About Northern California Writers’ Retreat

Welcome to a place where emerging voices in fiction have the space and time to write, surrounded by old growth oak trees and similarly motivated artists.

We designed this writing 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, two well-established Guest Literary Agents, and an Editor with experience at several big publishing houses, writers get the trifecta of perspectives and can better understand how the publishing industry works—and how to set themselves and their work apart.

Alongside ample time to focus on their writing and inspiring experiences, writers will walk away with a better understanding of their craft and the publishing business.

Banner hanging in a sunny natural spot that reads Welcome Writers and Northern California Writers' Retreat

Our History

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.

Heather Lazare, Independent Editor and cofounder of Northern California Writers Retreat, stands in front of a vine-covered wall and smiles with her hands on her hips

Heather Lazare

Independent Editorial and Publishing Consultant

Heather Lazare is an independent editorial and publishing consultant with nearly twenty years of professional experience, who specializes in editing adult fiction, with particular emphasis on historical fiction, women’s fiction, literary fiction, contemporary romance, mysteries, 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 submission 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 also teaches courses for Stanford Continuing Studies on the publishing business. She lives in California with her husband and two children. Learn more at heatherlazare.com.