Presenters and Instructors

For safety reasons, we have decided to postpone the 2020 Writing Workshop of San Francisco to Fall 2021. Sorry about this. If you are interested in being notified when a 2021 date is unveiled, keep an eye on our calendar here, which also lists upcoming online conferences that we are organizing in lieu of in-person events.


This page will be updated as more faculty members are
confirmed for the 2020 Writing Workshop of San Francisco.


Screen Shot 2019-11-25 at 11.39.32 AMHeather Chavez is a published thriller author. Her debut novel, NO BAD DEED, which has been praised by Lee Child (the Jack Reacher series), comes out from William Morrow in early 2020.

At the 2020 SF event, Heather is teaching on how to write awesome mystery & thriller writing, and also critiquing manuscripts as an add-on element for attendees.

Heather is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley’s English literature program and has worked as a newspaper reporter, editor and contributor to mystery and television blogs.

Currently, she’s employed in public affairs for a major health care organization where she writes human interest stories. She lives with her family in Santa Rosa, California, and is at work on her second novel.


Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 6.57.59 PMShirin Leos is the author of 19 children’s books, the best-known of which is Ruby’s Wish, an Ezra Jack Keats Award winner. Her successful debut had Publishers Weekly include her on a list of “new authors to watch”—and thirteen years and two feature articles later, she made it to their front cover as the founding goose of Goosebottom Books. You can take a look at her books here.

At the 2020 SF workshop, Shirin is teaching on the differences between middle grade and young adult, also doing add-on manuscript critiques for attendees.

More about Shirin: “Currently, I am working on a historical novel for adults, with the working title Seattle’s Daughter. Mary is a Suquamish woman living on the Puget Sound in the 1860s—a time when the Native American world is collapsing around her. She marries a Chinese merchant hoping to find security, but is propelled on a journey that takes her away from everything she knows, all the way to China. Mary must survive repeated losses to answer the question, how does one find home? The story was inspired by the tale of my great-great-great-grandmother and great-great-great-grandfather who were, indeed, the reputed daughter of a Puget Sound chief and the first Chinese settler in Seattle.  When I’m not writing, I am an editor, writing coach, and writing retreat leader. I’ve been dubbed a “tiger editor” independently by two of my clients, because I give tough developmental edits. (They did come back!)”

“For those who don’t like tough, there are my writing retreats. These are three- or five-night stays in beautiful and secluded surroundings, with all meals catered, and libations poured every evening when we gather to share our work and receive feedback. There is nothing, I believe, like writing in community. These few days can be the most productive of the year.”


Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 1.04.33 PM.pngEmma Sector is a literary agent with Prospect Agency.

At the 2020 SF workshop, she is teaching on picture book writing. She is also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

She is seeking: “I’m open to middle-grade and YA of all types, but I’m especially drawn to fantasy adventure, magical realism, and historical fiction. I love picture books with big ideas and few words and chapter books with quirky, vibrant characters.”

“Reading has always been a certain kind of magic for me. As a kid, I was sure I could make things move with my mind like Matilda and I waited patiently for my Hogwarts letter to arrive when I turned eleven. As an adult, I’ve shifted my magical studies a bit. Now I help these wonderful things we call books come into the world, and it’s almost as amazing as moving things with my mind. I majored in English at the University of Vermont and moved to New York City just a week after I graduated for my first job in publishing, an internship in Hachette’s advertising and promotions department. When the summer was over, I knew I had found my people. I worked for Simon & Schuster’s Children’s Division for the next six years, first in marketing and later in editorial. Then I moved west to California in 2017 where I was a freelance editor while working as a publicist for an independent bookstore. Now, as a children’s book agent with Prospect, I use all my past publishing experiences to help new authors and illustrators develop their work and find their editorial match.”


Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 9.09.12 PM.pngLaurie McLean is a literary agent and founder of Fuse Literary. She spent 20 years as the CEO of a publicity agency and 8 years as an agent and senior agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco.

At the 2020 SF workshop, Laurie is teaching on Agent Secrets, and also meeting with attendees for one-on-one pitches.

Though she is closed to unsolicited e-mail queries, she is happy to take pitches from attendees at the 2020 SF conference.

At Fuse Literary, Laurie specializes in middle grade, young adult, and adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.).

She does not handle nonfiction, or commercial, literary or women’s fiction, nor does she handle children’s picture books or graphic novels.

Following her stint as the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley public relations agency bearing her name, Laurie was able to switch gears in 2002 to immerse herself in writing. She penned three manuscripts before deciding that the life of a literary agent was her destiny. Laurie has been writing professionally since high school–first as a journalist, then as a public relations agent, finally as a novelist. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Journalism.

Laurie’s clients include the New York Times and international bestselling YA author Julie Kagawa, epic fantasy bestseller Brian D. Anderson, award-winning steampunk and fantasy author Pip Ballantine, and the award-winning Linda Wisdom, who has had more than 100 romance novels published in her career.


Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 3.49.10 PM.pngMichael Carr is a literary agent with Veritas Literary.

At the 2020 SF workshop, Michael is teaching on creating amazing characters. He is also meeting with writers for one-on-one pitches.

With a strong background in editing and writing, Michael carefully edits clients’ projects to produce the cleanest, most professional manuscripts and enjoys teaching at workshops and conferences to help develop emerging writers. Michael speaks Spanish and conversational French, and before joining Veritas had professions as diverse as programming simulators for nuclear submarines and owning an inn in Vermont.

Michael is seeking: historical fiction, women’s fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction of all stripes.