynn Flanders has a degree in English Language and editing, and has been a freelance editor and book designer for over ten years. Her debut novel, a YA fantasy, will be published by Delacorte (Penguin Random House) in Summer 2020. KayLynn and her family live in Utah between some mountains and a lake, and she is directionally challenged without them. She loves reading, writing, traveling, and volleyball, and thinks there’s nothing better than a spur-of-the-moment road trip.
Syed Masood is, among other things, a Pakistani Canadian American who has written a couple of books. His Young Adult debut, MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE, is scheduled to be published by Little, Brown in 2020. His Adult literary debut, THE BAD MUSLIM DISCOUNT, will be published by Doubleday in 2021.
Syed is a graduate of the William and Mary School of Law and the University of Toronto, where he studied English Literature. He is represented by Melissa Edwards of Stonesong.
Hayley Krischer has been an award-winning journalist for over 20+ years. She is a contributing writer for the New York Times where she writes about women, teenagers and pop culture.
Her YA debut, SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ALI GREENLEAF, follows a high school junior reeling from a recent sexual assault perpetrated by a boy she’s always had a crush on and a popular senior—and his longtime friend—who tries to gain the girl’s trust in hopes of dissuading her from turning him in. It will be released in fall 2020 from Razorbill.
Hayley received her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives with her family in a small town in New Jersey. She’s represented by Emily Sylvan Kim of Prospect Agency.
Amy Noelle Parks is an associate professor of elementary education at Michigan State University, where she tries to help future teachers recover from the trauma inflicted on them by years of school mathematics. She writes stories about smart girls falling for feminist boys in quirky midwestern settings. She’s a fan of kissing books and quantum physics, all manner of baked goods, and using One Direction lyrics to inspire entire novels. Social media still scares her, but she’s working on it.
Anuradha Rajurkar is a writer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The proud daughter of East Indian immigrant parents, she was born and raised near Chicago. She earned two degrees from Northwestern University before becoming a teacher, writing young adult fiction in her off hours. Anuradha is the recipient of the national SCBWI Emerging Voices Award for her contemporary YA novel, AMERICAN BETIYA, which will be published by Knopf Books For Young Readers in May 2020. Obsessed with all things literature, gardens, and design, Anuradha lives with her husband and two sons in a vintage home that needs far more love and attention than most living things. She is represented by Alexander Slater of Trident Media Group.
Amelia Diane Coombs writes books for young adults. Back in the day, she majored in English and went on to receive her MFA in Creative Writing. Now Amelia writes unlikable female protagonists, positive mental health representation, and swoony romances with soft boys. She’s a Northern California transplant living in Seattle, Washington, with her partner and their Siberian cat. When she isn’t writing or reading, Amelia happily fills her days beekeeping, playing card and tabletop games, hiking, and volunteering with cats.
EM Castellan is a writer of YA Historical Fantasy novels. She grew up in France, but she now lives in London. A lover of all things historical, she has a particular fondness for 17th Century France and Ancient Rome. Her stories on Wattpad have been read over 300,000 times, and won a Wattpad Award (Watty) in the Newcomers category in 2017. EM Castellan’s debut novel IN THE SHADOW OF THE SUN will be published in 2020 by Feiwel and Friends.
Kath Field Rothschild is a writer, professor of writing studies, and serial protester. Oakland California born and raised, she has been writing about social justice issues since she was a teenager. She has written for newspapers, magazines, and academic journals and books, and her narrative work has been published by the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR. When she isn’t studying writing or classroom social justice, she is hanging out by the lake with her family. Wider than the Sky is her debut young adult novel.
Tara K. Ross is a Toronto suburbanite, despite her best efforts to escape. She works as a school speech-language pathologist and mentors with local youth programs. She is blessed with a ridiculously supportive family that grants her time to create stories which tackle the interplay of faith and mental health. Her debut novel, FADE TO WHITE, will be published by Illuminate YA (an imprint of LPC) in spring 2020.
When Tara is not writing or reading all things YA, you can find her rock climbing the Ontario escarpment, planning her family’s next jungle trek or blogging at http://www.hopeprose.com.
Daniel was born and raised in Mexico City. He graduated from McGill University with a degree in Marketing, and currently lives in Toronto. When he is not writing or reading, Daniel can be found walking around Toronto, searching for new coffee shops to satisfy his caffeine cravings, and asking if he can pet other people’s dogs. He is also on a never-ending search for the best tacos in the city.
Daniel’s debut novel, INDIVISIBLE, will be published by Disney-Hyperion in Fall 2020.
Francesca Flores is a young adult fantasy author. She obtained a degree in International Relations and Linguistics in San Francisco, then worked a corporate job for a few years before seeking to publish her novels. Whenever she’s not writing or reading, Francesca can be found traveling, dancing ballet and jazz, practicing trapeze and contortion, watching a new drama, or visiting different parks and trails. Her debut novel, DIAMOND CITY, will be published by Wednesday Books in Winter 2020.
Aiden Thomas is a YA author who loves fantasy and paranormal stories. They received their MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College and has had several short stories published in literary journals. Born and raised in Oakland, California, Aiden now makes their home in Portland, OR. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, Harry Potter trivia, Jenga, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color. When Aiden’s not writing, they enjoy exploring nature with their dog, Ronan. Aiden’s cat, Figaro, prefers to support their indoor hobbies, like reading and drinking too much coffee.
Sheena Boekweg is a former slush editor, blogger, and theatre nerd who’s watched every Marvel movie in the last ten years and has strong opinions on Star Wars. She’s an alumni of the Pitch Wars mentoring program 2015 and mentored in the 2017 and the 2018 program. Her novel Glitch Kingdom will be published with Feiwel and Friends on February 18, 2020. She’s self-published three novels. Funny Tragic Crazy Magic sold more than 15,000 copies, and the Prophecy Breakers Series (cowritten with Melanie Crouse and Sabrina West) broke Amazon’s top one hundred new releases and was voted #42 on Indieauthorland 100 self published books worth reading. Sheena is represented by the mighty Jessica Sinsheimer at Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency. She lives in Utah with her family and the world’s most spoiled puppy.
Janella Angeles is a Filipina-American writer who works in children’s publishing by day while penning novels by night. She graduated summa cum laude from Emerson College with a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing, but found the most valuable way of learning to write was in creating glorious Harry Potter fanfiction and reading obscene amounts of books. She currently resides in Massachusetts, most likely to be found reading and writing like she’s running out of time. She is represented by Thao Le of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.
Chloe Gong is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, double-majoring in English and International Relations. Born in Shanghai and raised in Auckland, New Zealand, she now lives at the top of a crumbling, ivory tower in Philadelphia (also known as student housing). After devouring the entire YA section of her local library, she started writing her own novels at age 13 to keep herself entertained, and has been highly entertained ever since. Chloe has been known to mysteriously appear by chanting “Romeo and Juliet is one of Shakespeare’s best plays and doesn’t deserve its slander in pop culture” into a mirror three times. Her debut novel, THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS, is being published by Simon Pulse/S&S in 2020 with a sequel to follow in 2021. She is represented by the wonderful Laura Crockett at TriadaUS Literary Agency.
Tracy Deonn is an author, an artist-scholar, and a geektivist. Tracy earned her MA in Communication and Performance Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill, where she wrote and directed an award-winning play about Superman, West African myths, and secret identities. Tracy has worked as a video game producer and educator, and is an advisory board member for the 2019 Star Wars fangirl documentary, Looking for Leia. Tracy’s essay about growing up Black, female, and geeky is published in Simon Pulse/S&S’s 2018 anthology OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES. Her debut novel, LEGENDBORN, a YA contemporary fantasy blending Southern Black Girl Magic with the legend of King Arthur, is being published by Simon Pulse in 2020, with a sequel to follow in 2021. When she’s not writing, Tracy panels at SFF conventions, sets up doggy playdates, and keeps an eye out for ginger-flavored everything.
Adiba Jaigirdar is a Bangladeshi/Irish writer and teacher. She lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has an MA in Postcolonial Studies from the University of Kent, England and a BA in English and History from UCD, Ireland. All her work is aided by copious amounts tea and a whole lot of Janelle Monáe and Hayley Kiyoko. Her debut novel THE HENNA WARS is being published by Page Street in Spring 2020.
Rocky Callen, daughter of an Ecuadorian immigrant, graduated with a degree in Communications and Political Science at 20. She started scribbling stories when she was young, but set them aside for nearly a decade to pursue advocacy and therapeutic work even though her characters kept whispering their tales in her ear. When she was pregnant with her daughter, she found an old character sketch in a box and realized that if she was going to teach her baby to live her dreams then it was time to start living hers. Her debut A Breath Too Late began as a story of Rocky’s own experience with depression and family trauma, but evolved to be a story all its own. It will be published in 2020 by Henry Holt/Macmillan. She is a MFA student at Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives outside of Washington DC with her husband, daughter, and son. Her mission is to write books that remind readers that hope lives in the darkest of places.
Kyrie McCauley has always been a storyteller. She has also been a waitress, nanny, singer in a band, ACLU intern, rally organizer, Truman Scholar, and most recently, a mother and a writer. She holds a Master of Science in Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives near Philadelphia with her husband, children, and several ill-mannered but beloved cats.
Betty Culley worked as a labor and delivery/obstetrics nurse and a pediatric home health and hospice nurse. She lives with her husband in Central Maine and tends a growing crabapple orchard and a small pony. Her debut novel THREE THINGS I KNOW ARE TRUE is being published by Harper Collins in Winter 2020. She is represented by Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency. Her middle grade novel STONE FROM THE SKY is being published by Crown Books for Young Readers in Fall 2021.
Eva V. Gibson is the author of TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE (Simon Pulse, Spring 2020). She graduated with degrees in journalism and English, then traveled and lived all over the U.S. before returning to her roots in Northern Virginia. She now lives the small-town life with her family, dividing her spare time between crochet projects, hiking, sporadic yoga practice, and an ever-growing stack of books she will definitely finish reading someday.
Catherine Tinker earned her degree in English from Florida Southern College and has been wading further into adulthood ever since. Hobbies of hers that she doesn’t have a degree in include collecting set lists from concerts, staying up too late watching sitcoms, and being mostly ignored by her rescue cat. She wears cardigans just about any given day, despite living in Florida. Her novel, RECONNECTED, is out spring 2020.
Jessica Goodman is the author of THE PLAYERS’ TABLE (Razorbill/ PenguinTeen, summer 2020). She is also a senior editor at Cosmopolitan magazine. Previously she was a digital news editor at Entertainment Weekly and an entertainment editor at HuffPost.
Lani Forbes is the daughter of a librarian and an ex-drug smuggling surfer, which explains her passionate love of the ocean and books. A California native whose parents live in Mexico, she now resides in the Pacific Northwest where she stubbornly wears flip flops no matter how cold it gets. She teaches middle school math and science and proudly calls herself a nerd and Gryffindor. She is also an award-winning member of Romance Writers of America and the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Helen Corcoran was born and raised in the south of Ireland. She decided to become a writer at age eight, a potential career her mother felt would be usurped in three weeks. (It’s been a long three weeks.) She discovered fantasy and horror through the works of Michael Scott, Tamora Pierce, and Christopher Pike, and never quite stopped reading teen fiction when the term no longer applied to her. She completed a MPhil in Popular Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, while working part-time in a bookstore. She still lives in Dublin, but is now an ex-bookseller after twelve years.
Cameron Lund is a young adult author, singer/songwriter, and cheese enthusiast. Originally from the middle of the New Hampshire woods, she moved to the beach to study film at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and has stayed out west ever since. Her love of travel has taken her to more than 25 countries–there’s nothing she loves more than writing while on an adventure somewhere, preferably with a view of a waterfall. Her debut novel, THE BEST LAID PLANS, will be published spring 2020 with Razorbill (Penguin/RH).
Lyla Lee is the author of I’LL BE THE ONE, which comes out September 2020 from Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, and the MINDY KIM series. After working various jobs in Hollywood and studying Psychology and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, she now lives in Dallas, Texas. A fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ and POC representation in children’s literature, Lyla is hard at work on her next novel and is always in search of the perfect bowl of shaved ice.
As an only child, Lora Beth Johnson grew up telling herself stories and reading past her bedtime. She’s spent her adulthood collecting degrees, careers, and stamps in her passport before realizing her passion for writing. These days, she occupies her time teaching college English, writing YA sci-fi, and learning new languages. She lives in Davidson, NC with her succulents.
Rebecca Coffindaffer grew up on Star Wars, Star Trek, fantastical movies and even more fantastical books. She waited a long time for her secret elemental powers to develop, and in the interim, she started writing stories about girls and magic and spaceships. These days she lives in Kansas with her family, surrounded by a lot of books and a lot of tabletop games and one big fuzzy dog. Her debut book CROWNCHASERS, a young adult space opera, comes out Fall 2020 from HarperTeen.
Amanda Sellet has a degree in books and another in movies. Her CV includes stints as a barista, horse-sitter, Census enumerator, au pair to an English actress, and journalist writing about books, bikers, music, and movies for The Washington Post, NPR, and VH1. Following an itinerant youth, she now lives in a college town in the middle of the country with her French archaeologist husband, their daughter, and multiple cats. Her debut YA rom com BY THE BOOK will be published in May 2020 by HMH.
I’m Neicole Crepeau, an author of young adult books. I write about troubled teens who find themselves in circumstances dark, dangerous, and just plain weird. Appropriately, I craft my stories in gray and quirky Seattle.
Suzanne Park is a Korean-American writer who was born and raised in Tennessee. In her former life as a comedienne, she was a finalist in the Oxygen Network’s “Girls Behaving Badly” talent search, and appeared on BET’s “Coming to the Stage.” She found this to be the funniest thing in her comedy career because, well, she is not black. Suzanne was also the winner of the Seattle Sierra Mist Comedy Competition, and was a semi-finalist in NBC’s “Stand Up For Diversity” showcase in San Francisco. She currently resides in Los Angeles with her husband, female offspring, and a sneaky rat that creeps around on her back patio. In her spare time, she procrastinates.
Her debut YA #ownvoices rom com THE PERFECT ESCAPE will be published in Spring 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire.
Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé is a writer from South London who has dreamt of writing books about black kids saving (or destroying) the world all her life. She is an avid tea drinker, and a lover of thrillers and mystery’s. She currently studies English, Chinese and Anthropology in the Scottish Highlands.
Her debut novel ACE OF SPADES will be published by Usborne in the UK (2020) with a second untitled novel – also published by Usborne – to follow.
Kristin Lambert grew up the perpetual new kid in a series of small Southern towns, singing Disney songs in the shower and getting bitten by lots of mosquitoes. She attended the University of Alabama, where she made a detailed study of local speakeasies. (Also, journalism.) She adores live music, red shoes, David Bowie, and rainbows. She still lives in the South with her husband, two daughters, two cats, a sewing machine, and a truly absurd amount of creepy old dolls.
Alex Richards is a young adult author and freelance magazine contributor. She is a terrible navigator (just ask the African jungle she got lost in), but makes up for it with a dark sense of humor and home-made horror films. Raised in New Mexico, she and her family live in Brooklyn.
Nicole Bea is a short story author and novelist who primarily focuses on contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs, most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists. In addition to writing for young adults, Nicole is also a technical writer for a global manufacturer of CPAP masks, machines, and other products that manage sleep-disordered breathing.
When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or catching up on her To Be Read pile, Nicole can usually be found gardening, horseback riding, or pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She and her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of multi-colored cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.
Emily Victoria is a Canadian prairie girl who writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. When not word-smithing, she likes walking her over-excitable dog, drinking far too much tea, and crocheting things she no longer has the space to store. Her debut novel, THIS FLAME OF GOLD, will be published by Inkyard Press in 2020.
Rebecca McLaughlin is a Michigan nerd who appreciates sweet coffee, kindness, and the scientific method. She got her degree in chemistry and creative writing in 2014. Since that time, she’s worked as a technical writer in Michigan. When not working or crafting stories, Rebecca can be found practicing her knife-throwing skills or seeking out the perfect cup of coffee. She wrote Nameless Queen because she grew up lower-middle class (which was not always ideal), went to a private college (which was weird), and made good friends along the way (which was wonderful). She realized that exploring the social and economic divide is difficult, but magic makes that exploration easier—or at least more entertaining.
Maria Ingrande Mora is the Content Director at award-winning digital marketing agency Big Sea. In her previous editorial role at SheKnows, she managed a team of writers and covered feminism, parenting, and health. Maria lives in St. Petersburg, Florida with her two children, and is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Cindy wanted to become a spy the first time she watched a James Bond film. Proving some dreams do come true, she worked at the CIA as an intelligence analyst and had a handful of other titles throughout her career. She is thrilled that her debut book, True or False: A CIA Analyst’s Guide to Identifying and Fighting Fake News, comes out with Macmillan in Spring 2020. Her written work has also appeared in places like the New York Times, USA Today, CNN, the Daily Beast, and Teen Vogue. Cindy was born on the West Coast and raised on the East Coast, so she’s happiest when near a large body of water. Oddly enough, she generally hates spy movies now that she’s done the real thing.
Francina Simone believes in one thing: Authenticity. She writes YA stories full of humor and hard life lessons with sprinkles of truth that make us all feel understood. Her craft focuses on stories about girls throwing caution to the wind to discover exactly who they are and what it means to love. Francina is best known for her booktube channel where she has over 24k regular subscribers. You may remember her popular videos on diversity in books, and sex in YA books.
Morgan is an ex-ballerina turned YA writer. She has been immersed in the arts since the young age of four, and has performed various title roles, including dancing on prestigious stages like soloing at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Morgan discovered writing when her three-year-old son was diagnosed with cancer. It was through that experience which instilled the need to share art and magic with children through words on the page. Morgan lives with her X-Games gold medalist husband and four children in the cold mountains of Alaska.
Olivia Wildenstein grew up in New York City and earned her bachelor’s in comparative literature from Brown University. After designing jewelry for a few years, Wildenstein traded in her tools for the writing life, which made more sense considering her college degree.
When she’s not sitting at her computer, she’s psychoanalyzing everyone she meets (Yes. Everyone), eavesdropping on conversations to gather material for her next book, and attempting not to forget one of her kids in school.
She has a slight obsession with romance, which might be the reason why she writes it. She’s a hybrid author of over a dozen Young Adult love stories.
Cat Scully is a writer and illustrator born and raised in the south. She recently moved up north to Massachusetts, a place that fits her deep in her bones because of her fierce and constant love of haunted places and dark storytelling. Most of her writing and art has a southern gothic bent to it, and her stories tend to take place in the south, served with a side of homemade biscuits and bloody ghosts. Writing and art are intrinsically tied together for her, and she works through all of her books by drawing them first. She’s best known for her world maps in Labyrinth Lost and Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova, Winterspell by Claire Legrand, Ruin of Stars by Linsey Miller, and Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis. She loves Earl Grey tea, video games, Evil Dead, Hellboy, watercolors, horror books, comic books, and anything involving outdoor sports.
S.A. Patel was born in vibrant India and raised in the heart of Texas, surrounded by a lot of delicious food and plenty of diversity. She draws on personal experiences, cultural expectations, and southern flair to create worlds that center around strong Indian girls. Once in MMA, she’s now all about puppies and rainbows and tortured love stories.
Hayley is a contributing writer for the New York Times, where she has covered feminist roller skaters, Instagram obsessed moms, profiled Gabrielle Union, Tatum O’Neal, Celine Dion and interviewed YA legend S.E. Hinton at The Outsiders House in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has a MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two kids, big dog and three cats. Her debut YA novel SOMETHING HAPPENED TO ALI GREENLEAF drops in fall 2020 and her second book, STICK AND POKE, a YA thriller, drops fall 2021.
Kristy Dallas Alley is a high school librarian in Memphis, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, four kids, three cats, and an indeterminate number of fish. In an ideal world, she would do nothing but sit on a beach and read every single day of her life, but in reality she’s pretty happy reading on her front porch, neglecting the gardens she enthusiastically plants each spring, and cooking huge meals regardless of the number of people around to eat them. The Ballad of Ami Miles is her debut novel.
Namina Forna is a screenwriter based in LA and the author of the upcoming YA fantasy trilogy The Gilded Ones (Spring 2020). She has an MFA in Film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA in English from Spelman College. Namina is committed to telling whimsical, fantastic, and unexpected stories for the young adult audience.
Laura Rueckert grew up in Michigan but dove into a whirlwind romance just after college, which led to her move to Germany. She and her husband married a blink of an eye later, and they’ve now lived together happily for more years than seem possible. By day, Laura manages process and system projects, while nights and stolen daytime hours are devoted to writing YA sci-fi/fantasy novels. Laura lives in southern Germany with her husband, two kids and one fluffy dog, and she’s a member of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Her debut A DRAGONBIRD IN THE FERN, a YA Fantasy, will be published in Fall 2020 by Flux.
Chelsea Ichaso writes twisty thrillers for young adults, including LITTLE CREEPING THINGS (Sourcebooks Fire, 2020). A former high school English teacher, she currently resides in southern California with her husband and children. When she’s not reading or writing, Chelsea can be found on the soccer field.
In addition to writing books for teenagers, her favorite people, Nicole Kronzer is a high school English teacher and former professional actor. She loves to knit and run (usually not at the same time), and has named all the plants in her classroom. She lives with her family in Minneapolis.
Abigail Hing Wen holds a BA from Harvard, a JD from Columbia Law School and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Like Ever, she is obsessed with musicals. When she’s not writing stories or listening to her favorite scores, she is busy working in venture capital and artificial intelligence in Silicon Valley, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Loveboat, Taipei is her first novel.
June CL Tan writes science fiction and fantasy inspired by her childhood in multicultural Singapore where she was raised on a diet of classic books and wuxia movies, caffeine and congee. She has an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU which means she spent a lot of time musing about Bruce Lee and Shanghai cinema of the early 20th century. When she is not writing, she can be found wandering the streets of New York City in search of everyday mysteries and miracles.
Her debut YA fantasy novel, JADE FIRE GOLD (Blink YA/Harper Collins), is forthcoming in fall 2020.
Kat Dunn spent a good chunk of her childhood in France and has a family who’ll drunkenly discuss philosophy in French until 3am. She spent the rest of her childhood in London, before moving to Japan and Australia, and back to London. She likes collecting languages, political debates, and history (mostly the clothes).
Kat has a BA in Japanese from SOAS and an MA in English from Warwick. She’s written about mental health for Mind and The Guardian, and worked as a translator for Japanese television.
Karin earned her bachelor’s degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University and served as an event planner for two Big 10 universities and various non-profits for over eight years before becoming a stay-at-home-mom, choosing the most chaotic time in her life to finally write her book. When not writing or chasing her toddler, Karin can be found singing with her local acapella group, enjoying down-time with her husband or reading YA. Karin lives in Ohio with her husband, daughter, cat and dog.
Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Anaheim, California where Disney fireworks provide a nice musical backdrop to late night writing. Her YA Fantasy debut, CAST IN FIRELIGHT will be published by Delacorte Press Fall 2020. She is represented by Amy Brewer of Metamorphosis Literary Agency.
Cole Nagamatsu has an MFA in fiction from the creative writing program at SIUC. Her short fiction has been published in cream city review, West Branch, Tin House, and elsewhere. She was born and raised on the East Coast but now resides Minnesota with her partner and their cat.
Kylie Schachte lived in nine different cities–from Moscow to Los Angeles–before making her home in Portland, Oregon. She studied creative writing and psychology at Sarah Lawrence College, and is a proud member of the Pitch Wars community, both as a mentor and former mentee. When she’s not writing, Kylie can be found attending concerts, exploring the Pacific Northwest, and refereeing between her tiny cat and giant dog — the cat always wins.
Leslie Lutz’s poetry and short fiction have appeared in various journals, including Typishly, The Lyric, Raintown Review, and Orca Literary Journal. She draws on her volunteer experiences — including her time teaching GED courses at the Atlanta Women’s Prison — to tell stories that challenge stereotypes about forgotten people. Leslie lives in Fort Worth, and when she’s not writing, you can find her watching B-horror movies, scuba diving, or taking care of chickens.
Heather Buchta graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a B.A. in communications, but she’ll tell you the real B.A. in college is learning how to pay bills. After receiving her National Certificate in Youth Ministry Studies from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, she directed youth ministry programs and confirmation classes for both Catholic and Protestant churches. In addition, she taught high school English for a decade in South Central LA. Today, she is a part-time youth pastor for The Rock Covenant Church. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, obstacle-course racing, rock climbing, and snowboarding. She lives in the beach cities of Los Angeles, where she dotes on her dog and writes stories from her indoor porch. Beyond the Break is her first novel.