Official Authors on the Move! 2022 Logo

Please find below biographies for participating authors at this year’s Authors on the Move!

These recently published authors will joinAuthors on the Move guests for conversation during the first two courses of a gourmet Farm-to-Fork meal, followed by a lively auction during the main course. With dessert, guests will enjoy our keynote author Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of New York Times bestselling The Other Black Girl. Guests will have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of any or all of our authors’ most recently published books. All books sales for the event will be offered through Capital Books. For more event information, please visit Authors on the Move 2022.

Keynote Speaker Biography 2022

Portrait photograph of Zakiya Dalila Harris. 2022 Keynote Speaker

Zakiya Dalila Harris The Other Black Girl

Harris is no stranger to the publishing industry, having spent close to three years as an editorial assistant at Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House. Described as Devil Wears Prada meets Get Out The Other Black Girl is a whip-smart commentary perfect for anyone who has ever felt manipulated, threatened, or overlooked in the workplace. Harris’ writing initiates eye-opening and candid discussions that highlight the microaggressions, racism, and hierarchies that often develop in the workplace, especially in overwhelmingly white industries. Her keynotes and talks invite readers to think about their position in the workplace with a deeper examination on class, privilege, race, and gender. Harris received her MFA in creative writing from The New School and her BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (Photo by Nicole Mondestin Photography)

Participating Author Biographies 2022


Alka Joshi The Secret Keeper of Jaipur

Alka Joshi was born in India and raised in the U.S. since the age of nine. She has a BA from Stanford University and an MFA from California College of Arts. At age 62, Joshi published her debut novel, The Henna Artist, which immediately became a New York Times bestseller, a Reese Witherspoon Bookclub pick, was Longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and is being developed into an episodic series by Miramax TV. The sequel, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, premiered June 2021, and will be followed by the third book in the trilogy in 2023. Joshi teaches and lectures about the art of writing widely across the globe. (

Anara Guard Like A Complete Unknown

Anara Guard grew up in the Midwest and now resides in northern California. Her lifelong love of reading has led her to jobs as diverse as minding a Chicago news stand at the age of nine while the owner ate lunch, working as a small town librarian in New England, fact checking manuscripts for Houghton Mifflin, and writing reviews for City Book Review. Her first novel, Like a Complete Unknown, draws upon her memories of Chicago and the music that provided a soundtrack to the late 1960s. (

Tom Lin The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu

Tom Lin was born in China and immigrated to the U.S. when he was four. A graduate of Pomona College, he is currently in the PhD program at the University of California, Davis. The Thousand Crimes Of Ming Tsu is his first novel. (

Historical Fiction

Jasmin Darznik The Bohemians

Jasmin Darznik is the New York Times bestselling author of The Bohemians. A New York Times summer 2021 recommendation, The Bohemians is also one of Oprah Daily’s best books of historical fiction for 2021. Darznik’s debut novel, Song of a Captive Bird, was a New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice” book and a Los Angeles Times bestseller. Darznik is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life. Her books have been published in seventeen countries. (

Patricia Bracewell The Steel Beneath the Silk

Patricia Bracewell has a love of reading that led to college degrees in literature, a career teaching high school English, and an unquenchable desire to write fiction. Shadow on the Crown was the first book in her trilogy about the twice-crowned 11th century queen of England, Emma of Normandy. Her second novel, The Price of Blood, continues the gripping tale of the woman whose marriages to two English kings set the stage for the Norman Conquest of 1066. Honored to serve as Writer-in-Residence at Gladstone’s Library in Wales, Bracewell used her time there to research her most recent novel, The Steel Beneath the Silk, the third book in her trilogy about Queen Emma. Bracewell has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Oakland, California. (


Claire Booth Fatal Divisions

Claire Booth is a former newspaper reporter who has worked in Missouri, Washington, D.C., South Florida, the Seattle area, and the Bay Area. She has reported on many high-profile stories, including the Laci Peterson murder and the San Francisco dog mauling. The case of a deadly cult leader became the subject of her nonfiction book, The False Prophet: Conspiracy, Extortion and Murder in the Name of God. After spending that much time covering crimes so strange and convoluted they seemed more fiction than reality, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mysteries take place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in – yes – strange and convoluted ways. (

James L’Etoile Black Label

James L’Etoile uses his 29 years behind bars as an influence in his novels, short stories, and screenplays. He is a former associate warden in a maximum-security prison, a hostage negotiator, facility captain, and director of California’s state parole system. He is a nationally recognized expert witness on prison and jail operations. He has been nominated for the Silver Falchion for Best Procedural Mystery, and The Bill Crider Award for short fiction. His published novels include At What Cost, Bury the Past, Little River: The Other Side of Paradise, and Black Label. Look for Dead Drop in the summer of 2022 from Level Best Books. (

Joe Ide The Goodbye Coast

Joe Ide is of Japanese American descent and grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Ide’s favorite books were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. The idea that a person could face the world and vanquish his enemies with just his intelligence fascinated him. Ide went on to earn a graduate degree and had several careers before writing his debut novel, IQ, inspired by his early experiences and love of Sherlock. Joe lives in Santa Monica, California. (

R. Franklin James The Inheritance

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her love of writing was nourished as a child crafting tales of pirates and damsels in distress. A University of California, Berkeley graduate, she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After a career of political advocacy, she returned to her love of writing. Her debut novel, The Fallen Angels Book Club, the first of six books in her Hollis Morgan Mystery series, was published by Camel Press. The books have been optioned by a Canadian film studio as a TV-movie to air in 2022. Her latest series, The Johanna Hudson Mysteries, opens with book one – The Inheritance. It has already received “must read” reviews. James resides in Northern California. (


A.J. Baime White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret

A.J. Baime is the New York Times bestselling author of White Lies: The Double Life of Walter F. White and America’s Darkest Secret. Previous books include The Accidental President, Dewey Defeats Truman, The Arsenal of Democracy, and Go Like Hell. All but one of these books have been optioned for film or television. Baime has been a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal since 2010. When not working, he is often to be found on the ski slopes in Tahoe.

Celia Stahr Frida in America: The Creative Awakening of a Great Artist

Celia Stahr, as a teenager, found the layered poetry of Sylvia Plath as riveting as an impasto-layered canvas by Vincent Van Gogh. A love for the rhythm of words and paint, as well as the power of art to tell stories and critique history, led Stahr to study art history in graduate school. Teaching at the University of San Francisco, Stahr found her dream job, yet making art come alive through the written word remained an aspiration. A conference paper Stahr presented about Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her U.S. sojourn gave birth to Frida in America. Stahr’s hope is that the book, as Malcolm Gladwell writes, “… succeeds… on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else’s head.” (

Elizabeth B. Austin Grand Canyon to Hearst Ranch

Elizabeth Austin is fascinated by how we discover, tell, interpret, and use the story of our past.  Her first book convinced her that she wanted to research and write history that was both based on meticulous research and compelling to read. Workshops in creative nonfiction were the genesis of her imaginative approach to telling a true story in her second book, Grand Canyon to Hearst Ranch. When not researching or writing, Austin enjoys traveling to new places with her husband and usually explores them on foot. Whether hiking the highlands of Scotland or the trails of Pt. Reyes National Park, she prefers to immerse herself in the unique nature of each place that moving slowly by foot allows. (

Eric Rauchway Why the New Deal Matters

Eric Rauchway has written seven books of U.S. history, as well as a novel, and is Distinguished Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. He has appeared on NPR, BBC Radio 4, C-SPAN, and the Black News Channel, among other media, and has written for the Times Literary Supplement, as well as Dissent, Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and a variety of other publications. Since earning his PhD from Stanford University in 1996, he has taught U.S. history at the university level. Before coming to the University of California, Davis, in 2001, he taught at the University of Oxford. (

Jacquelyn Smithson Howard & Sandra O. Smithson From Out of the Shadows

Jacquelyn Smithson Howard is a freelance writer from Nashville, Tennessee. Smithson Howard has 17 books to her credit as a poet, writer, storyteller, ghostwriter, contributing author, and publisher. She writes about the shared experiences of life and love and has used her stories to uplift others. Her father’s stroke in 2004 led her to a journey of better health. Her poetry books are in the private collections of the California State Library and the Special Collections of the Sacramento Public Library. She is a member of ZICA Creative Arts and Literary Guild. Smithson Howard resides in Elk Grove, California. (

Kathryn Olmsted The Newspaper Axis: Six Press Barons Who Enabled Hitler

Kathryn Olmsted is a professor of history at the University of California, Davis.  Her five books explore her overlapping interests: conspiracy theories, government secrecy, espionage, counterintelligence, and anticommunism. She’s written books on the U.S. intelligence community, an American woman who spied for the USSR, conspiracy theories in U.S. politics, conservative opposition to the New Deal, and, most recently, the conservative media in the era of World War II in The Newspaper Axis. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times,, LeMonde, and other publications. She’s currently co-writing a book with her husband on the recovery of the California wine industry from Prohibition. (

Lise Pearlman The Lindbergh Kidnapping Suspect No. 1

Lise Pearlman hails from Connecticut. She was in the first Yale University class to include women and moved west to attend Berkeley Law. Pearlman practiced as a trial lawyer in the East Bay before her 1989 appointment as the first Presiding Judge of the California State Bar Court. Since retiring from the bench, Pearlman drew on her legal experience to write about famous trials in American history and to produce the award-winning documentary project American Justice on Trial. Her latest “myth-smashing” book, The Lindbergh Kidnapping Suspect No. One –The Man Who Got Away, has won both multiple awards and critical acclaim. Pearlman and her husband reside in Oakland, California where they raised their three daughters. (

Maggie Downs Braver Than You Think

Maggie Downs is a writer, an eater, and adventure collector who enjoys reading across genres and traveling across borders. She has also never met a dumpling she didn’t like. An award-winning journalist, Downs is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Braver Than You Think: Around the World on the Trip of My (Mother’s) Lifetime. Her work has appeared in many places, including the anthologies Best Women’s Travel Writing and Lonely Planet’s True Stories From the World’s Best Writers, while her essays have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and McSweeney’s, among others. Downs currently lives in Palm Springs, California, but she believes home is anywhere she can go with a carry-on bag. (

Mallory O’Meara Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol

Mallory O’Meara is an author, screenwriter and film producer. Whether it’s for the screen or the page, she seeks creative projects filled with horror and monsters. Every week, O’Meara cohosts the literary podcast Reading Glasses. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her partner and too many cats. (

Michael Levitin Generation Occupy: Reawakening American Democracy

Michael Levitin grew up along the Russian River in Sonoma County, raised by two writer parents. He got his start as a journalist covering the Cochabamba Water War in 2000 for the English-language newspaper Bolivian Times, and later worked as a foreign correspondent in Barcelona and Berlin writing for Time, Financial Times, Newsweek and Los Angeles Times, among other publications. His debut novel, Disposable Man, reflected on his family’s World War II-era experience in Europe and modern male identity. His latest book, Generation Occupy: Reawakening American Democracy, explores the decade-long impacts of the Occupy movement on American politics and culture. He teaches journalism at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he lives with his partner and daughter. (

Scott Shields Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings

Scott A. Shields is the associate director and chief curator at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. He holds a PhD in art history from the University of Kansas. He has 25 years of museum experience. During his 20 year tenure in Sacramento, he has curated more than 75 exhibitions and authored numerous exhibition catalogues, including Artists at Continent’s End: The Monterey Peninsula Art Colony, 1875–1907; Echoes of the Earth: Ceramics by Toshiko Takaezu; A Touch of Blue: Landscapes by Gregory Kondos; Wayne Thiebaud 100: Paintings, Prints, and Drawings; and The Candy Store: Funk, Nut, and Other Art with a Kick.

Youth & Children

Ernesto Cisneros Efrén Divided

Ernesto Cisneros is the award-winning author of Efrén Divided. He was born and raised in Santa Ana, California, where he still teaches. As an author, he believes in providing today’s youth with an honest depiction of characters with whom they can identify. Efrén Divided is an Indies Introduce/Next Pick book, winner of the 2020 Poppy Award in Middle Grade, winner of the prestigious 2021 Pura Belpré Medal, and a 2021 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award. (

Gayle Pitman Evelyn Hooker and the Fairy Project

Gayle Pitman is from New Jersey and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in the early 1990s. She received her PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology, moved to Sacramento, and began teaching psychology and gender/women’s studies at Sacramento City College. By night, she writes children’s books and engages in other forms of subversive creativity. Her debut picture book, This Day in June, won the 2015 ALA Stonewall Award, was a Rainbow List Top Ten pick, and won the IRA’s 2014 Notable Books for a Global Society Award. Her books, teaching, and general commentary have been featured in publications ranging from School Library Journal to The Advocate. She’s also been interviewed on National Public Radio, the BBC News, Good Day Sacramento, and various podcasts.

JaNay Brown-Wood Amara’s Farm

JaNay Brown-Wood, PhD, is an award-winning children’s author, poet, educator, and scholar. Her first children’s book, Imani’s Moon, won the NAESP Children’s Book of the Year Award and was featured on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert and Storytime with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her second book Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story!, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and won the CELI Read Aloud Book Award,.Her SHHH! The Baby’s Asleep received a starred review from School Library Journal. Brown-Wood lives in California with her husband Catrayel, her daughter Vivian, and their two turtles. She enjoys writing for kids, spending time with her family, and spreading the word about the importance of diversity in children’s literature. Brown-Wood has many forthcoming books including the Where in the Garden four-book series, four Chicken Soup for the Soul Babies/Kids books, and Jam, Too. (

Leticia Ordaz The Carousel King, El Rey Del Carrusel

Leticia Ordaz is an award-winning Mexican American author at the International Latino Book Awards, the largest Latino Book Awards in the world. She is also an Emmy-nominated anchor/reporter in Sacramento, California. She’s covered some of the biggest stories in the country. The Carousel King and The Space Mission is her fourth book.  She’s excited to share bilingual stories with diverse characters with children around the world. Ordaz hopes to break barriers and change statistics that currently show only 5% of American children’s books feature Latinx characters or subjects, and there are only 5% Latinx authors and illustrators in the U.S. (

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