Valerie Luesse


Valerie Fraser Luesse is the author of five novels set in the South: Christy Award winner Missing Isaac (2018), Almost Home (2019), The Key to Everything (2020), Under the Bayou Moon (2021) which the Alabama Library Association’s award for Best Adult Fiction by an Alabama author in 2023, and Letters from My Sister (August 2023), all published by Revell Books. An award-winning magazine writer, Luesse is perhaps best known for her feature stories and essays in Southern Living, where she wrote major pieces on the Mississippi Delta, Acadian Louisiana, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from Auburn University and Baylor University, respectively. She is a native of Harpersville, Alabama, and lives in Birmingham, where she creates Southern fiction from a tiny writing studio she calls the Story Shack.

Kristin Luna


Tennessee-based journalist Kristin Luna is a magazine veteran with 20 years of industry experience under her belt. She has authored more than a dozen guidebooks and contributed to countless publications like Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, Afar, Newsweek, Food + Wine, Southern Living and Garden & Gun. As a byproduct of her love for traveling and storytelling, Kristin launched Camels & Chocolate, a collection of travel narratives, in 2007; a media production company, Odinn Media, in 2012; and a public art nonprofit, DMA-events, in 2018. She and her husband Scott create marketing assets for tourism and hospitality entities across the United States with a strong focus on helping rural towns and counties break through the noise. 

Shan Stout