JULIE KAGAWA - "Making Your Characters Shine"
In this workshop, Julie will look at what makes characters memorable, specifically, how to make them shine. Characters are the heart and soul of any novel. If they are flat, you risk losing your audience. If they are interesting, relatable and real, your readers will follow them anywhere.
Julie Kagawa, the New York Times bestselling author of the Iron Fey and Blood of Eden series was born in Sacramento, California. But nothing exciting really happened to her there. So, at the age of nine she and her family moved to Hawaii, which she soon discovered was inhabited by large carnivorous insects, colonies of house geckos, and frequent hurricanes. She spent much of her time in the ocean, when she wasn’t getting chased out of it by reef sharks, jellyfish, and the odd eel.
When not swimming for her life, Julie immersed herself in books, often to the chagrin of her schoolteachers, who would find she hid novels behind her Math textbooks during class. Her love of reading led her to pen some very dark and gruesome stories, complete with colored illustrations, to shock her hapless teachers. The gory tales faded with time, but the passion for writing remained, long after she graduated and was supposed to get a real job.
To pay the rent, Julie worked in different bookstores over the years, but discovered the managers frowned upon her reading the books she was supposed to be shelving. So she turned to her other passion: training animals. She worked as a professional dogtrainer for several years, dodging Chihuahua bites and overly enthusiastic Labradors, until her first book sold and she stopped training to write full time.
Julie now lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where the frequency of shark attacks are at an all time low. She lives with her husband, two obnoxious cats, one Australian Shepherd who is too smart for his own good, and the latest addition, a hyper-active Papillon.
THERESA RAGAN - "Taking Your Book to the Digital World"
Theresa will share her self-publishing journey, including her experiences and insights on what worked and what didn't. She will provide the basic steps needed to get started and will also talk about what it takes to stay on top. Since releasing her first book in March 2011, Theresa Ragan, also writing under the name T. R. Ragan, has sold over 760,000 ebooks. Her thriller, "Abducted," reached #5 twice on the paid Amazon list in the U.S. and #1 in Germany. Topics will include: taking it one step at a time; experiences and best practices; staying positive; exposure equals readers; and signing with Thomas & Mercer.
Theresa grew up in a family of five girls in Lafayette, California. After writing for 20 years, she self-published in 2011 and boy is she glad she did! She signed her first publishing contract with Thomas & Mercer in 2012. She can't wait to wake up every morning and write.
When she's not writing, Theresa likes to hang out with her family, play the piano, and travel.
LYNN RAYE HARRIS - "Go Big or Go Home: How to Turn Up Emotional Conflict for a Page-Turning Read"
In this workshop, USA Today bestselling author Lynn Raye Harris will discuss tips and techniques for making your emotional conflicts bigger, better, and stronger in order to get that page-turning quality that readers can't put down. She'll discuss things like pacing, balancing external and internal conflicts, and characterization. This workshop is suitable for any novel length, but there will be special focus on the short contemporary or category-length novel.
Lynn read her first Harlequin Mills & Boon romance when her grandmother carted home a box from a yard sale. She didn’t know she wanted to be a writer then, but she definitely knew she wanted to marry a sheikh or a prince and live the glamorous life she read about in the pages. Instead, she married a military man and moved around the world. She’s been inside the Kremlin, hiked up a Korean mountain, floated on a gondola in Venice and stood inside volcanoes at opposite ends of the world.
These days Lynn lives in Alabama with her handsome husband and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing, she loves to read, shop for antiques, cook gourmet meals and try new wines. She is also an avowed shoeaholic and thinks there’s nothing better than a new pair of high heels.
Lynn was a finalist in the 2008 Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® contest, and she is the winner of the Harlequin Presents Instant Seduction contest. She loves a hot hero, a heroine with attitude and a happy ending. Writing passionate stories for Harlequin is a dream come true.
STEFANIE LIEBERMAN, Senior Counsel, Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Stefanie Lieberman joined the agency in 2005 after practicing intellectual property law at The Guggenheim Museum; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and the boutique entertainment firm Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz. Stefanie holds a B.A. in Humanities from Yale University and a J.D. from Northwestern University School of Law. Stefanie is seeking writers offering fresh approaches to romance and young adult commercial fiction. She is particularly energized by manuscripts featuring strong female characters.
NALINI AKOLEKAR, Literary Agent with Spencerhill Associates
Nalini joined Spencerhill Associates after a lengthy editorial career and several years in advertising sales. Agenting provided the perfect opportunity for combining her editorial instincts with her sales, marketing, and business experience. Nalini specializes in romance and women’s fiction in the adult market with the exception of inspirational, but she also loves thrillers and wouldn’t mind seeing some horror. She’ll look at new adult, but doesn’t have much interest in YA. Many of the new authors she’s worked with have gone on to sell multiple books to major publishers.
CANDANCE HAVENS, Entangled Editorial Director, Covet, Select, and Edge lines
Bestselling author Candace Havens has written multiple novels for Berkley, Entangled and Harlequin. Her books have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion and Write Touch Reader Awards. She is the author of the biography Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities including Tom Hanks, Nicolas Cage, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and many more. Her entertainment columns can be read in more than 600 newspapers across the country. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2200 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing class. She does film reviews with the Hawkeye & Dorsey on 96.3, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association.