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Susan Wardell

Susan Wardell grew up in Saint Paul and graduated from St. Cloud State University in Special Education. She taught preschool and ECFE for many years, but when their youngest graduated from college, she and her husband took the plunge and sold their home in the city and moved to their lake cabin, which is now home. After the birth of their first grandchild, Wardell became inspired to write children’s books. Her passions include advocating for children and working with dogs and cats at their local shelter, Paws and Claws.

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Jill Kalz

Jill Kalz lives and writes in New Ulm, Minnesota. She is the author of The Winter Bees: Fiction, a collection of interconnected short stories set in rural southern Minnesota. Kalz has published poetry in the Nebraska Review, the Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. Her short stories have appeared in American Fiction Vol. 15 and Minnesota Monthly. A 2008 Minnesota Book Award finalist and winner of the Readers’ Choice Award for her picture book Farmer Cap, Kalz is also the author of more than 70 children’s books. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and works as a children’s book editor.

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Ann Schoenbohm

Ann Schoenbohm holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and a BFA in acting from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She currently volunteers with several organizations as a literacy tutor and teaches writing in Minneapolis community education programs. Rising Above Shepherdsville is her debut novel. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children.

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Natalie Fowler

Once a practicing attorney, Natalie Fowler is an author, a freelance editor (for FATE Magazine), paranormal investigator (for Ghost Stories Ink) and a psychic medium. Fascinated by good ghost stories from a very young age, now she writes her own stories inspired by her work as a ghost hunter and psychic medium. An avid researcher and self-proclaimed history nerd, Fowler’s works are also influenced by the dark depths of history.

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Brandon Vreeman

Brandon Vreeman is a children’s picture book author who has a passion for helping kids become better people. He loves doing author visits and talking to kids about topics such as being different, being happy with yourself, bullying, and more. He also uses part of his talk to demonstrate to kids how a book is made. Brandon is husband to an amazing wife and father to two incredible kids.

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Leanne M Benson

Leanne M. Benson is an author and illustrator of her premiere book, The Lion of Tupungato. Designing a book cover along with illustrations are important tools she uses to fully tell her stories. She received her Arts degree from the University of Minnesota. She has enjoyed working to empower young people through several programs and projects, including more than a decade in the English Secondary Language (ESL) Program in the public-school system, as an Art Adventure volunteer, as well as coordinator, and high school student services secretary in Prior Lake. In 2008, she and her husband moved to Minnesota Bluff Country.

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Dale A. Swanson

Dale A. Swanson is a published author, poet, screenwriter, and playwright. His historical novel, The Thirty-ninth Man, released by North Star Press in 2013, made the Star Tribune “Best book read” in 2013. The sequel, Tears of Sorrow, was released in June 2018. His fantasy chapter book, The Wild Ways:  Mystery of the Hanging Tower, for 9- to 99-year-old readers, was published in 2015; he has had poetry included in two annual stage productions by the Bloomington Arts Council, and two of his radio plays have been performed live and aired statewide. Mr. Swanson’s screenplay, Creation Story, was filmed for the nonprofit, Native Strong ARC.

In addition to writing, Dale is an accomplished speaker, having given talks on the US-Dakota War of 1862 to area schools 6th-grade classes and many other venues. His talk about growing up in the ’50s has been popular with 4th-grade classes and senior centers alike.

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Kathryn Sullivan

Kathryn Sullivan writes young adult science fiction and fantasy. She started writing science fiction and fantasy not long after she had finished reading all of the books in her father’s reading collection. Stories about girl agents defeating alien bad guys and tales of wizards’ apprentices looking for forgotten treasure filled school notebooks alongside her regular homework. Any place and any object is at risk of appearing in her stories – the river bluffs surrounding Winona, MN, where she lives, can become the windswept cliffs of an alien planet or the deep mysterious woods of a fantasy tale. She is owned by a large cockatoo, who graciously allows her to write about other animals, as well as birdlike aliens.

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Adam Stemple

Adam Stemple is an author, musician, web designer, and professional card player. He has written eight novels, including Pay the Piper (with Jane Yolen), winner of the 2006 Locus Award winner for Best Young Adult Book. Of his debut solo novel, Singer of Souls, Anne McCaffrey said, “One of the best first novels I have ever read.”

Recent works include The Last Tsar’s Dragons (Tachyon, 2019), Crow Not Crow (Cornell Labs, 2018), and Fly with Me (National Geographic, 2018).

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Erin Soderberg Downing

Erin Soderberg Downing has written more than 50 books for kids, tweens, and young adults. Some of her most popular titles include the middle-grade novel Moon Shadow and three chapter book series: Disney’s Daring Dreamers Club, Puppy Pirates, and The Quirks. Erin loves creating stories that are accessible and help inspire a lifelong love of reading for fun. Before becoming an author, Erin was a children’s book editor, a cookie inventor, and also worked for Nickelodeon. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, three hilarious kids, and a mischievous pup named Wally (the star of Puppy Pirates!). More information can be found at: www.erindowning.com and www.erinsoderberg.com.

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