Meet the Mentors


Andrea Alban
Author of nine books, including The Happiness Tree, which was adapted for stage and is now touring children’s discovery museums. Her critically-acclaimed YA novel, Anya’s War, was inspired by her Jewish father’s childhood in war-torn Shanghai. She conducts workshops at Book Passage for writers of childrens’ novels.

Valerie Andrews
Journalist, magazine editor and consulting author for bestselling authors in the fields of business, social entrepreneurship, medicine and memoir, her work has appeared in national publications and on PBS. She is founder of Sacred Words: A Center for Healing Stories to help professional women navigate life transitions.
Tiffany Baker
New York Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, her most recent book is The Gilly Salt Sisters.
Jo Beaton
Currently Client Relations Manager for Ingram Publisher Services (IPS), she is a well-known figure and “go to” professional in the publishing industry. Her broad experience as both a publicist and a client liaison also includes her former role as Marketing/Publicity Director for Zest Books in San Francisco, a YA publisher.

Cara Black
Bestselling author, who writes the Aimée Leduc mysteries set in Paris. "If the cobblestones could speak they might tell a tale as haunting as the one Black spins," notes the New York Times. Her newest book, Murder on the Quai, is set to be released this June. She is a member of the Marais Societe Historique, received the Medaille de la Ville de Paris, bestowed on those supporting French culture. Black is a San Francisco Library Laureate, and her books have been Washington Post Notable Picks, IndieNext Picks and shortlisted for the Northern California Independent Bookseller Best Novel award. Mystery Confrence Alum.

Melissa Cistaro
Author of the memoir Pieces of My Mother. Her essays, interviews, and stories have appeared in The New Ohio Review, Brevity, The Huffington Post, PBS: To the Contrary, Good Housekeeping and the anthologies Love & Profanity and Cherished.  She also works as event coordinator introducing authors at Book Passage.

  Phil Cousineau
An award-winning writer and filmmaker, teacher and editor, travel leader, storyteller and TV host. His many books include The Art of Pilgrimage and The Hero’s Journey. His fascination with art, literature, and culture has taken him on a worldwide search for what the ancients called the “soul of the world.”
Jasmin Darznik
Her first book, The Good Daughter, was a New York Times bestseller, translated into eight languages and published in thirteen countries. The memoir was short-listed for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Katherine Ellison
Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, public speaker, editor, and writing consultant, her focus is on neuroscience and energy reform. For more than 20 years, she was an award-winning foreign correspondent with Knight-Ridder, and is the author of three recent books. She is a writing coach for business students at Stanford University.
Roger Freet
Literary agent with the Foundry Literary + Media Agency. He represents a wide variety of narrative and idea-driven nonfiction clients in the areas of spirituality, history, politics, memoir, and cultural issues by leading scholars, activists and musicians. Previously, he was a senior editor at HarperCollins.
Candice Fuhrman
Founder/owner of her eponymous literary agency that represents high-quality literary fiction and a wide range of non-fiction subjects. The agency has represented 12 New York Times bestsellers and 25 San Francisco Chronicle bestsellers.
  Donald George
The author of Travel Writing and the editor of eight anthologies, including Moveable Feast and The Kindness of Strangers. He writes the monthly Trip Lit column for National Geographic Traveler and is Features Editor for He also edits Geographic Expeditions’ online magazine, Recce: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler.
Tanya Egan Gibson
An alumna of Squaw Valley Community of Writers, she is the author of How to Buy a Love of Reading. Her articles, essays, and stories (for adults and young adults) have appeared in Writer's Digest, Parents, The Writer, Cicada, Carve, and Milk & Ink: a Mosaic of Motherhood.
  Molly Giles
A novelist and short story writer, her books include Iron Shoes and Creek Walk and Other Stories. She teaches at the University of Arkansas and is an editor for Penguin Putnam. Giles has worked with Amy Tan and many other successful writers.
  Larry Habegger
Executive editor of Travelers’ Tales and author of the syndicated column, “World Travel Watch.” Habegger regularly teaches at writers’ conferences. He is a principal of the Prose Doctors (, editor-in-chief of, a destination discovery site, and editor of the The Travel Guide to California.
John Hart
A poet and environmental journalist, he is author of sixteen books and several hundred other published works. Winner of the James D. Phelan Award, the Commonwealth Club Medal in California, and the David R. Brower Award for Service in the Field of Conservation, he also leads a poetry discussion group at Book Passage.

Jan Johnson
Publisher emeritus at Red Wheel/Weiser Books/Conari Press and a writer/publishing project management consultant that includes work with middle readers and nonfiction authors.

  Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Novelist, poet, and travel writer. A contributor to numerous journals, newspapers, magazines, anthologies and online publications, she is the author of Dead Love and other award-winning books. She teaches numerous writing classes at Book Passage. She is the founder and leader of Left Coast Writers.
  Amy Novesky
Award-winning children’s book author. Her picture books include Elephant Prince; Me, Frida; Georgia in Hawaii; and Imogen, The Mother of Modernism. She is a former editor for Chronicle Books, where she acquired award-winning picture books, and she is now an independent children’s book editor. Novesky teaches classes at Book Passage.
Kathryn Otoshi
Award-winning writer and illustrator, whose books have won the E.B. White Read Aloud Honor, the Nautilus Gold Award, and the Mom’s Choice Award. Her books include Zero, One, Simon and the Sock Monster, What Emily Saw, and Marcello the Movie Mouse. She has served as Chair of the Book Passage Children’s Writers & Illustrators Conference.
Alison Owings
Author of three stereotype-challenging, oral-history based books, her latest is Indian Voices: Native Americans, a survey of what Native people have to say about contemporary life, for which she received a “starred review” in Publishers Weekly. She previously wrote television news for CBS anchors Walter Cronkite, Dan Rather, Roger Mudd and Bob Schieffer.
Susanne Pari
Author of a novel set in the post-1979 Islamic Revolution period, translated into six languages. Her essays and book reviews appear in The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Boston Globe, and The San Francisco Chronicle. She was Program Director for Book Group Expo, and an instructor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.
Pat Rose
Public relations and communications professional who has worked with nonprofits, publishing companies, authors and experts in the San Francisco Bay Area for 25 years. Ms. Rose is a partner at Campbell & Rose and has served as director of publicity for North Point Press, Graywolf Press, and HarperCollins. In these roles she has created many successful public relations campaigns for authors and experts.
Nina Schuyler
Her novel The Translator, was shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize and was chosen by The San Francisco Chronicle as one of the 100 recommended books of 2013. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of San Francisco.
Lara Starr
A Senior Publicist at San Francisco-based publisher Chronicle Books, she also produces programming for San Francisco-based KGO Radio “Newstalk.”  Author of The Frugal Foodie Cookbook, she also writes the popular "Frugal Foodie" blog. She was formerly a Brand Manager for the Learning Company, a division of Houghton-Mifflin.
K.D. Sullivan
CEO of the innovative ebook publishing company, Untreed Reads, associated with more than 100 retail and distribution sales outlets worldwide. An eight-time published author, she is an authority on entrepreneurial business, and lectures and consults on publishing and business development.



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