Julie Hedlund is a Children’s Book Author and Freelance Writer with a passion for traveling and teaching fellow writers. She loves to inspire others and running Writer’s Renaissance has fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams. Her two children’s books, A TROOP IS A GROUP OF MONKEYS, and A SHIVER OF SHARKS, were first published in 2013 by Little Bahalia Publishing as interactive apps for the iPad. TROOP was also released in print October, 2013. Her next book, MY LOVE FOR YOU IS THE SUN, also from Little Bahalia, will release September 2014. She has several other children’s picture and chapter books in the works, and is also working on two books for older children that take place, appropriately, in Renaissance Italy. Julie the founder and host of the 12 x 12 Picture Book Writing Challenge, where she provides an inspirational community for writers and illustrators to reach their goals. She is a regular speaker at industry conferences such as Tools of Change for Publishing and SCBWI. Visit her About Page to learn more about her than you ever wanted to know.

Lisa Clifford grew up in Sydney. She moved to Italy when she was sixteen years old. At seventeen, she fell in love, and there there followed eighteen years of going back and forth between Italy and Sydney, trying to decide where to live. She returned to Australia after winning a scholarship to the Australian, Film, Television and Radio School. Following a career in journalism that includes reporting for 2GB, Mix FM and Channel 10 news, Lisa was associate producer of the Channel 10 Late News. Throughout her career, she continued to travel to Italy to visit her Italian boyfriend, corresponding for 2UE, the ABC’s Radio National and the Voice of America News Service. Lisa contributes opinion pieces, guides and lifestyle articles on Italy to The Australian, The Australian Financial review, Gourmet Traveler and a range of other magazines and newspapers. She is the author of Walking Sydney, The Promise – an Italian Romance, which tells the story of those eighteen years of indecision, when Bondi Beach and the Duomo vied for favor and Death in the Mountains, which tells the true story of the murder of her mother-in-law’s grandfather. Lisa lives in Florence with her husband (formerly that Italian boyfriend) and two children.

Mary Hoffman is an award-winning, New York Times Bestselling author who has published more than 100 books in all genres ranging from children’s picture books, middle grade, young adult fantasy and historical fiction and adult fiction and nonfiction. Her classic picture book Amazing Grace and its sequels have sold more than 1.5 million copies. Her wildly popular Stravaganza teen fantasy series includes one book, City of Flowers, set in a version of Renaissance Florence. Her inspiration to write the Stravaganza series began on “a trip to Venice years ago with my husband and daughters when we took a gondola ride and the gondolier wasn’t handsome enough.” Her historical fiction titles for teens include Troubadour and The Falconer’s Knot. Her most recent book for teens is also historical fiction. David is told from the perspective of the young model for Michelangelo’s most famous sculpture. She has also written an adult novel with scenes set in Florence. Mary speaks Italian and is a student of Italian literature. She lives in West Oxfordshire, UK with her husband and three cats (their three daughters are grown) and travels to Italy several times a year. Mary worked with us last year to provide a FREE webinar on Getting Your Novel Off the Ground, covering her planning, plotting and researching secrets. Even if you can’t come to Florence, you should watch the webinar, available at the bottom of this page. If you ARE coming to Florence, it is MUST SEE T.V.


sarah towleSarah Towle’s is the author of the award-winning storybook app, Beware Madame la Guillotine, a breakout hit as an interactive story-based mobile tour of central Paris at the time of the French Revolution. It is now available as an interactive book in English and in French and will be hitting Amazon stores any day. The story’s central figure, Charlotte Corday, grew up in Revolutionary France and attempted to stop the violence of the Reign of Terror by committing a violent act herself. As she spins her yarn, while explaining her motives for murdering a man, she guides us through her Paris, all the way to the guillotine where she, too, loses her life.

Sarah is also the founder of Time Traveler Tours, a start-up developer and publisher of mobile StoryApp iTineraries targeting educational tourism, and Time Traveler Tales, an imprint dedicated to publishing story-based interactive histories for tablet devices for the school and library markets.

Time Traveler Tours & Tales combine the latest in digital technology with the traditional power of narrative storytelling to make history leap from the screen. They put the past in the palm of your hand (mobile iTineraries), or at the tips of your fingers (tablet iTales), and allow you to discover history with those who made it.

In her spare time, Sarah continues to feed her primary passion: teaching.



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