Nancy Sondel's Pacific Coast Children's Writers Workshop
16th Annual    September 28-30, 2018    Master Class to Masterpiece
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2010 FACULTY: Bios & Kudos



 “I’ve worked with Ted for three years—and sold three novels. I’m consistently impressed with his creativity, intelligence, and knowledge about children’s publishing. He’s also a great negotiator, incredibly supportive of his clients, possesses a keen editorial eye, and has a terrific sense of humor—what more could anyone want in an agent?” — Sydney Salter, former client, author of My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt); more

 “Ted’s a savvy, hands-on agent who landed a two-book deal for my debut novel. He gave me invaluable advice on how to enhance my plot, yet believes the heart of each story lies in its language and the voices of its characters. His editorial advice blended all of these sensibilities.” — Yvonne Woon, author of Dead Beautiful (Hyperion, Sept. 2010)

  Ted Malawer
Upstart Crow Literary

Since Ted launched his agenting career in 2007, he has sold books to almost every major publisher—including six-figure deals to Random House, Scholastic, Disney-Hyperion, and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.

An “editorial,” hands-on agent specializing in youth novels, Ted advises writers to craft the best possible manuscript before submission. He seeks well-drawn characters and a riveting plot in literary or commercial genres, with impeccable writing and fulfilling storytelling. Ted’s clients’ publications include Antony John’s Busted, Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer, and Bree Despain’s The Dark Divine. Upcoming 2010 releases include Danette Haworth’s The Summer of Moonlight Secrets, Angie Frazier’s Everlasting, and Violet Haberdasher’s Knightley Academy.

Ted is a graduate of Columbia University and The Juilliard School, where he studied Comparative Literature and Opera, respectively. He also penned two YA novels under the name Ted Michael: The Diamonds and Crash Test Love.



 “If my novel succeeds, it’s because of Kate Harrison. She’s insightful, smart, and a joy to work with. She seems to know the spirit of my stories before I do… kind of a writing shaman. Kate is, in short, a dream editor. Kathleen Van Cleve, author of Drizzle (Dial Books)

 “Kate gently offers brilliant, transformative, supportive notes, with a phenomenal sense of humor. She never gives up on me. Kate brings the focus of the book, scene by scene, line by line, to that which might challenge readers to see their world in a different way. I trust her with my characters and therefore my life.Paul Griffin, author of Ten Mile River and The Orange Houses (Dial Books)

  Kate Harrison
Dial Books for Young Readers

Formerly an editor at Harcourt Children’s Books, Kate now edits at Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group. Dial’s focus is on stylish, genuine, character-driven writing with high literary merit and kid-relevance.
Kate is drawn to a wide range of genres, from realistic fiction of any time period to fantasies grounded in everyday reality—and, above all, to stories “with unforgettable characters full of heart and sass. Bonus points if you make me guffaw at my desk.”
Award-winning novels Kate has edited at both houses include Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles, Willow by Julia Hoban, and multi-award winners Orange Houses by Paul Griffin and Peak by Roland Smith.
In college, Kate studied English and Creative Writing. She has worked with many aspiring writers at Rutgers One-on-One, as well as other conferences. “I am very much a hands-on editor,” she says. “I love the process of working with authors to shape their novels.”



 “Laura’s review of my mid-grade novel manuscript was detailed, precise and professional. It pinpointed strengths and weaknesses, efficiently walked me through areas that needed work, and asked poignant questions. My revisions led to publication and positive reviews. I applied the critique lessons to a second novel manuscript, published the next year. I would not hesitate to return to Laura for further advice and guidance.” — Cynthia Chapman Willis, author of Dog Gone and Buck Fever (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan)

 “I felt like a handyman without a toolkit. I knew something was broken, but didn’t know how to fix it. Thanks [to Laura] for giving me the tools to repair my manuscripts!” — Chuck Kline

 “Laura helped me clean up my first novel manuscript, then made helpful structural suggestions. An agent picked it up and piqued the prompt interest of an editor. Based on such good results, I also submitted my second novel manuscript to Laura, which immediately sold to the same editor. My agent was impressed enough to request Laura’s contact info for other clients.” — Chris Woodworth, author of When Ratboy Lived Next Door, Georgie’s Moon, and Double-Click for Trouble (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


Laura Backes

Since 1988, Laura has impacted the children’s book field as an agent, editor, author, and teacher. She publishes the international, cutting-edge professional journal, Children’s Book Insider: The Newsletter for Children’s Writers. In these pages and in extensive workshop presentations, she has helped writers of all levels improve their craft. Also, through her manuscript critique service, she has critiqued more than 2000 children’s writers manuscripts—including 700 novels. Many of these fiction and nonfiction manuscripts have become published by such well-established venues as Farrar, Straus & Giroux.  

Laura authored Best Books for Kids Who (Think They) Hate To Read (Prima Publishing/Random House), and Children’s Writer’s Big Book of “How To” (Children’s Book Insider). She was technical editor for Writing Children’s Books for Dummies (Wiley); her craft articles have appeared in national magazines (Writer’s Digest; The Writer).

Co-founder of Children’s Authors Bootcamp workshops,  Laura also offers an extensive online community for children’s writers: The CBI Clubhouse (Click on “Take a Tour.”) This treasure trove, packed with articles, videos, podcasts and  tutorials, was named one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer’s Digest magazine.


Our pre-workshop home study will include a sample critique by Laura—a novel synopsis and first few pages—so that you, our future enrollee, may experience a taste of Laura’s critique style. Critique this online sample, then compare your with hers. This hands-on demo previews the seminar’s open clinic format or “master classes.” See also 2010 home study.

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