Julie Artz writes stories for children that feature the natural world, folklore, mythology, history, and all that is magical about those things. Since her first work-study job editing papers and resumes at DePauw University, she’s made her living writing everything from computer manuals to training materials, from press releases and marketing copy to gardening articles, from flash fiction to novel-length works. Now, in addition to her creative writing, she works as a book coach for Author Accelerator, contributes regularly to bookish blogs From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors and The Winged Pen, and is currently building SCBWI-WWA’s mentorship program.
By day, Holly Huckeba teaches social studies and language arts to middle graders; and in turn, they school her on the glorious messiness of being young. To catch this lightening in a bottle for her writing, Holly must wake up very, very early in the morning; at a time of day also known as the middle of the night. Sleep deprivation is totally worth it, though, when her characters take shape on the page. Holly lives in a cozy cottage in Bellevue, with her partner, a dog, and five chickens.
Kevan Atteberry was a graphic designer for many years. Today he writes and illustrates picture books. Among them are award-winners like Frankie Stein by Lola Schaefer, and Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett. His latest book, PUDDLES!!!, a companion book to BUNNIES!!! came out in May. . His biggest claim to fame is being the creator of Clippy, the Microsoft Word Assistant, which even today is annoying millions of people a day. It is important to him that you know he only created the character—not the functionality. He is a birder of over 40 years and has been bitten by both a cormorant and a raven. Though not at the same time. Kevan is a Pisces, loves banana cream pie and the color periwinkle. Or maybe just saying the word periwinkle. You can see his illustrations at www.kevanatteberry.com.
Assistant Regional Advisor
Ann Haywood Leal comes from a long line of musicians, artists, and teachers. Since she’s never been able to carry a tune, she was always given plenty of writing supplies and allowed to use the sharp scissors. Eventually, she put those writing supplies to good use and wrote her middle-grade novels, ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER and A FINDERS-KEEPERS PLACE. She recently contributed to Black Dog & Leventhal’s MY BOOKSTORE: WRITERS CELEBRATE THEIR FAVORITE PLACES TO BROWSE, READ, AND SHOP. Ann is currently hard at work completing her next middle-grade novel.
Beth Bacon is the author of I Hate Reading, and The Book No One Wants To Read, two books for children who are reluctant readers. Beth has an MFA in Writing For Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Beth has won the the Candlewick Award for Picture Book Writing, the Marion Dane Bauer Award for Middle Grade Writing, and is a PSAMA PULSE Award Finalist for marketing. Visit her website at BethBaconAuthor.com.
Inside Story Coordinator
Michele’s first YA novel, Life Before, published in 2016. Her second, Antipodes, is about an ambitious American teen forced to study abroad in New Zealand to improve her Ivy League prospects. Michele enjoys helping writers find their voices through writing workshops and retreats. When she’s not writing, Michele enjoys skiing, playing tabletop games, immersing herself in nature, and traveling. No matter where she wanders, Michele loves coming home to Seattle, where she lives with her partner and three children.
Jolie Stekly is a writer and teacher who works with writers, at all stages, to grow their craft and achieve their goals. Over the past 15 years she has worked with numerous editors, agents, authors, and illustrators to develop programming for conferences, retreats, and classes. She teaches a popular series of classes on writing or kid, and a picture book class at the University of Washington. She is a former regional advisor of SCBWI Western Washington and she was recognized as SCBWI’s 2009 Member of the Year. Jolie now welcomes hundreds of first-time attendees to the SCBWI conference in Los Angeles each summer and is a member of SCBWI’s Team Blog. Find her on Instagram and Twitter @cuppajolie and at joliestekly.com.
Fall Retreat Coordinator
Joni Sensel earned her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s the author of a handful of fantasies for middlegrade and YA readers, most recently The Skeleton’s Knife, the third book in her Farwalker Trilogy. Joni is a past Regional Advisor for our chapter and currently is a business writing freelancer and propagandist, living in the woods near Mt. Rainier. Read more at www.jonisensel.com.
Spring Retreat Coordinator
Lily LaMotte has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hamline University. She has written picture books, a middle grade graphic novel, and is challenging herself to write early readers through Hamline’s post-grad semester with Laurel Snyder. This is her third role on the advisory committee as she likes to be well-rounded that way. Previously, she was the conference coordinator and the assistant regional advisor. She had childhood dreams of working in a library. Now she supports her passion for libraries through her work on the King County Library System Foundation Gala committee.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Coordinator
Ellie Peterson is a picture book author, illustrator, and science educator living in the Seattle area. Her work is inspired by her experience teaching STEM, her upbringing as a biracial army brat, and her many adventures in parenting. Ellie’s books actively encourage children to question HOW they know what they know. Her picture book series The Joulia Copernicus Books will debut in September 2019 with It’s a Round, Round World!, soon followed by The Reason for the Seasons. She has also illustrated Bea’s Bees by Katherine Pryor. When she’s not in the lab, she enjoy experimenting with art supplies in her home studio and visiting other local schools.
VICKI CONRAD is teacher with a passion for literacy development and getting students to love reading just as much as she did as a child. Growing up, she was always found with a book in her hand, and has stayed that way ever since. Her first picture book, Just Like Beverly will be released from Little Big Foot this year. When she is not writing or teaching she is traveling the world, baking, gardening, and thinking of the next story to tell.
She has called Seattle her home for many years. This year she is looking forward to serving SCBWI as the Webinar Coordinator.
Jason is a Technical Writing Manager by day. He holds an MFA in Children’s Writing from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA and has published articles, books, and other educational content with companies such as Cobblestone, Capstone, Rosen, Wright/McGraw Hill, and Learnstar. He is currently at work on multiple middle-grade fiction manuscripts.
Debbie Faith Mickelson wrote her first short story around the age of 13. It wasn’t until a year after her youngest was born that she returned to her passion. Escaping her previous life as an aerospace software engineer, she now writes for children and young adults. She loves that words create dreams and take children places. “Books and the passion for reading are the best gifts we can give the world.”
Lisa L. Owens’s career in children’s publishing has spanned nearly 25 years. She has authored 95+ books for young people, including early readers, chapter books, graphic novels, and a wide variety of nonfiction for PreK–YA audiences. As a former in-house editor and longtime freelancer, she’s worked in various editorial capacities—from concept to market—on thousands of published works for all ages. Publishing in Summer 2017 is her book Attack on Pearl Harbor, the first of her four titles examining the drama of World War II through the lens of people who lived it. Lisa lives in Issaquah with her aerospace-engineer husband and their retired racing greyhound. To learn more, visit llowens.com and @LisaLOwens.
Mentorship Program Coordinator
Suma is the contributing author of Hero Next Door (Penguin Random House, Fall 2019). She contributes to http://www.fromthemixedupfiles.com/. Suma is also a part of the internship grants team of We Need Diverse Books. She holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a Certificate in Popular Fiction from the University of Washington. She is the cofounder of Kinder Konnection, a nonprofit literacy and youth development organization. When she is not reading or writing, she conducts creative writing workshops for kids of all ages. To learn more, visit @suma_v_s.
Social Media Coordinator
Laurie Ann Thompson has been on the SCBWI-WWA advisory committee for eight years, including a three-year stint as co-regional advisor. She writes for children and young adults to help her readers—and herself—make better sense of the world we live in so they can help make it a better place for all of us. She strives to write nonfiction that sparks imaginations and fiction that taps into universal truths. Her books include Be a Changemaker, a teen how-to filled with advice and inspiration for budding social entrepreneurs; Emmanuel’s Dream, a picture book biography about a young man who forever changed Ghana’s perception of people with disabilities; My Dog Is the Best, a fiction picture book about the unconditional love between a child and the family pet; and the upcoming Two Truths and a Lie series. Learn more at lauriethompson.com and @lauriethompson.
Network Lead & Critique Groups Coordinator
Rebecca Van Slyke has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She writes picture books, easy readers, nonfiction, and poetry. She’s currently working on something she swore she would never attempt: a middle-grade novel. She has illustrated five art books for children. She is also the author of picture books Mom School, and Dad School; and the forthcoming Where do Pants Go? and Lexie, The Word Wrangler, due to be published in 2016 and 2017. Rebecca is a second-grade teacher in Lynden, where she lives with her husband, daughter (when she’s not in college), and a very spoiled dachshund. She wants to be a cowgirl when she grows up. Or a penguin tamer.
Carol Zink is an artist, writer, traveler and lover of red vines and iced coffee. Carol is working on several Kid-Lit projects including picture books and middle grade novels. She has earned a Certificate in Writing for Children from the University of Washington. Carol lives near Seattle, WA with her husband, three kids and adorable dog, Bisous. When not writing, she’s a para-educator teaching reading and writing at a local elementary. Visit her website at www.carolzink.com