Book Festival Archives - 2010 - 2015

Book Festival Archive Post.

2015 Authors

Sara Laux Akin

Sara Laux Akin is the author of the children’s book Three Scoops and a Fig, published in 2010 by Peachtree Publishers. The story is about a little girl named Sofia, her family, cooking special foods, and finding your own way to make a contribution. 

The Smithsonian magazine recommended Three Scoops and a Fig in its 2010 holiday gift guide of children’s books related to food. A Booklist review of the title described it as “graceful, satisfying text, filled with repetitive lines that read aloud well.”

Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 30 books, many of them on rural history and country life. His most recent book, The Great Sand Fracas of Ames County: a Novel (2014), follows events in a small town when a mining company proposes building a frac sand mine in the community park. Will the mine save or ruin the town? His other recent books include: Limping Through Life: a Farm Boy's Polio Memoir (2013), The Quiet Season: Remembering Country Winters (2013), and Letters from Hillside Farm (2013).

Bill Berry

Bill Berry grew up in Green Bay and earned degrees from UW-River Falls. After working for more than 20 years as a journalist, Berry decided to redirect his focus to conservation and agriculture. This work has taken him across the United States to learn and teach about private lands conservation.

Kimberly Blaeser

Poet, critic, essayist, playwright, and fiction writer, Kimberly Blaeser is a professor at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she teaches creative writing and Native American literatures. Blaeser is the author of three collections of poetry: Apprenticed to Justice (2007), Absentee Indians & Other Poems (2002), and Trailing You (1994). Trailing You won the First Book Award for Poetry from the Native Writers' Circle of the Americas. In January, Blaeser was named Wisconsin Poet Laureate, 2015-2016.

Jericho Brown

Award-winning poet Jericho Brown once told the National Book Critics Circle that his goal was to write poetry that takes risk in form and content. "I have have always been attracted to work that manages to say what may be thought unsayable, poems that make clear the vulnerability of the poet to his or her work." The results of Brown's risk-taking are two highly praised poetry collections: Please (2008) and The New Testament (2014).

Steven Brust

Prolific author Steven Brust is clearly comfortable working within the literary environment of fantastical, deeply layered stories involving an immense range of characters. He began writing novels with Jhereg, published in 1983, and hasn't stopped writing since.

Last year's release of The Incrementalists takes readers down a slightly more recognizable rabbit hole, with a dizzying mixture of secret societies, murder, and immortality. It's also set in Las Vegas, the author's city of residence.

Julie Buckles

Not long ago, Julie Buckles took off on a 1,700-mile canoe trip with her new husband through Lake Superior and into remote wilderness areas of Canada. Her book about this event, called Paddling to Winter: A Couple's Wilderness Journey from Lake Superior to Northern Canada, has captured attention for its candid take on modern-day adventures and marriage.

Paddling to Winter was recently awarded the Next Generation Indie Award, the Independent Publishers Award, the Foreword Book of the Year in Adventure, and the Eric Hoffer da Vinci Eye Award for cover design.

Nickolas Butler

Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and was educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (BA, Honors English – 2002) and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop (MFA, Fiction – 2012). He is the recipient of the 2010 Roark Prize in Poetry, the 2007 Davis Demitasse Poetry Award, and a runner-up in the 2009 Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest. He has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. 

Butler's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in: The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, Ploughshares, Narrative, The Kenyon Review Online, Isthmus, Roast, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine, New Verse News, PANK, Volume One, Wisconsin People & Ideas, Sixth Finch, terrain.org, The Lumberyard, and Fresh Cup.

Isatou Ceesay

Although forced to drop out of school at a young age, Isatou Ceesay seldom lets anything stop her from learning or taking action. She has worked for the U.S. Peace Corps office in the Gambia, the Swedish organization Future in Our Hands, and as a consultant for various development organizations.

Ceesay's recycling project, which began in 1998 amidst much resistance and taunting, is still thriving today. In 2012, she was awarded a TIAW “Difference Maker” award in Washington, DC.

Crystal Chan

Crystal Chan’s first novel, Bird, focuses on a 12 year-old girl and her family’s struggle with loss, secrets, silence, and racial identity. Chan, who grew up as a mixed-race kid in Wisconsin, reports that she simply didn’t know any other mixed-race families when she lived in Oshkosh during the 1980s and 1990s.

“But beyond race and ethnicity," Chan says, "everyone questions who they are and where they fit in in the world, and that’s one of the strengths of the novel—that no matter what the reader’s background is, you can relate. That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s sold so strong internationally, too.”

Brett Christopherson

Brett Christopherson reports for Post-Crescent Media, specializing in digital content and sports, and in 2013 he published what has to be a dream project for any sports enthusiast. Over and Back, Mickey Crowe: the Strange and Troubled Life of a Wisconsin High School Basketball Legend follows the rise and fall of  Wisconsin high school basketball star Mickey Crowe.

Cathryn Cofell

Cathryn Cofell, author of the poetry collection Sister Satellite, is one of several poets heading to the Fox Cities Book Festival this year. In addition to Sister Satellite, Cofell has six chapbooks of poetry under her belt, as well as Lip, a CD of her poetry blended with music by Obvious Dog (Bruce Dethlefsen). She finds collaboration with other artists valuable.

“While the Fox Cities Book Festival has a rich history of celebrating writers and books from around the globe, you don’t need to travel far to find some of the country’s best poets,” asserts Cofell.

Shana Conradt is the published author of Getting Fit With Food, as well as a chef, weight loss consultant and speaker, but most of all, she is an outspoken advocate of a take-no-prisoners style of education when it comes to food, weight loss and life in general.

Philip Dawkins

Critically acclaimed playwright Philip Dawkins will help open this year’s book festival with the staging of his play Failure: a Love Story at UW-Fox Valley Communication Arts Center Theatre. Failure was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work following its premiere in 2012.

A review in the Chicago Sun Times called the production a “wonderful show that is profound, yet at the very same time whimsical beyond all imaging” and a Chicago Tribune review described it as a “tale full of emotional riches."

Brian Defferding

Brian Defferding is a freelance illustrator and graphic novel self-publisher. He began drawing comics as a teenager and later started his horror comic School: a Ghost Story while attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

School is the story of Lindsay, a 12-year-old girl who wakes up one day to find herself a ghost inside an elementary school and covered in blood. As she tries to figure out what happened to her, Lindsay realizes there are monsters around her who want to take her soul.

Defferding lives in Neenah, Wisconsin, where he continues to work on his illustrations and publishing.

For more information

Travis Dewitz

Professional photographer Travis Dewitz is known for his corporate, portrait, and youth modeling photography as well as his personal photography projects. One such personal project has resulted in the book Blaze Orange: Whitetail Deer Hunting in Wisconsin (2014).

In describing this work, Dewitz explained, “Wisconsin deer hunting runs deep with heritage for many Wisconsinites as the deer season here has an almost cult like following. This is what I am trying to capture and share with the readers."

Susan Dolan

It’s the subject most people love to avoid. Whether it’s planning one’s parents’ care or making one’s own arrangements, the very idea of planning what should be done at the end of life can seem so intimidating.

This is where Susan Dolan, a registered nurse and an attorney steps in. She serves as a healthcare consultant and an end-of-life advisor. Dolan co-authored the award-winning book, The End-of-Life Advisor: Personal, Legal and Medical Considerations for a Peaceful, Dignified Death.

Kathleen Ernst

Prolific and award-winning writer Kathleen Ernst is the author of more than 30 books, which include novels for young readers as well as works for adults.

Ernst created Caroline Abbott, an historical character, who is featured in the American Girl bestselling young readers' series. Her most recent Caroline novel is The Smuggler's Secrets, set during the War of 1812 when Caroline visits her cousin Lydia's farm and discovers a smuggling operation to help the British.

Ernst's popular mystery series for adults includes five Chloe Ellefson mysteries. The sixth book in the series, Death on the Prairie, is due out in October, 2015.

Tere Duperrault Fassbender

Terry Jo Duperrault went through an unimaginable ordeal at the age of 11, when her family was brutally murdered, and she was left to survive on a raft in the ocean. In the book Alone, Orphaned on the Ocean, Terry Jo, now known as Tere Duperrault Fassbender, tells her story with the help of psychologist and survival expert, Richard Logan.

John Ferak

While John Ferak was an investigative journalist for the Omaha World-Herald, he covered the story of a gruesome murder in rural Murdock, Nebraska, the search for the killers, and the resulting trial. His book Bloody Lies: a CSI Scandal in the Heartland recounts these events and the surprising twists the case took.

Megan Gannon

Megan Gannon seems to be doubly gifted, as she moves with ease between writing poetry and writing narrative fiction. Her novel, Cumberland, involves twin sisters in starkly different worlds and gives an intimate vision of their arresting story. For Gannon, fiction and poetry both have their place and season.

“They fulfill such different needs in me,” she admits. “Poetry is my religion and fiction is my recreation. Poetry takes a lot more wool-gathering and other-poet-reading and wall-staring, so it's often better suited for the summer months. Fiction is nice during the fall and winter, because I can just sit down and pick up where I left off.”

Jessie Garcia

Jessie Garcia took her love of sports and carved a path in the television news industry by becoming the state’s first female sportscaster. She was a Packers sideline reporter and host of both “The Mike Holmgren Show” and “The Mike McCarthy Show.” She works at WTMJ in Milwaukee and has published a memoir of her years following some rather famous teams and individuals called, My Life with the Green & Gold: Tales from 20 Years of Sportscasting.

Ann Garvin

Ann Garvin is a fiction writer who makes a living as a scientist and educator. Decades of teaching health and studying what makes people tick proved a perfect backdrop for her novels On Maggie's Watch and, most recently, The Dog Year.

Sarah Gilbert

Sarah Gilbert's chapbook of poetry, Tendril: Living with Lynch Syndrome was published by Finishing Line Press in 2015. The poems in this collection center on her experiences with cancer but, ultimately, portray a love of life. In describing the collection, poet Bruce Dethlefsen wrote that Gilbert's poems "can cut with the power and precision of the surgeon's scalpel and yet be rich with tenderness and intimacy."

Bill Gillard

Bill Gillard's poetry and prose have appeared in many publications, including Writer's Chronicle, The Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, and Review Americana. His most recent chapbook is Ode to Sandra Hook, published by Finishing Line Press in 2014.

In his review of the book, author David Daniel stated that Gillard guides readers through a "landscape of loss with great elegance, tenderness, and wit, and we end up...astonished by its great, if painful, beauty."

Susan Gloss

Susan Gloss is the author of the novel Vintage, published by William Morrow/HarperCollins in 2014. The novel centers on three women whose lives intersect at a vintage clothing store in Madison, Wisconsin. The book has been described as, "an engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women’s friendship and love.” 

Gloss notes that getting Vintage published was not a quick process. “I revised and rewrote the manuscript on and off for another eighteen months on my own before I signed with a literary agent. Once I began working with my agent, she and I went through two more rounds of revisions before shopping it around to publishers."

A.T. Haessly

Anthony Haessly has been intrigued by stories of the Apocalypse for many years. He has woven this interest into his novel, The Beginning of War (2014). Here the author takes elements of the myth and sculpts a modern interpretation filled with revenge and adventure. “My interest in the plot, and my entire series, came to me through both religious and entertainment mediums,” says Haessly.

Haessly lives in the Fox Valley area and says the book took about a year to write, but he’s already close to finished with revisions on his second book. Conquest of Gods involves the first Horseman and his rise to power.

Rachael Hanel

Rachael Hanel's nonfiction book, We’ll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger’s Daughter, was published in 2013 by the University of Minnesota Press. Her story and the quality of her writing have been widely praised by reviewers.

The Minneapolis StarTribune stated, "Hanel’s powerful, beautiful, moving book allows death, harrowing and healing, to sing" and The Rumpus said Hanel's "wildly imaginative and powerfully empathetic interior life ... shines on the page." 

Steve Hazell

Steve Hazell felt compelled to reflect on his friend’s life, along with his own civic and artistic accomplishments in his book, The Kindred Path. The book follows Hazell’s life in the folk music scene in the Fox Cities, his participation in the 2011 demonstrations in Madison, and his friend, Bob Weitzel’s adventure on Lake Superior, which was tragically cut short.

April Henry

April Henry has a long list of books to her credit. Since her first book, Circles of Confusion, was published in 1999, she has received praise for her intelligent, fast-paced, cleverly plotted mysteries and thrillers. In addition to fiction for adults, Henry has published many books in the young adult (YA) thriller category, including Girl, Stolen, a book that she based on an actual case of kidnapping. Later, Henry was able to meet the kidnapped girl she had read about. 

Among her other YA thrillers are: Shock Point, Torched, and, most recently, The Body in the Woods. Her work is noted for dealing with sophisticated themes and not talking down to the audience. Booklist has called her "a leading light in YA mystery."

Mike Hoeft

Mike Hoeft is author of The Bingo Queens of Oneida: How Two Moms Started Tribal Gaming in Wisconsin (2014). Although Hoeft had been a newspaper journalist for years, it was his wife Patty who suggested he research the story of the Oneida Bingo enterprise.

“It's a true story that's largely unknown to the general public. For years Patty told me somebody ought to write a book about the two women. I thought someone else would write it. I was busy with my career as a newspaper reporter at the Green Bay Press-Gazette," Hoeft says.

Cynthia Marie Hoffman

Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of the poetry collections Paper Doll Fetus and Sightseer, as well as the chapbook Her Human Costume.

Hoffman is the recipient of a Diane Middlebrook Fellowship in Poetry at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a Director’s Guest fellowship at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy.

B. J. Hollars

B.J. Hollars is the author of nonfiction, fiction, and hybrid texts. His nonfiction work Opening the Doors: the Desegregation of the University of Alabama and the Fight for Civil Rights in Tuscaloosa recounts the little-known behind-the-scenes saga that embroiled a president, a governor, and a civil rights leader.

Karla Huston

Award-winning poet Karla Huston is the author of the poetry collection A Theory of Lipstick (2013), the chapbook Outside of a Dog (2013), and several other chapbooks of poetry. Her poem "Theory of Lipstick" was awarded a Pushcart Prize and appeared in The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses (2012).

Huston will try to bring people around to poetry when she visits the Fox Cities Book Festival this year. “My presentation is meant to be a soft sell for poetry reading—and poetry writing,” says Huston. “Many people will say that they hate poetry and/or see no purpose in it or they don't understand it. My goal is to dispel some of that thinking. It's true that reading poetry can be difficult but it's more than worth the effort.”

Harvey J. Kaye

Wisconsin author and scholar Harvey J. Kaye has published 15 books on history, politics, and ideas, the most recent of which is The Fight for the Four Freedoms: What Made FDR and the Greatest Generation Truly Great. Kaye is noted for his ability to elucidate complex issues and bring history to life.

In his talk at the Fox Cities Book Festival, Kaye will focus on the ways in which leaders like FDR helped make America and the world safer. “In my talk I will ask, ‘How do we remember FDR and the Greatest Generation?’ There are those who think we make too much of those whom we have come to call the Greatest Generation and its Greatest Leader. But I actually think we make too little of them."

Lisa Klarner

Lisa Klarner has bravely taken her experiences with social anxiety and written a book that offers hope and strategies for others living with shyness or social anxiety disorder (SAD). In Releasing the Secret Pain: Moving Beyond Social Anxiety Disorder, Klarner describes her life as the disorder progressed and outlines the steps she took to make her life better.

Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline is a novelist, nonfiction writer, and editor. In addition to the New York Times bestselling Orphan Train, her novels include Bird in Hand, The Way Life Should Be, Desire Lines and Sweet Water. She served as Writer-in-Residence at Fordham University from 2007 to 2011 and was an on-staff editor and writing coach at the social networking site SheWrites.com.

Kline is coeditor, with Anne Burt, of a collection of personal essays called About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror. She commissioned and edited two widely praised collections of original essays on the first year of parenthood and raising young children, Child of Mine and Room to Grow. She is co-author, with her mother, Christina Looper Baker, of a book on feminist mothers and daughters, The Conversation Begins.

Kline's essays, articles, and reviews have appeared in San Francisco Chronicle, the Literarian, Coastal Living, More, Psychology Today, and others. She is currently at work on a literature anthology for Facing History & Ourselves and a novel based on the iconic painting Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth.

Mary Kubica

Mary Kubica, author of The Good Girl and Pretty Baby, enjoys the challenge of keeping readers hooked on her suspenseful stories. Just like the reader, she says she enjoys the experience of discovering the twists and revelations that make the stories so gripping. She says she’ll be discussing her debut as a novelist at the Fox Cities Book Festival, as well as her journey to publication in her career as a suspense author.

“I am so honored to be attending the Fox Cities Book Festival this year,” Kubica says. “I can’t wait to meet fellow authors and readers throughout the Fox Cities area and get the opportunity to share my experiences with them.”

Dale M. Kushner

Dale Kushner’s debut novel, The Conditions of Love, explores the mysterious world of love and the harsh tones of abandonment through the eyes of a girl living in the backwaters of Wisconsin in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The book has received glowing reviews from The Associated Press, Booklist, and Bookreporter, to name a few.

Kushner's poetry and fiction have been influenced by Carl Jung and examine the power of myths and archetypal images at work in the world.

Lorna Landvik

Author and entertainer Lorna Landvik tends to see the lighter side of life. And through her writing, she shows a unique talent for helping others laugh, too.

Among her books are Patty Jane’s House of Curl, Your Oasis on Flame Lake, Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, Mayor of the Universe, and most recently, Best to Laugh.

At the Fox Cities Book Festival, Landvik plans on discussing Best to Laugh, whose heroine goes through similar experiences as the author did while performing stand-up comedy in Hollywood.

Dale Laurin, Sr.

Dale Laurin worked as a financial planner for 37 years. He was was a part-time educator at Fox Valley Tech for 10 years. Most importantly, though, he has been charter fishing on Lake Michigan for more than 40 years. Fishing Secrets: the Life and Times of a Present Day Charter Fishing Captain is his second book, published by AuthorHouse.

Michael Leannah

Michael Leannah grew up in Marinette, within walking distance of the well-known Lauerman Brothers Department Store. So when he wrote his nonfiction book, Something for Everyone: Memories of Lauerman Brothers Department Store, Leannah knew what a special place it was.

Something for Everyone traces the hundred-year history of the Lauerman enterprise and its importance to the community of Marinette and dozens of counties in northern Wisconsin and the UP.

Chad Lewis

Chad Lewis has authored or co-authored numerous books on haunted places and strange phenomena, including the book The Wisconsin Road Guide to Haunted Locations.

Lewis promises an evening of bizarre ghosts, wicked spirits, and deadly poltergeists when he speaks at the Fox Cities Book Festival this April.

“Although I will feature a lot of Fox Cities locations, this presentation takes the audience on a ghostly journey to some of the most haunted places in Wisconsin,” Lewis explains.

Richard Logan, Ph.D.

Psychologist and survival expert Richard Logan co-authored Alone, Orphaned on the Ocean with Tere Duperrault Fassbender. The book tells of Fassbender's experience in surviving a murderous rampage when she was only 11 years old. Terry Jo Duperrault, as she was known as a child, went on a family vacation and ended up orphaned and adrift on a tiny raft in the ocean.

Douglas Beye Lorie

Douglas Beye Lorie is an avid traveler and the author of Acaju, a period novel about Colonial Brazil. The book is a result of his lifelong love of cashews. This love is what led him to research the nuts' origin and also learn more about the indigenous culture in Brazil during the 1700’s.

Lorie was born in Florida. He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Masters in Eastern Classics at St. John’s College in Santa Fe, NM.

Julie Mata

Local writer Julie Mata is the author of Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens, in which 12-year-old Kate dreams of becoming a big-time movie director. But her dreams turn into nightmares when she has to deal with high maintenance chickens and the desertion of her best friend. The second novel in the Kate Walden Directs line, called Bride of Slug Man, will be out in May, 2015.

Mike McCabe

Mike McCabe's book Blue Jeans in High Places: the Coming Makeover of American Politics has been called both a hunt for lost political treasure and a how-to guide for nursing American democracy back to health. The book details how our political culture has become diseased while at the same time dispelling the cynical view that politics has always been like it is today and always will be. And it prescribes a groundbreaking cure.

Wendy McClure

It’s hard to find someone who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s who didn’t develop a fondness for The Little House on the Prairie books as a child. It may be even harder to find someone who became more of an ardent fan of the series as Wendy McClure.

The columnist, author, and children’s book editor even wrote of her remarkable affinity for all things Laura in her book, The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie. McClure’s book won the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award for nonfiction in 2011, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and was a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick.

Doc Mehl

Doc Mehl is the Asphalt Cowboy Poet. With one foot in the past and one in the present, Doc weaves the history and the mystery of the West into his original "westclectic" poetry and music. His debut music CD is titled Asphalt Cowboy, and his second music CD titled I’d Rather Be… was released in 2008.

Doc Mehl has also published a CD of original poetry titled Cowboy Pottery. The collection is described as, "poems of the old West, gently spoken by the old westerner himself. And, by gum, the poems even rhyme."

June Melby

When June Melby was 10, her parents abruptly purchased the Tom Thumb Mini Golf Course in the small Wisconsin town where the family vacationed. This event suddenly turned Melby's summers into chore-filled months with intense family time. And then, as if to answer her prayers, the park was sold, and Melby was inexplicably crushed. Collecting moments of humor from these years, Melby wrote the endearing memoir, My Family and Other Hazards, which was released in 2014.

John Jackson Miller

John Jackson Miller gets to create new adventures and scenarios for some of the most beloved fictional characters in popular culture. His Star Wars novels include A New Dawn (2014), the first work created in conjunction with the new Lucasfilm Story Group; the New York Times bestseller Kenobi, winner of the 2013 Scribe Award for Best Original Tie-In Novel-Speculative Fiction; Knight Errant (2011) and Lost Tribe of the Sith (2012). He has written twenty graphic novels, including ten Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic volumes published by Dark Horse.

Kevin Miyazaki

Commissioned by the Haggerty Museum of Art at Marquette University to create an artwork reflecting on the importance of freshwater, Milwaukee-based photographer Kevin J. Miyazaki embarked on a two-week, 1,800-mile drive around Lake Michigan. He traveled its perimeter, through Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. The end result was his book, Perimeter: a Contemporary Portrait of Lake Michigan.

Linda Sue Park

Linda Sue Park is an award-winning, best-selling author of books for children and young people. Although the audiences for her novels are young, the stories are sophicated in depth of feeling and situation. She won the 2002 Newbery Medal for A Single Shard and her book A Long Walk to Water became a New York Times bestseller.

Miranda Paul

Miranda Paul has been an avid recycler since elementary school, when she won a contest by transforming a discarded cereal box into a beautiful holiday ornament. She still loves rummaging for treasures but now spends most of her time teaching and writing books for children.

Over the past decade, Miranda has traveled to the Gambia as a volunteer teacher, a fair‐trade and literacy advocate, and a freelance journalist—which led her to write the children's book One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia.

Vivian Probst

Wisconsin author Vivian Probst entered a publishing contest put on by When Words Count Retreat in Vermont — and she ended up winning first place, which included marketing and publication of her book!

Her novel Death by Roses is a romantic comedy featuring quirky characters — not all of whom are alive — in outrageous situations. The story explores Probst's fascination with the comedic side of worldly and other-worldly events.

Death by Roses was selected by a panel of expert judges from the publishing industry based on its gripping content, marketability, and Probst's presentation skills and personality.

Join Probst as she reads from her winning work and discusses her writing process.

For more information

Monica Rico

Monica Rico is the author of Nature’s Noblemen: Transatlantic Masculinities and the Nineteenth-century American West, published by Yale University Press in 2013. This work examines how the 19th century American West was mythologized as the place for men to assert their masculinity and explores how this mythology played out in a transaltantic context. Author and reviewer Virginia Scharff calls the book a "richly nuanced exploration of masculinity in motion" and notes that "No one is a better guide to this complicated cultural terrain than Monica Rico."

Zohra Sarwari

Zohra Sarwari is a business coach, inspirational speaker, and author. Among her many titles are 9 Steps to Achieve Your Destiny, Are Muslim Women Oppressed?, and NO! I am Not a Terrorist!

As an orthodox Muslim woman living in America, Sarwari has faced many challenges. She has found a passion in educating others about diversity.

Gavin Schmitt

Gavin Schmitt is fascinated with history. His latest book, The Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in the Heartland, explores the history of gangsters in the state. His other books include Milwaukee Mafia, Kaukauna, and Neenah, all part of the Images of America series. These books examine aspects of Wisconsin history through collections of essays and historic photographs to shed light on a fascinating past.

Kay Scholtz

If it hadn’t been for letters written and saved by a Wisconsin family nearly 100 years ago, Kay Scholtz would not have opened the door on the remarkable and true story for her book, The Wisconsin Krueger Family Tragedy: 16 Years of Letters from Prison.

Victor Schueller

Coach, speaker, and author, Victor Schueller wears a lot of hats. He admits that he grew tired of the drama-filled environment that made up his workplace and set out to teach others about another way to find a happy life. With two books under his belt, a radio show, a blog, and coaching service, Schueller is equipped to help people find solutions for the communication problems in their work places and homes.

Will Schwalbe

When Will Schwalbe’s mother was dying of cancer, he did something that would, in a sense, keep their conversations going. In the process of assisting his mother with her treatments, Schwalbe embarked on long discussions about books with his mother, also an avid reader. His memoir, The End of Your Life Book Club, grew out of this experience.

At the Fox Cities Book Festival, Schwalbe will be discussing the book. He says, “This is a memoir I wrote about the books my mother and I read when she was dying of pancreatic cancer. But I like to think it’s really about what I learned from her, what we both learned from the books we read, and how books tell us what we need to do with our lives and in the world."

Patricia Skalka

The mystery novel Death Stalks Door County marks the fiction debut of award-winning Chicago writer Patricia Skalka. A lifelong reader and writer, she turned to fiction following a successful career as a nonfiction writer. 

Skalka says she’s looking forward to greeting fans at the Fox Cities Book Festival. “My presentation will focus on my debut novel, Death Stalks Door County, and my transition from a nonfiction writer to a mystery author,” says Skalka. “I’ll read one or two selections from the book, discuss the event that sparked the idea, and explain how the plot for the book grew from there.”

Raen Smith

Raen Smith writes romance and suspense novels with happily-ever-afters — although it takes a while for her characters to get to that part. Her books include House of Steel, House of Fire, and House of V, in the "Unraveled" series, and Southbound Surrender and Liam: Branded Brothers.

Kathy Stewart

Registered Nurse Kathy Stewart has more than 30 years of clinical experience, primarily in university and medical center settings. Her diverse clinical background in renal, neurology, rehabilitation, oncology and geriatrics prepared her for tackling the care required for the assisted living setting.

With all of her experiences, Stewart decided to share what she has learned about caring for the elderly in her book Mom's Losing Her Memory; I'm Losing My Mind.

Claudia Turner

At various times, Claudia Turner has been an athlete, teacher, scientist and now, a writer. Turner earned a B.S. from Bates College, an M.S. from The Pennsylvania State University, and a Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University.

After retiring from the pharmaceutical industry, she moved to Boston to attend classes at Grub Street and pursue her lifelong dream of writing. Scars and Stripes Forever is her first novel.

Jacqueline West

Jacqueline West is the author of the middle-grade fantasy series The Books of Elsewhere. Since publication of Volume One: The Shadows in 2010, the series has been on the New York Times' Best Sellers list, has been a Junior Library Guild selection, has garnered starred reviews, has received a CYBILS Award, and has earned several state award nominations.

Zachariah Wilson

Zach Wilson is owner of Power House Comics in Appleton, Wisconsin. He has a Fine Arts background as well as completing several amateur projects over the years. His love of comics started while reading his father's collection as a boy. Now as the owner of Power House Comics, his knowledge base is epic scale!

Jeff Yeager

Jeff Yeager, nationally known author and self-proclaimed "Ultimate Cheapskate," combines a humorous approach with a serious subject that many Americans would rather not examine too closely—their spending habits. In his most recent book, How to Retire the Cheapskate Way (2013), he looks at spending smart and focusing on what you really want out of life.

Thank You

Atlas Coffee Mill

Big thanks go to Atlas Coffee Mill for hosting monthly meetings for the Fox Cities Book Festival Board! We appreciate your support of the Festival and just can't thank you enough for providing a welcoming meeting space for us to plan and dream.