Meet the Editors & Readers

Photo by Peter Su

Photo by Peter Su

Kerri Majors
Founder & Editor

Writing stuff:  I have an MFA from Columbia University, and some of my own writing can be found in Guernica,  So To Speak, Midwest Quarterly, and Poets and Writers Online.  I’ve been the recipient of the Carolyn Doty Memorial Scholarship to the Squaw Valley Writers Community, and for six years I was a writing professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  I may have written a novel or two, and I’m represented by Ann Rittenberg.  My YA writing memoir, “This is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World” came out with Writer’s Digest Books in 2013. You can find out more about it at my website.

Personal stuff:  While I’m still a California girl at heart, the fact is I’ve lived most of my life on the wrong coast.  My parents whisked me away to Massachusetts right after I was born, so I spent the first 8 years of my life there, before the family moved back to California.  After graduating from UC Berkeley, I moved to Brooklyn, NY, where I spent 6 years doing various jobs to support my writing habit (working as a nanny, bookstore clerk, personal assistant, manager of an olive oil shop…).  While in grad school, I met my now-hubby Mike and we moved to Greenwich, CT, where we lived for six years.  In the summer of 2010, we moved to Weston, MA and had a baby girl named Elena.  When I’m not hanging with Elena, writing, or YARNing, I’m probably reading, cooking, or with friends.  I might also be gardening, wasting time on Facebook, or watching something from the ol’ Netlflix queue.


Diana Renn
Fiction Editor

I write YA novels featuring globetrotting teens, international intrigue, and more than a dash of mystery. They iclude ”Tokyo Heist“ (2012), “Latitude Zero” (2014) and “Blue Voyage” (coming Fall 2015, all from Viking/Penguin). I’ve been working in the word business for a long time, juggling various jobs to support my writing habit. I’ve been an editor in educational publishing, a textbook writer, a script writer for language instruction videos, an ESL teacher, a college writing instructor, a bookseller, and a comic book shop salesclerk. (Can you guess which was the most fun?) Despite my tendency to take on long projects, short stories are my real passion. I learned to write by reading and writing stories . . . . and I continue to do so. Over the years I’ve published many stories for adults, children, and teens, and I’m a former YARN contributor. I love how short fiction offers glimpses of different lives or new perspectives in just a few pages. And I love the potential for stories to surprise us—with language, with plot, or with meaning.

In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my husband and our young son. I love traveling and long-distance bike riding.



Kip Wilson Rechea
Poetry Editor

I have a Ph.D. in German Literature and wrote my dissertation on Rainer Maria Rilke’s poetry. Some of my accomplishments include a Fulbright teaching teens in Austria, several years working at language-learning and voice recognition software companies, and hundreds of thousands of words on paper. My work has been published in the “Timeless” and “Spain from a Backpack” anthologies, as well as in several magazines for children. I have a passion for languages, history, and diversity, and am drawn to poetry and gorgeous, lyrical prose.

I live in Boston with my cute and geeky Spanish husband and mischievous twin girls, and am hard at work on a historical novel for young adults. If I’m not writing or revising at my desk at 5am, I’m off doing countless laps in the pool.


Yoshi Makishima
Visuals Editor

I spend most of my time reading about imaginary people, being imaginary people, or creating imaginary people. As a Smith College student studying English, Theater, and Film, I’m always reading, writing, acting, directing, taking photographs and making films–my specialty being animation. When I was nine, I made my first movie, a buddy comedy about the adventures of a flying car and a dancing robot. My more recent projects include a live-action short about a girl trapped in an invisible box, and a series of animated Spanish-language detective stories. I have acted in over 20 plays, including three separate productions of Romeo and Juliet, and I am currently developing and all-female version of The Tempest.

catey for masthead

Catey Miller
Assistant Fiction Editor

I live in Wilmington, NC with my wonderful husband, Kyle, and our adorable hound mix, Lily. I am in my third and final year of the MFA program at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where I am at work on my thesis, a yet-to-be-titled YA novel about female friendship and brainwashing. I work at UNCW as a graduate assistant in the College of Education, a writing tutor in the University Learning Center, and an on-call copyeditor for Ecotone magazine.

YA is my first literary love, and I am so thrilled to be part of the YARN editorial staff! My YA short stories have appeared in Youth Imagination and right here at YARN. Favorite YA authors include Courtney Summers, Melina Marchetta, and Jaclyn Moriarty, though narrowing it down is difficult; I try to read widely within YA and am always on the lookout for new writers to fall in love with. I look forward to reading your submissions!



Photo by Dwayne Boyd (cut by us)

Photo by Dwayne Boyd (cut by us)

Justin Barisich, Poetry

Though I originally hail from New Orleans, I earned my poetry chops at Vanderbilt University (where I majored in English Literature and Secondary Education) in Nashville before moving to Atlanta. And as an inaugural member of Vandy Spoken Word, the school’s only performance poetry group, I grew from a mediocre poet (and a rather pitiful performer who knew absolutely nothing of stage poetry) into the group’s president in just 3 short years – all the while learning the art form from those wiser and more experienced. I’d go on to perform my poetry for over 6,500 folks; mentor more than 30 other collegiate poets; spearhead and formalize the creation and publication of the Baton Rouge area’s first-ever a city-wide anthology of youth poetry; and teach poetry workshops, organize events, and start a scholarship for many of Nashville’s Southern Word youth poets.

Outside of the mentoring, coaching, and organizing I now do with Atlanta Word Works and their youth poets, I run my own freelancing company, Little Writing Man, apply to MFA programs, and attempt to convince other literary journals to print my words.

My poetics have been influenced by various spoken word artists such as Rives and Rudy Francisco, and by poets such as W.H. Auden, Philip Larkin, Philip Levine, Sylvia Plath, and Tyehimba Jess. I am forever learning from my writing – both about myself and about others. I hope that you do too.


tori chesterTori Chester, Alternate

I’m Tori Chester, Twitter dork, aspiring YA writer, and burrito enthusiast. I recently graduated from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Now, in between stints at my job as a marketing assistant, I write, tutor English, run, read, and watch way too much television. I love Disney trivia and make a mean spaghetti and meatballs dish. I aspire to be Laurie Halse Anderson, Libba Bray, John Green, and Shannon Hale.



Jackie Coy, Poetry

Reading has undoubtedly been one of my favorite pastimes since my earliest years, and writing soon followed. As a seventeen-year-old high school junior, I enjoy writing YA as much as I do reading it, especially post-apocalyptic and horror. I have recently expanded my interests into the non-fiction world, especially create and rhetorically-strong works. When possible, I try to get my hands on works by Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, John Green, Gillian Flynn, but if not, I can settle for Netflix. In conclusion, working for YARN is one of the greatest opportunities I can possibly imagine and I can’t wait to read submissions.



Chelsea DeAngio, Fiction & Non-Fiction

I’m a librarian at a middle school in Washington, DC, so I eat, sleep and breathe young adult literature. As a kid, I wanted to be a writer, then a dentist, then a basketball player (Space Jam was hugely influential), and then a writer again. I studied Creative Writing at Old Dominion University and later received my MLIS from UNC Greensboro.  I dabble in film, feminism, and fiction. In my free time, I’m often found eating pepperoni pizza, devouring newly released YA novels, and watching Gilmore Girls reruns. Leslie Knope is my patronus.



Jaqueline Lipton, Fiction

I’m a wife and mother of three and I’m obsessed with reading and writing, with a particular passion for young adult fiction. Under my pen-name (K.C. Maguire), I write a regular column on YA lit for the Luna Station Quarterly blog as well as blogging regularly on my own website ( and for the Space City Scribes blog (Houston-based independent author collective). My flash fiction has appeared in publications including Writers Type, Delta Women, Tough Lit, Black Petals Magazine, Six Minute Magazine, Midlife Collage, Everyday Fiction, and Luna Station Quarterly. I’ve published three e-novellas with Seattle-based Books To Go Now: Destiny, Dear John, and Ivory Tower. I’ve also placed a couple of times in the Houston Writers’ Guild fiction writing contest, children and young adults category. My short story, In For A Penny, published in 2014 in the Space City 6 anthology placed in the Writers Type second quarter short story contest in 2014; and my YA short story There’s No Such Thing as Sleepskating received an Honorable Mention in the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge in 2015. My debut YA novel, Inside the Palisade, was released in August 2015 by Lodestone Books in the U.K. I’ve has completed the Fiction Writing Certificate program at UCLA Extension and the Online Writing Certificate program at Stanford, and I’m currently a student in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. I’ve lived in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia (and now have a really weird accent!), but home is wherever my family is.

cathy parillaCathy Parilla, Poetry

I came to writing poetry late in my teaching career.  If someone had said to me that I would become a poet, I’d say he was crazy.  Yet, here I am completing my first manuscript of poetry, “Shadows Lie.”  My poems have appeared in Poem, Wisconsin Review, Compass Rose, descant, Eureka Literary Journal, Eclipse, Green Hills Literary Latern, Painted Bride, Diverse Voices, and Pisgah.  I stopped teaching academic and creative writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University in May, so that I could devote all of my time to my poetry.  If truth be told, I also hope to explore creative nonfiction.  I’ve completed three pieces and they are circulating the journal market now.


stephanie pearmain

Stephanie Pearmain

I received an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults from Hollins University and a BA in Religious Studies and History from the University of Arizona. I have also completed graduate work in the field of Women’s Studies. I teach courses in Children’s & Young Adult Literature and publishing at the University of Arizona, where I’ve worked in an administrative position for the past 14 years. I have taught writing courses at Pima Community College since 2010.  I do freelance editing as well. My prior work has included everything from retail management to grant writing and working at bookstores.

I have been a Reader for the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and have reviewed books for Children’s Literature Database (picture books through novels). I am currently revising my own YA novel in hopes that it will eventually be ready for submission. My first children’s book (Animal BFFs) was published by Scholastic in 2012 for Book Fairs and Book Order Forms.

I have two amazing daughters (3 and 10) who keep me laughing and busy. In my spare time I read (many audiobooks since I’m always on the go), swim, bike, run, and travel. So far I have been to 20 countries and 36 states and spend way too many hours figuring out ways to increase those numbers!



Boyd Reynolds, Fiction

I am a freelance writer and educator living in Vancouver, Canada. I have published short stories for children, teenagers and adults. As well, I have written newspaper articles, educational non-fiction pieces and pop culture commentary. My love of stories began watching Star Wars and listening to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That passion has never left, leading me to a Master of Arts in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and a life full of books, movies and writing – not a bad existence ‘eh.



Olivia Romano, Essays

I am a teen YA writer who spends a majority of my time reading and writing; that is, when I have finished my mountain of homework. My main focus is on mystery and adventure. Hopefully someday I will see my novels on a Barnes and Noble shelf between my role models, Marissa Meyer and J.K. Rowling. I also love playing volleyball and spending time with my friends and family. I attend a high school in Massachusetts while I wait for my Hogwarts letter – I am sure it will come next year.


jason seligsonJason Seligson, Fiction

I’m a graduate of The University of Albany, where I received a Bachelor’s in Journalism and English. My love of reading—and subsequently of YA—dates back to the third grade. As soon as I heard my teacher read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone aloud to my class, I was hooked. Ever since, I’ve been a voracious reader, devouring as much as I possibly can. Harry Potter is also the story that inspired me to write. In recent years, I’ve written personal essays, short stories, comedy sketches, television pilots, and am a regular contributor to the pop culture blog:

Since graduating, I have worked in the television field, covering both news and entertainment. I’m currently a Freelance Producer and Contributing Writer for Time Inc. When I’m not reading or writing, I’m probably discovering a new favorite TV show or spending time with my family and friends.


Bethany Tap

Bethany Tap, Fiction

I am an MFA fiction candidate at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington and the current managing editor of Chautauqua: the literary journal of the Chautauqua Institution. My first literary loves are fantasy and magical realism. I grew up on “Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” and the “Chronicles of Narnia,” and take joy and comfort in those books to this day. My own writing centers on young people and is infused with magical meanderings.

Fatima Toturgull, Fiction & Twitter

Hello, fellow YARNer! Like many of us here at YARN, I’m a longtime bookworm and have a background in history and literature, with a concentration in creative writing. As a graduate student, I’ve continued to study the awesomeness of books, particularly the benefits of reading graphic novels and comics. I am a big fan of interdisciplinary approaches to the study of literature, and in addition to pursuing my research interests through the liberal studies program at NSSR, I’ve continued to develop my writing through the children’s literature department at Hollins University. When I’m not reading or writing, I might be playing video games, drawing, or sprucing up my home with a Pinterest inspired DIY project.


Social Media Team:


Rachael Conrad

Rachael Conrad, Twitter

Hello fellow reading and writing enthusiasts! My name is Rachael and I recently graduated from Manhattanville College with an MFA in creative writing. I’m currently working as a book seller at an independent bookstore just outside of Boston. I’ve loved reading all of my life (especially fantasy, science fiction, and mysteries) and hope to one day see my own work on shelves next to my favorites. When I don’t have a book in hand I can be found spending time writing, listening to various podcasts, playing video games, or spending time outdoors.


alex torres

Alexandria Torres, Tumblr

I live in New York City with my family. I graduated from the Columbia Publishing Program in 2015, and  now that I’m no longer in school, I’m currently trying to figure out how to adult. I work as a college prep tutor for Kaplan. The older I grow, the more I find myself gravitating toward YA. If you see the girl in the pizzeria holding the Patrick Ness book, try to save your hellos for the chapter break.


brittany smith

Brittany Smith, Facebook

Hello everyone!  Though my family and I have lived in the Washington DC area for the past twelve years, I still think of myself as a Georgia peach. I’ve been told that I have a Southern accent and I’ve learned to ignore my friends’ stares whenever I call a shopping cart a ‘buggy.’ I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with a degree in Political Science and Italian. I currently work as a Literacy Tutor in a nearby elementary school, but I plan to go back to school soon and earn a MFA in Creative Writing.

I love to read, especially YA! I enjoy books and stories of all natures, though fantasy novels will always have a special place in my heart. If I’m not reading, I’m most likely writing or playing video games. I’m excited to work with the YARN team and I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!


RebeccaRebecca Van Roevan, Twitter

Hi I’m Becca and I live in Australia! I’m currently studying at University with the hopes of one day working full time in publishing. I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember and even though I’ve found myself with more commitments as I get older, I’m even more of an avid reader then I was before! I read a lot of YA and you will probably find me gushing over the newest YA book in your local bookstore.

When I’m not tweeting for YARN I’m either reading, making book review videos for my booktube channel or playing nerdy video games with friends.


Lourdes Keochgerien, YA Consultant & ReaderLourdes Keochgerien
Editor at Large

I am a graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a B.A. in English Language and Literature and a minor in Spanish Language and Literature. I was an assistant editor, then co-editor, of the campus’s literary magazine Knightscapes, completed an honor’s thesis languidly entitled, “The Odyssey of the YA Label: From Ambiguity and Certainty,” and worked for three years as an Assistant to the Children’s Librarian at a public library.

Now, I live in Uruguay where “Fringe” lives on my computer screen and the ocean is only a park away. Reading YA, or anything really, is one of my absolute passions followed closely behind talking to myself out loud while fulfilling my day-to-day activities. You can imagine the stares I get now that I live in a predominatly Spanish speaking country. It is quite hilarious.

Shannon Marshall
Co-founder, Contributing Editor

My love of storytelling first took me down the path toward theater. I studied drama at the California State School of the Arts, San Joaquin Delta College, and Yale University prior to graduating from the University of California Los Angeles School for Theater, Film and Television.  Then, I figured out that I would much rather write stories then act in them. So, I ditched theater to become a high school English teacher and married an astrophysicist/Math Dude. When I’m not reading, teaching, or traveling, I am writing.  My recent screenplay, “Follow Me” placed in the semi-finals of the 2010 UCLA Screenwriting Competition.

Co-founding and co-editing YARN with Kerri in 2010/2011 was a dream come true! How many people get to work on a project they love, surrounded by literature they adore, with a person who has been a close friend for twenty years?! In August of 2011, I decided to enter the MFA in Creative Writing program at National University (while maintaining my job as a high school English teacher), forcing me to step back a bit from my YARN duties. (I’ve officially petitioned for more hours in the day–apparently, it’s a no-go.) I’m not leaving YARN entirely, however, I’ll be regularly blogging the ins-and-outs of an all-online MFA experience in the future!

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