Originally from the Midwest, Colleen Riordan has bounced from coast to coast, using a variety of styles and media to tell her stories. In her YA and MG fiction, she enjoys writing political intrigue, subverting tropes, and exploring the meaning of family. Colleen is a past winner of the Young Adult Writer Mentorship from the SCBWI Wisconsin Chapter. When she isn’t writing, Colleen is a book marketing consultant for Wild Ink Marketing, where she specializes in children’s books. WildInkMarketing.com.
Dean Gloster is a young adult and middle-grade writer who lives in Berkeley, California. His contemporary YA debut Dessert First is out from Simon Pulse. He has an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His checkered past includes stand-up comedy, being a lawyer for decades, and being a law clerk for two U.S. Supreme Court Justices. His hobbies include downhill ski racing and Aikido. He is thrilled and honored to be a co-RA for the San Francisco North & East Bay Region effective January 1, 2021. deangloster.com
Natasha Yim is the author of 8 picture books. Her book Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas (Charlesbridge Publishing, 2014) was a Junior Library Guild and Scholastic Book Club selection. In December 2020, Luna’s Yum Yum Dim Sum was released by Charlesbridge Publishing as part of its Storytelling Math series. Natasha has also written for Disney Press which released the picture book Mulan’s Lunar New Year in 2018, and for Disney/Pixar with the release of Like Mother, Like Daughter based on the Pixar movie “Turning Red” (Spring 2022), and the Little Golden Book Lightyear, an adaptation of Disney/Pixar’s movie “Lightyear” (Summer, 2022). Natasha’s nonfiction articles have been published in the children’s magazines “Highlights for Children,” “Faces,” “Appleseeds,” and “Muse.” She grew up in Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and many of her stories are inspired by her cultural upbringing.
Nadia Salomon is the author of Goodnight Ganesha (Philomel, 2021). A graduate of Emerson College with a degree in Journalism and Public Policy, she has worked as a television journalist and freelanced for The Boston Globe. Now, Nadia writes picture book, middle-grade, and graphic novel manuscripts with themes of South Asian and Caribbean culture, STEM, non-fiction, and humor. Nadia is the winner of the 2020 SCBWI Service Award and the 2019 SCBWI WOOP Honor Award for work of outstanding progress for her non-fiction, picture book manuscript, Myrlie: A Voice of Hope. Her work is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Photo courtesy of Di Starr.) www.nadiasalomon.com
Annie Ruygt is an author and illustrator, living in Mendocino county. Her work is inspired by personal experiences, often incited by travel, and usually magical in some way. When she's not working on books, she illustrates for tech companies, writes music, and plays peekaboo with her 1 year old son. You can see her work at annieruygtillustration.com
Zu Gong is an illustrator and teacher from the Bay Area, California. Zu had an interest in picture book writing and illustrating since she was quite young. Her daily work includes reading to children, and creating stories around their curiosity. Aside from her love of children’s literature, she also enjoys reading detective fiction, ice skating and petting her friend's cats! More of her work: www.PenguinsandPlants.com
Emily Battaglia is a storyteller at heart, and she’s been able to parlay that skill in to several jobs: high school history teacher, educational video game writer, professional singer, online learning developer, and one of those is not true. (She can’t sing, not even a little.) She loves to travel and enjoy nature whenever possible, but reading anything she can get her hands on and writing young adult historical fiction are her true passions. Emily lives in Northern California with her husband, son, and elderly Jack Russell Terrier.
Carrie Salazar is a visual storyteller and driven to tell her own story, or other people’s stories, through art. She gets her inspiration from dreams, history, people, events, and her mischievous childhood in the South. The daughter of immigrants and born in the New Orleans, Carrie now lives and works in Berkeley, CA. carriesalazar.com
Raised by a Pakistani father and American mother in the small town of Half Moon Bay, California, L. Michelle Quraishi grew up searching for identity, belonging, and connection in books. Her experiences with straddling multiple cultures drive her commitment to exploring cultural edges and understanding. An SCBWI member since 2013, she’s written numerous picture books and is currently working on a middle-grade novel in verse. She now lives with her husband, two children and mother in Walnut Creek, California Learn more at www.lmquraishi.com.
Natasha Tripplett, a Jewish-Jamaican American author, lives in Northern California where she writes from a treehouse perched in a sycamore tree. As a baby, Natasha was adopted into a Dutch, Christian family. Growing up on Vancouver Island in Canada, Natasha was acutely aware that she was different from her family; this did not keep her from integrating all the pieces of her identity. Natasha’s multicultural background has allowed her to flow seamlessly through different cultures while bridging gaps that typically divide people. Natasha has been published in various online magazines. Natasha is represented by Caryn Wiseman of Andrea Brown Literary Agency and has forthcoming picture books with HarperCollins, Chronicle and WaterBrook. Natasha bubbles with excitement over antiques, chocolate, coffee on the front porch, and cozy movie nights in front of the fireplace with her husband and four children.
Nadine Takvorian is a first-generation Armenian-American author and illustrator of children’s books and graphic novels. From within the Armenian diaspora, Nadine’s family is *Bolsahye* — from Istanbul, Turkey. She is passionate about exploring identity and history, and battling cultural erasure. She also nourishes a soft spot for fantasy and alternate worlds. Nadine lives with her husband and two children in the Bay Area where they dig holes in their garden and dream of diving into waves at sea. Nadine is currently working on her debut YA graphic novel ARMAVENI with Levine Querido, Spring 2025.
Traci Huahn writes both fiction and nonfiction stories, many rooted in Asian American culture, history, and identity. Her debut picture book Mamie Tape Fights to go to School will be published by Crown BFYR in 2024. Born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Traci is the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Though she loves traveling far and near, most days you'll find her writing at home alongside her husband, two kids, a pup who loves raw Brussels sprouts, and a Betta fish named Walter. Traci is a co-coordinator of the SCBWI SF North/East Bay diversity initiative Tapestry of Voices. www.tracihuahn.com
Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S in 1999. An electrical engineer in the past, she now enjoys writing for children, leading early literacy initiatives, and advocating for diverse bookshelves. Meera is the author of #OwnVoices picture books The Yellow Suitcase and A Gift For Amma. She has also co-authored several kids’ books in India. Meera believes in the transformative power of stories and likes to write on people, places, and experiences less visible in children’s literature. Find out more at meerasriram.com.
Vanitha Sankaran is both a medical communications director working in rare diseases and a novelist. Her debut novel, Watermark, was a work of adult historical fiction; she has since written a YA contemporary fantasy and is working on a YA cross between science fiction and the history of slavery. She was a co-founding editor of the literary journal flashquake for its 10-year run and has served multiple times as the Conference and Program Chair for the Historical Novel Society of North America’s Biannual Conference. She currently lives with her husband and greyhounds in Moss Beach, California. Learn more at www.vanithasankaran.com/
Aditi Raychoudhury grew up in a small town in eastern India. While her town didn’t come with malls or TV, it came with the gifts of time and freedom, which she used to climb hills and trees… and draw, a love she discovered as soon as she could put pencil to paper. She is a self-taught illustrator and continued to draw through her career as an architect and building scientist. Her illustrations have appeared in publications by Penguin India, Andrews McMeel publishing and Workman Publishing. She hopes to bring a unique cultural perspective and find opportunities for underrepresented BIPOC illustrator.
Nanette Heffernan spends her days writing middle-grade eco-adventure stories, blogging (crunchywisdom.com), homesteading, and volunteering. She draws on her education as an MBA, certified Master Gardener, and Sustainability Consultant, to grow over half her family’s food, run the District Green Team for her local school district, and sit as VP on the board of Sustainable Lafayette. She is pleased to share her efforts have earned her three Environmental Awards of Excellence. Nanette lives in Northern California with her husband, three children, eight chickens, and cast of characters from her books who she chatters with daily. nanetteheffernan.com
Katya Rice is a writer and illustrator from Sonoma County. She lives in a little cabin in the woods, and loves creating stories that will soothe and inspire children to be their best selves. Last year, she completed UCSD’s Children’s Book Illustration program, wrote her first book, and is in the process of submitting it to publishers with the help of her literary agent.
Darcey Rosenblatt writes for middle grade and teenage people because she believes for them stories can be life changing – they were for her. Her debut novel Lost Boys (Henry Holt for Young Readers) was released in August 2017. Darcey is a cofounder of the annual Better Books Workshop for middle grade and young adult writers. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her fabulous husband and daughter, some fish, and the best dog in the world. Visit her website at darceyr.com.
Donna Weidner has sailed the seven seas with swashbuckling pirates, crossed blades with sword-wielding knights, and circumnavigated the moon in a cardboard box, until it was bedtime, at least. Now that she’s an adult, Donna writes books for children about those adventures laced with her actual experiences—like dog-sledding in the arctic or spending the night in a salt cave deep below the earth’s surface. Her debut picture book, THERE ARE NO DRAGONS IN THIS BOOK, is scheduled for publication in Spring 2024 by NorthSouth Books.
This SCBWI former regional advisor for Germany and Austria lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, a list of lands yet to be explored, and a treasure chest stuffed with story ideas. Visit her at donnaweidner.com.
Pamela Herron is a poet, writer, educator, and gardener living in the North Bay Area of California. She is interested in issues of sustainability and diversity. She teaches and writes about China, Chinese culture, and Confucianism and Daoism and their relevance to today’s culture. Follow Pamela’s blog at Books for Children and Young People; find her books for adults on her Amazon page.
Genevieve “Gennie” Gorback has a Masters of Education in Teaching from UC Santa Barbara. When she is not writing/revising/critiquing picture book manuscripts, she is an early literacy curriculum writer/app developer, a toy designer, and the President of the California Kindergarten Association (2021-2023). She lives in the East Bay with her husband and two young daughters. Gennie is not-yet-published and is currently querying agents. Twitter: @kindlingeducat1 IG: @myfavoritebooksforkids Website: www.kindling-education.com
Cat Fan is an author, advocate, and trailblazer. Growing up in a rough neighborhood in Stockton, CA, within an ethnic enclave of refugees, Cat faced violence and poverty. Her journey took a transformative turn when her parents, seeking a better life, moved the family to an agricultural town. As one of the few Asian families in a predominantly Caucasian community, Cat learned to adapt, advocate for herself, and embrace her neurodivergent identity.As the first person in her family to attend college, Cat understands the challenges of navigating higher education without a roadmap. Her personal experiences as a neurodivergent individual shaped her perspective and fueled her drive to make a positive impact. Cat is dedicated to serving underserved communities and children who have faced loss and trauma, providing them with support, representation, and a voice.Through her writing, Cat weaves together narratives of resilience, diversity, and empowerment. Her work resonates with those who have felt lost, offering healing and guidance. As a proud advocate for neurodiversity and a champion of education, Cat is breaking barriers, inspiring others to embrace their unique identities, and paving the way for a more inclusive and compassionate world.
Terri Nicholson wrote her first story, a science fiction piece about Martians, in fourth grade. Unfortunately, her teacher was more interested in fine penmanship than an engaging plot. Eventually, her interest in writing and the teaching profession came together. She has spent most of her career sharing her love of literature and joy in the art of writing with young people. She was a teacher-consultant for the Redwood Writing Project and co-taught several summer writing intensives for teachers. She has written one historical novel, Enter Emma, and is at work on the sequel. She also writes memoir, mostly about her adventures learning Chinese and studying Buddhism with a Buddhist monk from Manchuria.
Tracy Hill has been writing since she figured out how to hold a pencil. From there, she likes to think she’s taken the scenic route through life. While in the thick of a demanding biotechnology career, she completed Stanford’s two-year Online Novel Writing Certificate Program, where she workshopped a young adult contemporary/sci-fi novel about six teenage strangers and the shady grad student who recruits them for a mysterious study. In addition to writing, Tracy loves to read, travel, run, do yoga, bake too many cookies, and make things out of yarn. Find her on Instagram (@tracy.lynn.hill –fair warning: it’s mostly pictures of her cats Sokka and Toph) and Twitter (@russianumbrella.)