SFF Authors from Wisconsin
There’s about 130,000 professional authors in the United States and somewhere in the ballpark of 560 authors from Wisconsin. If we narrow that down further to authors who write in fantasy, science fiction, and other speculative genres…
Right now we’re at a count of 35 published science fiction and fantasy authors currently living and writing in Wisconsin. Some just released their debut novel, others are living legends. Be sure to check them all out and find some new books to read. Many of the authors do local events within the state and we hope this page is helpful to convention, workshop, conference, and book fest organizers.
We’re sure we missed some authors from Wisconsin, so comment down below or message us with your suggestions of Wisconsin SFF authors to add. You an also purchase many of these books at our storefront on Bookshop.org which supports Conquer Books and indie bookstores.
A-F Katherine Addison, Malinda Andrews, Callie Bates, Bradley Beaulieu, Peter Bingham-Pankratz, Alex Bledsoe, SA Bodeen, Alina Boyden, RR Campbell, Mark J Engels, and Matt Forbeck
G-M Neil Gaiman, Jon Hakes, Nathan Hopp, Zachary Howe, Christopher R Knutson, Joel Kreissman, Dan LaBash, D Lieber, James Lowder, Kelly McCullough, and John Jackson Miller
N-S Douglas Niles, Joshua Grover-David Patterson, R Chris Reeder, Patrick Rothfuss, John P Safranski, Donald Schlising, and Adam Lane Smith
T-Z Patrick Tibbits, Patrick S. Tomlinson, LA Wasielewski, Christopher Whitmore, Margaret Weis, David Michael Williams, and Rebecca M Zornow
You can find Katherine Addison’s original short stories on Tor.com and Clarkesworld (links on on her website). Her novel The Angel of the Crows explores an 1880s London where angels, vampires, and werewolves walk among humans in truce. Addison lives near Madison where she earned her Ph. D. and graduated summa cum laude.
Real Name: Sarah Monette
Author Website: KatherineAddison.com
In Through the Mountains, Riona and her mother hunt and trade while living at the edge of a remote village until a stranger comes and triggers Riona’s acceptance of her magical abilities. Andrews is an avid fan of NaNoWriMo. Originally from Washington, Andrews now lives in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.
Education: Andrews earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from UW-Milwaukee.
Author Website: MalindaWrites.blogspot.com
Callie Bates’ newest tale, The Soul of Power, the final book of The Walking Land Trilogy, released June 4, 2019. The trilogy follows the story of Elanna who, accused of murdering the King, returns to her magical homeland under threat. Nature and Wisconsin forests inspire Bates’ work.
Essay Excerpt: Read this lovely excerpt about scars on Lion’s Roar.
Author Website: CallieBates.com
You wouldn’t expect an author of nine fantasy novels to have set their very first novel aside during college, but that’s exactly what happened to Bealieu. When the drive to write never left, he dedicated himself to practicing the craft and Bealieu has two series: The Song of the Shattered Sands and The Lays of Anuskaya.
Similar Authors: Beaulieu says his writing is similar to George R.R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Guy Gavriel Kay, Glen Cook, and C.S. Friedman.
Author Website: Quillings.com
Peter Bingham-Pankratz debuted with The Fifth Civilization, a science fiction novel set in the 26th century where humanity is on the verge of learning more about, or precisely where, they come from. Bingham-Pankratz is working on the third book in the trilogy. He grew up in Wisconsin and enjoys hiking and classic films.
It’s in the Details: Bingham-Pankratz got his start with homemade comic books.
Author Website: PeterBP.com
Alex Bledsoe has done it all–reporter, editor, photographer, and door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman–but obviously something stuck with writing. Not only does Bledsoe try to write before six in the morning, he’s the author of more than 25 SFF books.
Home state: Tennessee
Author Website: AlexBledsoe.com
SA Bodeen’s first novel The Compound, follows the story of Eli and his family who live in an underground compound after a nuclear war. Though the luxury shelter is designed to keep them safe, Eli wonders about the outside, and if they’re really as safe as they believe. Bodeen grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin and now lives in Black River Falls.
It’s in the Details: Bodeen and her husband served in the US Peace Corps in Tanzania.
Author Website: WriterSABodeen.com
Alina Boyden’s debut novel released in 2020. Stealing Thunder is an epic fantasy inspired by the Mughal Empire. In it, Razia was raised to become the Crown Prince of Nizam. Born with the soul of a woman, Razia must forge her own path. In real life, Boyden splits her time between Wisconsin and South Asia where her work in cultural anthropology centers on the civil rights struggles of transgender women.
It’s in the Details: Boyden is a Ph. D. candidate in cultural anthropology.
Author Website: AlinaBoyden.com
RR Campbell is an author, editor, and podcaster who has been invited to speak at WisCon and the University of Wisconsin Writers’ Institute. In his debut science fiction novel Imminent Dawn, Chandra enrolls in a medical trial to test internet-access brain implants while her wife lies in a coma. Campbell grew up in the Milwaukee area and now lives near Madison.
Author Podcast: Campbell and editor Sione Aeschliman offer a wealth of information for writers in The Writerscast Network.
Author Website: RRcampbellWrites.com
Mark J Engels
Mark J Engels is the author of the novel, Always Gray in Winter, a tale about feuding werecat clans. Engels got the idea for his story while working the night shift on the railroad as an electrical engineer and wrote the novel over the next two years. Engels grew up in Michigan and now lives in Wisconsin.
It’s in the Details: Engels got his start by authoring articles for rail and transit industry trade magazines.
Author Website: Mark-Engels.com
Matt Forbeck is a New York Times-bestselling author who has published over 30 novels. He has also created and designed roleplaying, card, miniatures, and board games. You’ll have to check out Frobeck’s website yourself and revel in the sheer amount of content he has created. His novel Vegas Knights is set in a magical Las Vegas. Forbeck lives in Beloit with his wife and five children.
Awards: Forbeck’s work has won 15 Origins Awards, 10 ENnies, and 5 Scribe Awards.
Author Website: Forbeck.com
At this point in Neil Gaiman’s career, his work is growing to the point of legend. Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett, is now an Amazon Prime original show and his comic, The Sandman, ran for 75 issues with DC Comics and is one of the few graphic novels to be a NY Times Best Seller. Gaiman moved from his native England to Wisconsin in 1992. In a 2017 interview with the StarTribute, Gaiman said, “Figuring out where I live has become a full-time occupation, but Wisconsin is still where most of my books are and my cat.” He lives near Menominee, WI. One of his most popular books, American Gods, features the Wisconsin landmark House on the Rock.
Our top pick: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author Website: NeilGaiman.com
Jon Hakes’ debut short story collection is called Stumble into Power. He writes in speculative fiction, but also horror, science fiction, fantasy, fake nonfiction, and satire. The short story titles from his collection say it all: The Boss of Blue Robots, Please Read Before Attempting to Operate, and Space Falling. Hakes lives in Appleton, WI.
Short Story: Read this unexpected short story about publishing at DefenestrationMag.net
Author Website: JonHakes.com
The Adventures of Peter Gray by Nathan Hopp is a historical fantasy novel featuring a orphaned wolf living in 1899 New York City. Hopp is an invested member in the furry fandom with a strong interest in anime. Some of his favorite books include 1984, An Ember in the Ashes, and Illuminae. Hopp lives in the Green Bay area.
It’s in the Details: Peter Gray’s birthday is July 4th.
Author Facebook Page: Facebook Page
Zachary Howe’s first book is called The Heir of Olympus and the Forest Realm. In the book, Gordie Leonhart, a modern-day descendant of Hercules, must complete the twelve trials of the Olympians to avenge his father’s death. Howe is currently working on the second installment, The Heir of Olympus and the War for Hades. Howe was raised in Madison, WI, where he currently lives.
It’s in the Details: The idea for The Heir of Olympus came to Howe in a dream.
Author Website: HeirOfOlympus.com
Christopher R. Knutson
Christopher R Knutson’s book was inspired by a family trip to Norway. In Huldredrom: Dream of the Hid-folk, Vitholf grows among trolls and huldres and falls in love with a human girl from the valley. Knutson also works as a screen writer and lives in rural Wisconsin.
Book Trailer: View the trailer for his book on Youtube
Author Facebook Page: Facebook page
Joel Kreissman’s The Pride of Parahumans explores a universe where anthropomorphic animals cover up the accidental murder of a space pirate. Kreissman, known on many sites as Zarpaulus, is an underemployed biologist from Wisconsin who decided to apply his scientific knowledge to writing science-fiction.
Podcast: You can listen to 20+ podcasts by the author on SoundCloud.com
Author Website: ParaImperium.Wordpress.com
Dan LaBash released his 2018 debut, Adventures in Aakbal. In this fantasy adventure novel, Selvyn goes from life on the streets to life on the run. LaBash is an avid traveler and enjoys reading classic fantasy like Tolkien and Rowling, but also historical and science fiction. LaBash is an engineer and lives in Appleton, WI.
Book Trailer: Watch the book trailer here.
Author Website: DanLaBash.com
D. Lieber’s Conjuring Zephyr is set in a subterranean society that believes women are incapable of practicing higher forms of magic, until one woman disguises herself as a man and infiltrates a magical, all-male university. Lieber lives in Wisconsin with her husband and cats.
It’s in the Details: Lieber is an avid fan of steampunk cosplay
Author Website: DLieber.com
James Lowder is an author, editor, and comic script writer. His diverse career started with novels under existing content umbrellas including Dungeons & Dragons, but Lowder has also contributed original work to the SFF world. Knight of the Black Rose is a Gothic horror novel where evil deeds are paid in full, so full that even help from an enemy vampire is welcome. Lowder lives in New Berlin.
It’s in the Details: Lowder has contributed to an annual “Games to Gift” holiday segment on Milwaukee Public Radio.
Author Wiki: James Lowder Wikipedia Entry
Kelly McCullough has written more than a dozen fantasy and science fiction books for younger readers. McCullough’s short fiction has also appeared in magazines and anthologies from Tor.Com, Writers of the Future, and Fantastic Stories of the Imagination. Photo Credit: Matthew A Kuchta.
It’s in the Details: McCullough once co-created a science comic for NASA.
Author Website: KellyMcCullough.com
John Jackson Miller
John Jackson Miller made his childhood love of comics, graphic novels, and science fiction into a career. In Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone, Miller’s short story was inspired by Escape from Planet of the Apes. He’s from Tennessee but now lives in Wisconsin.
It’s in the Details: The first comic Miller read was Star Wars #1 when he was 9.
Author Website: FarAwayPress.com
Douglas Niles began his career as a teacher and transitioned into game design for TSR, Inc. He began writing D&D modules and then books. In War of the Worlds: The New Millennium, Niles updates HG Well’s original with current technology. Niles lives in Delavan, WI.
Book Count: Niles has written 50+ books.
Author Wikipedia: Douglas Niles Wiki
Joshua Grover-David Patterson
Joshua Grover- David Patterson is the author of several paranormal works including the Blood Calling Trilogy, short stories, and Mercy, a story set on a desert island filled with zombies. Patterson has written for award-winning films shown in 29 countries. He lives in NE Wisconsin.
Author’s Twitter: Follow Patterson’s Twitter for some good wit
Author Blog: GroverDavid.Blogspot.com
R Chris Reeder
R Chris Reeder wrote The Changeling’s Daughter with the intention of doing the opposite of what most YA fantasy novels do. He didn’t want a hero. He wanted a protagonist that found out something terrible about herself. Reeder’s debut novel was released December 2018. He is a stay at home father and lives near Madison.
It’s in the Details: Reeder was a Shakespearean actor and has a degree in theater
Author Facebook Page: Facebook.com/rchrisreederauthor
After nearly a decade in college, Patrick Rothfuss submitted a chapter of his book to Writers of the Future and won. The award rocketed his career and The Name of the Wind was released in 2007 and Wise Man’s Fear in 2011. Rothfuss is working on the final installment of the epic fantasy series.
Personal Takeaway: Great things take time, a lot of time.
Author Website: PatrickRothfuss.com
John P. Safranski
John P. Safranski lives in Door County Wisconsin and writes science fiction thrillers with metaphysical themes. He has three sons, two rescue dogs, and spends much of his time watching documentaries on space and technology.
Social Media: Follow Safranski on Twitter
Author Website: JohnSafranski.com
Donald Schlising wrote MXX: Agent Soldier in which the Unified Governments overtake the galaxy for their own purposes. No one is able to stand against them, save MXX. Schlising is at work on the second novel in the series. He is also a skilled photographer and IT expert.
Short Story: Read Schlising’s short story A Matter of Time.
Author Website: DonaldSchlising.com
Adam Lane Smith
Adam Lane Smith’s novel Making Peace features a successful interstellar romance author who takes a job as a journalist, hoping for a big pay out. Instead he uncovers an off-the-grid planet, assassins, and serial killers. Smith writes in many genres, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and lives on a farm in Wisconsin.
It’s in the Details: Smith is a proud supporter of the Oxford comma.
Author Website: AdamLaneSmith.com
Patrick Tibbits is the author of Ramjet Warriors of the High Command which is set at the international space station. He is currently working on the sequel.
It’s in the Details: Tibbits is active on Goodreads.
Amazon Page: Amazon.com
Patrick S. Tomlinson
Patrick S. Tomlinson has a number of novels set in the far reaches of space, including In the Black out from Tor Books. In addition to his science fiction novels and short stories, Tomlinson is a political contributor and appears in The Hill and The New York Times.
It’s in the Details: Tomlinson also performs stand-up in the Midwest.
Author Website: PatrickSTomlinson.com
In LA Wasielewski’s The Alchemist: Dawn of Destiny, alchemist Ryris Bren keeps his forbidden magic secret, but when an evil necromancer emerges, Ryris must decide if it’s a secret worth keeping. Wasielewski finished book two in the trilogy, The Alchemist: Dark Horizon. She also enjoys cooking, baking, and playing video games.
Early Start: Wasielewski first began writing fanfiction set in the Phantasy Star IV, Star Trek, and Final Fantasy realms.
Author Website: Lawasielewski.com
Christopher Whitmore is the author of Saviour and Children of the Saviour. Miracle Ashe is a blacksmith with a mission: to get to The Saviour. This ancient leader will grant a wish to any citizen who stands before him on his 100th birthday. All that’s standing in Miracle’s way is the other thousand people who want to get there first. Whitmore lives in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.
It’s in the Details: Whitmore is “more Trekkian-optimistic than Blade Runner-dystopian.”
Author Website: ChristoWhit.wixsite.com/website
Margaret Weis is a prolific writer and a New York Times Bestselling author. She is the author or co-author of several fantasy series, including her newest series, Dragon Corsairs, a swashbuckling adventure trilogy concluding August 6, 2019. Weis lives in Lake Geneva, a waterfront resort city, with her four dogs.
It’s in the Details: A decade after graduating college, Weis moved to Lake Geneva to become a book editor at TSR, Inc.
Author Website: MargaretWeis.com
David Michael Williams
David Michael Williams is the author of The Renegade Chronicles trilogy, a fantasy tale about civil war that brings unlikely sides together. Williams appears in several anthologies and also penned The Soul Sleep Cycle series. He has a background in journalism and marketing. Williams lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two kids.
Genre: Williams says his work combines science fiction, fantasy, paranormal, and suspense.
Author Website: David-michael-williams.com
Rebecca M Zornow
Rebecca M Zornow is the author of It’s Over or It’s Eden, a first contact novel set in the Rocky Mountains. She studied English at Lawrence University and is a former Peace Crops Volunteer. She lives in Appleton where she enjoys spending time downtown and by the river.
It’s in the Details: Rebecca is the former editor-in-chief of Appleton Monthly.
Author Website: RebeccaMZornow.com
Thanks for learning more about these authors from Wisconsin. If you are writer currently living in Wisconsin working in SFF, please contact us to be added to the line up, which we update annually.