Mentoring Writers:  The Highs and Lows of the Improvement Game

A panel for writers and those who enjoy learning how successful writers work.

Savor and learn from the stories of writers who mentor writers, of writers who have been mentored, and of writers whose careers have been forever changed by such an apprenticeship.  Sarah Cortez, award-winning poet, fiction writer, and memoirist leads two of her protégées through this 90-minute discussion of the ins and outs of mentoring plus the unwritten rules of what works and what fails on both sides of the equation.  Panel members will follow the discussion with readings from their books that illustrate how mentoring changed aspects of their craft of writing and their writing process. Signed books will be available for purchase.

Sarah Cortez, popular writer and freelance editor, has taught hundreds of people to write.  From third-graders to senior citizens, her students range from American Book Award winners to at-risk youth.  She has mentored many writers who have published books and now works with some of the publishing industry’s most sought after agents and publishing houses.   She is a member of the Texas Institute of Letters and has won many prizes for her own writing and editing skills.  She co-edited Our Lost Border:  Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence (Arté Publico Press, 2013) which won a 2013 BRLA Southwest Book of the Year and the 2013 International Latino Book Award for Focused Non-Fiction (Bilingual).   Her recent book of poetry is Cold Blue Steel, about Sarah’s policing career on the streets.  Ms. Cortez’s new anthology of poetry, Goodbye Mexico:  Poems of Remembrance (Texas Review Press, 2014), won a 2014 International Latino Book Award.  One of Sarah’s greatest joys is sharing her love of the written word.

Stephanie Jaye Evans is a fifth-generation Texan. She received her BA from Abilene Christian University and an MLS from Rice University. Her first book in the Sugar Land Mystery Series, Faithful Unto Death, was awarded the William F. Deeck—Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers and was a Library Journal Debut of the Month and was an Agatha nominee. The second in the series, Safe From Harm, released on March 5, 2013. Kirkus Reviews writes of Safe From Harm, "As charming and wry as Evans' bright debut (Faithful Unto Death, 2012), filled with reasons to own dogs, love your children and your wife, and have faith." She is currently at work on the third novel in her Sugar Land Mystery series and lives in Houston, TX.  Sarah Cortez’ encouragement gave Stephanie the courage to start her first novel.  Currently, Stephanie mentors new writers, both young and those who enter the field mid-life. 

John R. Coats holds master’s degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary and The Writing Seminars at Bennington College. A former Episcopal priest, he was a principal speaker and trainer for the More To Life training program in the United States, Great Britain, and South Africa and an independent management consultant. In his book, Original Sinners: A New Interpretation of Genesis (Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2009), which garnered a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, John examines Genesis from the human point of view. Drawing from the best scholarship available, and weaving in stories from his own life experience, he asks the question, “How are the characters in these stories like us?” When John first decided to write, he sought out Sarah Cortez, known for her work in memoir and her editing skill. Today, John is working on a novel. He lives with his wife in Houston, Texas.


For information about fees and honoraria, and to book this panel, please contact:  Ann Boland     520-247-0070