Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Your Mentors



PB-Picture Books


(N) ALEX FLINN is the author of eleven novels, including Beastly, a #1 New York Times bestseller, which has been made into a motion picture. She has five other fairy tale-based novels, A Kiss in Time, Cloaked, Bewitching, Towering, and her most recent, Mirrored, a modern retelling of the Snow White story.

Her first novel, Breathing Underwater, was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults and is the only novel included in Liz Clairborne’s “Love is Not Abuse” dating violence prevention curriculum for schools. Her books have received honors including Best Books for Young Adults, Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, International Reading Association Young Adult Choices, and Junior Library Guild selection, as well as local and state readers’ choice awards. Alex loves all types of YA except space alien-type sci-fi and high fantasy (no swords or medieval settings). She is a non-practicing attorney who lives with her husband, daughters, and way too many pets in Miami, Florida.

Click here to visit Alex’s website.

(N) DANETTE HAWORTH is the award-winning author of the middle-grade novel Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning, winner of the California Young Reader Medal and praised as “full of sass” by Kirkus Reviews, “unusual honesty” by BCCB, and “believable, well-developed characters” by School Library Journal. Her other novels, The Summer of Moonlight Secrets, Me & Jack (nominee: Great Stone Face Award), and A Whole Lot of Lucky (starred Kirkus review) have received praise from Kirkus, SLJ, and others. Danette holds a BA in English from the University of Central Florida, and is nearing completion of her MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University.

Danette is a critiquer for the SCBWI-FL Orlando workshops, a position she loves. Helping aspiring writers to capitalize on their strengths and improve other elements is joyful work. She conducts school visits and Skype presentations throughout the year and believes everyone has a gift, whether it be writing or something else. When people ask her where she’s from, Danette tells them she grew up Air Force because her family moved routinely up and down the East Coast and overseas. Her one regret? Not retaining her British accent. Now married and living in Orlando, Danette has three children, two dogs, and one husband.

Click here to visit Danette’s website.

(N) DANIELLE JOSEPH is the author of three published novels, Shrinking Violet from Simon and Schuster/MTV Books and Indigo Blues and Pure Red from FLUX. In addition, Shrinking Violet was made into the 2012 Disney Channel movie, Radio Rebel, starring Debby Ryan.

Danielle received her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. She started out as a copywriter for a computer company and went on to teach creative writing and English to middle school students. She then went on to teach adults English and GED prep.

In addition to writing novels, Danielle also works as a freelance writer and is an active member of SCBWI-Florida. She teaches writing workshops to kids and adults and speaks at schools about following your dreams. She also works with clients one-on-one, helping them ready their manuscripts for submission. Danielle enjoys working with picture book, middle grade, and young adult writers. Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and three kids.

Click here to visit Danielle’s website.

(N) DEBBIE REED FISCHER is the award-winning author of teen novels Braless in Wonderland (Penguin Dutton), praised as “a brilliant rabbit hole you’ll enjoy getting lost in” by School Library Journal, and Swimming with the Sharks (Flux), winner of the Royal Palm Literary Award and Book of the Year by the Florida Writers Association. Debbie has a degree in screenwriting from the University of Miami, and has also been published in anthologies. Before becoming an author, she worked as a TV/ Film agent and high school teacher. In addition to writing books, Debbie critiques middle grade and young adult novels for aspiring authors (see website), and has regularly critiqued manuscripts for SCBWI conferences since first becoming published in 2008. Debbie’s books have been commended by Kirkus Reviews for “balancing weighty issues with a sharp wit.”

Her middle grade debut This Is Not the Abby Show (Random House Delacorte) is slated for release in the fall of 2016. She is tremendously grateful to SCBWI, as she met both her agent and her first editor at the same Florida SCBWI conference. When she isn’t writing, Debbie is chatting online with her readers, teaching writing workshops at libraries and schools, singing with her band, or running. She has lived in the US, England, Greece, and Israel, and now lives in South Florida with her husband and two sons, who don’t mind eating take-out when she is on deadline. This October, she will have the great honor of interviewing her author idol, Judy Blume, for a local literary event.

Click here to visit Debbie’s website.

(PB) DIANNE OCHILTREE is a nationally recognized author of books for young readers, many of which been featured on “best of” reading lists, book clubs, and literacy programs. Her historical picture book, Molly, By Golly! The Legend of Molly Williams, America’s First Female Firefighter, received the Bronze Medal in the 2012 Florida Book Awards children’s literature category, and was included on the Amelia Bloomer List for Feminist Literature by the American Library Association. In 2013, It’s a Firefly Night earned a Silver Medal in the Florida Book Awards competition.

Her latest picture book, It’s a Seashell Day, was released in July 2015 and has received positive critical reviews to date. With 15+ years of experience in the publishing industry as children’s author, book reviewer, and freelance editor, Dianne is ready to help budding picture book writers polish their manuscripts until they shine . . . and are ready for submission to publishers.

Click here to visit Dianne’s website.

(N) GABY TRIANA is the award-winning author of six YA novels—Wake the Hollow, Summer of Yesterday, Riding the Universe, The Temptress Four, Cubanita, and Backstage Pass, as well as thirteen ghostwritten novels for best-selling authors. Originally a fourth grade teacher with a Master of Science in Elementary Education and ten years’ teaching experience, Gaby earned Teacher of the Year in 2000, wrote her first novel, Freddie and the Biltmore Ghost, then left teaching to launch a full-time writing career. She went on to publish young adult novels with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, win an IRA Teen Choice Award, an ALA Best Paperback Award, and Hispanic Magazine’s Good Reads of 2008.

Gaby spends her time obsessing about Halloween, Christmas, and Disney World, as well as hosting parties, designing mugs, making whimsical cakes, and winning costume contests. When she’s not writing, she might also be watching Jurassic Park movies with her boys, posting excessive food pics on social media, or helping run the Florida region of the SCBWI. Gaby lives in Miami with her three sons, Michael, Noah, and Murphy. She has one dog, Chloe, and two cats—Miss Daisy, and the reformed thug, shooting survivor Bowie.

Click here to visit Gaby’s website.

(PB) GLORIA ROTHSTEIN has been a switchboard operator, an Avon Lady, and a contestant on a TV game show. And she’s still hoping to add superhero, princess, and fairy godmother to her resume. With a background in educational publishing, plus years of experience writing for kids of all ages, this South Florida author teaches “writing children’s books” workshops, runs writing programs/camps for tweens, and works with writers one-on-one.

Gloria is the author of Sheep Asleep (HarperCollins)—a picture book PBS Parents calls “a hysterical rhyming story”—Real-Life Writing Activities, Read Across America, From Soup to Nuts (Scholastic), “Curious George” cartoons, and more. She’s been a speaker at SCBWI Conferences, the Miami Book Fair, the Willow Theatre, the Conference on Children’s Literature, and the Center for The Book. For the past twelve years, Gloria has been teaching writing workshops at Sugar Sand, critiquing manuscripts for SCBWI Florida, and working with writers one-on-one. From her workshops at Nova Southeastern University, the Museum of the Modern Book, and Murder on the Beach, to her publishing credits with Children’s Television Workshop, Harcourt, Holt, Houghton Mifflin, Macmillan, Random House, Scribner, and Scholastic, Gloria has a book-lover’s background. Funny picture books, fractured fairy tales, and romantic comedies are always at the top of her list.

(NF) JENNIFER SWANSON is the award-winning author of over 20 nonfiction and fiction books for children. Her books in the How Things Work series by The Child’s World were named to the 2012 Booklist’s Top 10 Books for Youth: Series Nonfiction. She has received awards from the Pennsylvania TriState Young Adult Review Committee, The Moms Choice Awards, and The Dove Foundation. Top reviews include a starred review in Booklist, and recommended reviews from School Librarian’s Workshop, Library Media Connection, and the National Science Teacher Association, and a book in a series that was a JLG Selection. Her recent and upcoming trade books include Brain Games (NGKids, 2015) and Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up (Charlesbridge, 2016).

Jennifer has been a workshop presenter at the SCBWI-FL Orlando 2015 conference, a program leader at the 21st Century Nonfiction Conference, and a two-time lead presenter of a four-day workshop at the Highlights Foundation (July 2015 and April 2016). She has also taught a four-week course called “Writing for Love and Money” with the Children’s Book Academy. She has been a critique-group leader for over six years.

Click here to visit Jennifer’s website.

(PB/N) LAURIE FRIEDMAN is the author of over 45 critically acclaimed picture books, chapter books, and novels for children. She is a frequent speaker at schools across the country and has presented at many literary conferences including ALA, NCTE, SCBWI and IRA. She has critiqued manuscripts at Florida SCBWI conferences for many years and loves helping other writers shape and sell their stories. Laurie has written over a dozen rhyming picture books including the Ruby Valentine series, Birthday Rules, Thanksgiving Rules, Back to School Rules, I’m Not Afraid of This Haunted House, and A Big Bed for Jed. Laurie is also the author of the Mallory chapter book series published by Lerner Publications. The Mallory series begins when Mallory McDonald starts third grade, and follows her through fourth and into fifth grade. There are currently twenty-four books available, with twenty-eight books planned, and over 850,000 copies in print. There is a website for the series: Laurie is also the author of a new series for tweens, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair. With eight planned titles, the journal-format series follows the main character, April Sinclair, as she navigates the choppy waters of 7th through 9th grades.

Laurie’s books have been translated into many languages including Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian. They have been chosen as Scholastic Book Club and Book Fair Selections, and as a Children’s Book of the Month Club Selection. She has received numerous awards for her work including an IRA/CBC Children’s Choice Award and a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year Award. Prior to writing books for children, Laurie spent many years working in the advertising industry. Laurie graduated from Tulane University and attended the Sorbonne in Paris, France. She loves books, movies, TV, yoga, and baking. Laurie is a native Arkansan. She has two children and lives in Miami, Florida with her adorable rescue dog, Riley.

Click here to visit Laurie’s website and follow her on her blog.

(N) LORIN OBERWEGER is a highly sought-after independent book editor and ghostwriter with almost twenty-five years’ experience in publishing. Her company, Free Expressions, offers intensive, deep craft workshops nationwide. She’s also known for her one-on-one story development weekends for writers of all genres of fiction and creative nonfiction.

Further, Lorin offers writing instruction at workshops and conferences across the U.S. and Canada. An abbreviated list of some of those offerings includes: SCBWI Miami and East Canada conferences; Tallahassee Writers Association; Working Women of Tampa Bay; Romance Writers of America, Northwest Houston; and more than a dozen others. Lorin’s students and clients have millions of books in print and have been published by imprints of HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, Simon and Schuster, and other mainstream and independent presses. They have also gained representation with some of the industry’s leading literary agents.

An award-winning author, Lorin’s work has appeared in well over one-hundred periodicals, and her ghostwritten books, contracted by major publishers, have received glowing notices from the New York Times and Kirkus Reviews. Along with bestselling author Veronica Rossi, Lorin is the author of the New Adult trilogy, Boomerang, Rebound, and Bounce,published by Harper/William Morrow under the pen name Noelle August. The novels were praised by Publishers Weeklyand Library Journal, among others, and Boomerang was chosen as a “new and notable” selection for Target Stores across the U.S. She is represented by Tracey Adams at Adams Literary and can be contacted at

(N) MARJETTA GEERLING is the author of Fancy White Trash (Viking Children’s Books, 2008), which was chosen for the 2009 American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults and 2009 Rainbow lists. Publisher’s Weekly praised the novel, saying, “the humor bubbles consistently,” and Kliatt called it “an honest view of a broken family, as Abby learns that understanding and love are possible even in her ‘trashy’ life.” Marjetta holds an M.F.A. in Writing from Spalding University and is an Assistant Professor of English at Broward College.

Marjetta is a frequent critiquer for the SCBWI-FL Miami and Orlando conferences and has led several full-day workshops at the SCBWI-FL Orlando conferences and SCBWI-FL Boot Camps. She’s presented lectures at many institutions and associations, including Spalding University, Florida Writers’ Association, the Writing Institute at the University of Miami, and Miami-Dade College, in addition to serving as a panelist at several literary arts festivals, including the Houston Teen Lit Conference, the Gay and Lesbian Literary Arts Festival, and Nova Southeastern University. Marjetta has also taught creative writing classes at Miami-Dade College’s Florida Center for the Literary Arts and Stonewall Library and Archive.

Marjetta’s mentoring experience includes more than seven years of teaching and working with new writers of all levels in both academic and private settings. Her literary interests are far-ranging, but there is a special place in her heart for all things YA.

Click here to visit Marjetta’s website.