Teen Fiction

McWilliams, Kelly

Birth City: 
Rockville
Birth State: 
MD
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author
Biography: 

Kelly is a mixed-race writer who has always gravitated towards stories about crossing boundaries and forging new identities. Her upcoming young-adult novel, Agnes at the End of the World (Little, Brown, Young Readers, 2020), benefited from a We Need Diverse Books mentorship. Kelly has previously worked as a staff writer for Romper, covering issues important to women and families. When she's not writing, she's reading, cooking (with mixed results), or hiking in the gorgeous Colorado mountains. She lives in Colorado Springs with her partner and young daughter.

Awards/Honors: 
DOORMAT was a Junior Library Guild selection
Education/Training: 
Bachelor of Arts, English, Brown University, 2010 - Walnut Hill School for the Arts High School, 2006
Organizations: 
Rocky Mountain Chapter Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
The Craft of Writing (young adult, science fiction; outlining) - The role of faith and prayer in my book and in coming-of-age literature - Spirituality and feminism in the science fiction tradition - As a Southwest native, growing up with the legacy Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS)(the polygamist cult whose crimes inspired the novel) - Writing apocalyptic fiction for a generation raised in the shadow of global warming - The impact of mainstream patriarchy on girls growing up in our society (and how feminist narratives can help make a better world) - How AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD benefited from a We Need Diverse Books mentorship (and how her biracial identity manifested in this story about forging your own identity from the ashes of injustice)
Local Authors Genres: 

Berge, Bekah

Berge, Bekah
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Biography: 

Bekah Berge fell in love with all things mystical at a young age. Her love of stories led to her writing her first book in her
early twenties, and she's never looked back since. When not scribbling down fantastical tales, she enjoys traveling,
baking, hiking in the nearby mountains, and brewing the perfect cup of tea.

Speaker Availability: 
No
Local Authors Genres: 

Klein, Claudia

Birth City: 
Tawas City
Birth State: 
MI
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author
Biography: 

Claudia Klein began writing as soon as she could spell. She finished writing her first YA fantasy novel at the age of 18 and has continued writing in the genre ever since. Her debut novel was published in 2019. She currently lives in the Pikes Peak region and when she’s not writing you’ll find her crocheting, snow skiing, and spending time with her family.

Education/Training: 
Bachelor of Science, Biology
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Writing fiction - How to Self-Publish - The World of Erlingue
Local Authors Genres: 

Martinez, Amaya

Birth City: 
Upland
Birth State: 
CA
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Student
Biography: 

Inspired by her grandfather who is a published author, Amaya wrote her first book at the age of 12 and published it at the age of 13. Amaya is committed to her craft and writes on a daily basis. She originally started writing her first book on a manual typewriter. She loves to share her love of writing with other people and has been complimented on her use of dialogue at such a young age.

Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Being a teen novelist
Local Authors Genres: 

Maschger, Eileen

Maschger, Eileen
Birth City: 
Rome
Birth State: 
NY
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Biography: 

Eileen moved to the Colorado Springs area with her family when she was 8 years old. Although she had lived in three different homes before then, Colorado Springs is where she grew up and has her most fondest memories. After becoming an Army wife she has lived on the west coast, the east, and on the Gulf Coast as well. But now he is back in Colorado, raising her own family in her hometown. She is inspired every day by her children and various friendly faces that help her to imagine a world of stories. She has a newfound love of writing to help bring these stories to life for her young readers in age and in heart.

Education/Training: 
Associate degree, Psychology, Pikes Peak Community College
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Inspiration for Youth confidence and pursuing their dreams - Self-confidence - Encouraging individual creativity to shine
Local Authors Genres: 

DeHerrera, Holly

DeHerrera, Holly
Birth City: 
Mountainhome
Birth State: 
ID
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Writer - Author - Teacher
Biography: 

Holly is a military-brat-who-never-lived-anyplace-for-very-long turned local after marrying her born-and-raised-in-Colorado-Springs husband. Together they are raising, home schooling and trying to keep alive five kids.

Culture shock was Holly’s childhood, moving from Taiwan to Norway to England to Turkey to Germany and back to Turkey again, establishing in her a love for travel and for different people and for outdoor cafes and castles sitting in the middle of the sea.

Holly is a writer, her stories sprouting directly out of her life experiences, giving voice to a young Old Order Mennonite girl solving mysteries in the middle of Indiana farmland and a young woman returning to Turkey to find closure from her past. Holly currently writes life stories for Good Catch Publishing and has one novel out, The Orphan Maker's Sin, with several books coming out this year through Blackside Publishing.

Awards/Honors: 
2018 - Author of the Year, Good Catch Publishing
Education/Training: 
Bachelor of Arts degree, English Education
Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Writers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Creative writing topics (description, setting, turning points, characterization, voice), multi-genre, especially for tweens/teens - Creating stories from real life, drawing inspiration from your ordinary
Local Authors Genres: 

Wilson, Neil

Birth City: 
Tampa
Birth State: 
FL
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
US Air Force
Biography: 

Serving America in the US Air Force for 20+ years; spent 12+ years overseas (Korea and Germany) but now living/stationed in Colorado Springs. Interests include books (reading/writing - of course), travel, art, Asian languages, Asian food...my kids.

Speaker Availability: 
No

Manivong, Tai

Manivong, Tai
Birth City: 
Colorado Springs
Birth State: 
CO
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Teacher - Author
Biography: 

Tai Manivong is a fantasy author. Her first middle grade fantasy novel, Crimson, was published in 2018. She attributes her writing to reading lots of fantasy novels growing up. Some of her favorite authors are R.A. Salvatore, Anne McCaffrey, and Melanie Rawn. She is currently working on “The Dragon Keeper Chronicles” series and several other books. She teaches elementary school in Colorado and dreams of one day becoming a best-selling author.

Visit her website at www.taimanivong.com or visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/taimanivongbooks.

Awards/Honors: 
5 Star Reader's Favorite Review - https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/crimson
Education/Training: 
Master of Arts in Teaching - Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
Organizations: 
Member of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
I can speak about world building, character inspiration, my journey self publishing, formatting novels or education topics.

Riley, Gina

Riley, Gina
Birth City: 
Detroit
Birth State: 
MI
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Former librarian and teacher - Cherokee Two-Spirit Shaman
Biography: 

I was still living as a man when I moved to in the year 2000. Having been outed as transgender, and fired at the Prep-School where I had been working, I was recruited at the National Librarians' Conference to be the Coordinator of Information and Technology at Mitchell High School, where I was again outed and fired.

In 2007, after being outed and fired at CollegeAmerica, I transitioned to living full time as a woman. My storytelling-performances in The Story Project in Colorado Springs and for The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers are viewable on YouTube. I also sing karaoke and do an occasional standup open-mike.

Awards/Honors: 
First Place - Bowling This Month, Amateur Bowling Writers Contest
First Place - Best Creative Non-Fiction 2013, Loyola Maryland University Literary EZine
Education/Training: 
Master's Degree in Library Science - Bachelor's Degree in English, Wayne State University, Michigan
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Storytelling - Transgender - Theory of Mind - Education

Cox, Jodi

Cox, Jodi
Birth City: 
Union City
Birth State: 
IN
Current Location: 
Colorado Springs, CO
Occupation(s): 
Author - Illustrator - Graphic Designer
Biography: 

Jodi Cox is an American dieselpunk author born on April 10, 1979 in Union City, Indiana. She graduated from Simon Kenton High School in 1997. Later she went on to graduate with a BFA from the College of Mount Saint Joseph, now known as the University of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio.

After college, Jodi started writing for Citybeat magazine. Later she went on to become a pioneer in internet graphics and website development. After spending nearly ten years writing for everything from tax websites to poetry, Jodi began developing the world of the Nether After, unbeknownst to her that steampunk and dieselpunk was turning into a literary genre.

Jodi enjoys all things speculative fiction, but has a pension for the weird and unusual. She describes herself as a comic book snob. She is often found with a stack of Japanese and American graphic novels in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. She enjoys drawing and painting, as well as writing. Her hours not spent on writing are devoted to geeking out over new computer hardware, or the latest video games. She loves ripping into electronics to see how they work, as well as cooking and developing new recipes.

As a writer Jodi has been writing steampunk, dieselpunk, and fantasy of all types. She has even dipped her toe into science fiction.

Education/Training: 
BFA, Mt. St. Joseph University
Organizations: 
Pikes Peak Writers - Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers - Tesla Writers
Speaker Availability: 
Yes
Speaker Topics: 
Dieselpunk - Steampunk - Self publishing - Book layout and design - Web comics - High fantasy world building - Fantasy & pop culture tropes and how not to use them - Minority heroes - Ghost stories for kids - Comics in the new digital age - Comics in the classroom - Pop culture fandom

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