2021 Authors & Illustrators

Meet the Ohio authors and illustrators who are participating in this year’s Buckeye Book Fair.

woman in pink shirt sitting by the table while smiling

Our author’s are planning to attend the in-person Buckeye Book Fair.

All schedules are subject to change.

Rachele Alpine

One of Rachele Alpine’s first jobs was at a library, but it didn’t last long, because all she did was hide in the third-floor stacks and read. Now she’s a little more careful about when and where she indulges her reading habit. Rachele is a high school English teacher by day, a wife and mother by night, and a writer during any time she can find in between. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, where she writes books for kids, tweens, teens, and the young at heart! Visit her at www.rachelealpine.com.

Lisa Amstutz

Lisa Amstutz is the author of more than 150 books for children and co-author of an adult book on the local foods movement. She has also written for a variety of magazines and newspapers. Lisa’s background includes a B.A. in Biology and an M.S. in Environmental Science/Ecology. A former outdoor educator, she specializes in topics related to nature, sustainability, and agriculture. Lisa lives on a small farm in Ohio with her family.

Janet Beard

Born and raised in East Tennessee, Janet Beard moved to New York to study screenwriting at NYU and went on to earn an MFA in creative writing from The New School. Her first novel, ‘Beneath the Pines,’ was published in 2008, and her follow-up, ‘The Atomic City Girls’ became an international bestseller 2018. Janet’s latest novel, ‘The Ballad of Laurel Springs,’ will be released in 2021. Janet has lived and worked in Australia, England, Boston, and Columbus, Ohio, where she is currently raising a daughter and working on a new novel.

Sara Bir

Sara Bir is a chef, writer, and plant nerd who aims to get people outside and looking at their everyday surroundings in a completely new way. Her book The Fruit Forager’s Companion (Chelsea Green, 2018) won the 2019 Reference and Technical Cookbook Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, she teaches classes for home cooks and her writing has been featured in Saveur, Lucky Peach, Serious Eats, Modern Farmer, Best Food Writing 2014, and two Full Grown People anthologies. She enjoys plantspotting around her neighborhood in Marietta, Ohio, and looks forward to once again skating with her roller derby team.

Marcy Campbell

Marcy Campbell is an award-winning author of picture books and middle-grade novels, which have earned praise from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, School Library Review, The Horn Book, Kirkus Reviews, and many others. Her debut picture book was selected for the Junior Library Guild, chosen as a Top 10 Indie Next Pick, and was the recipient of awards including the Comstock Read Aloud and Crystal Kite Awards. Her books have been translated into eight languages and adapted for stage. Campbell lives in Ohio with her husband, two children and three furry companions. Visit her at marcycampbell.com.

Linda Castillo

Linda Castillo is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Kate Burkholder series, set in the world of the Amish. The first book, Sworn to Silence, was adapted into a Lifetime original movie titled An Amish Murder starring Neve Campbell as Kate Burkholder. Castillo is the recipient of numerous industry awards including a nomination by the International Thriller Writers for Best Hardcover, the Mystery Writers of America’s Sue Grafton Memorial Award, and an appearance on the Boston Globe’s shortlist for best crime novel. In addition to writing, Castillo’s other passion is horses. She lives in Texas with her husband and is currently at work on her next book.

Richard Cowdrey

Richard Cowdrey is a New York Times bestselling Illustrator, Fine Artist, Author, Speaker, and Educator (and in his mind and heart- Farmer) From Cincinnati Ohio, Richard’s deep faith in God and love of God’s creation, coupled with an ability to take direction and having a variety of “styles”, make him a special type of visual communicator. Richard sees his vocation as an opportunity to serve the clients he works with, ultimately being their hands in collaborating to create pieces that fulfill the objective. In 1978 Richard left Cincinnati for Columbus College of Art & Design, graduation in 1981. After a short stint at Hallmark Greeting Cards in KC MO he went out on his own beginning nearly 40 years as a freelance illustrator. In his professional career R has worked with a great multitude of Agencies, Designers, Toy Companies, Publishers, Card Companies, Schools, Large Corporations, small shops, Newspapers, and many more.

Jerzy Drozd

Jerzy Drozd co-authored the graphic novel Science Comics: Rockets with his wife Anne. He is one of the artists of The Warren Commission Report. He leads cartooning workshops for children and teens in libraries and schools, as well as for teachers who want to bring comics to the classroom. He also podcasts about comics and how to make them. Drozd has drawn special projects for Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, Marvel Comics, VIZ Media, and others. He is currently working on his next graphic novel, Baron von Bear and the Case of the Two-Faced Statue, which will be released by Iron Circus Comics in 2023.

Mary Ellis

Mary Ellis is a former schoolteacher turned USA Today bestselling author who’s written twenty-six novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her first mystery, Midnight on the Mississippi, was a finalist for the RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. Her latest book is One for the Road from the Bourbon Tour Mysteries from Severn House. One Hundred Proof Murder released August 3, 2021. She enjoys gardening and bicycling and lives in Ohio with her husband and dog.

Alex Erickson

Alex Erickson is the author of both the Bookstore Café and the Furever Pets mysteries. When he’s not writing, he enjoys spending his time gaming or playing music. He lives in Ohio with his wife, son, and their three crazy cats.

Amanda Flower

Amanda Flower is a USA Today bestselling and Agatha Award-winning author of over thirty-five mystery novels. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Romantic Times, and she had been featured in USA Today, First for Women, and Woman’s World. She currently writes for Penguin-Random House (Berkley), Kensington, Hallmark Publishing, Crooked Lane Books, and Sourcebooks. In addition to being a writer, she was a librarian for fifteen years. Today, Flower and her husband own a farm and recording studio, and they live in Northeast Ohio with their two adorable cats.

Julie Frey

Julie is the Curator at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens. She attended the University of Dayton where she majored in History and English. After completing an internship with the Montgomery County Historical Society, she decided to become a museum curator and attended graduate school at the Cooperstown Graduate Program in upstate New York. Before moving back to Ohio, Julie pursued her museum career first at the Rye Historical Society in New York and then at the Litchfield Historical Society in Connecticut. She started her current position at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in April 2014. As Curator, Julie oversees the Collections, Tour Services and Education departments. During her tenure with SHH she has written six books on the history of the Seiberling family and Stan Hywet Hall estate. She has also completed the installation of a permanent exhibition “The Seiberling Legacy” in the lower level of the Manor House and the reimagination of the Gate Lodge permanent exhibit, “Henrietta: A Spark for a Movement.”

Terry Gilbert and Carlo Wolff

Terry Gilbert

Terry Gilbert has been in private law practice since 1973, focusing on criminal defense and civil rights litigation. At the start of his legal career, Gilbert represented American Indians in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee confrontation in South Dakota, as well as numerous antiwar and civil rights activists. Over the years, Gilbert has handled a variety of government misconduct cases involving police abuse, wrongful conviction, violations of free speech, prisoners’ rights, and victims of all forms of discrimination. His defense of civil liberties has often put him at odds with authorities and made him the target of op-eds and editorial cartoonists. At the same time, he has written many op-eds himself, and used the media to make his case for justice directly to the people. Gilbert lives with his wife Robin in a Cleveland suburb, and has two adult children: Benjamin, a molecular biologist, and Julian, a law student.

Carlo Wolff

Carlo Wolff writes about popular culture, music, books, hospitality and travel. A contributor to the jazz magazine DownBeat, he is the author of Cleveland Rock & Roll Memories, lead author of Mike Belkin: Socks, Sports, Rock and Art, and co-writer of Designing Victory by Robert P. Madison and of The Encyclopedia of Record Producers. Wolff also reports and edits for newspapers and magazines. A native of Dallas, Wolff grew up in Columbus, Ohio and attended schools in the Boston area. He moved to Cleveland in 1986. Wolff lives in Cleveland with his wife Karen Sandstrom and Daisy the Dog.

multicolored concrete house
Author photo coming soon! | Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Peter Graham Dunn

I was born in China. My parents were missionaries. When I was six, I was placed in a group home in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. After graduating from the University of Alberta in 1972, I married LeAnna Gerber, a Mennonite woman from Dalton Ohio. After a three year stint in New York City under the Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities, we moved back to the family farm. In 1976 I started a company called Wood Decor which I sold in 1987. I then founded P. Graham Dunn, a giftware manufacturing company, in Dalton, Oh. In 1919 we sold P. Graham Dunn to the employees as an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan.). I continue to be active in a number of actives in the community.

Ron Hill

Over the last 38 years, Ron Hill has been a cartoonist, illustrator, caricaturist, creative director, author, editor and high school teacher. Born in Cleveland, he is a graduate of Solon High School and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. An award-winning editorial cartoonist, since 1999 he has been a weekly cartoonist for four Cleveland-area newspapers: The Chagrin Valley Times, The Solon Times, Geauga Times Courier and West Life. As if that’s not enough, Ron is an in-demand caricature quick-sketch entertainer, and a managing partner of Act 3, a web, video, publishing and advertising firm. Ron is a member of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists.

There is no friend as loyal as a book.

Ernest Hemingway
Headshor Will Hillenbrand

Will Hillenbrand

WILL HILLENBRAND is a celebrated children’s author and illustrator whose published works include over 70 books. Will has lived almost all his life in Cincinnati where he grew up as the youngest of four boys. He was the first Illustrator and Author in Residence at Kent State University at Kent Campus and the Art Academy of Cincinati. He is a member of the National Advisory Board at the University of Findlay’s Mazza Museum in Findlay.

Michelle Houts

Michelle Houts is the award-winning author of more than a dozen books for young readers, ranging from colorful, engaging picture books to adventurous middle-grade novels. In BARN AT NIGHT, her newest book, readers enter a world where chores become adventures after dark. In addition to the STEM-based chapter book series, LUCY’S LAB, which encourages readers to be curious explorers of the world, Houts has has written the biographies of a woman who played baseball (KAMMIE ON FIRST), a midcentury modern artist (COUNT THE WINGS: THE LIFE AND ART OF CHARLEY HARPER), the first woman to solo hike the Appalachian Trail (WHEN GRANDMA GATEWOOD TOOK A HIKE) and a great-horned owl (SILENT SWOOP). SEA GLASS SUMMER explores the mysteries of the ocean with a multi-generational story and a surprise ending and WINTERFROST is a great family read-aloud. Houts is a frequent speaker at schools and conferences. She is the creator of The Mark Boney Promise, an anti-bullying campaign, and the 52 Letter Challenge. Visit her at www.michellehouts.com.

Bob Hunter

Bob Hunter is the author of eleven books including Road to Wapatomica, A modern search for the Old Northwest and Players, Teams and Stadium Ghosts, Bob Hunter on Sports, a collection of some of his past columns from the Columbus Dispatch. Among his recent books are Thurberville, which examines James Thurber’s relationship with his hometown of Columbus; A Historical Guidebook to Old Columbus, Finding the Past in the Present in Ohio’s Capital City; Saint Woody, The History and Fanaticism of Ohio State Football; and Chic, a biography of OSU star Chic Harley. Hunter served as sports columnist for the last 24 years of his more than 40 at the Columbus Dispatch. He is a native of Hamilton, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio University. He has been a member of the board of trustees of the Columbus Historical Society since 2011.

Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton

LAURIE LAZZARO KNOWLTON is an award winning author of 45 books in the trade, educational, craft, and Christian markets. Her first publication was a letter to a boy in third grade. You would have thought this most embarrassing moment would have squelched her desire to write, but she just can’t stop herself! So, Laurie writes in the middle of the night, while waiting for a red light, while hiking, in the bath tub, or under an apple tree where her latest book WHO KNEW? UNDER THE APPLE TREE began. Laurie is an international speaker addressing children, teachers, librarians, writer’s groups, reading associations, book groups, senior citizens, and church groups. You can contact Laurie at, lauriepknowlton@aim.com or through her web page, www.laurieknowlton.com

Miranda Liasson

Miranda Liasson is a bestselling author whose heartwarming and humorous romances have won numerous accolades and have been praised by Entertainment Weekly for the way she “deals with so much of what makes life hard . . . without ever losing the warmth and heart that characterize her writing.” A proud native of Northeast Ohio, she and her husband live in a neighborhood of old homes that serve as inspiration for her books. When she’s not writing or enjoying books herself, she can be found biking along the old Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath trails in the beautiful Ohio MetroParks. Miranda loves to hear from readers! Learn more at: MirandaLiasson.com Twitter @MirandaLiasson Facebook.com/MirandaLiassonAuthor Instagram @mirandaliasson For information about new releases and sales, please sign up for her newsletter at https://mirandaliasson.com/#mailing-list

Julie Anne Lindsey

Julie Anne Lindsey is an award-winning and bestselling author of mystery and romantic suspense. She’s published more than forty novels since her debut in 2013 and currently writes series as herself, as well as under multiple pen names. Julie spends her days in Kent, Ohio, plotting murder with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Learn more about Julie at julieannelindsey.com

Kylie Logan

Kylie Logan returns to Buckeye this year with “A Trail of Lies.” The third book in the Jazz Ramsey series has Jazz dealing with a mysterious death as well as her boyfriend, Nick’s, alcoholic mother. This year, Kylie is also writing as Lucy Ness (light, cozy mysteries that feature a flapper ghost) and Mimi Granger, who writes the new Love is Murder series set in a romance bookstore. Kylie published her first book in 1992 and has published 65 novels since. She is a lifelong Ohio resident.

Mindy McGinnis

Mindy McGinnis is an Edgar Award-winning novelist who writes across multiple genres, including post-apocalyptic, historical, thriller, contemporary, mystery, and fantasy. While her settings may change, you can always count on Mindy’s books to deliver grit, truth, and an unflinching look at humanity and the world around us.

woman reading a book beside the window

“She reads books as one would breath the air, to fill up and live.

Annie Dillard

Dandi Daley Mackell

Dandi won her first writing contest as a 10-year-old tomboy. Her 50 words on “Why I Want to Be Batboy for the Kansas City A’s” won first place, but the team wouldn’t let a girl be batboy. It was her first taste of rejection. Since then, Dandi has become an award-winning author of over 500 books for all ages (from infant to adult), with an Edgar Award for Best Mystery, a Hallmark movie from her novel, starred reviews for a novel about her parents in WW2, multiple Christian Book Awards, Mom’s Choice Awards, Reader’s Choice Award, Helen Keating Ott Award for Contributions to Children’s Lit, ALA Best Books, OCIRA Reader’s Hall of Fame. Dandi has signed her books at 27 Buckeye Book Fairs, where she’s known as the author “with something for everyone.” She writes from rural Ohio, where she lives with her family, including horses, dogs, cats, chinchilla, tortoise, birds, and an occasional squirrel, deer, or racoon.

Olivia Matthews

Olivia Matthews is the cozy mystery pseudonym of national best-selling and award-winning author Patricia Sargeant. Patricia writes romance as Patricia Sargeant and Regina Hart, and mysteries as Olivia Matthews. Her work has been reviewed in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Kirkus Reviews, Suspense Magazine, Mystery Scene Magazine, Library Journal and RT Book Reviews. For more information about Patricia and her work, visit PatriciaSargeant.com.

David Meyers

A graduate of Miami and Ohio State Universities, David Meyers has written a number of local histories, as well as several novels and works for the stage. He was recently inducted into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame for his contributions to local history. Elise Meyers Walker is a graduate of Hofstra University and Ohio University. She has collaborated with her father on a dozen local histories, including Ohio’s Black Hand Syndicate, Lynching and Mob Violence in Ohio, and A Murder in Amish Ohio. They are both available for interviews, book signings, and presentations. The authors’ website is www.explodingstove.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and RedBubble at @explodingstove.

Elise Meyers Walker

Elise Meyers Walker is the coauthor of a dozen local history books including “Look to Lazarus,” “Kahiki Supper Club,” and “Historic Columbus Crimes.” She has appeared on Investigation Discovery’s “Deadly Women” and “Tabloid,” and WOSU’s “Columbus Neighborhoods.” She is a former board member of the Columbus Historical Society, and the Ted Lewis Museum. She is a graduate of Hofstra and Ohio Universities, and the Columbus Public Schools. She can be found @explodingstove on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Redbubble. 

Jess Montgomery

Jess Montgomery is the author of the Kinship Historical Mysteries, set in 1920s Appalachian Ohio and inspired by Ohio’s true first female sheriff. Under her given name, she writes the “Level Up Your (Writing) Life” column for Writer’s Digest, and was formerly a newspaper columnist, focusing on the literary life, authors and events of her native Dayton, Ohio for the Dayton Daily News. She is a three-time recipient of the Individual Excellence Award in Literary Arts from Ohio Arts Council, a two-time recipient of the Montgomery County (Ohio) Arts & Cultural District (MCAD) Artist Opportunity Grant, and has been a John E. Nance Writer in Residence at Thurber House (Columbus, Ohio).

Tricia Springstubb

Tricia is the award-winning author of many picture books, chapter books, and middle grade novels. Her most recent works are the ALA Notable winner, Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures, and the middle grade novel The Most Perfect Thing in the Universe, which Kirkus Reviews called “a perfect thing in the universe of juvenile fiction”. A frequent speaker at schools, libraries and conferences, Tricia lives in Cleveland Heights.

Jess Strawser

Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer’s Digest, where in her decade as editorial director she became known for in-depth interviews with such talents as David Sedaris and Alice Walker. She is the author of the book club favorites Almost Missed You; Not That I Could Tell (a Book of the Month bestseller); Forget You Know Me; and A Million Reasons Why, named to Most Anticipated lists from Goodreads, SheReads, Frolic, and E! News ahead of its March 2021 release. Her fifth novel, The Next Thing You Know, is coming March 2022 (all from St. Martin’s Press). She has written for The New York Times Modern Love, Publishers Weekly, and others, and is a popular speaker at writing conferences. She lives with her husband and two children in Cincinnati, where she was named 2019 Writer-in-Residence for the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Jane Ann Turzillo

True-crime author Jane Ann Turzillo’s newest book is Ohio Heists: Historic Bank Holdups, Train Robberies, Jewel Stings and More. She has been nominated twice for the Agatha for her books Wicked Women of Ohio (2018) and Unsolved Murders & Disappearances in Northeast Ohio (2016). She is also a National Federation of Press Women award winner for Ohio Train Disasters and others—all from The History Press and Arcadia Publishing Company. A full-time author and speaker, she concentrates on vintage true crimes and history. As one of the original owners of a large weekly newspaper, she covered police, fire and hard news. Before she turned to writing books, she wrote short stories and articles that were published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and Canada. She is a graduate of The University of Akron with degrees in Criminal Justice Technology and Mass-Media Communication. She is a member of National Federation of Press Women, Society of Professional Journalists, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. Visit her website at www.janeannturzillo.com and read her blog at http://darkheartedwomen.wordpress.com.

Dr. James Van Keuren

Dr. James Van Keuren, Ed.D., is retired Professor of Educational Administration and Dean of
the Dwight Schar College of Education at Ashland University in Ashland, Ohio, where he
published numerous juried journal articles, including a book entitled Web-based Instruction: A
practical guide for online courses. Prior to Ashland University, Dr. Van Keuren was a teacher,
high school principal, school superintendent, Assistant and Interim State Superintendent of
Public Instruction in Ohio. In A Tribute to the 109 th Evacuation Hospital (SM), traces his father-
in-law’s service time during World War II with a reprint reflecting the integral role that nurses
played in the Unit. In World War II POW Camps in Ohio examines the Germans and Italians that
were housed in Ohio during World War II. The most recent book, The School Poisoning Tragedy
in Caledonia, Ohio, is a presentation of understandable facts that gives the reader the opportunity
to judge whether the conclusions reached by the government agencies was valid that found no
link between the contaminants on the school grounds to the various incidents of cancers among
the River Valley High School graduates.
Dr. Van Keuren has been married to his wife Pat for fifty-one years and they have daughters
Michelle Scott and Christie Murdoch, son-in-law’s Drew Scott and Dale Murdoch, in addition to
grandchildren Hailey Scott, Weston Murdoch, and Cooper Murdoch.

Merrill Wyatt

Merrill Wyatt is an author and middle grade teacher living in Toledo, Ohio. She grew up in Wauseon, where her latest book is set. She has a husband, daughter, three cats, and one very surly guinea pig who doesn’t like her very much. Doll-phobic and donut-obsessed, Merrill loves nothing better than a good mystery. Or even a bad one. She’s really not that picky.

Robin Yocum

Robin Yocum is known for his fiction set in the Ohio River Valley. His most recent novel, The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, was released in April of 2021 by Arcade CrimeWise. He is the author of five additional works of fiction. Favorite Sons, the prequel to The Sacrifice of Lester Yates, was named the 2011 Book of the Year for Mystery/Suspense by USA Book News. A Brilliant Death was a Barnes & Noble No. 1 bestseller and a finalist for both the 2017 Edgar Award and the Silver Falchion Award for best adult mystery. His other novels are The Essay, A Welcome Murder and A Perfect Shot. He also has written two works of non-fiction. He is the principle at Yocum Communications, a public relations and marketing consulting firm in Galena, Ohio, which he founded in 2001.