Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writer Mentors

2019/2020 Writer Mentors

Use this list to help determine the mentor that will be the best fit for you, but also check out author websites to learn more about them and their books!

Fleur (F.T.) Bradley

Fleur is the author of the Double Vision trilogy (HarperCollins Children’s), a fun middle-grade spy adventure series School Library Journal calls, “a must-read for mystery fans, including reluctant readers.” She’s currently hard at work editing her (top-secret) upcoming MG novel. Her story “The Perfect Alibi” is forthcoming in Mystery Writers of America’s MG anthology SUPER MYSTERIOUS PUZZLERS, edited by Chris Grabenstein (Fall 2020, HarperCollins). She regularly does school and Skype visits, as well as librarian and educator conference talks on reaching reluctant readers. Originally from the Netherlands, she now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters, and entirely too many cats.

Mentoring process: My mentoring feedback on the revision side will be best for someone looking for developmental editing: big picture revision to get your novel ready for submission. I try to be encouraging and have fun. Writing can be hard and lonely, so I focus on staying positive and on task. I can help mentees break down their editing process with clear goals in mind, and I’ll check up to see how things are going. Once the project is where you want it to be, I’ll help with perfecting a query and sample pages, and with finding resources in agent (or editor, if you prefer) research. My background is in commercial fiction, though I read widely in middle-grade (I also read for awards and reviews) and have a good idea where a project might fit in the marketplace. Most of all, I want this to be a positive learning experience that gets mentees ahead in their writing career. Chapter Book, Middle Grade

Carmela Coyle

Carmela is an award-winning author of picture books including, Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots?series, and other lively titles. She walks daily under a canopy of cottonwoods, finding wonder (and inspiration) in the smallest of things. She has a degree in Elementary Ed and Art. As a fourth-year mentor, Carmela hopes to work with an enthusiastic, soulful writer—someone willing to entertain all the possibilities with humor and an open mind.

Mentoring process:

Depending on the mentee’s particular story theme and content, Carmela will assign (fun!)picture book titles to read and discuss. Her mentor process includes thoughtful commentary, critique, craft study, line-editing (if necessary), discussion about the industry; and all manner of encouragement.

Picture Book(600-words or less; non-rhyming; fiction; non-religious).

Anna-Maria Crum
Anna-Maria is the author of 22 grade school readers, both fiction and nonfiction. She has also illustrated over 50 books. She has co-authored an interactive digital novel, Sorcery is for Saps, for Choice of Games, which was like three-dimensional chess for plotting. She wrote and illustrated her first book at age 7 and hasn’t stopped since. She is a long-time member of SCBWI and is on the board for Picture Book Artists Association. She is also a part-owner in Plot Doctors, a writing service that helps people with their plot problems. A number of people she’s worked with have gone on to sell their books. Anna-Maria loves helping writers see the potential in their stories and showing them how to add the depth and motivation their characters lack. So often writers already have everything they need in their story—they just aren’t using it to their advantage. When she’s not writing, she’s busy playing fetch with Tucker, and teaching him what things he can jump up on (couches, chairs, bed, laps) and what he can’t (tables, kitchen counters, stove, and window ledges). Update: Anna-Maria has ceded ownership of the dining room table to Tucker (it has the best view of the street) but has successfully reclaimed all kitchen counters and window ledges. Middle Grade, Young Adult ( all genres)

Martha Freeman

Martha’s 30-plus books for kids include Zap! (2018 Edgar nominee), Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question (SLJ starred review, JLG selection), and The Orphan and the Mouse (JLG selection, Bank Street Best Book of the Year) as well as the Secret Cookie Club, First Kid, Trouble and Chickadee Court series. Her beginning reader, Mrs. Wow Never Wanted a Cow, has sold more than 250,000 copies. Coming in February 2020 is a nonfiction title: Born Curious, 20 Girls Who Grew Up to Be Awesome Scientists. Martha’s books also appear on multiple state award lists and have been translated into Turkish, French, Italian, Japanese and Spanish. Martha graduated from Stanford University sometime after Woodstock and has worked as a reporter, copy editor, freelance journalist, college instructor and volunteer EMT. She has never taken a creative writing class. She is faking it. Her No. 1 tip for aspiring writers is: Finish the project. She looks forward to helping her mentee do just that.

Picture Books, Chapter Books, Middle Grade.

Jenny Goebel

Jenny is the author of Out of My Shell, Fortune Falls, an Indies Next List pick, and Grave Images, the Colorado Book Awards 2014 Winner for Juvenile Literature. She also wrote the penultimate, The 39 Clues Book: Doublecross: Mission Hurricane, and picture books: Foreman Farley has a Backhoe; Foreman Frankie is Handyand The Firefighter.  Jenny is happiest either with a steaming cup of tea and a good book in her hands, or when she’s exploring Colorado’s endless beauty with her family. She lives in Westminster with her husband, three sons, three crested geckos, and one mischievous dog.

I’ve enjoyed participating in the mentorship program for the past three years. My goal each time has been to structure my feedback based on the needs of my mentees and their individual projects. We can work on multiple picture book manuscripts over the course of the program, focus on a single middle grade novel, or a combination of the two. How in depth we go on each manuscript will depend on how much material we’re trying cover, and the amount of revision necessary. Picture Books, Middle Grade   

Traci L Jones
Traci was raised in Denver. After graduating from East High School, she attended Pomona College in Claremont, California, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Traci returned to Colorado to attend the University of Denver where she earned a MS in Advertising. She met her husband shortly after returning to Colorado and they married in 1995. They have four children, and together own and operate Pencol Compounding Pharmacy in the Denver metro area.

While raising her kids and helping with the pharmacy Traci was reminded of her love for writing and began working towards a Creative Writing Certificate at the University of Denver. One of those courses led to the writing and completion of her first book, Standing Against the Wind. Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2006, Standing would win the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award. Two more books with FSG followed in 2010 and 2011, Finding My Place and Silhouetted by the Blue. In 2016 she joined the faculty of the Mile Hi MFA in Creative Writing program at Regis University in Denver where she teaches young adult fiction. Middle Grade, Young Adult

Darby Karchut

Darby is a multi-award winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words.Her latest book, DEL TORO MOON was the 2019 Colorado Book Award Winner for Juvenile Literature.Using a combination of developmental and line editing, she looks forward to helping her mentee polish and hone their story to make it the best it can be. Middle Grade, Young Adult

Claudia Mills
Claudia is the author of almost 60 books for young readers, including picture books, easy readers, chapter books (How Oliver Olson Changed the WorldKelsey Green, Reading Queen), and middle-grade novels (Zero Tolerance; Write This Down ). Her books have been named Notable Books of the Year by the American Library Association, nominated for dozens of state readers’ choice awards, and translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese. An Associate Professor Emerita of Philosophy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, she now teaches for the low-residency Graduate Program in Children’s Literature at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA. Claudia has served as a mentor in the SCBWI program for at least a dozen times since the program’s inception. Focusing both on big-picture structure and on the sparkle of each individual sentence, she is committed to helping every mentee’s book become the best and truest version of itself. Chapter Books, Middle Grade

Laura Perdew
Laura is a middle school teacher turned author. She has written over 30 nonfiction books for young readers on subjects ranging from wetland conservation to pirates, and the history of toilets to animal adaptations. Most of her work is for the education market, including Biodiversity: Explore the Diversity of Life on Earthwhich earned a starred review from Booklist and is a Junior Library Guild selection. She looks forward to working with a mentee who has a nonfiction picture book manuscript concept or manuscript they want to bring alive. Laura is also open to helping a mentee with research strategies or breaking into writing for the education market (generating writing samples, crafting queries, and approaching publishers). Nonfiction

Jean Reidy
Jean’s fun, lively and award-winning picture books have earned their spots as favorites among readers and listeners of all ages and from all over the world.  Jean loves writing, but she loves her readers even more … which is why she dives deep into her craft with each and every manuscript to make it the very best it can be. She’s hoping to work with a mentee who is willing to to do the same and who has a minimum of 3 polished fiction picture book manuscripts. Jean is represented by Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency. She writes from her home in Colorado where she lives right across the street from her neighborhood library … which she visits nearly every day. Picture Books (fiction only)

Judith Robbins Rose

Judy’s debut novel, Look Both Ways in the Barrio Blanco, took a second-place award in the 2016 International Latino Book Awards for first time authors. It also received multiple regional honors and was included on several important lists. A former journalist, stand-up comedienne and playwright, Judy has had a lifetime career as a writer, with credits and recognitions in television, stage and print media. She’s an experienced conference presenter and has taught middle grade and adult courses.

Her interest is in literary novel writing (as opposed to commercial or genre work), both contemporary and historical. She prefers character-driven stories, especially when heavy, complex emotions are delivered with a sense of humor. Favorite authors include Chris Crutcher, Nikki Grimes, Avi, Kimberly Willis Holt, Jewell Parker Rhodes, and Matt de la Peña, to name a few.

The mentorship will focus on developing the mentee’s skills. Based on the work-in-progress, the mentee will receive a reading list of craft books and comparable novels tailored to his/her needs. Middle Grade, Young Adult