2019 Conference Faculty

We are hard at work on Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2019.

The dates: May 3-5, 2019


Keynote Speakers


Rachel Howzell Hall

Rachel is a New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including The Good Sister, co-written with James Patterson, and the critically acclaimed Detective Elouise Norton series. The New York Times called Lou Norton “a formidable fighter—someone you want on your side.” Lou was also included in The Guardian’s Top 10 Female Detectives in Fiction. Her newest novel, They All Fall Down (Forge), published in April 2019, pays homage to Agatha Christie’s And Then They Were None.  A featured writer on NPR’s acclaimed ‘Crime in the City’ series and the National Endowment for the Arts weekly podcast, Rachel has also served as a mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer Program and is currently on the board of directors of the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

John Gilstrap

John is the New York Times bestselling author of Total Mayhem, Scorpion Strike, Final Target, Friendly Fire, Nick of Time, Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan’s Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom.  Four of his books have been purchased or optioned for the Big Screen.  In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris.  He will co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom, which should begin filming in 2018.  A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution.  Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, weapons systems, hazardous materials, and fire behavior.  John lives in Fairfax, VA.

Anne Bishop

Anne lives with unicorns, dragons, and two shy parakeets. She is a New York Times bestselling author and the winner of multiple awards for the Novels of the Others, as well as the RT Book Reviews 2013 Career Achievement Award for her fantasy fiction, the RT Book Reviews 2017 Career Achievement Award for her urban fantasy fiction, and the William L. Crawford Memorial Fantasy Award for the Black Jewels Trilogy. Her first novel, Daughter of the Blood, was published in 1998 and is now celebrating its 20th year in print. Her most recent novel is Lake Silence, which she describes as a cozy thriller set in the world of the Others. Her next book is Wild Country (March 2019), another story set in the Others’ world. When she’s not writing, Anne enjoys gardening, reading, and music…and pondering how to get her imaginary friends into more trouble.

Acquiring Editors


Alexandra Sehulster (St. Martins Press)

Alexandra started her career at Macmillan Merchandise Sales department, where she learned the beauty of an elevator pitch, how to position a book, and how to best reach the target audience. Now working in editorial, she’s working with many incredible writers, including New York Times bestselling authors Darynda Jones, Kristen Ashley, Tara Sue Me (a.k.a. Tara Thomas), and award-winning author Jody Gehrman, among others.

LOOKING FOR: Buzz-worthy fiction, breakout suspense/mysteries, high-concept women’s fiction/romance, fiction with accessible speculative/paranormal elements, young adult with a commercial hook, historical settings with ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and domestic thrillers with high-stakes. On the non-fiction side, mind/body/spirit works with a light prescriptive element, gripping, “can’t-put-it-down” narrative nonfiction, compelling true crime, plus pop psychology and science books with a fresh slant and approach.

Tom Hoeller (Del Rey)

Tom is an associate editor at Del Rey Books, a science-fiction/fantasy imprint of Penguin Random House. Since 2014, Tom has worked across a wide spectrum of projects and authors within the genre. Currently, he focuses on a variety of pop culture brands on licensed book programs from Star Wars, Blizzard Entertainment, Stranger Things, Wizards of the Coast, and more. He’s an avid reader of science fiction, space opera, and all facets of fantasy publishing.

LOOKING FOR: Vibrant new voices to the SF/F.

Stacey Barney (G.P. Putnam’s Sons)

An Executive Editor at G.P. Putnam’s Sons BFYR, Stacey has edited the #1 New York Times bestselling The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh, Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers, as well as Ellen’s Broom by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Daniel Minter. She has also edited award-winning authors Kristin Levine, Tara Sullivan, as well as New York Times bestsellers The Reader by Traci Chee and Happy by Pharrell Williams.

LOOKING FOR:  Strong general fiction, mystery, juvenile fiction, biographies, and history.



Lesley Sabga (The Seymour Agency)

Since graduating from The University of Kentucky (Go Cats!) and obtaining her Editorial Certification from The University of Chicago, Lesley has worked as an editorial intern and freelancer for multiple publishing houses. She’s also been working for The Seymour Agency since 2014, becoming an Associate Agent in 2017.

LOOKING FOR:  MG, YA, and Adult fantasy/science fiction, dark suspense/thriller with strong, female protagonists, romance, mystery and narrative non-fiction. Lesley loves intricate and vivid world building and character driven plots.

Becky LeJune (Bond Literary)

Becky LeJeune is an associate agent at Sandra Bond’s Denver-based Bond Literary Agency. Prior to joining the Bond, Becky spent time working as a bookseller, a freelance cookbook editor, and an acquisitions editor for a small, regional press. She is a graduate of the Denver Publishing Institute. Becky is actively building her client list.

LOOKING FOR: Cookbooks and YA/adult in: horror, mystery/suspense/thriller, historical fiction, sci fi, fantasy, and general fiction. She enjoys plot driven narratives with unique settings, strong world building, and well-developed characters. 

Suzie Townsend

Prior to joining New Leaf, Suzie graduated film school, earned her Masters of Education, and taught high school English. She started as an intern at FinePrint Literary Management and worked as an assistant before becoming a literary agent. She’s been part of the team at New Leaf Literary & Media since its inception in 2012.

LOOKING FOR: All brands of children’s and adult fiction, women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, and crime fiction. On the children’s side, YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.

Authors and Specialists: TBA