How We Started
24 Carrot Writing began as four children’s writers looking for support and camaraderie along the publishing journey. We met monthly to chat about our writing endeavors, provide encouragement, and make plans for publishing success. At some point we wondered if the conversations we had, the tips we shared, and the motivation and accountability we provided might benefit other authors. With that goal, we turned our coffee shop chats into a blog!
24 Carrot Writing launched in September of 2014, and since then we’ve hosted Caldecott Medal recipients, Newbery medalists, and Golden Kite Award winners. We've celebrated debut books of members, and interviewed amazing agents and editors. Our community of four has grown to hundreds of members.
Join the 24 Carrot community by subscribing here to get our bi-monthly blog updates and visit our Facebook page here.
The Carrot Crew
Amanda Smith - Founder
I wrote my first story shortly after I learned how to string words into sentences. All through my school career, I continued to write, lugging extra notebooks and Afrikaans/English dictionaries in my backpack. In college, I scribbled poems in notebook margins, and as a young teacher, creative writing was my favorite part of the day.
Lately, I am finding my home in writing for children. I enjoy the challenge of writing whole and concise picture books and poems. But I also love the space to settle in and spin a yarn in middle grade and young adult novels.
I graduated from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, with a degree in English and Afrikaans, as well as additional certification to teach high school and special ed. I am a former teacher and current sub, an immigrant, a full-time mom, a budding potter, a joyful poet, and an enthusiastic writer. Two of my poems are published in the Writer's Loft Anthology, Friends and Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children and I have a poem slated to be published in Bless the Earth (Convergent Books, 2024).
The support, wisdom, focus, and accountability that the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and other online and in-person writing communities offer, inspire me. May the writings on this site inspire you to become a 24 Carrot Writer.
Kelly Carey - Founder
I love chocolate, have a crazy aversion to dogs, feel happiest atop a New Hampshire mountain and still think Parker Stevenson is dreamy. And I love writing stories for children.
Long ago I earned a BS in English and Communication from Fairfield University and I took a job with The Travelers Insurance Company. I thought I had to be the next Alexis Carrington, with a tailored suit and big earrings. I learned about deductibles, actuary tables, and underwriting and I discovered that insurance is not my passion.
When my second child arrived, I became a full time mom and started hearing stories in my head. Okay, I did have three children in four years so sleep deprivation and stress might have been a factor, but I began to think about writing stories for children. I took a class through the Institute for Children's Literature and had my light bulb moment - here is my passion.
I sold my first story to Clubhouse Jr Magazine in 2007. Since then Clubhouse Jr Magazine has bought 11 more stories, and I've been published in Highlights for Children and Girls World. In 2020, Charlesbridge published my debut picture book, How Long Is Forever. I have picture book manuscripts out on submission and I'm forever polishing my middle grade novel - The Myth of Dragoon!
I'm a member of The Soaring 20s Book Group and I love taking workshops and connecting with fellow writers at The Writer's Loft and through SCBWI. Being a 24 Carrot Writer helps my passion stay focused.
I hope you enjoy our site.
Annie Cronin Romano - Founder (currently on hiatus)
I am a writer who signed her first book contract in 2017. My debut picture book, Before You Sleep, was released in October 2018. Night Train, my second picture book, came out in April 2019. I specialize in picture books, middle grade novels, and adult fiction and have loved writing creatively since I could hold a pencil. At age six, I sat down at my kitchen table and wrote my first poem. I haven't stopped writing since.
After graduating from Boston College with a degree in English, I went on to earn a master’s degree in communication disorders. I worked nearly two decades in special education, then shifted gears to focus on my writing and a career in the book industry. In addition to writing, I am a part-time bookseller for an indie bookstore, which allows me to keep on top of the current market. In September 2021, I became a Literary Associate for Olswanger Literary. I love being surrounded by books and those who enjoy them!
As an active member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, I am continually striving to hone my craft through critique groups, writer's networks, workshops, and writing conferences. Chocolate, coffee, and my critique partners (my three "C"s!) are essential to my writing process.
Megan Litwin - Regular Contributor
I am a children’s book author, a former classroom teacher, and a forever believer in book magic.
Growing up in upstate New York, my parents had to beg me to put my books down and go outside to play. I listened, but I kept those books around - and eventually built a career out of them. After earning a Master’s in Children’s Literature from Simmons University in Boston, I spent a decade as a classroom teacher, helping children learn to read and LOVE to read. I also spent time in the school library, as a reading interventionist…and anywhere I could be an all-around “literacy cheerleader.” Growing readers is magical work!
Now, I write books for children. It turns out that creating books for growing readers is a whole new kind of magic - and I love every minute of it. In September of 2022, my picture book, Twinkle, Twinkle, Winter Night will launch from Clarion and in the spring and summer of 2023 the first two books in my early reader series, Dirt and Bugsy, will come out from Penguin Workshop. I am grateful for the supportive KidLit friends I've met along the way through groups like SCBWI, The Writer's Loft, PBCrew22, and of course - 24 Carrot Writing.
I live in Massachusetts with my husband, two boys, and one snuggly pup. When I’m not busy writing or playing with words in my head (which looks a lot like daydreaming from the outside), you might find our family day-tripping around New England, where the ocean, lakes, and mountains are always calling. No matter where I am, you’ll find a good book nearby. As Stephen King says, “books are a uniquely portable magic.”
I like to carry a bit of magic wherever I go.
Kristi Mahoney - Regular Contributor
I am a picture book writer, animal lover, and believe that life is better with a bit of laughter.
I’ve always gravitated towards a creative environment. After graduating from Syracuse University’s School of Communications, I spent almost a decade at a Boston advertising agency working with people that loved crafting and marketing words and art. Eventually, I left to spend more time with my family and it’s then I decided to pursue something very close to my heart – my own individual stories. I currently live in Massachusetts with my husband, two teenagers, and six fur-family members. My passion is writing picture books that mix animal facts with fun. My pb manuscripts have been awarded by both PBCHAT (2020) and PBParty (2021). My debut picture book, Alpacas Make Terrible Librarians, will be released in Fall 2024 from Gnome Road Publishing.
Along the way, I’ve ran many Scholastic Book Fairs, led local NESCBWI Meet and Greets, and became a longstanding member of 12x12 Picture Books. I’ve been lucky to find some amazing critique partners both locally and globally. Recently, I was honored to become a regular contributor for 24 Carrot Writing. Although being a writer can be solitary (I literally work in my pajamas), the best part of it has been finding this new creative community. And it’s the friends I’ve met along the way that has made me truly appreciate the journey.
Francine Puckly - Founder (Retired)
I had the privilege of being one of 24 Carrot Writing’s co-founders and blogger for five years before announcing my early retirement in Fall 2019 to focus exclusively on several patiently-waiting young adult fiction ideas. I am a lover of all things writing (fiction and non-fiction), in any form I can get it (audio recordings and the written word), for any age (from picture books to middle grade to young adult, new adult, and old adult). I also embrace everything that accompanies my writing routine, most especially chocolate, chai tea, beach chairs, wide-ruled notebooks, and fountain pens.
I joined SCBWI in 2005, immediately jumped into co-directing the 2006 and 2007 New England SCBWI conferences, and supported the New England SCBWI team as Assistant Regional Advisor from 2009-2018. It was through SCBWI that I found my invaluable critique group and the 24 Carrot co-founders Kelly, Amanda and Annie.
When not writing, you’ll find me walking the rural roads near my home, gardening, testing the gluten-free baking limits, playing various musical instruments, or racing to finish my monthly book club selections. I live in Massachusetts with my husband and spend my days making up stories and listening to the exciting adventures of my two college-aged children.
Photo by Meredith Albright (albrightphoto.com)