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We are pleased to announce the faculty of the SCBWI Carolinas fall conference, The Power Of Story. We have included the events each faculty member will be participating in. Additionally, our SCBWI Carolinas mentors participate in our faculty and provide critiques for members who submit. 


DSC_0130Josh Adams together with his wife Tracey, runs Adams Literary, a boutique literary agency exclusively dedicated to the children's and YA markets. Adams Literary represents a number of best-selling and award-winning authors and artists, and prides itself on launching, developing and nurturing successful and enduring careers for its clients. While Josh represents a diverse group of clients and material, ranging from picture books to edgy teen novels, he is primarily focused on middle-grade and YA. In particular, he looks for unforgettable, life-changing books—literary stories, high-concept speculative fiction, unique fantasy adventure and humor—and gravitates toward the timeless rather than the trendy. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Columbia Business School—where he was awarded the Abe Shuchman Memorial Award in Marketing—Josh spent more than a decade in publishing, media management and brand strategy consulting before bringing his editorial and business backgrounds together as a literary agent. 

Josh will participate in the MODERATED AGENT PANEL 

Breakout Session: Pitch Breakout Literary agent, Josh Adams, and author, Henry Neff, share how they shaped the initial ideas for IMPYRIUM into an effective pitch that sold not only the story and characters, but also the world and setting behind it." 

IMG_0427Tracey Adams with her husband Josh, runs Adams Literary—a boutique agency exclusively dedicated to representing children's and young adult authors and artists, including many award-winning and bestselling clients. She founded Adams Literary in 2004, after working for years at New York literary agencies and children's publishing houses. Tracey is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), and a founding member of the Women's National Book Association (WNBA) chapter in Charlotte, NC. 

Tracey will participate in the MODERATED AGENT PANEL  

John Claude Bemis author photo 2016John Claude Bemis is the author of THE CLOCKWORK DARK trilogy, THE PRINCE WHO FELL FROM THE SKY, and the picture book FLORA AND THE RUNAWAY ROOSTER. His latest novel is THE WOODEN PRINCE, the first in his OUT OF ABATON series from Disney-Hyperion Books.  John was chosen as North Carolina’s Piedmont Laureate for Children’s Literature in 2013 and was the recipient of UNC Chapel Hill’s Excellence in Teaching Award for his work as an author-educator. He lives with his wife and daughter in Hillsborough, NC. Visit him online at www.johnclaudebemis.com.

Breakout session: Exercising the Imagination  Have all the best ideas already been used? Certainly not! Join award-winning children's book author John Claude Bemis, as he shares practical, hands-on activities that will have you approaching your creative process in new and different ways. Through exercises that involve magnetic nouns, lateral thinking, constructive ambiguity, and other imaginative sparks, writers of all genres will discover wildly original ideas and stretch our ways of thinking. John’s activities are not only fun ways to come up with story ideas, but are also useful for tackling writer’s block and getting through those dreaded middle-of-the-story slumps. Discover new tips and tools that will put your imagination in overdrive.

Saturday apreś-conference session: John will host the PAL Roundtable  Come out Saturday night at 8 pm after the Autograph Party to hear our authors and illustrators discuss their journeys!

headshot outsideSCBWI Carolinas Mentor Tameka Fryer Brown’s first achievement as a picture book author was receiving a First Prize award in the 2008 Cheerios® Spoonfuls of Stories® New Author Contest. Her debut title, AROUND OUR WAY ON NEIGHBOR’S DAY (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010), has sold over 100,000 copies, with a large portion purchased by New York's Board of Education. Her second title, MY COLD PLUM LEMON PIE BLUESY MOOD (Viking Children’s/Penguin Random House, 2013) has been named a 2014 Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book, a Bank Street College Best Book of 2014, a CCBC Choices Best Book of 2014, and one of NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing, 2013.

GiuseppeGiuseppe Castellano is an award-winning designer, illustrator, and executive art director at Penguin Random House; overseeing the art and design of over two-hundred children's books a year for the imprints of Grosset & Dunlap, Price Stern Sloan, Frederick Warne and Co., the Penguin Young Readers, and Cartoon Network Books. He continues to be a guest speaker, critic, and teacher at art schools including Art Center College of Design, the Rhode Island School of Design (his alma mater), Maryland Institute College of Art, and Pratt Institute. He is also the founder of The Illustration Department, an online school for illustrators. Learn more about the practice and business of illustration by visiting Giuseppe's popular #arttips blog at gcastellano.com; and by following his #arttips on Twitter at @pinocastellano .

Giuseppe will participate in the FIRST PAGES/FIRST IMPRESSIONS PANEL

Giuseppe will participate in the ILLUSTRATOR CAFÉ

Intensive:  In What's Your Story? In this workshop, attendees will work with Senior Art Director, Giuseppe Castellano on a fictitious assignment provided to them pre-conference. During the workshop, there will be a first look in which Giuseppe will review and critique each attendee’s final submission. Bring your sketchbooks! There will be in-class assignments—as well as discussions—designed to challenge your concepts of illustration!

Breakout Session: A Children's Book Art Department: An Insiders Guide with Giuseppe CastellanoMeet Giuseppe Castellano, a senior art director at Penguin Random House, as he provides an inside look into how he runs an art department for five different imprints. Attendees will gain further insight into the business and practice of illustration. Giuseppe will discuss what he looks for in illustrators; and what methods he uses to find them. From finding your voice to marketing yourself, this presentation aims to help attendees power up their skills in illustration. 

brouchure photoAmy Cherrix acquired and edited books at Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers before launching her children’s book editorial and marketing consultancy, Slush Pile Press. She has written and edited reviews for The Horn Book Guide and taught graduate courses at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, where she earned a Master’s degree in children's lit and also mentors MFA candidates. She is a diehard supporter of independent bookstores with years of experience as a children's bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, and now as a the children’s book buyer at the fiercely independent Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC. When she is not reading, trolling the Internet for late-breaking children's publishing headlines, or mining the blog-o-sphere for brain-boggling science facts, she writes books of her own: Eye of the Storm: NASA, Drones, and the Race to Crack the Hurricane Code will publish in spring 2017 as part of Houghton Mifflin’s award-winning Scientists in the Field series for young readers, and most recently, Curious George Discovers the Rainbow (Houghton Mifflin, spring 2015).

Breakout session: Breaking The Rules  Do you want to write illustrated middle grade fiction and wonder how it’s done? We’ll discuss the many challenges of writing, editing, and publishing these delightful (and demanding) books using three books I edited as case studies. 

Breakout session: Shelf Reliance: How Authors Can Build Partnerships and Sales with Indie Bookstores. Sell your book by building relationships with the hand-selling pros at independent bookstores. Learn tips, tricks, and best practices for getting your book noticed and on the shelves at your local indies. 

Jill pinkJill Davis is an Executive Editor at HarperCollins  where she works on picture books, illustrated middle grade chapter books, as well as teen and middle-grade novels. She has held positions at Random House, Penguin, Bloomsbury, and FSG, and received an MFA in writing for Children and Young Adults at Hamline University in St. Paul Minnesota. She also teaches children’s writing to adults.

Jill will participate in the FIRST PAGES/FIRST IMPRESSIONS PANEL

Breakout session: Telling the Story in Words and Pictures with Executive Editor Jill Davis and Author/Illustrator Constance Lombardo   What is one of the most popular genres in middle grade fiction today? The illustrated novel. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Think Timmy Failure. Think Stick Dog. This workshop will focus on the process of developing an illustrated middle-grade novel through the perspectives of both the author/illustrator and the editor. Together we will reveal the details of our collaborative process. This workshop will appeal to both illustrators and writers, as we investigate the magic of visual storytelling and how it works hand-in-hand with writing for the middle grade audience.


Kristy Dempsey grew up in South Carolina and now works as a teacher-librarian in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, a bustling city of 5 million people. She is the author of ME WITH YOU [Philomel], MINI RACER [Bloomsbury], SURFER CHICK [Abrams] and A DANCE LIKE STARLIGHT [Philomel], a JLG selection, ALA Notable Book, Bank Street Best of 2015, CCBC 2015 Choice and the winner of the 2015 Golden Kite Award for Picture Book Text. Four more picture books will be published in 2016, including SUPER HERO INSTRUCTION MANUAL [Knopf, May 2016], a guidebook for the youngest aspiring heroes. 


Breakout Session: Sweetie Pies and Smart*sses: Creating Characters that Drive the Story Editors are looking for character-driven picture books but how do we create characters that are strong enough to drive a story? In this workshop, we'll study different character types, explore how to make them relatable to our readers, and how to give them distinctive qualities that drive both the emotional and the action arcs of our stories. 

donna earnhardtSCBWI Carolinas Mentor DONNA EARNHARDT joined SCBWI in 2003. Her poetry and stories have been published in magazines (Highlights for Children, Rx for Writers) and with the greeting card company, Blue Mountain Arts. And in 2012, after a decade of writing and submitting her work, Donna celebrated the publication of her first picture book, Being Frank (Flashlight Press). Since its publication, Being Frank has been nominated for many award lists, translated into Chinese (with Korean language rights also sold) and featured in Toni Buzzeo's Reader's Theater (Library Sparks magazine/March 2013). Donna teaches poetry classes to children, has served as a judge for different writing contests, and is a board member of the non-profit writing conference, Write2Ignite. Find out more at https://wordwranglernc.wordpress.com


SCBWI Carolinas Mentor Laurie J, Edwards is a former senior editor for YA who later spent six years as publisher of Leap Books, a small publishing house for teen and tween books, before retiring to spend more time on her writing career. In addition to having more than 2200 articles and 20 books in print or forthcoming, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers, and writes under several pseudonyms. She has a masters from Vermont College and is completing an MFA in Children’s Writing and Illustrating at Hollins University. Find out more about Laurie and her books at her blog (www.lje1.wordpress.com), website (lauriejedwards.strikingly.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/laurie.j.edwards) and Twitter (@LaurieJEdwards) 

FRASERheadshotStephen Fraser is a literary agent with the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in New York City, a full-service agency which handles both juvenile and adult books.

Stephen has been voted top agent for both picture books and middle grade fiction. One of his clients, Margi Preus, won the Newbery Honor Medal for her novel, Heart of a Samurai (Abrams/Amulet, 2010 ); another client, Carol Lynch Williams, won the prestigious PEN International Award for her young adult novel Glimpse (Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster, 2010); and Matthew J. Kirby, won both the Edgar award for best juvenile mystery and the PEN USA award for children’s literature for his middle grade novel, Icefall (Scholastic, 2011).  He has been an agent for 12 years. With more than twenty-five years’ editorial experience at major publishers including  Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, and Scholastic, Stephen edited such creative talents as Mary Engelbreit, Gail Gibbons, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, Dan Gutman, Gregory Maguire, and Daniel Pinkwater.

He is graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont and has a Master’s Degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston. Stephen is a popular speaker at writer’s conferences throughout the country. 

Stephen will participate in the MODERATED AGENT PANEL

Intensive: Perfect Pitch and Page: This workshop with Agent Stephen Fraser, for writers of chapter books, MG/YA, gives you the chance to perfect your storytelling skills. Assignment: Come with a one-page synopsis and one complete chapter. Expect to write a professional-sounding elevator pitch and leave with a polished chapter, with feedback from the instructor and fellow students. Expect perfection!

A breakout session: Is There A Perfect Middle Grade Novel? The middle grade novel is a perennial staple of children’s publishing. What can we learn from classic and best-selling books. 

Stacey FriedbergStacey Friedberg is an Associate Editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, where she works on everything from picture books through young adult novels. Some of the books she’s edited include the 2016 Morris Award finalist The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes, Pilfer Academy: A School So Bad it’s Criminal by Lauren Magaziner, and the forthcoming Summer in the Invisible City by Juliana Romano. Prior to working at Dial, Stacey was an Editorial Assistant at Lightspeed Magazine and a book reviewer at Publishers Weekly. She lives in New York City, where she enjoys taking excruciatingly long walks, baking delicious treats, and watching so-bad-they’re-great movies.

Stacey will participate in the FIRST PAGES/FIRST IMPRESSIONS PANEL 

Breakout session: Getting Gritty If your story calls for something terrible to happen to a character—something violent, unpleasant, upsetting or dark—how can you effectively write that scene so that it’s appropriate for a young adult or middle grade audience? Learn how to use reader expectations, foreshadowing, and much more to your advantage in this talk with plenty of examples.


Alan Gratz

Alan Gratz is the author of a number of novels for young readers, including Samurai Shortstop (ALA 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults), The Brooklyn Nine (Booklist's 2010 Top Ten Sports Books and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth), Prisoner B-3087 (YALSA's 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults), and Code of Honor (YALSA 2016 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers). New this year are The Monster War, the third book in the League of Seven trilogy, and the forthcoming Projekt 1065, a middle grade World War II thriller. A Knoxville, Tennessee native, Alan is now a full-time writer living in Western North Carolina with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at www.alangratz.com.


Breakout Session: Your Career Starts Here  This is a nuts and bolts beginners session that will answer all those burning questions new conference-goers come armed with: How do I query editors? What editors should I query? Do I query agents instead? How do I write a query letter? If I’m writing a picture book, do I have to find an illustrator? What’s an advance? Do I have to pay it back if my book doesn’t sell? How do royalties work? 

Friday apreś-conference session: Kidlit Family Feud It's time to play the feud! Join host Alan Gratz and two "families" of agents, editors, illustrators and authors from the faculty who will compete to guess the answers YOU gave to our questionnaire. Survey says you'll have fun!

AHeller_headshotAlyson Heller Alyson has been with S&S since 2006, and with Aladdin since 2008, where she lucky enough to work on everything from Picture Books to Middle Grade, along with some select YA for Simon Pulse. She loves strong, sassy protagonists, contemporary stories that explore the angst and intricate bonds of tween friendship and/or complicated family dynamics, and is eager to discover more diverse voices and stories that reflect our society today. You can find her on Twitter @EditorAlysonH.

Alyson will participate in the FIRST PAGES/FIRST IMPRESSIONS PANEL

Breakout session: Why Write One Book When You Can Write A Series?  Alyson Heller, an editor at Aladdin (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), and author Joan Holub currently work together on three series that Joan co-authors with Suzanne Williams: Goddess Girls (middle grade), Heroes In Training (chapter books), and a new upcoming middle grade series yet to be titled. Both Alyson and Joan have worked on many other series for ages 2-12 as well and will discuss: 1) The components of a successful high concept series; 2) What an editor wants to see in a series proposal, with examples of proposals that sold to publishers; 3) The pros and cons of writing series and of author collaboration in series writing; 4) How a single book sale can turn into a series sale; 5) In-house series vs. author-generated series.

Joan Holub author image scbwiJoan Holub is the author of over 140 books for children including the picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, Zero the Hero, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (Greek mythology with a middle school twist, 24 titles under contract, Aladdin), Grimmtastic Girls (fairy tale adventure, ages 8-12, Scholastic), and Heroes in Training (ages 7-10, Greek mythology adventure chapter books, Aladdin). Her board book series include This Little President (Little Simon) and Mini Myths (Make A Wish Midas! etc., Abrams Appleseed). Her early readers include Shampoodle (Random House). Joan’s former jobs include illustrator, graphic designer, and Associate Art Director at Scholastic

Breakout session: Authors Should Make Book Dummies, Too! Prolific author Joan Holub often submits her picture books or board books to editors as dummies, even though she doesn’t plan to illustrate them. In this session, she’ll show authors how to create a dummy or storyboard submission. She’ll discuss how to decide whether to submit your story in dummy form, storyboard form, or manuscript form. Do you know what should go into a dummy and what should not? Using dummies and storyboards she made for her picture books, Little Red Writing (Chronicle Books), Zero the Hero (Macmillan), and The Knights Before Christmas (Macmillan), and her board books Boo Who? A Spooky Lift-the-Flap Book (Scholastic) and her 8-book Mini Myths board book series (Abrams Appleseed), she’ll answer these questions and any you may have! 

Breakout session: Why Write One Book When You Can Write A Series?  Alyson Heller, an editor at Aladdin (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), and author Joan Holub currently work together on three series that Joan co-authors with Suzanne Williams: Goddess Girls (middle grade), Heroes In Training (chapter books), and a new upcoming middle grade series yet to be titled. Both Alyson and Joan have worked on many other series for ages 2-12 as well and will discuss: 1) The components of a successful high concept series; 2) What an editor wants to see in a series proposal, with examples of proposals that sold to publishers; 3) The pros and cons of writing series and of author collaboration in series writing; 4) How a single book sale can turn into a series sale; 5) In-house series vs. author-generated series.

Lisa Kline

SCBWI Carolinas Mentor Lisa Williams Kline is the author of eight middle-grade novels, including ELEANOR HILL (Carus), winner of the North Carolina Juvenile Literature Award, PRINCESSES OF ATLANTIS (Carus), WRITE BEFORE YOUR EYES (Delacorte), and the 5-book SISTERS IN ALL SEASONS series (Zondervan).  She has also published a collection of short stories for adults entitled Take Me. A graduate of Duke University, she has a Masters in Radio, Television and Film from UNC-Chapel Hill, and an MFA from Queens University. Lisa has taught workshops in writing for young people to both adults and teens, and has edited several novels for a small press.

7Constance Lombardo received her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University. She studied painting and printmaking at the Art Students League of NYC. Her illustrations have appeared in New Moon Girls magazine, Girlfriends magazine and the SCBWI Bulletin. Her debut illustrated middle grade novel, Mr. Puffball: Stunt Cat to the Stars (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) published in September 2015. At least two more exciting cat tales featuring Mr. Puffball are in the works. She is represented by Lori Nowicki of Painted Words.

Breakout session: Telling the Story in Words and Pictures with Executive Editor Jill Davis What is one of the most popular genres in middle grade fiction today? The illustrated novel. Think Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Think Timmy Failure. Think Stick Dog. This workshop will focus on the process of developing an illustrated middle-grade novel through the perspectives of both the author/illustrator and the editor. Together we will reveal the details of our collaborative process. This workshop will appeal to both illustrators and writers, as we investigate the magic of visual storytelling and how it works hand-in-hand with writing for the middle grade audience.

Neff Photo WebHenry H. Neff  grew up outside Chicago before going off to Cornell University where he majored in history. He began his professional career as a consultant with McKinsey & Company before leaving the corporate life to teach at a San Francisco high school and try his hand at writing fantasy novels.  His first series, “The Tapestry”, is a five-volume epic that follows the life and adventures of Max McDaniels. Its books have been translated into nineteen languages and were finalists for the Texas Bluebonnet, Missouri Truman Award, and Northern California Book of the Year. Impyrium is Henry’s second series. You’ll find him working away in Montclair, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife and two young sons. You can also find him at www.henryhneff.com.

Friday Intensive: Build a Better World No Matter What the StoryIn this hands-on seminar, author Henry Neff shares his practical approach for building rich, coherent worlds that not only enhance one's story, but expand its creative possibilities. Attendees will learn Henry's S.P.R.I.T.E framework and then apply it to their works-in-progress."

Breakout Session: Pitch Breakout Literary agent, Josh Adams, and author, Henry Neff, share how they shaped the initial ideas for IMPYRIUM into an effective pitch that sold not only the story and characters, but also the world and setting behind it." 

AnnieNybo4Annie Nybo joined Margaret K. McElderry Books in 2012 and assists Karen Wojtyla. Prior to joining S&S, she worked as an editorial assistant at Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and as a reader for Transatlantic Literary Agency. She’s been honored to have the opportunity to work with many talented authors and illustrators such as Susan Cooper, William Alexander, Gary D. Schmidt, Jasper Fforde, Hilary McKay, Susan Fletcher, Cassandra Clare, and Ellen Hopkins.  She held an internship at Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group, and graduated magna cum laude from Allegheny College. Annie has a heart for middle grade, is looking for voice-driven literary fiction across all genres; witty, well-crafted picture books; and brilliantly original graphic novels.


Annie will participate in the ILLUSTRATOR CAFÉ

Breakout Session: How to Pick a Winning Picture Book Topic We all know picture books aren’t only about bunnies going to sleep, but how do you figure out the right topic for you? We’ll talk about how to find a topic, which topics are unique and marketable, and how to move from topic to manuscript.

OConnor headshotBarbara O'Connor is the author of award-winning middle grade novels for children, including How to Steal a Dog, The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis, and The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester. Drawing on her South Carolina roots, Barbara’s books are known for their strong Southern settings and quirky characters. In addition to six Parents Choice Awards, Barbara’s distinctions include School Library Journal Best Books, Kirkus Best Books, Bank Street College Best Books, and ALA Notables. She has had books nominated for children's choice awards in 38 states. Barbara is a popular visiting author at schools and a frequent speaker at conferences around the country.

Breakout session:  The Well-Stocked Revision Toolbox You've finally typed those two glorious words at the end of your middle grade or YA novel: "The End." But now comes perhaps one of the most daunting, yet critical, stages in the writing process: revision. Writers need good revision strategies to create the best, most powerful story possible. Barbara O'Connor shares some of the most important tools in her revision toolbox.

Petruck Gabriel Color_sml

SCBWI Carolinas Mentor Rebecca Petruck's debut STEERING TOWARD NORMAL is a Blue Ribbon winner as a Best Book of 2014 awarded by the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (BCCB). It is an American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce New Voices selection, as well as a Kids Indie Next List title. Vaniety Fair's Hollywood dubbed it a 'book we'd like to see made into a film," the L.A. Times included STEERING TOWARD NORMAL in it's Summer Books Preview, Christian Science Monitor named it on of the 25 best New Middle Grade Novels, it is part of the International Reading Association's list "Books Can Be A tool of Peace," and in the 2014 ABC Best Books for Children catalog.  The BCCB gave it a starred review. Rebecca is a former member of 4-H, the Girl Scouts, was a cheerleader, and competed in MathCounts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Fiction from UNC Wilmington. 

Linda Vigen Phillips

SCBWI Carolinas Mentor Linda Vigen Phillips, a retired teacher, is passionate about poetry and better mental health, both of which culminated in her YA debut verse novel, Crazy (Eerdmans/2014).  It was named a notable Social Studies Trade Book, listed as one of the NY Public Library’s Best Books for teens, and one of Bank Street College of Education’s best children’s books of the year, among other accolades. Phillips enjoys presenting writing workshops in schools and libraries, and offering a message of hope and an opportunity for dialogue about mental illness to churches and community organizations. She lives in Charlotte with her husband.  Visit her website:  www.lindavigenphillips.com.




Beth Revis is a NY Times bestselling author with books available in more than 20 languages. Her latest title, A World Without You, is a semi-autobiographical story blending the supernatural with mental illness. Beth is also the author of the Across the Universe series, The Body Electric, numerous short stories, and the nonfiction Paper Hearts series, which aids aspiring writers. A native of North Carolina, Beth is currently working on a new novel for teens. She lives in rural NC with her boys: one husband, one son, and two massive dogs.

Friday Intensive: From Idea to Published Novel  Learn key strategies with hands-on activities and on the spot information in this workshop by NY Times bestselling author Beth Revis. Learn how to develop a vague idea into a publishable novel using real-life examples and how to apply it to your own work. With lessons on developing voice, creating memorable characters, maintaining pace in plot, and world building, these craft lessons are both practical and helpful. The strategies given are applicable to writers who prefer to outline or who'd rather not, and can be used either in planning or revising a novel. In addition to honing in on craft, this workshop will touch on query strategies and what to expect from publication and the editing process. A true insider's look into the world of publishing

Monika Schroeder

SCBWI Carolinas Mentor Monika Schröeder grew up in Germany and has worked as elementary school teacher and librarian at American international schools in Egypt, Chile, Oman and India. She has published three novels for young readers. Her book SARASWATI'S WAY (Farrar, 2010) is set in India and won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and was also on last year's North Carolina's Middle School Battle of the Books list. Monika's main interest is historical fiction. Her novel THE DOG IN THE WOOD (Boyds Mills, 2009) takes place in East Germany in 1945 and is based on her father's experiences at the end of World War II. Her novel MY BROTHER'S SHADOW (Farrar, 2011) is set in Berlin 1918 and is a nominee for the 2014 New York State Reading Association's Charlotte Award. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Visit her website: www.monikaschroeder.com


Megan Shepherd is the author of THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER and THE CAGE young adult series with MeganBalzer+Bray/HarperCollins. THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER was selected by the American Booksellers Association as a New Voices pick, won the SCBWI-Carolinas writing contest, won the NC Book Award (YA category), and has been optioned for film by Paramount Pictures. Her writing career began as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, West Africa, where she worked with local school children to compile oral Serere folk tales into a collection of illustrated stories. Shepherd grew up in her family’s independent bookstore in the mountains of North Carolina, where she still lives.
Megan will deliver the opening keynote: FINDING MAGIC ON THE PAGE
Breakout Session: Powerful Premises and Fresh Ideas  Some books seem to leap off the shelves with big, catchy premises. Editors and agents are hungry for “high-concept” ideas and stories with a clear “hook”, but what exactly does that mean? And how can YOU create a premise that pops? This workshop will show how writers can mine their creativity to uncover big, fresh ideas. Attendees will gain hands-on skills in developing high-concept ideas, as well as how to pitch those ideas to agents.


DeborahDeborah Warren founded E/W in 2000, after 17 years at Harcourt, and has a strong background in sales and marketing. She’s a strategist, incorporating long-term goals to help E/W clients not only grow a career, but to flourish within that career. With over 35 years’ of experience in the publishing industry, and over 15 years at the helm of the Agency, Deborah not only represents authors and illustrators of picture books including Jim Averbeck (One Word for Sophia), Anna Dewdney (of the Llama Llama franchise), Kimberly and James Dean (of the Pete the Cat franchise), Gianna Marino (Night Animals) and Antoinette Portis (Wait), she represents authors and illustrators—both debut and established–in the board book, concept, novelty, multicultural, non-fiction, middle-grade and young adult markets.  She’s particularly drawn to author/illustrators and appreciates a wide range of illustration styles. Deborah also connects with the look and feel and concept of classic Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes … so she’s up to see anything in that genre. OH; and re-imaginings of fairy tales, too, like Beauty and the Beast and The Princess Bride.  And anything that offers diverse points of view.  Deborah’s looking to fall in love with character-driven stories with heart, enhanced by a hook, told in a unique, fresh or distinctive way. Her sweet spots: short, quirky picture books and smartly layered, memorable and insightful MG and YA fiction.  And she LOVES finding debut talent – in fact, it’s a bit of a specialty for the Agency. As an example, we're thrilled to have helped launch and nourish (among others) the careers of authors Kwame Alexander, whose debut MG, The Crossover (HMM) was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal and the 2015 Coretta Scott King Honor; Dave Butler, whose debut MG, The Kidnap Plot, the first in a trilogy — The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie—is upcoming from Knopf/RH; NYT-bestselling Alethea Kontis, and her YA Fantasy novels launched by the YALSA nominated and Gelette Burgess Award winner Enchanted; and Michael Portis, whose debut illustrated picture books were acquired on a pre-empt by Crown and will soon be launched by Pinky.  

East/West Literary Agency, Inc. is, purposely, a boutique agency, to facilitate hands-on, personalized service and attention to our authors and their books.  E/W represents a wide range of #1 NYT, #1 PW, IndieBound, USA Today, WSJ, and Amazon best-selling and best-illustrated books, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre and Geisel medalists, as well as Andre Norton, Gelett Burgess, Children’s Choice, Parents’ Choice, Prism, Audie, Green Earth and Crystal Kite award-winners and nominees. 

Deborah will participate in the MODERATED AGENT PANEL 

Breakout session: From A to Z and EAST to WEST (with a NASCAR nod) High-octane Power Principles for Driving on an insiders track.