A.J. Sass

Self-Doubt and the Internal Struggle

I want to address how it doesn’t get easier the more progress you make with your writing or within the publishing industry, that self-doubt is multi-layered, even if you have an agent, a book deal, a dozen bestsellers on the shelves, etc. I’d like to unpack that and offer some suggestions on how to keep things in perspective, using my personal experiences with an editorial letter from my publisher as an example.

A.J. Sass is a fiction-writing figure skater, inclined toward adventures of a traveling nature. He is autistic and non-binary, and keen on exploring how gender identity and neurodiversity impact character narratives.

A.J. grew up in the Midwestern US, came of age in the South, and currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his boyfriend and two cats who act like dogs. His middle grade debut, ANA ON THE EDGE, will be published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in Fall 2020.

Caroline Murphy

Northern Exposure

Publishing is a very London-centric business, and writers far from the buzz of book launches, agent events and conferences can feel isolated and overlooked. So what can writers ‘up north’ do make sure they’re not left out in the cold?

Caroline Murphy grew up in the north-east of England, spent sixteen years in Asia and six in London, but has returned to Newcastle to bring up her four boys. She has been writing children’s books for four years and is represented by Lauren Gardner (whom she’s never met because… you know… time and distance). Caroline is currently writing a MG novel set against a northern backdrop of the 1984 miners’ strike. 

Gabriel Dylan

Pacing in YA fiction

An in-depth look at how hard it is to ‘hook’ young adult readers, and how important a part pacing plays in grabbing your audience.

Author of YA horror novel ‘Whiteout’.

Hannah Kates


When, how, and why you need to step away from your manuscript. 

HANNAH KATES is a young adult and middle grade author of dark and twisted tales. After graduating from the world’s premier military institute, she got out of war games and into the world of children’s literature, which she considers to be significantly more fun. As a wanderer, songwriter, and collector of stories, you can find her skulking around cemeteries or giving tours in America’s most haunted manor. She is represented by Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency. 

Jeanna Skinner


WTFB through imposter syndrome and daily pain

Jeanna (pronounced JEAN NA) writes sweet, sexy romance with a magical twist, but occasionally likes to dip her nib in other genres. Her flash fiction has been published by Ellipsis Magazine & The Cabinet of Heed and she was a finalist in the Choc Lit Search for a Star 2019 competition. As well co-founding @UKRomChat, a Twitter chat all about writing and reading Happy Ever Afters, she’s one half of super-powered editing & mentoring service for writers in distress, @Wonder_Writers. She is a proud member of the Romance Novelists Association “New Writers’ Scheme”, and a warrior in her daily battle with CRPS (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome). Her familiar is a sweary sloth. Twitter is her kryptonite.

Julie Farrell

Creating Change

Disability, Low-Income, and Lack of Access to Writer Development Opportunities

Julie is a queer, disabled writer living in Edinburgh in the UK. She writes creative non-fiction with a mental health and disability slant, and her contemporary, young-adult novel was awarded a notable mention for Write Mentor’s Children’s Novel Award, as well as selected runner-up for the 2018 Jericho-Marjacq Bursary for Underrepresented Voices.  Fractal is an own-voice novel; about love, family and finding yourself. Julie worked as a marketing executive in the publishing industry, before deciding to focus solely on her writing. Her writing has been featured both in print and online magazines. 

Kate Foster

Handling Rejection and Approaching Edits

To provide writers with the tools to approach feedback and rejection. 

Kate is the editorial director of a small press as well as a freelance editor. She’s been a mentor and judge in various writing contests over the years, including Pitch Wars and TeenPit, and is a children’s author represented by the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency. 

Maisie Chan

Yoga for Writers

Yoga can be used to alleviate tight muscles, sore backs and as a preventative practice for writers. It can also be used to foster creativity and allow space for our writing and inherent creativity to unfold. 

Maisie Chan is a children’s writer, mentor and trained yoga teacher for adults and children. She has run ‘Yoga for Writers’ workshops and 1-2-1s for writers. As a plus-sized yogini, Maisie knows the very real benefits of yoga for everyone and how it can be especially useful for writers who may suffer from physical ailments but also mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Maisie is from Birmingham, but is now based in Glasgow where she facilitates the Glasgow Children’s Writers Group. Also also hosts Bubble Tea Writers for British East Asian and Southeast Asian writers. 

Marisa Noelle


How I’ve written 17 novels while raising 3 children – tips and tricks!

Marisa Noelle is the writer of MG & YA SFF & mental health novels. The Shadow Keepers is due out July 2019 & The Unadjusteds in October 2019. When she’s not writing or reading or watching movies, she enjoys swimming. In the pool she likes to imagine she could be a mermaid and become part of some of her make-believe words. In the water, she can ignore the real world and focus on the plots of new novels and scenes. She lives in Woking, UK with her husband and three children. 

Michelle Kenney

Character & fantasy 

Discussion of character development within fantasy world setting.

Michelle is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they’re unlikely to find a cure any time soon.

In between scribbling, Michelle love reading, running, attempting to play gypsy-folk music and treasure-hunting on deserted beaches with her young dreamers-in-training.

Michelle holds a LLB (hons) degree, an APD in Public Relations and is an Accredited Practitioner with the CIPR (with whom she’s won awards for Magazine & PR work). But she is definitely happiest, curled up against a rainy window, with her nose in a book. 

Michelle is represented by Chloe Seager of Northbank Talent Management, and loves chatting all things book-related at https://www.facebook.com/BookofFireMK
Twitter: @mkenneypr and Instagram: @michken01. 

Book of Fire is the first in a new YALit Trilogy by HarperCollins HQ Digital. City of Dust, Book 2 is to be published 2nd October 2018 (digital) and 13th December 2018 (paperback). Watch this space for news of the final book coming 2019…

Sally Doherty

The submissions process from a housebound perspective

Sally describes her personal experience of writing and submitting whilst living with M.E. and explains what a virtual writing conference means for her.

Sally lives in leafy Surrey with her two-legged husband, three-legged Labrador and four-legged Jack Russell Terror. She writes middle grade novels, flash fiction and articles about living with chronic illness which have been published by Metro, MSN, Yahoo News, The Mighty, Action for ME and ME Association. Her debut middle grade novel will be published by March Hamilton.