NOTE: Faculty may be added/updated as we approach the March date.
Andrea Brown: President of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. since 1981, author of “Writers’ and Artists’ Hideouts: Great Getaways for Seducing the Muse,” published numerous articles for Writer’s Digest and other publications. Prior to opening her own firm, Andrea was an editor at Alfred A. Knopf, and worked in the editorial departments of Random House and Dell. In 1990, she moved her literary agency to Northern California.
Her literary agency has sold over 2,000 books to just about every publisher, from toddler board books to serious, award-winning young adult. She is the executive director of the Big Sur Writing Workshops.
Laura Rennert. Senior Agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 1998. Laura specializes in all categories of children’s books, from picture books to young adult, and in up-market women’s fiction and narrative nonfiction. She represents award-winning and best-selling authors, including #1 New York Times bestsellers Ellen Hopkins and Jay Asher, # 1 New York Times bestseller and Printz Honor Finalist Maggie Stiefvater, and National Book Award Finalist Kathleen Duey, as well as brand new, first-time authors. Some of her noteworthy sales include seven-figure deals to Simon & Schuster and Scholastic; deals for over half a million dollars to Random House, Scholastic, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster; and film deals to Nickelodeon/Paramount; Warner Bros; and Universal Pictures.
Laura’s work as an agent is enhanced by her experiences on the other side of the table. She’s the author of a picture book, “Buying, Training, and Caring for Your Dinosaur,” (Knopf, 2009), illustrated by Marc Brown, creator of Arthur. She’s also the author of an illustrated chapter book, ROYAL PRINCESS ACADEMY: DRAGON DREAMS (Dial/Penguin, 2012). Laura has a Ph.D. in English Literature and was a faculty member in the English Departments of the University of Virginia, Osaka University of Foreign Studies, and Santa Clara University.
Jennifer Rofé: Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Jennifer handles children’s fiction projects ranging from picture books to young adult. Middle grade is Jennifer’s soft spot and she’s open to all genres in this category, especially the tender or hilarious. She is always looking for fresh and distinct voices; stories that simultaneously tug at her heartstrings and make her laugh out loud; and “adorkable” heroes. As for YA, Jennifer is drawn to contemporary works; dramatic or funny romance; and urban fantasy/light sci-fi. She’s especially interested in mind-blowingly smart projects that are layered, complex, and unexpected, and she appreciates big, developed worlds. In terms of picture books, early readers, and chapter books, she is interested in character-driven projects and smart, exceptional writing.
Jennifer is co-author of the picture book PIGGIES IN THE PUMPKIN PATCH (Charlesbridge). Jennifer earned a BA in English with a minor in Social and Ethnic Relations from UC Davis and has a background in secondary education.”
Caryn Wiseman: Senior Agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Caryn has been an agent with the Andrea Brown Literary Agency since 2003, and she has sold more than 200 books. She handles children’s books only: young adult and middle-grade fiction and non-fiction, chapter books, and picture books (fiction and non-fiction). She represents NYT bestselling authors, award-winning authors, debut authors, and authors at every stage in between. Her clients include New York Times bestselling authors Tom Angleberger and Nate Evans, and bestselling and award-winning authors R.A. Nelson, Ben Mikaelsen, Randi Reisfeld, Cheryl Bardoe, Jennifer Berne, Debbie Levy, Brenda Ferber, Cece Bell, Amjed Qamar, Toyomi Igus and illustrator Michele Wood.”
No matter the genre, Caryn is looking for books with emotional depth and a strong voice; excellent writing in a tightly-plotted, commercial story; and characters that stick with her long after she has closed the book. In YA, she gravitates toward books that make her think and toward books that make her cry; in middle-grade and chapter books, laughter tends to be the common thread. She loves books that are intellectually challenging and take risks, but in a very logical way. She wants to be surprised by interesting plot twists, but she never wants to question the motivations of characters.
Jennifer Laughran began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children’s bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series “Not Your Mother’s Book Club”. She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books… and her true favorites are all of the above.
You can find out more about Jennifer and her clients on her blog.
Lara Perkins: Associate Agent and Digital Manager at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Lara has been with the agency for nearly three years, working closely with senior agent Laura Rennert, with whom she jointly represents a number of clients, in addition to building her own list. Lara is a fan of smart and raw young adult fiction, character-driven middle grade fiction with a totally original, hilarious voice, and so-adorable-she-can’t-stand-it picture books, preferably with some age-appropriate emotional heft. She’s a sucker for a great mystery and is passionate about stories that teach her new things or open up new worlds. More than anything, she has a soft spot for the wonderfully weird and the idiosyncratic.
Lara has a master’s in English literature, and in her pre-publishing life, she trained to be an architect, before deciding that books, not bricks, are her true passion. She spent over a year at the B.J. Robbins Literary Agency in Los Angeles before coming to Andrea Brown Literary.
Mallory Kass Mallory is an editor at Scholastic Press and part of the team responsible for The NY Times bestselling series The 39 Clues. She also edits other Scholastic Press titles including The Daughters of the Sea series by Kathryn Lasky, and Rootless by Chris Howard.
She works primarily on Middle Grade and YA, and is particularly interested in literary fiction with a commercial hook, historical fantasy, and anything with spectacular world building.
Alyson Heller is an associate editor at Aladdin Books, an imprint of S&S Children’s, where she edits everything from picture books through middle-grade novels. Some of her upcoming projects include Don’t Wear Polka Dot Underwear with White Pants (and other Lessons I’ve Learned), Frosting and Friendship, and a picture book debut called The Monstore.
She also edits many of the books within the Aladdin MIX line and several on-going series. She is particularly interested in middle-grade fiction with a strong girl protagonist, distinctive and true voice, and a fun/unique commercial hook—a little magic never hurt, either.
Melissa Manlove is an Editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She has been with Chronicle for seven years. She is passionate about all age groups and genres of children’s books, with the exception of religious topics.
When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. An effective approach and strong, graceful writing are important to her. She has 12 years of children’s bookselling experience.
Special talents include reading and walking at the same time, batting her eyelashes (but only ironically), and making killer desserts. She has no nicknames, but several toddlers know her only as a puppet alligator.
Ariel Richardson is a children’s editorial assistant at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. She assists three editors working on projects ranging from novelty books to picture books to novels, in addition to editing select projects. She has been a children’s bookseller for over five years, at three different independent book stores on two coasts. She also has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature from Simmons College in Boston, where she took courses on all genres of children’s literature. Her favorite books include Feed by M.T. Anderson, Crossing Stones by Helen Frost, and The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood.
Cynthia Frank, president of QED Press, Cypress House and Lost Coast Press, has more than twenty-five years experience in writing, publishing, editing and teaching. Her articles, essays, book reviews and poetry have appeared in magazines, newspapers, books, newsletters and anthologies.
Cypress House is a full-service book production and promotion company as well as royalty house. Cypress House books have won awards and grants from the Before Columbus Foundation, WESTAF, PMA, Independent Publisher, ForeWord Magazine, IAPHC, the Society of Automotive Historians, the Antique Automobile Club of America, the Cat Writers Association, the Camoes Institute, the IBL and the Gulbenkian Foundation.
Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned–among other things–that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She’s studied art, screenwriting, and television production, but realized her real passion was writing for kids and teens. Her middle grade series, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, launched in fall of 2012, with EXILE, book 2 in the series, scheduled for Fall 2013. And LET THE SKY FALL, the first book in her young adult series, launches March 5, 2013. She is also one of the founders of WriteOnCon, a free online Writer’s Conference for kidlit writers. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.
Anne Ylvisaker is the author of the middle grade novels Button Down, The Luck of the Buttons, Little Klein, and Dear Papa, all from Candlewick Press, as well as an award winning board book, and nineteen nonfiction books for young readers. In 2005 Anne was awarded the McKnight Artist Fellowship/Loft Award in Children’s Literature. She has a master’s degree in education.
Anne grew up near the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Until 2006, she spent her adult life just across the river in Saint Paul, teaching and writing. After four years in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Anne moved to Monterey, California where she lives with her husband Dan and daughter Maria.
Eric J. Adams is an award-winning screenwriter, producer, and author. Eric wrote the screenplay for the feature film Supremacy (2013), starring Danny Glover, Joe Anderson, Lela Rochon, Anson Mount, Dawn Olivieri, Evan Ross, and Derek Luke.
Eric also co-wrote and produced the independent feature film Archie’s Final Project (aka My Suicide) (2011) starring David Carradine, Joe Mantegna, Gabriel Sunday, Michael Welch, Brooke Nevin, Mariel Hemingway and Nora Dunn. Archie’s Final Project won the Crystal Bear Award at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival and 21 other major film festival awards. Following its theatrical release, the film made history by becoming the first film to be available via paid streaming on Facebook.
With his new company, Sleeperwave Films, Eric is relying on his unique background to develop a number of film projects exploring contemporary social issues, including teen suicide, racism, prison inmates rights, and isolation on Native American reservations. In recognition of his efforts, Eric was recently named a Djerassi Screenwriting Fellowship finalist by the San Francisco Film Society and a Sundance Creative Producer’s Lab finalist.
Eric is also the author of several books, including the suspense/thrillers Plot Twist (St. Martin’s Press), and Birdland (Hodder & Stoughton). Before his life in film, Eric was an investigative journalist, contributing to dozens of publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Wired, and Salon.
Eric Elfman is the author of 10 books for middle-grade and young adult readers, including ALMANAC OF THE GROSS, DISGUSTING & TOTALLY REPULSIVE (Random House), an ALA Recommended book for Reluctant Readers, and three X-FILES novelizations (HarperTrophy). Eric is co-author of TESLA’S ATTIC (Hyperion), the first of a three-book series to be published starting next year.
Also a screenwriter, Eric has developed projects with Dreamworks, Universal Home Entertainment, Walden Media, Walt Disney, and others companies. He has written articles for Dwell, Mental_Floss, Creative Screenwriting, Disney Adventures, and other magazines, has written pages of the Houghton Mifflin 5th Grade History textbook, and study guides for the Mark Taper Forum/PLAY, bringing live theater to high school and middle school students.
He has been coaching writers privately for the past six years (www.ericElfmanCoaching.com).