2022 Workshop Presenters

Workshop Presenters

Pepper Winters

Pepper Winters has written close to forty books and has hit lists (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestseller) almost forty times. Her career began with her Dark Romance, self-published title, Tears of Tess, staying on Amazon bestseller charts for six weeks. A few months later her third indie title, Destroyed, hit the USA Today Bestseller list for the first time, attracting the attention of Hachette Publishing. After signing a two-book deal with Grand Central and spending the past decade penning genres such as Dark Romance, Tragedy Romance, Rom Com, and Coming of Age, Pepper is now branching out into Fantasy and has even penned a philosophy illustrated book.

Steffanie Holmes

Steffanie Holmes is the USA Today bestselling author of more than 50 dark, gothic, and sinful new adult romance novels. She’s the 2017 recipient of the Attitude Award for Artistic Achievement, and a 2018 finalist in the NZ Women of Influence awards. Steff is also the creator of the Rage Against the Manuscript podcast and online community where writers can learn about self-publishing, find their readers, and build a badass author brand. Steff is passionate about helping authors from all walks of life find their voice and tell their story.

Barbara DeLeo

After completing degrees in Psychology and English then travelling the world, award winning contemporary romance author Barbara DeLeo married her winemaker hero and had two sets of twins. While her early works were a mixture of sleep deprivation and a big helping of her husband’s product, she sold her first novel in 2012 and has been both traditionally and self-published since.
Alongside her author career, Barbara teaches Psychology. Her knowledge of the human mind, motivation and conflict help her both understand her own creative process, and inspire her to create deep, believable characters that leap off the page.

Soraya M. Lane

Soraya M. Lane graduated with a law degree before realizing that law wasn’t the career for her and that her future was in writing. She is the author of historical and contemporary women’s fiction, and her novel The Secrets We Left Behind is an Amazon #1 bestseller.
Soraya lives on a small farm in her native New Zealand with her husband, their two young sons and a collection of four legged friends. When she’s not writing, she loves to be outside playing make-believe with her children or snuggled up inside reading.

AK Mulford

AK Mulford is a bestselling fantasy author and former primatologist who swapped rehabilitating monkeys for writing novels in New Zealand. Mulford has a background in visitor engagement, training people to deliver engaging content in the conservation sector. A former committee member of The Interpretation Network of New Zealand, Mulford now puts that engagement knowledge to good use as an author by making fun and ridiculous Tiktoks.


Anne Buttar

Anne Buttar writes as Anne Kemp and is a bestselling author of chick lit, sweet romcoms, contemporary romance, and cozy mystery. She’s also an award-winning social media strategist and publicist. An American expat who made New Zealand her home in 2014, Anne has over 25+ years of experience in the marketing and entertainment industry and loves sharing her knowledge around PR and social media marketing with fellow authors.


Matthew Mole

Matthew Mole is a computer network and security engineer who has been working for major clients in New Zealand for over twenty years. His professional clients have included national and international corporations but he is most proud of his work with Weta Digital, for whom he worked from the beginning of the Lord of the Rings through the first of the Hobbit trilogy. In his spare time Matthew is a historical re-enactor, studying and teaching historical swordsmanship in New Zealand and overseas. He writes under several personas and has entered multiple writing competitions while refining his craft. Assuming that he can concentrate on one thing for long enough, he should be publishing his first mystery and suspense novel this year. Or maybe next year. 2024 for definite.

Mollie Smith

Mollie Smith (writing as Molly Lachaussee) is a proud Cajun with a Kiwi bent. When she’s not working full-time, spoiling her husband, or chasing around after animals on their lifestyle block in rural Rotorua, she’s in front of the computer, making all of her fantasies come to life. She also knows a thing or two about how to fight: she has 15 years of experience in teaching and practicing aikido, karate, and Japanese swordsmanship. You can email her at mollylauthor@gmail.com, and follow her on Twitter (@mollylauthor), on Instagram (@mollylauthor), or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MollyLAuthor.

Jamie Sands

Jamie Sands (they/them) grew up in Wellington, New Zealand, and was a library devotee and constant reader of fiction from a very early age. Their fiction covers Romantic Comedy, Horror, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy and Cosy Mysteries. They have self-published a number of novels and roleplaying games as well as queer romance under the pen name Jaxon Knight. They live in Auckland with their wonderful spouse and a cat called Mochi. They’d like to move into Tokyo Disney Resort.

Gillian St. Kevern

Gillian St. Kevern (she/they) is dismantling capitalism one novel at a time. They blend their lived experience as a member of the LGBTQ community with worlds of magic and mystery, creating characters that remain long after the final page has been turned. For a free sampler of Gillian’s work, visit www.gillianstkevern.com. When not immersed in fantastical worlds, Gillian house-sits everything from elderly beagles to Machiavellian donkeys. Gillian is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance Writers, and, with co-host Jamie Sands, runs writing streams on YouTube, focused on empowering writers and other creatives.


Laura Granger

Laura is Kobo Writing Life’s Author Engagement Manager. In her role on the KWL team, she works closely with indie authors to help them reach new readers on Kobo. She has a BA in English from York University and a post-grad certificate in  book, magazine and electronic publishing from Centennial College. When she’s off the clock, you can find her curled up with a romance book or binge-watching a new reality show.

Deb Potter

Deb Potter wrote the book Amazon Ads for Authors and is an active part of the indie author community. She runs workshops for author groups and also provides one-on-one support. She writes kids fiction, adult non-fiction and, lately, litRPG.

Nat Connors

Nat Connors is a romantic comedy writer, medical scientist and dance teacher, and creator of the Kindletrends newsletter for genre fiction authors. Kindletrends started when Nat got fed up with trying to make sense of the Kindle Store and wanted a no-nonsense summary of the most important information. Nat shared it with author friends, and now wants to share it with the author community as a whole. Nat works at writing every day, and uses this information to write, publish and launch his own books.

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