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Ryan Henning

Ryan Henning was born and raised in Minnesota, where he spent most of his formative years in the Minneapolis suburb of Victoria. There, he developed a fascination with the weather – thanks largely to his dad’s career in the airline industry. (Henning loved the radar!) After earning a degree in synoptic meteorology from Purdue University, he worked as an aviation meteorologist for eight years. He lives with his wife Katie, twin sons, and three lively pets.

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Matt Lilley

Matt Lilley moved to Minnesota from Florida about 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. He has a Master’s in Scientific and Technical Communication from the University of Minnesota. The focus of his degree was on health and medical writing, with a special emphasis on medical writing for kids. His other favorite writing subjects include exploration and nature. He loves learning about topics in science and sharing that knowledge. Lilley is also a Minnesota Master Naturalist.

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Barbara Schlichting

Barbara Schlichting has been writing for as long as she can remember. She has nine books in print, including her latest title, The Broken Circle. “My grandpa gave me a pen and tablet when I was about ten, and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” says Schlicting. “My pen pal of 55 years is really the one who kept me writing and using my imagination. We wrote back and forth and we talked about everything under the sun because we were kids and she wanted me to explain things clearly.” Schlichting attended Bemidji State University where she earned a Bachelors in Education and a Masters in Special Education. She taught at the elementary school level for a couple of years before transitioning to a career as a writer. Her book of poetry, Whispers from the Wind, was followed by the First Ladies Doll House mysteries. She lives in Bemidji, Minnesota.

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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 is the author of The Winter Bees: Fiction, a collection of interconnected short stories set in rural Minnesota (her current home) and a 2019 Midwest Book Award finalist. She has published stories individually in American Fiction Vol. 15 and Minnesota Monthly, and poetry in the Nebraska Review, the Ohio Review, Cream City Review, and other magazines. 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, made the Star Tribune “Best book read” in 2013. The sequel, Tears of Sorrow, was released in 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. Swanson’s screenplay, Creation Story, was filmed for the nonprofit, Native Strong ARC. In addition to writing, Swanson 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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