Julie Abe is the author of the EVA EVERGREEN, SEMI-MAGICAL WITCH middle grade fantasy series and the young adult novel THE CHARMED LIST. She has lived in Silicon Valley, spent many humid summers in Japan, and currently basks in the sunshine of Southern California with never enough books or tea. Keep up Julie’s latest books and adventures at instagram.com/julieabebooks or sign up for her newsletter at julieabebooks.com/newsletter.
John David Anderson
John David Anderson is the author of several critically-acclaimed novels for young people. He lives with his patient wife and brilliant twins in Indianapolis, Indiana, right next to a State park and a Walmart. He does not wear ties. He enjoys hiking, reading, chocolate, spending time with his family, playing the piano, chocolate, putting off the dishes, watching movies, and chocolate. You can find him on the web at johndavidanderson.org and you can read his Ink Splat interview here.
Kerry Aradhya loves dancing and playing with words. She has published more than a dozen poems and action rhymes in children’s magazines, is on a long and winding journey to become a picture book author, and writes about the integration of children’s literature and dance at her blog, Picture Books & Pirouettes. When not dancing or writing for children, Kerry works from home as a science editor for a genetic information company. She lives with her family and their unruly pooch in Mountain View, CA.
Rebecca Behrens lives and writes in New York City, where she also works as a copy editor. She is the author of When Audrey Met Alice, which BookPage called “a terrific work of blended realistic and historical fiction.” Kirkus praised her latest novel, Summer of Lost and Found, as “a good find indeed.” Her next novel, The Last Grand Adventure, was published in March 2018. Some of Rebecca’s favorite things are: the beach, history, running, doughnuts, and laughing. Read her Ink Splat interview here.
Ashley Herring Blake
Ashley Herring Blake lives in Nashville, TN, with her husband and two boisterous little boys. Previous jobs include songwriter and performer (though she made only about enough money to cover the gas to the gigs), substitute teacher, barista, ABA therapist, special education teacher in a private school for kids with autism, and the hardest job in the world, mommyhood. That last one is still happening, along with lots of word making. She is represented in all things literary and worthy of attention by the amazing Rebecca Podos of the Rees Agency. Check out her Ink Splat interview here.
Scott Bly has been a computer consultant in Los Angeles for over a decade. He has also developed and taught computer classes for elementary and middle school-aged children. Scott has collaborated and worked with a wide variety of computer specialists, from hackers to designers, software developers to FBI Consultants. Scott’s debut YA novel, SMASHER, a fast-paced computer thriller. Check out our interview with Scott here.
Dave Butler lives in an old house and works in a study where one of the biggest bestsellers of the twentieth century was written. He has kept the room’s original shag carpet and wood-veneer walls. He likes games, guitars, languages, and, most of all, his family. Dave lives in Provo, Utah. You can find him on the Web at davidjohnbutler.com. Read his Ink Splat interview here.
Kacen Callender was born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands. Kacen was previously an Associate Editor of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, where they acquired and edited novels including Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles, the forthcoming Internment by Samira Ahmed, and the Stonewall Honor award-winning novel Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake. See our interview with Kacen here.
Ernesto Cisneros is a veteran English teacher currently serving the colorful city of Santa Ana, California. He holds an English degree from the University of California, Irvine; a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach; as well as a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University. His first published novel, Efrén Divided, released in March 2020.
Whenever his knees will allow it, he enjoys playing basketball, running, and swimming. He likes to read contemporary books with realistic characters and meaningful storylines full of heart. He is an avid music and ketchup lover, and loves the Lakers. Read our interview with Ernesto here.
Kim Culbertson is the author of the YA novels Songs for a Teenage Nomad (Sourcebooks 2010), Instructions for a Broken Heart (Sourcebooks 2011), which was named a Booklist Top Ten Romance Title for Youth: 2011 and also won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction, Catch a Falling Star (Scholastic 2014), The Possibility of Now (Scholastic 2016), which was named a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year (2017 edition), and The Wonder of Us (Scholastic 2017). Much of her inspiration comes from her background teaching high school since 1997. In 2012, Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students, who, over the years, have taught her far more than she has taught them. Kim lives in Northern California with her husband and daughter. Check out our Ink Splat featuring Kim.
Betty Culley’s debut YA novel in verse, Three Things I Know Are True, was a Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten Pick and an ALA-YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults nominee. Her first middle-grade novel, Down to Earth, is inspired by her fascination with meteorites, voyagers from another place and time. She’s worked as an obstetrics nurse and a pediatric home hospice nurse and lives in a small town in central Maine.
Jill Davis is a children’s author and executive editor for Katherine Tegen Books, a division of HarperCollins Children’s Books. Her work includes The First Rule of Little Brothers and Orangutans are Ticklish. In addition, she was the editor of Elizabeth Partridge’s Printz Honor winner John Lennon: All I Want Is Truth and NBA finalist This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie. She edits picture books, middle-grade fiction, and teen fiction.
Mandy’s first novel, Superstar, was published in 2017 by HARPER (An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers). She received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University where she won an award for her critical thesis The Way to the Chair: Zen and the Practice of Writing. Mandy is represented by Jennifer Laughran at Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
Before being bitten by the writing bug, Mandy was an elementary school teacher, a record store clerk, and once she even sold hamburgers on the sidewalk. When she’s not writing, Mandy can usually be found taking pictures or playing games of some sort. She also sings at least twice a day. Mandy spent her childhood and early adult life in Indiana. She currently writes, games, sings (and lives) in Minnesota with her partner Tony and their two ridiculous cats. Read our interview with Mandy here.
Sharon M. Draper
Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Awards, and is a New York Times bestselling author, with Out of my Mind staying on the list for almost two years. She was selected as Ohio’s Outstanding High School Language Arts Educator, Ohio Teacher of the Year, and was chosen as a NCNW Excellence in Teaching Award winner. Check out our interview with Sharon here.
Lisa Greenwald is the author of the Pink & Green series, the Friendship List series, the TBH series and four other books for tweens. She lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters. She loves sunglasses, reading, the beach, and sushi. Read Sharon’s Ink Splat interview here.
Donna Barba Higuera
Donna Barba Higuera grew up in a tiny desert town in central California surrounded by agricultural and oil fields. Rather than wrangling dust devils, she’d spend recess squirreled away in the janitor’s closet with a good book. Her favorite hobbies were calling the library’s dial-a-story over and over again and sneaking into a restricted pioneers’ cemetery to weave her own spooky tales using the crumbling headstone for inspiration. Donna’s Middle Grade and Picture books reinvent history, folklore, and or her own life experience into compelling storylines. She still dreams in Spanglish. Donna lives in Washington State with her family, three dogs and two one frogs. Her debut novel, Lupe Wong Won’t Dance, released with Levine Querido in 2020. Her debut picture book, El Cucuy is Scared, Too! will be released by Abrams Kids in July 2021. Her Middle Grade Sci-Fi, The Last Cuentista will be released by Levine Querido August 2021. Read Donna’s Ink Splat interview here.
Marilyn Hilton is the author of two novels and two nonfiction books. She has also published numerous articles, devotions, short stories, and poems in literary and consumer magazines, and has contributed to various compilations. Her work has won awards including the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, a Jane Addams Peace Association Children’s Honor Book Award, the Sue Alexander Award, and the Associated Writing Programs Intro Journals Award. She holds an MA in English/Creative Writing and has worked for several years in the computer software industry as a technical writer and editor. We spoke to her about her book, Full Cicada Moon, in the Ink Splat.
Joanna Ho is the New York Times bestselling author of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners. Her upcoming picture books include Playing at the Border: A Story of Yo-Yo Ma (Fall 2021), Eyes that Speak to the Stars (2022) and One Day (2023). Her debut YA novel, The Silence that Binds Us will be released in 2022. She is a writer and educator with a passion for anti-bias, anti-racism and equity work. She holds a BA in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, and a master’s from the Principal Leadership Institute at Berkeley. She has been an English teacher, a dean, the designer of an alternative-to-prison program, and a professional development mastermind. She is currently the vice principal of a high school in the Bay Area, where she survives on homemade chocolate chip cookies, outdoor adventures, and dance parties with her kids. Keep your eyes open for more books to come!
Ann Jacobus earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, writes children’s and YA fiction, and teaches writing. She also volunteers weekly on a suicide crisis line. She’s published short fiction, essays, and poetry in anthologies, journals, and magazines, and her debut YA thriller, Romancing the Dark in the City of Light, was published by St. Martin’s Press in 2015. San Francisco is home to her and her family.
Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski
Kati Bartkowski left her job as an administrative zombie slayer for a vastly more dangerous calling: raising a toddler. She has to deal with the same sharp teeth and insatiable hunger, but her “foe” is much cuter. When she’s not busy chasing her little one around, she’s writing or drawing. Find Kati on twitter @ktbartkowski. Heidi Lang spends her days running and walking packs of dogs. When she’s not out on the trails, she’s usually hunched over a computer writing, or deep into a good book. No matter where she is, she’s almost certainly covered in dog fur. Find Heidi on twitter @hidlang. Check out their Ink Splat interview here.
Lea Lyon is a published children’s book author and illustrator, active in SCBWI, (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.) She has illustrated six award winning trade picture books. Two new books will be available in 2019 and 2020, one from Christy Ottaviano books, Henry Holt/MacMillan, and the other, which she wrote, from HarperCollins in January 2020. You can find Lea on the web at www.lealyon.com.
Janae Marks is an author of middle grade novels. Her debut From the Desk of Zoe Washington is an indie bestseller and was named a Best Book of the Year by Parents Magazine, Book Riot, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, Chicago Public Library and the Boston Globe. Her second novel A Soft Place to Land releases in Fall 2021. She has an MFA in Writing for Children from The New School, and lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughter and miniature schnauzer named Cookie.
Beth McMullen is best known for the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls trilogy, middle-grade spy thrillers, packed with action, adventure and humor. She also writes the Sally Sin series for adult readers. Beth lives in Northern California with her husband, kids, cats and a very tolerant parakeet named Zeus. Visit her website at BethMcMullenBooks.com or follow her on Twitter at @bvam. Read our conversation with Beth here.
Patricia Newman is the author of several books that connect young readers to scientific concepts in the news. In her free time, she enjoys nature walks, the feel of garden dirt between her fingers, and traveling. She lives in Northern California with her husband. Check out her Ink Splat interview here.
Daria’s first job was at nine years old in the children’s section of her hometown library in Paso Robles, California. She worked a little, but she mostly read picture books. Daria loved basketball, drawing, and painting. Her dad gave her art lessons in their garage on Rose Lane, and Daria’s mom rescued her first self-portrait from the kitchen trash can, and had it professionally framed the next day. Today, it hangs in her parents’ living room as a reminder that our life’s purpose almost always introduces itself to us as a child. Daria earned a BA in English from UC Santa Barbara, where she found herself shelving books in the library once again and reading the writings of many notable authors. After earning a Masters in Education and 10 years of teaching, Daria became a full-time author and illustrator. Daria lives in Las Vegas with her family.
Daria Peoples’ debut picture book THIS IS IT was published with Greenwillow/HarperCollins (February 2018) and I GOT NEXT (July 2019). Daria is also the illustrator of GLORIA TAKES A STAND by Jessica M. Rinker, a picture book biography about the life and work of Gloria Steinem (Bloomsbury, March 2019)
Mitali Perkins (mitaliperkins.com) has written ten novels for young readers, including You Bring the Distant Near (nominated for the National Book Award), Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years), Bamboo People (an American Library Association’s Top Ten Novels for Young Adults), and Tiger Boy (winner of the Charlotte Huck Honor Award and the South Asia Book Award.) She was honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by independent booksellers across the country and selected as a “Literary Light for Children” by the Associates of the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in Kolkata, India before immigrating to the United States. She has lived in Bangladesh, India, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and U.C. Berkeley, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read our interview with Mitali here.
Shannon Price is a YA author living in the San Francisco Bay Area. After graduating magna cum laude from Santa Clara University with a degree in English, she interned and later worked for Counterpoint Press in Berkeley, CA. As a publicist at Counterpoint, she garnered coverage for her clients’ books in media outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and many more.
In 2014, she was accepted into the Scottish Universities’ International Summer School at the University of Edinburgh where she studied Creative Writing and Contemporary Literature under the tutelage of best-selling Irish writer Ruth Gilligan. In college, she worked as the Art Editor of the Santa Clara Review and represented the Review at AWP 2015 in Minneapolis, MN. She was a mentor in the second round of Author Mentor Match and regularly attends writing events around the Bay Area.
She is represented by Elana Roth Parker of Laura Dail Literary Agency and thanks her lucky stars that she is.
Caleb Smith is a 16-year-old author/speaker and visionary CEO behind Peacebunny Island, an animal sanctuary where he and youth guardians train rescued and rare breed rabbits to become comfort animals. He purchased a 22 acre Mississippi River island and several smaller ones nearby to provide a short-term summer camp for rabbits that live year-round at Peacebunny Cottage.
Laura Segal Stegman is a Los Angeles-based arts publicist and author whose middle grade debut novel, Summer of L.U.C.K., will be followed by two sequels. L.A. Parent Magazine lauded Summer of L.U.C.K. as a “good read,” and a Macaroni Kid reviewer said, “I was instantly captivated and couldn’t put it down.” Laura serves as a judge for Society of Young Inklings and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) writer competitions, and she shares her author journey in engaging virtual and in-person visits to schools and libraries. Her non-fiction credits include collaboration on the travel book Only in New York. Her feature stories have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Los Angeles Magazine. A long-time publicity consultant, she owns Laura Segal Stegman Public Relations, LLC, which has represented a wide-ranging client list of businesses, arts organizations and non-profit events over the years. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of UC Irvine with a B.A. in Drama. www.LauraStegman.com
Raina Telgemeier is the author and illustrator of the graphic novels Smile, Drama, and Sisters, all #1 New York Times bestsellers. She also adapted and illustrated four graphic novel versions of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitters Club series, and has contributed short stories to many anthologies. Raina’s accolades include two Eisner Awards, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, a Stonewall Honor, and many Best Of and Notable lists. Her newest graphic novel is Ghosts. Raina lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
Ari Tison is a Bribri American poet and writer living in Saint Paul, Minnesota. She’s the author of YA hybrid poetry/prose novel Saints of the Household (FSG/2023) and an Untitled YA novel (FSG/TBD). Her poems, creative nonfiction, and book review have been published in Yellow Medicine Review, The Under Review, and Rock & Sling. She is the broadside editor for Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop in collaboration with the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts. She has her MFAC from Hamline University and also collaborates in Bribri story translation and teaches creative writing at the Loft Literary Center and North Central University.
Ash van Otterloo
Ash Van Otterloo was born and raised in the Appalachian foothills, then made their home for seventeen years as an adult in Eastern Tennessee.
They currently reside in the PNW with their best friend and four wild forest gremlins. Ash is the author of CATTYWAMPUS (enemies-to-friends tween witches defeat a horde of feuding zombie ancestors to save their mountain town) & A TOUCH OF RUCKUS (a girl with the gift of psychometry and her new nonbinary crush hunt ghosts who know ominous secrets about her family’s past).
Whether or not their house is haunted is a topic for gossip among their neighbors. The ones, at least, that the haints haven’t monched yet!
Elizabeth Verdick writes a mix of nonfiction and fiction for children. She is a graduate of Hamline University’s MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults and has taught writing classes and done manuscript critiques to help other writers with their craft. She lives in Minnesota, a state with a vibrant kid-lit community. Before she was a writer, she was an editor of children’s books. Read our interview with Elizabeth here.
Barbara Brauner and James Iver Mattson