Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Writer Mentors

2018/2019 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!

Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Jennifer is the author of the New York Times-bestselling Book Scavenger series (Christy Ottaviano Books/Henry Holt) which includes Book Scavenger, The Unbreakable Code, and The Alcatraz Escape. Book Scavenger was an Indie Next Top Ten pick, an Amazon Book of the Year, a Bank Street College Book of the Year, an NCTE Notable Book, and has been nominated for over twenty state award and honor lists, among other accolades. The series will be translated into twelve languages. She studied creative writing and dance at UC Irvine and went on to earn her MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA. She worked in publishing for over a decade before becoming a children’s book author. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jennifer now lives in Colorado with her family. Middle Grade

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 is the author of numerous short crime stories, and manages a freelance writing career along with a middle-grade novel project. She lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters, and entirely too many cats. Find her on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor. Middle grade

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.

Ana Crespo
Ana is the author of THE SOCK THIEF: A SOCCER STORY, one of the CCBC 2016 Choices titles. She is also the author of the MY EMOTIONS AND ME series, which includes JP AND THE GIANT OCTOPUS, described by PW as “a sensitive, humorous look at how imagination can both fuel anxiety and conquer it.”  Ana is attracted to stories with few words (500 and less), in which the illustrations play a vital role. Non-illustrators writing illustration-driven stories must pay extra attention to page breaks, descriptive words, and the dreadful illustration notes we all struggle with. That tough balance between word and illustration will be the focus of Ana’s work with her mentee(s). Ana hopes her mentee(s) will be open-minded, good listeners, unafraid of making changes, respectful, and hard workers. Picture books, fiction, up to 800 words (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 is a graduate of Ohio State University and has been involved in children’s books since 1989. 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). Tucker is part mountain goat. Middle Grade and Young Adult, all genres

Jenny Goebel
Jenny enjoys writing lively picture books and middle grade novels with a magical twist.  Fortune Falls was chosen as a Winter 2015-2016 Indies Next List pick and Grave Images was 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 Handy and The Firefighter.  A few of Jenny’s favorites are faith, family, friends, a steaming cup of tea, a good book (obviously), and exploring Colorado’s endless beauty. Picture Books and 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 and 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 books include the best selling middle grade series: THE ADVENTURES OF FINN MacCULLEN. Best thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film. Her newest middle grade book, DEL TORO MOON, releases October 2 from Owl Hollow Press. Middle Grade and 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 World; Kelsey 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 and Middle Grade

Laura Perdew
Laura is a middle school teacher turned author. She has written over 20 nonfiction books for young readers on subjects ranging from wetland conservation to pirates, and the history of toilets to animal rights. Most of her work is for the education market, for a variety of reading levels. She looks forward to working with a mentee who has a partial or full nonfiction manuscript to revise and/or a book proposal. 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, no picture books

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

 Kim Tomsic
Kim believes in miracles, magic, and music. She also believes in the Michelle Begley Mentor Program, because without it she would not have a published novel. Kim’s debut novel, The 11:11 Wish, is about dares, wishes, and magic—light fantasy grounded in a contemporary middle school. The 11:11 Wish released with Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins in February 2018.  Her next novel (also light fantasy set in a contemporary middle school), The 12th Candle, (Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins) releases in September 2019.  Kim is the author of two narrative nonfiction picture books releasing with Chronicle Books, GUITAR GENIUS: The Legendary Les Paul and His Electrifying Inventions (April 2019), and her 2020 book doesn’t have a title yet, however it is about a man and a herd of elephants and the incredible friendship they formed.  Beyond writing, Kim is a yoga teacher, a pet wrangler, and the Co-Regional advisor of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Middle Grade and Picture Books*

* I can work with someone on either a middle grade novel or a narrative nonfiction picture book for a single project; or I am open to working with a picture book writer who has three completed manuscripts to work on throughout the process. Mentee must be comfortable with the majority of our exchanges to take place via email. Mentee should become familiar with the “redline” feature in Word (might as well start now, that’s how exchanges take place with agent and editor)