Who will be there?
12 fiction writers
1 guest agent
1 independent editor
By keeping the retreat small, we ensure that each writer gets the attention they deserve, and in the five days we are together, everyone gets an opportunity to know each other.
Welcome to a place where emerging voices in fiction have the space and time to write, surrounded by redwoods and similarly motivated artists.
We designed this retreat to show aspiring authors (and those who’ve published) the inside of the industry. By bringing together an Author-in-Residence who has published at least one novel, an established Guest Agent, and an Editor with experience at several big publishing houses, writers get the trifecta of perspectives and can better understand how the industry works—and how to set themselves and their work apart.
What will we be doing?
Mornings: You’ll have the mornings to write. After enjoying a continental breakfast, you can grab a cup of coffee and head to a table in the Lodge with you laptop, or go back to your room and snuggle under the covers and dive in to writing your next pages.
Afternoons: Our delicious lunch will be eaten all together while listening to a talk about the publishing industry from Heather or the Guest Agent. After lunch, you’re free to keep writing, or join our favorite local yoga instructor for an invigorating or relaxing practice, or have a massage!
Late afternoons: On our first afternoon together, you’ll get to hear from our Author-in-Residence about their publishing journey and be able to ask any questions you may have. On the other two afternoons we’re together, we’ll be workshopping!
Evening: Dinner involves plenty of local ingredients and wine, sparkling water, or whatever you prefer! Conversations over dinner lead to s’mores by the fireplace and discussions deep into the night, or you can always opt for a book in bed, back in your cozy cabin.
The Northern California Writers’ Retreat was born in 2015 over club sandwiches at the Big Four restaurant in the historic Huntington Hotel in San Francisco. Literary Agent Chelsea Lindman and Editor Heather Lazare, both California natives, had each recently returned to their home state after spending nearly a decade living in New York and working in the publishing industry. As they were talking, both admitted that she had dreamed of establishing a space out west for writers to build community and work on their books. Sandwiches led to drinks, which led to phone calls, which led to a game plan. In 2019, Heather took over running the retreat as Chelsea’s focus shifted to a new career path, yet our goal remains: to build a community of writers who will help lift each other up and take the retreat with them beyond our five days together. Come along on this adventure!
Heather Lazare is an independent editorial and publishing consultant with over ten years of professional experience, who specializes in editing adult fiction, with particular emphasis on historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction, and thrillers. She began her career at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, then moved to the editorial side at Crown (Random House), and was a senior editor at Touchstone (Simon & Schuster) before creating her own business in 2013. She works with individual authors, helping them get their manuscripts ready for submittal to agents, she strategizes with agents whose clients need an extra push before submission, and she’s hired by publishing houses to further perfect manuscripts for publication. She lives in California with her husband and two children. Learn more at heatherlazare.com.