One of my favorite “jobs” is that of Social Media Coordinator for the SCBWI Oklahoma Region, and one of my favorite things about that position is hosting a monthly Twitter Chat for our members where we talk for an hour with someone from the children’s publishing world, be it an agent, editor, author, or illustrator. The conversations are always lively and enlightening.
We meet on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 7-8pm CST using the hashtag #okscbwichat. If you’ve ever been curious about a Twitter Chat, join us! We love meeting new people.
Here are details on the chats we’ve already had so far in 2019, plus those still remaining. You can read the recaps for all of our chats, from this year and from those in years past, HERE.
JANUARY 22nd– Jonathan Koelsch
Jonathan Koelsch has been illustrating professionally since graduating with honors from the University of Central Oklahoma in 1996 with a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, and attended Kansas City Art Institute’s illustration program for 3 years.
Jonathan frequently incorporates graphic design in his illustration work, and as an illustrator skilled in design is often hired by designers to create icons and logos. He has illustrated and designed comics, covers, posters and graphic novels for several independent publishers, in many art styles, from “American” style, to cartoon, to manga.
Most recently, Jonathan fully illustrated the two-thirds (42 pages) and cover of the Luther graphic novel, for Faith Inkubators, a Lutheran curriculum publisher (lutherstudy.com).
You can learn more about Jonathan on his website.
His Twitter handle is @jkArts
You can read the chat recap with Jonathan HERE.
FEBRUARY 12th– Jennifer March Soloway – SPECIAL CHAT
Jennifer March Soloway is a literary agent who represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and young adult stories. She enjoys all genres and categories, such as laugh-out-loud picture books and middle-grade adventures, but her sweet spot is young adult.
A suspense junkie, she adores action-packed thrillers and mysteries. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature.
Jennifer is actively building her client list and welcomes queries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about Jennifer and about her full wish list by visiting her agency’s website.
Her Twitter handle is: @marchsoloway
You can read the chat recap with Jennifer HERE.
FEBRUARY 26th– Mekisha Telfer
Mekisha Telfer is an associate editor at Roaring Brook Press (Macmillian), where she is building a list of picture books, middle-grade, and young adult novels. She got her start in publishing in 2014 as an editorial assistant with Simon and Schuster BFYR/Salaam reads, and has also worked briefly at Glasstown Entertainment.
Some titles she’s had the privilege of working on include the New York Times bestselling series TO ALL THE BOYS I’VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han, EMERGENCY CONTACT by Mary H. K. Choi, THE GAUNTLET by Karuna Riazi, and Stuart Gibb’s Moon Base Alpha series. Mekisha is committed to supporting unrepresented voices and is always on the hunt for character-driven stories with a mix of humor and heart.
You can learn more about what Mekisha is looking for from her manuscript wish list here.
Her Twitter handle is: @MekishaTelfer
You can read the chat recap with Mekisha HERE.
MARCH 26th– Alex Slater
Literary Agent Alex Slater has been with Trident Media Group since 2010. For many years he oversaw the foreign rights sales of all of Trident’s young adult and children’s projects, which includes the work of R.J. Palacio and Louis Sachar.
Now with his own list, he’s kept his focus on YA and middle grade with an eye towards contemporary fiction, light fantasy, narrative nonfiction, and any work in general that expands the ideas of representation in children’s literature. Particularly, his manuscript wish list includes graphic novels, stories that blend genres, and historically underrepresented voices. Some of his clients today include Keah Brown, Jodi Kendall, Adam Perry, and SCBWI’s 2017 Emerging Voices Award Winner Anuradha D. Rajurkar.
You can learn more about what Alex is looking for from his manuscript wishlist here. Or by visiting his agency website here.
His Twitter handle is: @abuckslater
You can read the chat recap with Alex HERE.
APRIL 23rd – Jess Rinker
Children’s author Jess Rinker received her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has won many awards for her work including short story, creative nonfiction, and most recently an honorable mention for the Katherine Paterson Prize from Hunger Mountain for her middle grade novel THE YOUNG TRAVELERS CLUB.
In addition to writing, Jess also teaches in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College and works as a freelance developmental editor.
Jessica Rinker’s debut picture book biography, GLORIA TAKES A STAND, comes out March 12, 2019 from Bloomsbury Children’s Books. Her second biography, SEND A GIRL: The Brenda Berkman Story, comes out March 2020.
Jess also writes middle grade and her debut novel THE DARE SISTERS comes out Fall 2020 and Fall 2021 from Imprint/Macmillan.
Currently she lives in New Jersey in a tiny town along the Delaware River with her husband, Joe McGee, who is also a children’s author.
You can learn more about her by visiting her website.
Her Twitter handle is: @jm_rinker
You can read the chat recap with Jess HERE.
MAY 28th– Lisa Papademetriou
Lisa Papademetriou is the author of A TALE OF HIGHLY UNUSUAL MAGIC (a South Asia Book Award Highly Commended Title), the New York Times-bestselling novel MIDDLE SCHOOL: MY BROTHER IS A BIG, FAT LIAR and HOMEROOM DIARIES (both with James Patterson), the CONFECTIONATELY YOURS series (over 750,000 books in print), and many other novels for middle grade and young adult readers.
Her books have appeared on many prestigious lists, including Bank Street Best Books of the Year, the NYPL Books for the Teen Age, the Texas Lone Star Reading List, andtranslated into French, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Portuguese, & Japanese. Her latest book, APARTMENT 1986, was a School Library Journal Popular Pick.
She has written for the Washington Post, authors the StART Up Studio column for Innovate413, and serves on the faculty of the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College. A former editor, she is the founder of the humorous grammar website, IvanaCorrectya.com.
Lisa evinces her passion for community and education by serving on the board of the Northampton Education Foundation, Click Workspace, and Athena Girls, and by giving workshops locally and across the United States on the subjects of writing, grammar, and creative courage.
You can learn more about her by visiting her website.
Her Twitter handle is: @axyfabulous
You can read the chat recap with Lisa HERE.
JUNE 25th– Joe McGee
Children’s author Joe McGee writes funny, quirky, offbeat stories for kids (and adults who still hold a piece of the magic). He has two picture books published, PEANUT BUTTER & BRAINS (Abrams) his debut PB which came out in 2015, and the sequel, ALIENS & JELLY (2017). A third book in the series, PEANUT BUTTER & SANTA CLAUS is scheduled for release in 2019.
Joe also has two series of Chapter Books coming out with Simon & Shuster (Aladdin) with the first book in the CREATURE CAMPERS series coming out this January 2019, and the first book in the JUNIOR MONSTER SCOUTS series scheduled for release in Fall 2019.
Joe is also on the faculty of Sierra Nevada College, Writing for Children & Young Adults low-residency MFA program, and is on the faculty of Rowan University, Writing Arts department.
You can learn more about him by visiting his website.
His Twitter handle is: @mcgeejp
You can read the chat recap with Joe HERE.
JULY 23rd– Sharon Martin
Sharon Edge Martin has been a writer since she wrote her first poems at the age of eight. She has worked as a waitress, an artist’s model, a musician, a bookkeeper, a jewelry designer, a newspaper editor, and a teacher, but no matter what other job she is doing, Martin is always a writer.
Martin’s fiction stories have appeared in adult and juvenile magazines, including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. Her poetry for children and adults has been published in Amelia, Byline, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and dozens of small press and literary magazines and anthologies, including Elegant Rage, Dragon Poet Review, Malpais Review, Poets’ Market from Writers’ Digest Books, and in Michael Bugeja’s The Art and Craft of Poetry. Her poetry chapbook, No Sanctuary, was published by Amelia Press in 1997. In 2017, Froggy Bottom Blues, a picture book illustrated by Timothy Lange, was published by Doodle and Peck. She won the OWFI Best Book of Poetry for her book, Not a Prodigal, and was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award for the same book in 2019.
Martin is an active member of SCBWI Oklahoma and is past president of Oklahoma Writers’ Federation. In addition to her writing for children and young adults, she pens a weekly column on education and politics. The essays appear regularly in The Oklahoma Observer. She is active in the spoken poetry scene in Oklahoma and hosts a monthly reading in the historic Tidal School. The building, now owned by Tidewater Winery, was commissioned by John D. Rockefeller to serve the children of his oil company employees.
Sharon and her husband, artist Dale Martin, live on a farm in Oklahoma. When she isn’t writing, you can find her tending chickens or working in her garden.
You can learn more about Sharon by visiting her website.
Her Twitter handle is @sharonedge.
You can read the chat recap with Sharon HERE.
SEPTEMBER 24th– Rachel Murray
Associate editor Rachel Murray started at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers in 2014. She has experience with picture books, chapter books, middle grade fiction, and young adult novels in a variety of genres. She has had the pleasure of working on projects such as Stegothesaurus by Bridget Heos, illustrated by T. L. McBeth; First & Then and subsequent books by Emma Mills; and the NYT-bestselling Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson.
Rachel has begun building her own list with picture books and is looking to expand into the middle grade and young adult space. She has particular interest in horror/ghost stories/anything that gives her chills, contemporary romance, and magical realism. She welcomes characters with diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
You can learn more about Rachel by visiting her publishing house website.
Her Twitter handle is @rachelrmurray
You can read the chat recap with Rachel HERE.
OCTOBER 22nd– Gwendolyn Hooks
Gwendolyn Hooks is the author of the NAACP IMAGE AWARD winning picture book biography, Tiny Stitches-The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas and Block Party, a Junior Library Guild Selection. Her newest books are The Garden and If You Were A Kid During the Civil Rights Movement. Gwen’s next book, Ona Judge Outwits the Washingtons: An Enslaved Woman Fights for Freedom,is scheduled to release on October 1stof this year.
Other books include the popular Pet Club and Confetti Kids series. She writes both fiction and nonfiction, early readers, and chapter books from her home Oklahoma. An advocate of diverse books, Gwendolyn shares their beauty by encouraging young readers to explore the world through them.
You can learn more about Gwen by visiting her website.
Her Twitter handle is @GwentheGweat
We take a break in November and December due to the holidays. We’ll return again in January 2020 with a brand new Twitter chat schedule! It’s filling up fast, but if you have a suggestion for a guest, feel free to let me know. I’m happy to hear your ideas.