Carrie Howland joined Empire Literary as a Senior Agent after eleven years as an agent at Donadio & Olson, Inc. She represents adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative non-fiction, young adult, and middle grade authors, as well as select picture book authors and illustrators. Carrie’s background is in poetry, so beautiful language is one of the first things she looks for in any project. Also important are a strong voice and great story, which she’s looking for across genres. You can follow Carrie on twitter at @ecarriehowland or visit www.ECarrieHowland.com for more information.
Karen Bell-Brege & Darrin Brege are a husband and wife, author and illustrator, comedy team. Both are from Michigan, Karen is the writer and Darrin is the artist. When they present, their goal is to inspire, educate and entertain. All of their presentations are high-energy and interactive. Also, they think that if their audience is laughing, then they’re learning. Their chapter books include the Mick Morris Myth Solver series, the Ghost Board Posse books, and their new picture book, Monsters First Day at School. Visit www.MickMorris.com to learn more.
Ruth McNally Barshaw wrote and illustrated The Ellie McDoodle Diaries, six highly-illustrated middle grade novels with Bloomsbury. She illustrated the picture book Leopold the Lion for Sleeping Bear Press, and is author of four short stories available on Amazon Rapids, a digital app encouraging children to read. She received her first sketch-journal from a prescient art teacher at age 15, and has been keeping journals ever since. She’s worked as an illustrator since college. She and her author husband Charlie travel extensively doing school presentations. See her work at www.RuthExpress.com.
Heather Smith Meloche’s work has appeared in Spider, Young Adult Review Network (YARN), and Once Upon A Time. She has placed twice in the children’s/YA category of the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition and won first place for Hunger Mountain’s Katherine Paterson Prize in 2011 for a short story in verse. Penguin Putnam released her debut novel, Ripple, a contemporary young adult novel, in September 2016. You can find out more about Heather and her work at www.HeatherSmithMeloche.com
Katie Van Ark is the YA author of, The Boy Next Door, a winning manuscript from Macmillan’s Swoon Reads contest. She has penned craft and publishing articles for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)’s Bulletin and the Romance Writer’s Report. A former teacher, she now splits her time between writing and her work as co-head of youth services at Fennville District Library. She holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Find her online at www.KatieVanArk.com.
Kristin Bartley Lenz is a writer and social worker from metro-Detroit who fell in love with the mountains when she moved to Georgia and California. Now she’s back in Detroit where she plots wilderness escapes and manages the Michigan Chapter Blog for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Her debut young adult novel, The Art of Holding On and Letting Go, was published in September 2016 and was a Junior Library Guild Fall Selection. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency. Read more about her at www.KristinBartleyLenz.com.
Melanie Hooyenga is the author of The Slope Rules, a YA sports romance that’s Grease meets Mean Girls with downhill skiing. Her YA trilogy, the Flicker Effect, is about a teen who uses sunlight to travel back to yesterday. The first book, Flicker, won first place for Middle Grade/Young Adult in the Writer’s Digest 2015 Self-Published eBook awards. When not at her day job as Communications Director at a local nonprofit, you can find her wrangling her Miniature Schnauzer Owen and playing every sport imaginable with her husband Jeremy. Find out more about her at www.MelanieHoo.com.
Amy Nielander, picture book author illustrator & blogger, is a former product designer and automotive digital sculptor. Her first book, The Ladybug Race (PomegranateKids), earned international recognition as a finalist entry in The Silent Book Contest where it exhibited at the Children’s Bologna Book Fair in 2014. You can find her website and creativity blog, The Blob Blog, at www.AmyNielander.com.
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