Meet the A&E Conference Faculty – Jessica Papin

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 23rd Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here. 

An Interview with Agent Jessica Papin

Jessica Papin is an agent at Dystel and Goderich in New York. Prior to that, she was the Director of International Rights at the American University in Cairo Press in Egypt, and an editor at Warner Books (now Grand Central Publishing) in New York. With a background on both sides of the desk, Papin loves working collaboratively with clients to shape and refine their work.

She is interested in literary and smart commercial fiction, narrative nonfiction, history, medicine, science, economics and women’s issues. In every case, she looks for passion, erudition, and storytelling skill. A wry sense of humor doesn’t hurt.


Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with a writer/client?

Jessica Papin: I take a very hands-on approach to my clients’ work. Indeed, writers uninterested in a rigorous edit would be wise to seek other representation. For nonfiction projects, once a client has a complete, polished draft of a proposal and sample chapters, I usually do a comprehensive mark-up, making queries and suggestions. The client will revise and then send it back to me for another round. We’ll repeat as necessary, editing, polishing and tightening with each iteration. With fiction, I generally begin by sending along an editorial letter that addresses global issues of plot, characterization, inconsistencies and pace. Once those big picture concerns are addressed, we can drill down into particular scenes as necessary. During the submission process, I keep my client as looped into events as he or she wishes—preferences vary widely. After the book is sold, I continue to be an active partner, providing advice, advocacy and structure (as needed) on everything from contract and cover design to career trajectory. I see the author-agent relationship as a long-term partnership, and a strategic union of art and commerce.

Scribe: If a potential client could do one thing to make the experience of working together even better, what would it be?

JP: It’s always useful for aspiring authors to have a baseline understanding of how the book business works—that getting a book published is fraught with challenge, frustration, and is a very bad get-rich-quick scheme. Patience, resilience and a sense of humor are handy. A day job you don’t hate is also helpful, and not only for financial reasons. Cultivating a life outside of writing not only complements and feeds your craft, it can keep you sane. Building friendships within the writing community will give you a sympathetic and like-minded audience when your loved ones grow tired of shop talk.

Scribe: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to receiving submissions, reading work, etc.

JP: I fear my answers here won’t be very original, but nevertheless: rookie mistakes, like writing a “fictional novel;” purple prose; improper diction; misplaced modifiers; mistaking my interest in editing for an invitation for half-baked projects. Deliberately provocative letters that attempt to insult me into evincing interest in a project. “Dear Agent, In the unlikely event that you’re not so much a brainless lemming that you can recognize true originality, keep reading…” Perhaps I’m a lemming, but I just can’t imagine this ever works.

If I had a nickel for the frequency with which “I’ve always wanted to be a writer” appears in queries, I’d be a wealthier woman than I am today. I’m not churlish enough to say it’s a pet peeve, but most agents and editors believe that this fire in the belly is a given, and we’re probably less interested in a third grade epiphany than what a writer has since done to realize it.

And I’m less irritated than amused when I encounter lines like “correctly marketed, this book will be a blockbuster!”  I, and the rest of the publishing industry, would love to know the secret of “correct marketing.” Connecting a book with its audience is a considerable challenge (whoever said if you build it they will come was not talking about the book business) and for the most part, traditional publishers are neither willing nor able to manage it alone. Hence, particularly in the case of nonfiction, most houses are looking for authors who have pre-existing platforms, who can call upon their own networks and partner with their publisher to spread the word.

Scribe: You often hear that it’s the first ten pages—or even the first page—that sells a story. Is there something particular that you look for in those first few pages?

JP: I don’t think that the first ten pages can sell a story. They can buy a book more time—Scheherazade-style. That’s not to say a great opening is not a powerful invitation. It’s also a writer’s best insurance against being passed over. So it’s probably not a bad idea to forgo the slow burn in favor of beginning with a bang. (In medias res may be an old concept, but it’s a good one.)

I look for voice, I look for evidence of a compelling conflict, I look for a superb and subtle command of the English language. I look for that rare project that prompts me to push aside all other work, ignore my inbox, abandon my to-do list, and just keep reading.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

JP: Keep at it. Pay attention to the ubiquitous accounts of writers who encountered rejection and disappointment but succeeded anyway. Take with a grain of salt the Cinderella stories of authors who went from unknown to the top of the bestseller lists. Publishing is chock full of overnight successes that were years in the making. Expect that it will be hard, but don’t let that deter you.

— Thanks, Jessica!

Click here and here to read our 2016 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2016 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 24-26) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.


Meet the A&E Conference Faculty – Ammi-Joan Paquette

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 23rd Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here. 

An Interview with Agent Ammi-Joan Paquette

Ammi-Joan Paquette is a senior agent with Erin Murphy Literary Agency, representing all types of children’s and YA literature. She is also the author of the Princess Juniper series, for which book #2, Princess Juniper of the Anju is newly out this year. Her other published works include the novels Paradox, Nowhere Girl, and Rules for Ghosting, and the picture books Ghost in the House, Petey & Pru & the Hullabaloo, and The Tiptoe Guide to Tracking Fairies/Mermaids.

In her agent acquisitions, Joan is particularly drawn to richly voiced, unforgettable characters and settings, as well as tightly-paced, well-plotted stories with twists and turns that keep you guessing right until the end.


Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Ammi-Joan Paquette: I’m quite hands-on and editorial in my approach to working with authors. My goal is to help bring the manuscripts I represent on to a point where they feel just as polished as I can help them to be. With the publishing landscape grown increasingly populated and competitive, I want to really help my authors’ work shine to a level where it becomes irresistible to editors.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AJP: A unique point of view; a stand-out voice; a story that is not only entertaining but has something to say that extends beyond the page; a tight, strongly paced story with not a single wasted word.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AJP: I don’t think it’s essential. If it’s a medium that an author is comfortable with and finds productive, it can be a helpful way of spreading the word and gaining readers. But it’s just one way to interact with the reading public.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AJP: Take your time. Publishing is not a race—it’s worth it to allow whatever time you need to thoroughly develop your craft and find your truest voice. Give your manuscripts the time and energy they need, and you won’t regret the results.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AJP: I don’t really have one in particular of these moments—I think that’s what makes up the bulk of an agent’s life: taking chances, following your gut, falling in love with a voice, a story, an author, and then being able to find those connections that bring the spark that flares the whole bonfire to life. That’s magic! There’s nothing like it in the world.

— Thanks, Ammi-Joan!

Click here and here to read our 2016 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2016 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 24-26) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Interview with Stephanie Barko

Stephanie Barko, is a Literary Publicist based in Austin. Upon completing her degree in Sociology and Business, Ms. Barko was invited into the publishing industry after many years in high tech marketing. She was voted Preditors & Editors Best Book Promotion Service in 2011. Her award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published authors. Visit with Stephanie at

Stephanie Barko (left) and a fan

After visiting your website, I learned about your success with both historical fiction and nonfiction publicity. Tell us more about a specific genre that you enjoy most working with.

Well, fiction sells better and is easier to place but I read nonfiction, so I feel closer to it.  Historical fiction tells a story but in a factually correct way.  I like that because you can learn from the novel, like you can nonfiction. I, personally, read almost exclusively nonfiction.  Fiction feels like candy to me, but historical novels have the weight of reality in them like nonfiction does.

Do you think that our internet age has made the job of a literary publicist a little difficult?

The internet has made my job easier, not harder.  I can reach more people quicker and more efficiently.  One could even argue that it’s cheaper to market online.

What got you interested in working with the spiritual subject matter?

The end of the Mayan calendar and the pivotal changes all the way through 2012 led me to declare a special subject focus last year.

On Feb 16th, you will be teaching a course titled, Trendspotting Toward a Faithful Following.  What are some things that you would expect the participants to take away from your course?

It’s a class that gets authors thinking about what they already have, not in terms of talent but in terms of marketing power.  Each participant will find unique answers to questions they have in common. I would like the participants to, most importantly, have a better sense of who their following is.

What are some things that make you love being a literary publicist?

The thing I like most about what I do is that I get to write and work with words all day. The write to evoke a particular response.  My job is asking people to do what I want them to do because they want to do it.

What is your core business philosophy?

Work smarter.  If you’re working harder, you’re probably not working smart enough.

What are some examples of books that you think have exhibited intelligent marketing techniques?

The Harry Potter rollouts always fascinated me.  A historical novelist I marketed hired actors to play the English royals in her novels at her launches.  That was exciting and sold books.  People came for the performance.

Ms. Barko has presented on book marketing & publicity at Oklahoma Writers Federation Conference, DFW Writers Conference, Writers’ League of Texas Conference and Women Writing the West Conference. Her articles and book reviews have been published in Western American Literature, Roundup Magazine, Book Marketing Matters, San Francisco Book Review, and the Texas Book Marketing Directory. She will be teaching a course, which is titled, Trendspotting Toward a Faithful Following. The course will be taught on Feb 16, at St. Edwards College.

Third Thursday Wrap – Up

WLT November 3rd Thursday 2012 The Book Launch and Beyond

Do you remember, the Third Thursday in November? (Sung to the tune of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September.”)  If not, this post will refresh your memory.

It seems like a long time ago, especially with the holiday activities happening since then.  Good for us that the information shared about “The Book Launch and Beyond” at November’s Third Thursday meeting has an extended shelf life.

The evening’s panelists were author Greg Leitich Smith, former editor and current children’s and teen’s book buyer at Book People Meghan Goel, author and The Writing Barn owner Bethany Hegedus, and author Cory Putnam Oaks. WLT Programming Director Jennifer Ziegler poked and prodded the collective wisdom of the panel, helping us learn the about book launches.

Book Launch

A book launch is not what happens to a manuscript when the writer is frustrated. Quite the contrary. A book launch is like a party for your book.  As Cory said, “Think of it as a victory lap.”

What if you’re not a party person? You don’t like attending parties, much less planning and hosting them.  That’s okay. Don’t think of it as a party, think of it simply as a gathering of your support team.  If that doesn’t help, you probably have a friend who loves planning events and would jump at the chance to help you.

A book launch is also a way to thank the people who helped you and support the local writing community at the same time, helping bring people together in a public way.

So, how do you go about planning your party (or your gathering of friends)?  Regardless of what you call it, you need to plan ahead. Meghan said that Book People events have a lead time of 3-6 months. Generally you want to schedule it within a month of the book’s publication date, depending on the book. (If it’s connected with a season or event, you would launch around that time.) Try to avoid November and December when people are really busy. Also, keep an eye on when competing books may launch.

Where can you host a book launch? A bookstore is a natural place to launch a book, but there may be other venues that fit your book well. The Leitich Smith’s hosted two launches for a children’s book, a child-centric one at a bookstore with an after party at their home for the adults. Think of organizations that connect to the topic or theme of your book.  Bethany’s place, The Writing Barn, is a beautiful venue for a book launch.

What do you do at a book launch? There are no book launch laws, but successful launches do have some things in common.

  • Snacks. (And wine if you’re at Book people and the audience is over 21.)
  • Simple structure of  something to listen to (a brief excerpt read by you), followed by time for questions and answers.
  • Theme and guests related to your book. (Examples mentioned: miniature ponies, an MLK-era civil rights marcher, middle school cheerleaders, and a Dachshund rescue group.)
  • Tone suited to your book and your personality.

Once your fabulous event is planned, who should you invite? First on the list are the people who put up with your while during the book birthing process. You can also invite personal friends and writing fans and watch your words collide beyond their existing overlap. If you’ve been making an email list and checking it twice, now’s the time to use it. Also invite your feeps (Facebook people) and tweeps (Twitter people).

Finally, embrace the fun of your book launch. Enjoy running your victory lap with your book jacket draped around your shoulders, if that’s your style.

Beyond (after the launch)

So, you made it through the planning and partaking of your book launch, but there’s more.

Greg said the best publicity for your book is to write another book. Cory said that by the time you launch one book you’re already deep in the next book (Of course, your mileage may vary on that.)

Staying active on social media and in writing guilds and organizations is helpful, but don’t let it detract from your writing time.

Another aspect of an author’s life is appearances. Depending on your book, find related places to go talk about your book with potential readers. This requires some research and creativity on your part, but it can be rewarding in terms of book sales and marketing.

Finally, if your book is stocked in a local bookstore, go in and sign your book.

Looking Forward

Regardless of where you are in the publishing process, you can benefit from joining us at Book People our next Thursday Third in January 2013.

Lexie Smith is a WLT member who enjoys connecting people with information through and  A University of Texas graduate, she taught middle school English and, until recently, homeschooled her children. She lives in Round Rock with her husband, five kids and two rescued Boxers.

September’s Third Thursday Wrap-Up

5 Questions to Ask Before Pursuing a Long-Term Relationship

By Lexie Smith

“Will you marry me?”

“Will you represent me?”

Marriage and literary representation. You can’t think of one without the other. Heck, the last time you went to a wedding I’m sure you were thinking of some classic author-agent duos. Me neither. Admittedly, I can’t think of any without a google. No pretense here.

However, these life-changing, seeming unrelated, topics were inextricably woven together during September’s Third Thursday program, “The Mating Game: How to Land a Literary Agent.”

The evening’s relationship advisors were literary agent Kathleen Davis Neindorff and authors Donna Bowman Bratton, Lynda Rutledge and Don Tate. The Writers’ League own Jay-Z, aka Programming Director Jennifer Ziegler, moderated.

References to romantic relationships unintentionally peppered the discussion, so as a recap I offer the following questions, applicable to either an agent-author relationship or a significant other relationship. Answers focus on the literary relationship, with a few personal notes thrown in. The first personal note: my teenagers get the joy of walking through these questions with me, and not because they’re looking to shop a manuscript.

5 Questions to Ask Before Pursuing a Long-Term Relationship

1. Do you have to? No. You don’t have to get married and you don’t have to get an agent. It depends on your goals in both scenarios. For your book, if you want to publish with a traditional publisher, you’ll probably need an agent. They are connected with acquisitions editors and publishing houses and can help find a match for your manuscript. Agents can also help negotiate your contracts. Kathleen said she salivates over contracts, relishing the details of the deal.  Contracts make Don throw up so he gladly lets his agents handle the negotiations now, though he has negotiated them in the past.

2. How do you know when you’re ready? Donna and Lynda knew they were ready for an agent after they had written and rewritten and rewritten their novels. (The personal relationship answer to this one is a little trickier.) If you don’t have your fiction project completed, you’re not ready. Non-fiction books don’t need to be completed, but need to have at least a few chapters done with a table of contents so agents can see where the work is headed.

3. How do you find someone? “Do some research” is sound advice for your love life and your writing life. These days the internet makes that easier, though not fool proof, in both cases.  Kathleen recommended the agents section of Literary Market Place, available in online or in print. Lynda suggested looking in the acknowledgements of books similar to yours because authors often thank their editors and agents there. Don met one of his agents (he has an art agent, a literary agent and a copyright agent) through a different agent he had developed a professional rapport with, including being Facebook friends. She didn’t represent him, but referred him to a colleague with whom his work resonated.  Donna wrote a blog post, Tips and Tools for the Agent Hunt, with lots of information about how to research literary agents. Also, check out WLT member Cynthia Leitich Smith’s agent page of her website. Of course, the WLT’s annual Agents and Editors Conference in June is ripe with opportunities to find an agent. I haven’t heard of any love connections being made at the conference, but you never know.

4. How do you know if this person is “the one”?  (I started asking my married friends that question when I met my future husband.) “She wanted me,” Lynda immediately said. Of course, that wasn’t Lynda’s only criteria, but her novel had gone through much “revision by rejection” based on input from several agents. And the “she” who wanted to sign Lynda was Amy Einhorn, who signed the deal for The Help, so she wasn’t saying yes to the first agent she queried. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but be careful. All panelists agreed that trusting your instinct about a person is crucial. And know what you want. They also concurred that finding an agent you relate to well is helpful, because your agent may need to talk you down off a ledge or two during your book’s life cycle.

5. When do you end a relationship? Don’t be afraid to break up with your agent. (Backtracking a bit, look for an exit clause before you sign a contract.) Kathleen has “happily divorced” two of her clients when the relationships didn’t work out because of their unrealistic demands. (Don’t be those clients.) Don said, “It’s time to get out when I don’t feel important to that person anymore. They’re not returning emails, making promises they don’t keep, not following through with promises, etc.” Those are relationship killers in any realm. (If you’re not good at ending things, read Necessary Endings by Henry Cloud.)

In exploring these questions, we’ve touched on some key ideas for building a solid relationship. If you see some success in the future, don’t forget to share your book launch date – or your wedding date – with us at the next Third Thursday on October 18 when we learn about “An Author’s Guide to PR and Marketing.”  It will held at 7 PM at the BookPeople store (603 N. Lamar Blvd).  As always, it will be free and open to the public,  so mark your calendars!


Lexie is a WLT member who enjoys connecting people with information through, and A University of Texas graduate, she taught middle school English and, until recently, homeschooled her children. She lives in Round Rock with her husband, five kids and two rescued Boxers.

Guest Post from WLT Author Harrison Cheung

I made Christian Bale the star he is today.

That’s not bragging or posturing.  People who know me, know that I’ve been a painfully modest man – to the detriment of my own career.  But my accomplishments with Christian Bale’s profession are documented, and I have the metrics and milestones to chronicle his journey from child actor to Internet sensation to the Dark Knight.

I worked for Bale for almost a decade as his publicist, personal assistant and marketer.  I used Internet marketing to turn his movies into hits on video, and to make him the first star of the Internet in the 1990s.  That unusual position in a new medium led him to win casting wars to secure key roles like American Psycho and Batman Begins.  It gave him editorial coverage and provided re-assuring numbers to hesitant producers who would otherwise pass on an up and coming actor with no box office track record.

My book’s journey has had its own speed bumps.  When I moved from Los Angeles to Austin, I was determined to write a book about my Hollywood experiences.  I joined the WLT, found a literary agent at the Agents’ Conference, and immediately landed a series of meetings with a big publisher who asked me to re-write my biography a couple different ways.

First of all, I was told, the YA market was hot.  Why not re-write the biography as a YA novel?  At that time, I was told by many publishers that Christian Bale’s name wasn’t big enough to merit a biography of his own.

So I juggled the day job with the night time glow of the computer monitor to crank out a YA version of the book in six months.  That novel won Honorable Mention with the Writers’ Guild competition, but my would-be publisher was still unimpressed.

Why not, she asked, re-write it as a fictional memoir?

Again, I plowed away for half a year and crafted a memoir, thinly veiled about my move from Canada to Los Angeles to work on Christian’s career.  It was touching, a lot more personal and cathartic than I thought it’d be – but again, the publisher was unmoved.

Why not, she asked, re-write it as a YA novel, but told from an African-American teen girl’s point of view?  That’s a very hot market, she advised.

I got to the point of picking up a pile of Seventeen magazines, ready to begin my research into the mind of a teenage girl when I just thought back to the very first principle of writing:  Write what you know.  I passed on the YA re-re-write.

As luck would have it, in the summer of 2008, Christian had an infamous run-in with the British police when he allegedly assaulted his mother and his sister the night before the London premiere of The Dark Knight.  The next day, I had a TV crew on my front lawn and the phone ringing off the hook.

Six months later, coincidentally on Christian’s birthday, January 30, someone leaked the notorious four minute recording of Christian lividly screaming at the director of photography on the set of Terminator Salvation.

Suddenly there was interest in my Bale biography again.

This time, after years of re-writes, I decided to merge three central ideas together.  Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman (my publisher chose the title) is of course the biography of Christian Bale.  It’s specifically about how a child actor made his way from England to Hollywood, with a very determined showbiz father pushing him all the way.  It’s also my story – how I started as a letter-writing fan in Toronto, Canada, and ended up being asked to relocate to Los Angeles to work on Christian’s career.  And it’s a history of Internet marketing in the entertainment industry.  In Hollywood, they talk about “buzz” and building “word of mouth” – we call it social media marketing now.

If you’re a movie buff, a Balehead, or a celebrity biography reader, I hope you’ll enjoy this look about what you need to make it in Hollywood – various parts of talent, determination, and luck.

Writers’ League of Texas member, Harrison Cheung, will release his first book ‘Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman’ on May 29th. Harrison will be signing books on May 17th at the WLT’s Third Thursday Program at BookPeople in Austin, Texas.  He’ll be at Barnes & Noble in Dallas (Lincoln Park Mall) on May 29th from 7PM, and then he’ll be signing at the SmartPop booth in Comic-Con, San Diego, California on July 13-14.

September’s Third Thursday Wrap Up, Behind the Publishing House Curtain”

By Lexi Smith

September’s Third Thursday program took us “Behind the Publishing House Curtain” with two booksellers and a publicist. Gillian Redfearn is a Key Account Manager for MacMillian Publishing, Gianna La Morte is a Sales Manager at UT Press, and Colleen Devine Ellis is the Publicity Manager at UT Press.

What did we find behind the curtain? Not a new car or a man pretending to be a wizard. We found inspiration and advice to help your book along the yellow brick road to publication.

You probably won’t encounter flying monkeys or talking trees (unless you’re in Marfa with Gianna) as you work to get your book in print. But, you can learn from Dorothy and friends about what it takes to reach your destination. Put on your Oz-colored glasses as we distill the conversation with Gillian, Gianna and Colleen into four things you’ll need as you work towards publishing your book.

Brains – It obviously takes a certain amount of brain power to write a book. Then it takes more to rewrite your book. Additionally, you have to figure out how to navigate all the different components of becoming (and being!) a published author. Avail yourself to the rich resources available in the Austin writing community. For example, tonight’s panel was an excellent opportunity to access professionals in the book industry and learn from their experiences.

Heart – Don’t give up on your dream of writing. Books mentioned tonight took from 3-10 years to write. Your book may take more or less time. Then you’re off to find a publisher. Once accepted for publication, it can take from 18 months to 2 years to publish. Becoming a published writer is not for the faint of heart.

Courage – Do you want your book to sell? If so, marketing your book will become a part-time job. Technology can make it easier than it used to be, but it can still be a daunting task. Though social media options (blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) may overwhelm you, don’t be afraid to try them.

Need help? For inspiration, check out Liz and Gianna’s Adventures in Bookland blog. For instruction, sign-up for the ongoing Tuesday Night Tech Talks at the WLT and learn the nuts and bolts of technology for authors. You can also join us on Thursday, October 20th for “An Author’s Guide to PR & Marketing.”

Our panel also encouraged us to be bold, without being a jerk, in asking for things from your publicist, agent or editor. Let them know your expectations. You may not get what you want, but you can ask.

Friends – The Munchkins, Glenda, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion all helped Dorothy get to the Wizard. Likewise, you’ll need a team of people to help with your book. Family, friends, critique groups, editors, agents, book sellers and publicists can all help. Again, the WLT can help with many of these connections.

When Dorothy woke from her Technicolor dream, she found her ordinary world filled with people who loved her. As dreams of publishing your book are challenged by the stark reality of what that takes, remember that your friends, brains, heart and courage can help you reach your Emerald City.

Resources Mentioned

Self-Publishing Options is part of

Classes, Conferences and Workshops

October 8, AustinSCBWI, “Storytelling in the Digital Age”

November 12th, AustinSCBWI, “Write What You Think You Can’t”

Ongoing – “Silver Voices in Ink” from – Writing course for senior citizens with ongoing classes around Austin.

Writers’ League Agents Conference

Lexie Smith is a WLT member who enjoys connecting people with information through, and A University of Texas graduate, she taught middle school English and, until recently, homeschooled her children. She lives in Round Rock with her husband, five kids and two rescued Boxers.