Conference Spotlight ~ It’s Way More Than Twilight panel

Welcome to another of our Conference Spotlights from the

At Diamonds Are Forever,  Kaz Delaney, Vanessa Barneveld, Amanda Ashby, and Sara Hantz are on a panel aimed at ALL writers called



Both basic and specific topics covered via individual presentation with questions/discussion invited from the audience to create a warm, entertaining, informative atmosphere. Topics: language and sexuality levels; differences between YA and traditional adult romance; tone; markets; publishers and agents; Oz vs US; contests; setting; characterisation and what’s hot.

It’s Way More Than Twilight  panelists

Kaz Delaney splits her time between teaching and writing. She also has a split personality, and in cooperation with her alter ego, Kerri Lane, has written over 60 books for children and Young Adults.  As Kaz, she was a lead author for Dorchester’s (NY) Smooch line for young adults. Her latest YA novel is entitled ‘Dead, Actually’ published with Allen & Unwin, March 2012. While speaking of splits it may be noted that while she also suffers the occasional split end, she draws the line at performing the actual splits. She lives and plays at NSW’s gorgeous Lake Macquarie and is represented by Jacinta di Mase of JDM Management.


Vanessa Barneveld is a two-timer. That is, a two-time Emerald Award and two-time Golden Heart® Award YA finalist. By day, she writes and records audio description voiceovers for the blind and writes TV captions for the Deaf. By night, she wrangles two cats, a never-ending house renovation and several YA manuscripts. Despite all the two-timing, she’s totally devoted to her musician husband. She’s represented by Robin Rue of Writers House, NYC

Amanda Ashby writes young adult and mid-grade books for Puffin (US). She also watches far too much television and she never shares the remote control with anyone. Her debut book, You Had Me at Halo was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book Zombie Queen of Newbury High was listed by the New York Public Library’s Stuff for the Teen Age 2010. Her latest release, Fairy Bad Day, was selected by Voya as one of their Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers 2012.

Sara Hantz writes young adult fiction. She has a PhD in Education and lectured for many years and has two grown-up children who have yet to grasp the fact that the bottomless money pit will soon be closing over. Sara’s debut book The Second Virginity of Suzy Green was listed by the New York Public Library on their Books for the Teen Age. When not writing or working she spends more time than most people she knows watching TV – in fact if TV watching was an Olympic sport she’d get the gold medal.

Tell us about yourself in 10 words or less.

We are all cute, perky and addicted to shoes!

Have you presented sessions at previous conferences, for RWA or other organisations? 

Yes! Sara Hantz and Amanda Ashby have presented workshops at both RWA and RWNZ conferences. Vanessa Barneveld presented a workshop RWAustralia’s 2010 conference and was a panelist at last year’s RWAmerica conference in New York. Kaz Delaney (aka Kerri Lane) is an RWAustralia veteran who has done everything from presenting multiple workshops and MCing through to being the tea-lady.

What will participants take away from this session? (OR what is the key outcome or take-home message?)

Participants will take away a good understanding of the YA market, from ‘what’s hot’ through to how much sex should your YA book have. They will also get the chance to ask whatever questions they want about our experiences in competitions and in the marketplace (or which of the Salvatore brothers we think is hotter!).

Which members will benefit most from this session?

This panel is perfect for all members who are considering writing YA regardless of whether they are published or not. Plus, we are all wildly amusing so if you’re looking for a giggle, then this is the session for you!

What is the best part/aspect of conference for you?

Talking, catching up with friends and then a bit more talking.

Anything you’re particularly looking forward to at the 21st RWA conference?

We’ve heard that there is a really amazing YA panel on this year so we might have to check that out…


Kaz DelaneyWhat is your latest/current/upcoming book release and where can members find out more about you?

Kaz Delaney’s latest book is Dead, Actually and you can find out more information at

Amanda Ashby’s next book is Sophie’s Mixed-Up Magic: Wishful Thinking and you can find out more information at

Sara Hantz’s latest book is The Second Virginity of Suzy Green and you can find out more information at

Vanessa Barneveld’s a two-time Golden Heart finalist and you can find more information at


Thank you, ladies.

Our next Conference Spotlight is with Dishing the Dirt panel on 25th April.

Leave a comment


  1. Waving madly at four great gals! This panel sounds like SOOOOO much fun! And wow, what an amazing resource you girls are going to be for people interested in writing YA. We’re so lucky to have this incredible talent in Australia. Kerri, just reading Dead Actually now. Loving it! Been reading more and more YA over the last year or so. There’s so much great stuff out there in the genre. Looking forward to seeing you all in August! x

    • Waving back atcha, Anna! Can’t wait to see you doing your thang at the conference. 🙂 I have Kaz’s ‘Dead, Actually’ right beside me, and I can’t believe I’ll be on this panel alongside her and the fabu Sara and Amanda. I’m a big fan of them all!

    • Anna you got the Golden Adonis! x

  2. Anna – big waves right back at you!!!! That’s so cool to hear that you’ve been reading more YA – it is a very exciting genre to be in right now! I’m actually just about to start reading a book that I think you will love – it’s called Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and is about a medieival assasin (with the most beautiful cover ever!) See you in August!

  3. With all you talented (and oh-so-personable!) speakers, this sounds like a panel not to be missed. See you there!

  4. anniewest

     /  April 23, 2012

    Hi ladies, what a terrific panel this sounds. I’m smiling just reading this post.

    Hey, Vanessa, I didn’t realise you’d been a panelist at RWAmerica! I’m imagining that was nerve-racking but a great experience. Gee, fielding questions from RWAus members will be so easy.

    Anna, I’ve been reading more YA lately too. Glad to hear you’ve got Kaz’s ‘Dead Actually’ to be going on with – lots of fun.

    Amanda, I can imagine it’s a wonderful time to write YA just now. I note your lovely cover for Grave Mercy and just have to mention ‘Warped’ by Maurissa Guibord. One of the best books I’ve read this last year, of any genre. It’s got a medieval theme too.

    I’m expecting lots of laughter to come from this panel at the Gold Coast!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Annie! Speaking in New York was an amazing experience. All of us on this panel love a good giggle, so it’s going to be a fun workshop talking about our favourite thing (apart from TV) — YA fiction!

  5. Hi Vanessa and Kerri and Amanda and Sara! What a wicked panel! I can hear you all laughing and having a rollicking good time while you wrote your answers to this interview! Your panel sounds like it will be great fun… mmm, must check what I’m doing!

    See you all in August!

    • Hi, Sharon! There’s a great selection of workshops this year–it’s so hard to choose! But we’d love to have you giggling along with us YA girls!

  6. Ladies, your panel looks like fun – which I have no doubt it will be with you four.

  7. Annie – thank you! I read the first chapter of Warped when it first came out and I was dying to read it all but I then went and forgot about it! Anyway, you have totally reminded me – and with such an amazing endorsement – I’m even more excited about reading it. Off to add it to my Book Depository wishlist so that I can’t forget about it again!!

    And a big thank you to all the lovely comments. We’re all so excited about doing the panel – it’s going to be so much fun!!!!


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