Oklahoma Spring 2014 Conference Speaker Information

Melissa ManloveMelissa Manlove, Editor for Chronicle Books

Topic for Oklahoma Conference: “Show Not Tell” Your characters’ thoughts and feelings are among the most compelling things about your story. We will explore the authorial magic that happens when you leave them out.

 Melissa acquires picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and YA. She describes herself as “passionate about all genres and topics in children’s books, with the exception of religious themes. When acquiring, she looks for fresh takes on familiar topics as well as the new and unusual. More important than topic, however, is an effective approach and strong, graceful writing.”   http://www.chroniclebooks.com

liza-kaplan Liza Kaplan, Editor at Penguin Group

Topic for Oklahoma Conference: Upping the Ante: How to Build and Sustain Tension in Your Writing

This workshop focuses on developing various types of tension (dramatic, sexual/romantic, environmental) in order to raise the stakes throughout, keep your characters moving forward, and positively impact the emotional strength of your novel.


Andrew-Harwell-189x300 Andrew Harwell, Editor at HarperCollins Children’s Books, focuses on middle grade and young adult fiction. He especially loves novels that take risks and play for keeps, and his favorite books are genre-benders held together by alchemical prose. At Harper, Andrew has the privilege of working with such genius authors as Dan Gutman, Heather Brewer, J. Scott Savage, Noelle Stevenson, Madeleine Roux, and many more.  http://www.harpercollins.com


tricia-lawrence-2Tricia Lawrence – Agent for Erin Murphy Literary Agency

Conference TopicCreating a YA or MG Character To Fall In Love With

Tricia is the "Pacific Northwest branch" of EMLA—born and raised in Oregon, and now lives in Seattle. After 18 years of working as a developmental and production-based editor (from kids book to college textbooks, but mostly college textbooks), she joined the EMLA team in March 2011 as a social media strategist.

As associate agent, Tricia represents picture books/chapter books that look at the world in a unique and unusual way, with characters that are alive both on and off the page, and middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction that offers strong world building, wounded narrators, and stories that grab a reader and won't let go.  http://emliterary.com/about.php

kristin-miller-vincent  Kristin Miller-Vincent, Agent, D4EO,

Topic for Oklahoma Conference: "Keeping it Fresh: Writing About What You Don't Know, Things You Can't See and What Doesn't Even Exist." I'll discuss what it means when agents say they're looking for "something fresh," give some tips on how to discover those fresh topics, and provide examples of exciting projects I've seen announced recently that stand out as particularly fresh.

Kristin is building her list with everything from picture books to YA. She was promoted to associate agent in February of 2011, after interning with Mandy Hubbard at D4EO Literary Agency. She graduated from the University of Washington with degrees in English Lit, Women's Studies and Secondary Education. She publishes magazine and website articles and young adult novels under a pen name, teaches writing and works editorially with clients and other writers. D4EO is a full-service, six-agent literary agency representing authors of a very broad range of commercial fiction and non-fiction for children, young adults, and adults. http://www.d4eoliteraryagency.com


Colleen AF Venable Colleen AF Venable, Art and Design Editor of Macmillan's graphic novel imprint, First Second Books, designs and seeks out artists for graphic novels across three age categories—children, teens, and adults. Starting her career in publishing in 2002, Colleen won the job of staff librarian at the Children's Book Council and worked her way up to Programs Manager. In 2007 she left for a job in marketing at Roaring Brook Press where her big mouth in cover meetings landed her in the design department. Passionate about YA and middle grade prose, she also designs a handful of books a season for sister Macmillan imprints. Along with her career on the publisher side of the industry, Colleen has published six books including the Eisner-nominated kids’ graphic novel series GUINEA PIG, PET SHOP PRIVATE EYE (illustrated by Stephanie Yue). In 2015 her first YA graphic novel will be released by First Second and her first picture book will be released by HarperCollins.  http://www.firstsecondbooks.com

Topic for Oklahoma Conference: “Graphic Novel 101” A program for illustrators and authors interested in graphic novels and comics-based storytelling. Attendees will learn the basics of creating a graphic novel—from the general rules and common beginners’ mistakes, to the unique story-telling possibilities of the medium. The keynote will cover scripting, adapting a script, thumbnails, penciling, inking, coloring, various ways to create lettering and balloons, and an overview of the current market.