Get to know our conference team! We are passionate about writing Christian children’s and young adult literature, and we want to equip you to produce your own work — from writing to publishing.
Our conference team works together to organize workshops and our annual Write2Ignite Conference at North Greenville University. Be sure to introduce yourself to members of our conference team next time you attend a Write2Ignite event.
Emily is a promotional writer for the Liberty University Marketing Department in Lynchburg, Virginia, but she loves visiting Greenville as often as she can, as her family lives in Upstate, South Carolina.
Currently, Emily writes primarily for Generation Z in her work as a promotional writer, but she blogs monthly for Write2Ignite and is the digital marketing manager for Emerson Creek Pottery, a handmade pottery business in Central Virginia. In her free time, she’s been plotting a young adult mystery novel and hopes to write meaningful children’s and young adult literature in the future. Emily helps Write2Ignite by keeping the website up-to-date and managing email marketing campaigns.
When she’s not writing, you can find Emily cooking up something good for a dinner party or spending time with her new husband.
Carol Baldwin’s most recent book is Teaching the Story: Fiction Writing in Grades 4-8 (Maupin House, 2008). Carol enjoys teaching writing and has presented at many educational and writing conferences. She has published widely in newspapers and magazines and along with Joyce Hostetter, co-publishes Talking Story, a newsletter for educators and media specialists. Find her thoughts on the writing process, book reviews, and giveaways on her blog. Her current WIP is Half-Truths, an historical novel which takes place in Charlotte, NC in 1952. When she isn’t writing or blogging, you’ll find her golfing, walking with friends, biking, or playing with one of her six wonderful grandchildren.
Cathy John Biggerstaff
Cathy John Biggerstaff is passionate about children and the God who creates them. He has called her to write both literature and church curriculum for children. Cathy’s devotions, poems, and articles have been published in print and online. Cathy also shares the Good News of Jesus through “Jewel the Clown” in her Christian clown ministry, Silly over the Savior.
Cathy lives in western North Carolina with her husband, the love of her life for fifty years. She has three grown children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
Gail Wofford Cartee
Gail Wofford Cartee is a pre-K teacher in the Upstate of South Carolina. She holds a degree in Early Childhood from USC Upstate and an MEd from Southern Wesleyan University. She enjoys teaching a teen Sunday school class and writing. Her passions—creation, family, and teaching—often appear in her writing.
Gail comes from a family of storytellers—a background that sparked her interest in writing. She has contributed to Guardian Angel Kids and Country. In 2016, she self-published Tsali: Legendary Hero of the Eastern Band Cherokee, a historical-fiction picture book for ages eight and up. Gail is currently working on picture books about her beloved Appalachia, and she writes a weekly blog of family devotions at GailCartee.blogspot.com.
Freelance author and editor Brenda Covert was first published for pay in 1999 with an article in the May/June issue of Today’s Christian Woman and a Thanksgiving poem in Clubhouse Jr. Since 2002, Brenda has written more than four hundred short children’s stories for Union Gospel Press’s Sunday school curriculum. Her stories, most of which are written for the nine-to-eleven age group, entertain as well as offer a lesson on living for our Savior. She also published numerous scripts for use in schools, the two most popular being K.C.’s Dream and The Constitutional Convention. Additionally, she has written poetry for the Adult Bible Study published by Union Gospel Press.
Brenda has been editing since 2002, first in the educational field and then in the Christian/family-friendly market. Her editing experience goes from picture books to chapter books—including Johanna’s Journey: Call to Freedom (a finalist for the 20 adult fiction and nonfiction, including inspirational books and Bible studies.
You can find Brenda online at BrendaCovert.blogspo
Deborah S. DeCiantis, PhD
Debbie DeCiantis first connected with Write2Ignite Conference when she was called on to act as liaison between North Greenville University and Write2Ignite in 2009. She accepted the role of acting director in 2016 and the role of director in 2017.
While most of her writing has focused on nonfiction articles and poetry, both volunteer and paid work with children and young adults has sparked her interest in writing for those age groups. Attending the Write2Ignite conference each year has inspired her to write stories for younger audiences, including her six grandchildren.
She has loved books since she was old enough to hold one. Her many years in education include teaching English and French on both middle-high and college levels, homeschooling her own children, and serving as K–12 school librarian at two Christian schools. Most recently, she taught English at North Greenville University and advised the staff of the student literary-art journal from 2006 to her retirement in 2017.
Debbie currently does freelance editing and critique writing. She enjoys living in the country and spending time with her husband, four adult children, six grandchildren, and too many dogs.
Robyn Grage began a career in graphics at age fourteen, when her father offered her a summer job setting type. She has worked for several print shops over the years and was with the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities for 23 years before her retirement in August 2019. For most of that time, she ran the school’s in-house graphics and printing facility.
Currently, in addition to the occasional freelance job, Robyn assists with both writing and designing a Sunday school curriculum that her church is preparing for publication. She is also part of the church’s music team.
In 2018, Robyn self-published her first book, A BIG Little Bear, which is a children’s picture book for ages two to six about a little bear who wants to grow up too fast.
She and her husband, Steve, live in Simpsonville, South Carolina. They enjoy bicycling, hiking, photography, and (most of all) spending time with their children and grandchildren.
Jean Matthew Hall
Jean Matthew Hall lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Her first picture book God’s Blessings of Fall was released by Little Lamb Books in September 2019. It will be followed by three more books in this Bountiful Blessings series.
When not enjoying time with family and church Jean is immersed in children’s picture books—reading them, reviewing them, writing them!
Jean is a member of the SCBWI, Word Weavers International, Write2Ignite and the Kentucky Christian Writers. You can visit Jean at www.jeanmatthewhall.com, on Face Book at Jean Matthew Hall Author, on Twitter at Jean_Hall. Or, see her Pinterest Board for Writers at JeanMatthew_Hall.
A freelance writer and blogger, Sally Matheny’s writing is published in worldwide, national, regional, online and print publications including Appleseeds, Clubhous
Speaking at events for women, children, and married couples, Sally encourages people to live victoriously and to courageously tell the next generation wondrous things.
A former public-school teacher, Sally has homeschooled over eighteen years. She teaches history and creative writing classes to homeschool groups. In addition, she leads an N.C. Jr. Historian club in association with the N.C. Museum of History.
She and her husband have three children, two sons-in-law, and one grandchild. They live in the North Carolina foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Penny Reeve (also writing as Penny Jaye) is the award-winning, Australian author of more than 20 books for children. She writes picture books, junior fiction, children’s Bible studies, and young adult fiction. She’s an experienced writing workshop leader, conference presenter, and writing coach with a particular interest in equipping Christian children’s writers. You can learn more about Penny at www.pennyreeve.com and www.pennyjaye.com.
For more than 20 years Tony has carried out this calling professionally for newspapers, TV and now Christian radio, helping each traditional industry tell their stories using digital and social media platforms.
Tony’s path is starting to come full circle, as his experience in Marketing and Media are now being applied to ministry, coaching and the creative arts.
One of Tony’s cherished moments as an artist that happens to write, was publishing his book “God’s 7 Keys for Creative People”, an illustrated guide for individual and group study.
When it comes to Write2Ignite, Tony hopes to bring a new look at the proven business practices he’s seen corporate content creators use everyday. He believes Christian creatives can use the same practices to support and sustain their projects. He also foresees Write2Ignite being used as a springboard for young Christian storytellers, pointing them toward possible careers in Journalism and New Media.