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 published in 2013 by Little Bahalia Publishing as interactive apps for the iPad and will be available in print form this fall. 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 is a contributor on fellow faculty member Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books Podcast. She is 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 90 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 (which launched the Grace series) has sold more than 1.5 million copies. Her wildly popular Stravaganza teen fantasy series includes one book, City of Flowers, set in Renaissance Florence. Her inspiration to write the Stravaganza series was inspired by “a trip to Venice ten 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 is currently at work on an adult novel 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 (the three daughters are grown) and travels to Italy several times a year. Mary recently worked with us 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.
Children’s author/illustrator Katie Davis has published ten books, nine of them for children and one for adults, an eBook, How to Promote Your Children’s Book: Tips, Tricks, and Secrets to Create a Bestseller. She appears monthly on the ABC affiliate show, Good Morning CT, recommending great books for kids. Katie produces a podcast, Brain Burps About Books; she writes a blog and weekly newsletter, hosts webinars, and creates products for writers and illustrators, all in an effort to “spread the gospel of kidlit.” Katie’s book trailers have been finalists for both a Moby award as well as an SLJ Trailee Award, with the video for her latest picture book, Little Chicken’s Big Day winning the 2012 Trailee. Katie is a two-time Cybils judge and has also judged the Golden Kite, smartwriters.com. Katie has taught in a maximum security prison teaching Writing for Children, is a member of the National Speakers Association and over the last dozen years has presented and keynoted at schools, writing conferences, and fundraising galas.
FREE WEBINAR WITH MARY HOFFMAN. GETTING YOUR NOVEL OFF THE GROUND: PRE-FLIGHT INSTRUCTIONS FOR PLANNING, PLOTTING AND RESEARCHING