Member Bios

Unlike Claudia, Patricia Bailey’s talents do not include the ability to plan long or well, which may be why she’s never managed to run away to anywhere as cool as New York City. Instead, she’s stayed in Southern Oregon, where she lives with her husband and three cats. She spends her time wandering the countryside, making up stories, and wishing she had a dog – much like she did when she was eleven. She’s the author of the historical middle grade novel THE TRAGICALLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF KIT DONOVAN. Visit her at






Like Claudia, Jenn Brisendine has been known to correct an unintentional grammar slip-up or two…especially in her recent role as a middle school language arts teacher. Jenn has also taught literature, writing, and theatre in her adventures in the classroom; this quest, like the Kincaid children’s, has had some surprising turnabouts. For example, the teacher ended up learning quite a bit from her 5th and 6th grade students; they taught her what makes a great middle grade novel—from a modern-day-kid-reader point of view. Jenn is grateful for this education, as she writes middle grade historicals with twists of mystery and magic. You can connect with her at and on Twitter.


Heather Murphy Capps has always had a deep appreciation for comfort and elegance. She and Claudia would have run out of money quickly together but would absolutely have been on the same page about taxis and nice restaurants. And of course, solving mysteries about beautiful art. That said, Heather also appreciates Jamie’s love of complication, which is why she spent several years living in rural Kenya and then became a television news reporter, which involved standing for hours in the middle of hurricanes and political battles. Now she’s raising middle grade readers and writing for them. She loves to read and write books with lots of great science, magic, mystery, and adventure. Heather is an #ownvoices author and committed to creating more diversity in publishing.


Dorian Cirrone author photoDorian Cirrone ran away from home once but only got to the end of the driveway—probably because there was no place as cool as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in south Florida. Dorian still lives in Florida and writes for children and teens. Her middle grade novel THE FIRST LAST DAY (S&S/Aladdin, June 2016) is about a girl who gets caught in a time loop on the New Jersey shore. Dorian is also the author of two chapter books featuring investigative journalist Lindy Blues (THE MISSING SILVER DOLLAR and THE BIG SCOOP) as well as two young adult novels (DANCING IN RED SHOES WILL KILL YOU and PROM KINGS AND DRAMA QUEENS), short stories, and poems. Visit to learn more.


sue cowing


Sue Cowing once spent the night locked in a public library, but in the bathroom wing where she couldn’t reach the books!  Naturally, she made good use of the time drafting a new novel on paper towels. . .not. Her debut novel YOU WILL CALL ME DROG was published by Carolrhoda Books in 2011 and appeared in paperback from Usborne UK in April, 2014. Visit her (and the puppet Drog) at





Photo credit: Ashley Wolff

Photo credit: Ashley Wolff

As the oldest of four children, Laurie J. Edwards planned to run away when she was nine. She didn’t get far before she realized she’d miss her pet parakeet, so she slept on the back patio. That wasn’t the only time sheslept on concrete. Later in life, she spent a winter night on a sidewalk in Marseilles, France, sharing a heating grate with a homeless person. Her love of travel has led to many interesting adventures, including stepping on a lizard in Africa, climbing a Korean mountain in flip-flops, strolling the streets of Venice in a cat costume, and eating deep-fried water beetles (yum!) in China. You can find out more about her and her books at her blog, Facebook, or Twitter.




Greg R. Fishbone writes galactic fiction from the parlor of a two-hundred year old antique home. He is the author of the Galaxy Games series, combining sports, science fiction, video games, and the end of the world. Find him at




Annabelle Fisher decided she would become a writer in fourth grade when, after a lesson on electricity, she wrote the story “Mr. Electron” instead of the science report her teacher was expecting–and got an A+ anyway! She is the author of THE SECRET DESTINY OF PIXIE PIPER, which reviewers have called, “entertaining,” “fresh,” “creative,” and “pretty darn charming.”  A sequel, PIXIE PIPER AND THE MATTER OF THE BATTER, will be released in May 2017.  Annabelle has been a professor of middle grade and young adult literature at Manhattanville College, and has taught writing workshops for kids and adults at her favorite indie bookstore, The Voracious Reader. With her husband and their giant golden doodle Ozzie, she lives in Westchester County, New York, just a short drive from The Metropolitan Museum, where she often goes for inspiration. Visit Annabelle at her website.


When Robyn Gioia was a girl, she kept sneaking away to the Ohio State Museum to study the Egyptian mummy and the rock collection. It’s no wonder she grew up to be a teacher. Later, she ventured overseas to work in the United Arab Emirates, Japan, Puerto Rico, and South Korea. During a relocation to England, an eclectic group of writers took her in and taught her the craft of storytelling. She’s has lived in the magical world of fiction and writing ever since. Visit her at her website.



MikeHays_photo2Mike Hays is from Kansas and is a tried and true flatlander by birth. He would most assuredly be obsessed with a statue of mysterious origins, especially if he could buy said statue on the cheap. He has worked as a molecular microbiologist for over 25 years, has coached high school sports, and writes middle-grade books. He writes from a boy point of view and hopes to spread his particular style of stupid-funny inspiration through his books, blogs and social media. His upper middle-grade historical fiction novel, THE YOUNGER DAYS, is about a family’s survival in the fallout from the violent Border War over “Bloody” Kansas. You can find him at his sportsy blog,, or at his writerly blog,




Hillary Homzie is the author of the tween novels, THE HOT LIST (S&S 2011) and THINGS ARE GONNA GET UGLY, as well as the comedic chapter book series ALIEN CLONES FROM OUTER SPACE, which is being made into an animated television series.  She has also been privately coaching both published authors and aspiring authors for nine years, and during the summers teaches in the graduate program in children’s writing at Hollins University. A former sketch comedy performer in NYC, Hillary currently lives with her family in Northern California. Please visit



Michelle Houts is a collector of small gadgets and trinkets. She has drawers of old watch faces and broken china, lost keys, and lonely earrings. If she can’t discover the story behind a found object, she makes one up.  Michelle writes in an old one-room schoolhouse on a farm in western Ohio. She’s the author of five books for middle graders, including THE BEEF PRINCESS OF PRACTICAL COUNTY, WINTERFROST, and the biographies of baseballer DOTTIE KAMENSHEK and artist CHARLEY HARPER.  She writes a STEM-based chapter book series called LUCY’S LAB. Michelle is the creator of the 52 Letters in a Year Project and the Mark Boney Promise, both of which you can read about at



If Karen Latchana Kenney could spend a night in a NYC museum, she’d pick the American Museum of Natural History with its blue whale model suspended from the ceiling. She thinks whales are pretty amazing. She’s written many books for kids about whales and other creatures, space, robotics, and much more. Her latest is about the longest living animals and plants on Earth, called EXTREME LONGEVITY: DISCOVERING EARTH’S OLDEST ORGANISMS. Originally from Guyana (near the Amazon Rain Forest), she now lives in Minnesota with her husband and son, where they bike, hike, and swim the state’s beautiful lakes. Visit her website for more information.




S.A. Larsen loves to explore imaginary passageways to hidden worlds with all sorts of creepy creatures. She also thinks cemeteries are cool. Her work includes the award-winning middle grade fantasy-adventure MOTLEY EDUCATION as well as her young adult fantasy-romance MARKED BEAUTY. She lives in the land of lobsters and snowy winters with her husband and four children. Visit for free book activities and a teacher/discussion classroom guide, and find her on Twitter @SA_Larsen and Instagram sa.larsen.




Kate photo Spring 2014


Katharine Manning is a middle grade writer and mom of three. She lives outside Washington, D.C., and so far has only ever stuck her toes into the fountain at the National Gallery’s Sculpture Garden. Katharine writes books for girls dreamy enough to believe in dragons, and strong enough to defeat them. Check out her book recommendations for the 5-12 set at You can find her on Twitter @SuperKate.




For Beth McMullen running away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a real possibility. After all it was just a train ride away. But there was the problem of her beloved cat, who was not getting in that suitcase for all the treats in the world. So Beth turned her attention to making up stories about more agreeable pets and has been writing ever since. In addition to several books for adults, Beth writes the Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls series (S&S/Aladdin). Visit her on Twitter or at her website.





Rosanne Parry knows all about hiding in museums, cheating at cards, and having a bossy big sister. She’s the author of the middle-grade novels HEART OF A SHEPHERD, SECOND FIDDLE, WRITTEN IN STONE, and THE TURN OF THE TIDE. She and her family live in an a very old house in Portland, Oregon where they are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit. You can visit her tree house office at




Mimi Powell decided to run away to a theme park instead of a museum. It was so much fun she decided to live in Orlando, FL–land of theme parks. When she’s not riding roller coasters, Mimi writes scary stories and buys books for libraries. She can be found on Twitter and on her website, talking about books and writing.




Andrea Pyros
was born and raised in New York City, and she’s still sad that she’s never spent the night in any of the city’s museums. Andrea now lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and their two children and works as a freelance writer for a variety of publications. She is the author of two middle-grade novels, PINK HAIR AND OTHER TERRIBLE IDEAS and MY YEAR OF EPIC ROCK. Visit her at or on Twitter @AndreaPyros.





Like Claudia, Natalie Rompella also tried to solve a great mystery–she and her friend attempted to find the whereabouts of Amelia Earhart during 3rd grade recess. Unfortunately, fifteen minutes was not enough time. Now Natalie is grown up and is currently writing her own middle-grade mystery. She is the author of 10 trade books, including her first middle grade novel, COOKIE CUTTERS & SLED RUNNERS, and more than 40 works for the educational market. Natalie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, two children, and dog muse, Luna. To learn more about her, visit her website.




Jonathan Rosen


Jonathan Rosen is a transplanted New Yorker, who now lives with his family in sunny South Florida. He spends his “free” time being a volunteer coach and chauffeur for his three kids. Some of Jonathan’s fondest childhood memories are of discovering a really good book to dive into. His favorite of all time is Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Jonathan is proud to be of Mexican-American descent, although neither country has been really willing to accept responsibility. He is the author of Night of the Living Cuddle Bunnies, which is out now, and its sequel, From Sunset Till Sunrise. You can find him on Twitter, Facebook, FromtheMixedUpFiles.Com, The Tuesday Writers,and his own website,


Having grown up in NYC, Melissa Roske spent many happy hours wandering through The Met, but never spent the night (those pesky security guards!). That didn’t stop her from having other adventures, though. She moved to Europe and landed a job as a journalist, interviewing Belgian politicians, British pop stars, and Australian soap opera actors. In London, she wrote for Just Seventeen magazine and managed to become its advice columnist (!), answering dozens of letters from teen readers each week. Upon returning to her native New York, Melissa contributed to several books and magazines, selected jokes for Reader’s Digest, and got certified as a life coach. That’s when she decided to take her own advice and write a book. Her middle-grade novel, KAT GREENE COMES CLEAN, debuted from Charlesbridge in 2017. Melissa currently resides on the Upper East Side of Manhattan—a stone’s throw from The Met—with her husband and daughter. Find Melissa on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and visit her at her website.


Julie K. Rubini had dreams of stowing away in the bookmobile that stopped weekly a mile from her childhood home. Her love for reading, writing, libraries and her three children led Julie and her husband to establish Claire’s Day in memory and honor of their daughter. Julie is the author of middle-grade biographies of amazing writers, including EYE TO EYE: SPORTS JOURNALIST CHRISTINE BRENNAN, VIRGINIA HAMILTON:AMERICA’S STORYTELLER AND  MISSING MILLIE BENSON: THE SECRET CASE OF THE NANCY DREW GHOSTWRITER AND JOURNALIST.  Coming June 2020, HUMAN PSYCHOLOGY: WHY WE SMILE, STRIVE AND SING. To learn more about her journey, visit her website.





Gail Shepherd has run to many, many beautiful places. Some were comfortable, some decidedly uncomfortable, but the journey was always interesting. She ran from her senior year of high school to go surfing in Puerto Rico; to San Francisco two years later to seek her fortune; to Gainesville, Florida, to pursue a master’s degree in writing poetry; to London, England, to work as a reader for a book publisher. But the best run of all was back home to South Florida to be close to her extended family. Gail’s debut middle grade book, THE TRUE HISTORY OF LYNDIE B. HAWKINS, about a history-loving girl determined to learn the truth about her family and her town, will be published in February 2019. Visit her website or Goodreads to learn more.



Suma Subramaniam loves to travel and visit historical places and museums like Claudia does in Manhattan. Even though the Metropolitan Museum of Art is only a flight away, Suma prefers to live in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Someday, she hopes to show Claudia how to wear a sari and how to make the classic masala chai. Suma is a human resources professional by day and a writer by night. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Learn more about Suma at


Jennifer Swanson dreams of one day running away to the Museum of Science and Industry-  then maybe she could look at all the exhibits and try out all the gadgets without competing for them with her kids. An author of thirty nonfiction science books for grades 3-6, Jennifer’s goal is to show kids that Science Rocks! She lives in sunny Florida with her husband, three kids and two dogs. When not writing she’s on the hunt for fun science facts. Learn more about Jennifer and her books at



Mindy's professional picture (small)


Mindy Alyse Weiss spends so much time writing humorous stories with heart, she usually has a laundry mountain large enough to fill a hundred violin cases. She lives in Florida, and is constantly inspired by her husband, daughters, an adventurous Bullmasador adopted from The Humane Society, and an adorable Beagle/Pointer mix who was rescued from the Everglades. Visit Mindy’s TwitterFacebook, or blog to read more about her writing life, conference experiences, and writing tips.