Chad P. Conrad grew up in Manhattan Beach, California, and served a mission in Mexico City. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and a master’s degree from Boston University, both in philosophy. Chad taught philosophy at Brigham Young University for seven years and has taught full time for LDS Seminaries and Institutes of Religion for twenty years. He married Stacy in the Manti Temple and they are now being raised by eight children in Orem, Utah!
Christine Layton Graham is a writer, editor, and college English instructor living in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her books include When Pioneer Wagons Rumbled West, Three Little Robbers,and Peter Peter Picks a Pumpkin House. She has also had pieces published in the New Era and the Friend.
Joan Layton Merrell is a professional calligrapher and fiber artist living in Jefferson City, Missouri. She has exhibited regionally and has been represented by galleries in two states. Her calligraphic art has been published in Letter Arts Review and The Calligrapher’s Engagement Calendar.
Carol Layton Ogden is an artist living in Springville, Utah. Carol studied design at BYU. In recent years she has studied under a variety of artists, including Ann Kullberg and J.K. Richards.
Amy Finnegan writes her own stories because she enjoys falling in love over and over again, and thinks everyone deserves a happy ending. She likes to travel the world—usually to locations where her favorite books take place—and owes her unquenchable thirst for reading to Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. Her debut novel, NOT IN THE SCRIPT, came about after hearing several years of behind-the-scenes stories from her industry veteran brother. She’s also been lucky enough to visit dozens of film sets and sit in on major productions such as PARKS AND RECREATION and PARENTHOOD.
Stacy Lynn Carroll is the best-selling contemporary fiction author of The Princess Sisters trilogy. She has also recently published her first children’s book. Stacy started out at Utah State University where she pursued a degree in English, learned how to wester swing, and watched as many of her fellow students become, “True Aggies.” She finished her bachelors at the University of utah where she added an emphasis in creative writing. After college she worked as an administrative assistant, where she continued to write stories for the amusement of her co-workers. When her first daughter was born, and with the encouragement of a fortune cookie, she quit her job and became a full-time mommy and writer. She and her husband have three children, two corgis, and a fish named Don.
She is nominated for a Whitney Award for her book My Name Is Bryan.
Stephen Valentine received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Utah State University. Stephen loves history, hiking, cooking, reading, and traveling, especially to Disneyland. Stephen resides in Utah with his beautiful wife, talented children, brilliant Schnauzer, and massive J.R.R. Tolkien collection.
Chris Crowe, a professor of English at Brigham Young University, has published award-winning fiction and nonfiction for teenagers, poetry, essays, books, and many articles for academic and popular magazines. He married his high school sweetheart, Elizabeth, and they are the parents of four children and grandparents of two beautiful granddaughters. They live in Provo, Utah.
He is the author of several books, most notably MISSISSIPPI TRIAL, 1955, which won several awards, including the 2003 International Reading Association’s Young Adult Novel Award. His nonfiction book, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER: THE TRUE STORY OF THE EMMETT TILL CASE, was an Jane Addams Honor book. His first children’s book, JUST AS GOOD: HOW LARRY DOBY CHANGED AMERICA’S GAME, appeared in 2012. His newest book is a historical novel DEATH COMING UP THE HILL, released in October 2014. Death Coming Up The Hill is nominated as a Whitney Award Finalist for 2014.
Brock Booher grew up on a farm in rural Kentucky, the fourth of ten children, where he learned to work hard, use his imagination, and believe in himself. He left the farm to pursue the friendly skies as a pilot, and currently flies for a major US carrier. A dedicated husband and father of six children, he began writing out of sheer arrogance, but the writing craft quickly humbled him. During that process, he discovered that he enjoyed writing because it is an endeavor that can never quite be mastered. He still gladly struggles everyday to improve his writing and storytelling skills. Brock is the author of Healing Stone from Sweetwater Books, and is here today to talk about his book, sort of book, we’ll define it a little later, Return and Continue with Honor: A Guide for Returning Missionaries.
Emily Bates grew up in Northern California, where she spent much of her young life happily closeted away with a book. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in German Linguistics, married a dashing young man from her study abroad in Germany, and now writes novels in English. She currently resides in Washington with her husband and their charming daughter.
Garrett Batty is the Writer and Director of The Sarratov Approach, and his latest film is Freetown. He graduated from BYU and has been a part of the developing LDS Film market in other capacities with his production company, Three Coin Productions.
Melissa Larson BIO:
Originally from Hau‘ula, Hawai‘i, Melissa Leilani Larson is a writer presently based in Provo, Utah. The award-winning author of a number of plays and films, she holds an a BA in English from Brigham Young University and an MFA from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
Mel’s plays have been produced all over the country. Little Happy Secrets received the 2009 Association for Mormon Letters Drama award and was published in August 2010 as part of the anthology Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project; after the 2013 production, Mel was nominated as an Outstanding Community Production Member by the Utah Theatre Lovers. Her produced plays include Martyrs’ Crossing (IRAM Best New Play; KC/ACTF Meritorious Achievement; Best of Utah Valley 2006), which was published in the anthology Saints on Stage and received its international premiere at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe; A Flickering (Trustus Playwrights Festival Finalist); Hope Falls; Standing Still Standing (Mayhew Contest Winner); The Church of St. Pinky at Katy, Texas; and Lady in Waiting (KC/ACTF Region VIII New Play Fest participant; Lewis National Playwriting Contest for Women winner). Persuasion has enjoyed several productions and positive audience responses. Mel’s first commission, an adaptation celebrating the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, recently enjoyed a sold-out run in Brigham Young University’s Pardoe Theatre. Mel has helped co-write the book for The Weaver of Raveloe, a new musical inspired by George Eliot’s Silas Marner, conceived and composed by award-winning composer Erica Glenn; Weaver premiered in May 2014 at ART’s Oberon. Mel’s newest original play, Pilot Program, will premiere in April 2015, directed by Jerry Rapier, as part of Plan-B Theatre Company’s upcoming season.
Also an accomplished filmmaker, Mel is currently collaborating with Garrett Batty (the award-winning director of The Saratov Approach) on a new project, Freetown, which recently completed principal production in Ghana. She wrote and co-produced the independent feature The Lilac Thief and has written, produced, and/or directed a number of short films including “Cherry Pie” (writer), “Iscariot” (writer/co-producer), “Traces” (director/producer), and “4:53” (writer), which was included in the LDS Film Festival’s inaugural Best of Festival tour. She’s written a screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy As You Like It, and is has several film projects in progress. Mel adapted her own play Standing Still Standing for film, winning the LDS Film Festival’s screenwriting award.
Works in progress include Sweetheart Come, about a young mother suffering through the onset of schizophrenia; a wacky Victorian comedy, The Mummy Play; a biographical drama about Russian poet Alexander Pushkin; adaptations of Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, as well as a musical version of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South; a retelling of the Nordic fairy tale “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”; Island Rose, a screenplay about Ka‘iulani, Hawai‘i’s last princess; a Hawaiian history cycle for the stage; and several young adult novels (Mel loathes the term “juvenile” but she loves talking about herself in the third person).
An AEA EMC stage manager, Mel has stage managed at all levels, calling shows for Actors Repertory Theatre Ensemble, Brigham Young University, Utah Regional Ballet, Provo Theatre Company, Iowa University Theatres, Iowa Summer Rep, New Play Project, Utah Valley University School of the Arts, Sundance Summer Theatre, the Echo Theatre, and the Utah Lyric Opera. She is presently working with choreographer Graham Brown on his devised work You, which will be staged at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in January 2015.
Mel was recently invited to be part of Plan-B Theatre Company’s Playwrights Lab, and to serve as a Dramatists Guild of America ambassador for the Utah Region. A certified KC/ACTF adjudicator, she occasionally serves as adjunct faculty at Brigham Young and Utah Valley Universities. She was one of the original Utah Theatre Bloggers, writing regular reviews for three years. Her favorite things include melty cheese, Hawai‘i, the UK, history, musicals that don’t suck, nice paper and even nicer pens. Oh, and just about anything sung by Audra McDonald.
Randal A. Wright obtained a PhD in Family Studies from Brigham Young University. His dissertation addressed the impact of electronic media (TV, movies, music and he internet) on the attitudes and behaviors of adolescents. He worked with the church educational System for many years as an institute Director and taught in the religion department at BYU. He is the founder of lifemission4u.com.
He is the author of several boo(s including-25 Mistakes LDS Parents Make and How to Avoid Them; Families in Danger: Protecting your Family in an x-rated world; The case forChastity: Helping Youth Stay Morally Clean and Achieving Your Life Mission)
He has written chapters in several other books and articles in magazines as well. He has been a frequent speaker to adults at Know Your Religion and has spoken regularly to the youth to the youth at especially for Youth and youth conferences throughout the United States, Canada and England. He and his wife, Wendy, are the parents of five married children and have sixteen grandchildren. Randal A. Wright is a fifth generation Texan. Randal Wright is the author of Book of Mormon Miracle, 25 reasons to Believe.