Our People

Our people make the difference.

Mascot’s staff is experienced in the various disciplines that converge in the world of publishing. From industry strategists, to marketing gurus, to creative types, to grammar nerds, to bean counters, we have the right people in the right positions to help authors navigate the nuances of the publishing marketplace.

We Love Books

While Team Mascot is composed of individuals offering unique backgrounds and skill sets, there’s attributes that we all share: We’re passionate about books. It’s this appreciation for the written word that provides important context and perspective to our work and enables us to offer knowledgeable direction to our family of authors.


Ben Simpson

Director, Acquisitions

As an Acquisitions Director at Amplify Publishing Group, Ben is responsible for communicating with a variety of authors about APG’s publishing services and the industry as a whole. He loves the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of genres and subject matters and enjoys talking with authors about their goals and how APG can help achieve them. A native of Herndon, Virginia, and an avid reader of history books and comedy memoirs, he was thrilled by the opportunity to work in publishing in the same town he grew up in. He received his B.A. in communications with a concentration in media production and criticism from George Mason University.

Jess Taylor

Director, Acquisitions

Working with books is Jess’s dream job. Ever since she was little, she knew her passion in life was to help authors publish their stories. She graduated University of North Carolina Wilmington with a B.F.A in creative writing and a publishing certificate. Her concentration was in fiction, which helped her develop APG’s imprint Subplot. As Acquisitions Director, she spearheads the imprint while continuing to acquire a variety of excellent stories in many other genres. She loves spending her days reading manuscripts, chatting with authors about their work, and exploring the wonderful Northern Virginia area.

Will Wolfslau

Editorial Director

As editorial director, Will helps our authors to develop and position their books for maximum impact. He draws on over a decade of experience in the publishing industry, having begun his career at storied literary publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux. He then joined Crown (a division of Penguin Random House) as an acquiring editor, where he worked with a Nobel Peace Prize winner and on a dozen New York Times bestsellers. A native of Southern California, he now lives in Brooklyn with his wife, daughter, and an elderly dachshund.

Carissa Villagomez

Acquisitions Assistant

As acquisitions assistant at Mascot Books, Carissa aids the acquisitions directors with reading manuscripts, communicating to authors, and guiding writers along their unique creative journeys. She has experience at top New York literary agencies, trade imprints, and small independent presses. Her genre interests include children’s books, adult fiction, and big idea nonfiction. Carissa graduated magna cum laude from the University of Chicago with a BA in English Literature and a minor in human rights.


Production Editors

Lauren Magnussen

Director, Production

Lauren has been working and playing with the written word since she was only a few years old, and a love of the art and substance of the English language has been at the core of her personal and professional ambitions for decades. Since her early forays into the realm of writing, she has worked on all sides of the process: by furiously researching, analyzing, and copy editing, Lauren helps writers create polished, original books. She believes in the power of communication to get things done, and throws herself into every project to make sure it is better than when she began it. She has a B.A. in English from The College of William and Mary and is currently pursuing her M.A. at George Mason University.

Jenna Scafuri

Director, Production

From a young age, Jenna has drawn inspiration from heroines in books of all genres, and her passion for reading led her to enjoy a career in writing and editing for more than ten years in the aerospace, corrections, and education industries. Jenna is a proud Spartan, having earned her B.A. in English from Michigan State University, where she studied publishing, creative writing, and professional writing, and worked for several literary journals on campus. Jenna lives with her husband in Northern Virginia where they can usually be spotted at one of the many local wineries, enjoying a night at the theater, or taking to the skies flying small airplanes and hot air balloons.

Brandon Coward

Senior Production Editor

Brandon is a veteran editor whose experience in publishing includes helping bring New York Times bestsellers of all kinds to life at a top New York publisher and literary agency. His favorite part about working with authors is making their dreams come true. Prior to entering the world of books, he helped lead the production and copyediting operations of a daily newspaper. In his spare time, he enjoys playing racquetball and taking his daughter to Washington Nationals baseball games.

Myles Schrag

Senior Production Editor

Myles has been helping authors tell their stories for more than twenty years, in acquisitions and as a developmental editor, ghostwriter, and writing coach. He has authored or edited eight books himself and is grateful for the variety of genres and topics that he encounters every day with Amplify Publishing Group. Myles has a B.A. in English and minor in communications from Goshen (Ind.) College and an M.S. in kinesiology from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He loves living the outdoor life in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Rachel Applebach

Production Editor

Rachel is a big believer in the power of editing. At Amplify Publishing Group, she is eager to help authors realize their vision through the process of polishing and publishing their manuscript. Her passion is for books of any kind: from academic nonfiction to memoir, science fiction to historical romance. Rachel graduated from Emerson College with an M.A. in publishing and writing, and from Christopher Newport with a B.A. in English literature and minors in leadership and writing.

Gillian Barth

Associate Production Editor

Ever since Gillian was little, she’s always enjoyed reading books. She didn’t always know that publishing was the career meant for her, but now that she works at Amplify Publishing Group as an assistant production editor, she can’t imagine working in a different career. Gillian received bachelor of arts degrees in history and English at Virginia Tech, where she helped publish her senior history seminar’s monograph on women’s history and worked as a student editor for the history department’s student-run academic journal. After Virginia Tech, Gillian completed the Columbia Publishing Course where she earned her certificate in publishing.

Tyler Brown

Production Assistant

Before becoming an assistant production editor, Tyler Brown worked as an intern for Amplify Publishing Group. Now, she collaborates with children’s picture book authors to help their dreams and passions become a reality. It is her deepest desire to help facilitate story creation, and she is always excited to see an author’s work on bookstore shelves. Tyler has a B.A. in English from Christopher Newport University with a concentration in literature and a writing minor.


Graphic Designers

Caitlin Schultheis

Graphic Designer

Caitlin is a graphic designer from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. She has a BFA in Graphic Designer from Moravian College. She has worked with brands ranging from restaurants groups, local businesses and non-profits, big box stores and even large tech groups. All her work intersects through strong typography and powerful storytelling. As a highly organized person, she uses that to visually translate words into strong, conceptual design. Caitlin lives and breathes design. So much so that she’s organized most things in her life by color. 

When she’s not creating visual hierarchy through design, she’s most likely roller skating, taking a road trip, or watching movies anywhere she can—from her favorite classic New York theaters to the local drive-in (or all of the above). 

Caitlin Smith

Senior Graphic Designer

Caitlin is a graphic designer hailing from Roanoke, Virginia. She is also a proud overachiever and a firm believer in the transformative power of good design. She first fell in love with print media and letterforms during a college typography course, which gave her the opportunity to design her very first book. The experience changed her life and would (eventually) lead her to Amplify Publishing Group, where she gets to put that same passion to use every day. Caitlin has a B.F.A. in graphic design from Liberty University and an A.A.S. in communication design from Virginia Western Community College. When she isn’t experimenting with various Adobe programs, she can be found curled up on her couch playing indie games or re-watching Disney movies. Or possibly both.

Matthew Gonsalves

Graphic Designer

Matthew is an innovative graphic designer and digital painter, best known for his abstract covers and work in Photoshop. He graduated from the Art Institute of Washington with a B.A. in graphic design and began toying with personal projects, which included designing his neighbor’s book. He soon found he had a knack for it and decided to pursue a career in the world of books. Today, he creates unique designs catered to each individual book he comes across at Amplify Publishing Group.

Shannon Sullivan

Graphic Designer

Shannon is a graphic designer from San Diego, California, who moved to Northern Virginia to join Amplify Publishing Group and fulfill her longtime goal of working in publishing. As an enthusiastic reader, she always dreamed of designing books from cover to cover. When not designing or reading, Shannon can be found volunteering as a dog walker for a local animal rescue or trying a new coffee shop.


Heather Orlando-Jerabek

Senior Marketing and Publicity Manager

Heather Orlando Jerabek is a graduate of the Columbia University publishing course, received a M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Central Florida, and a B.A .in English literature. She has worked with publications such as National Geographic, TV Guide Magazine, and The Florida Review in editorial and marketing roles. Most recently, Heather worked with Macmillan Publishers, coordinating publicity campaigns for numerous New York Times bestselling authors.

Michelle Garcia

Marketing and Publicity Manager

Michelle is a writer, author, and multimedia artist born and raised in Northern Virginia. Her passion for storytelling led her to Amplify Publishing Group, where she works directly with clients to market their literary works. In 2021, Michelle independently published her debut memoir of poetry and creative nonfiction, Cul-de-sac Angels, which empowered her to pursue a career in book publishing, marketing, and building relationships with other emerging writers. She graduated from Virginia Tech with a B.A. in English, Literature, and Creative Writing, as well as a B.A. in communication science and social inquiry. When she’s not writing or reading multiple novels at a time, you can find Michelle snail-mailing pen pals, baking desserts, attending indie music concerts, and hanging out with her cat and goldendoodle puppy.

Lindsey Sageser

Marketing and Publicity Manager

Lindsey is an experienced book marketer with a background in both traditional and hybrid publishing. An avid reader herself, Lindsey has a passion for storytelling and connecting authors with their audience. She received a BA in English literature and journalism from the University of North Texas before moving back to her hometown of Austin, Texas, in 2022. In her free time, you can find Lindsey curled up with a book, hosting movie nights, or walking around Town Lake.

Caitie Merico

Retail and Distribution Manager

A born and bred Marylander, Caitie graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a B.A. in media and communications and a minor in psychology. During her time at UMBC, she became involved with the campus musical theater club where she did everything from singing and dancing to writing and directing. She was even in a student-written and student-led parody musical about a popular Disney TV show. In her position at Amplify Publishing Group, she is thrilled to help connect people to great books.

Jen Miller

Retail and Distribution Administrator

Jen has loved reading and writing since she was a kid and always wanted to work with books, so she is very excited to work with Amplify Publishing Group! She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in English and minors in Creative Writing and Sociology. She is currently pursuing her MA in English Literature with a Publishing Certificate from George Mason University. When she’s not reading, she’s probably writing poetry, crocheting, or going on a hike!


Helen Frank

Senior Bookkeeper

A Fauquier County native with over a decade of bookkeeping experience, Helen assists authors with the financial side of their books. A voracious reader, her favorite place to be is surrounded by books. In her free time, she enjoys hiking in the mountains, crafting, and taking pictures of local fungi.

Soukkhy Drumm


Soukkhy loves working with numbers and people, making her position at Amplify Publishing Group the perfect fit. In her free time, she enjoys leisure traveling, gardening, walking, and venturing outdoors, such as in parks and mountains. She also likes reading cookbooks and trying to cook up some of the recipes she finds.

Emily Willett


Stories and books have been a part of Emily’s life for as long as she can remember. Both her great-grandmother and grandmother had careers as librarians, her grandfather was a journalist, and her mother writes detective stories. Emily herself earned a B.A. in English from James Madison University. After graduating, she moved across the world to South Korea where she spent two years teaching English at a private academy. After returning to America, she wanted to continue working in an environment that shared her belief in the importance of words and their impact. When the opportunity to work at Amplify Publishing Group materialized, she knew it was a perfect fit! Emily enjoys being part of a team that supports storytellers and is happy to assist our authors in any way she can.

Kat Craft

Administrative Assistant

Kat has been creating and telling stories since before she could read. Growing up, she always had a pen and notebook nearby to document all of the stories and ideas she came up with. In college, she was hired as a writing coach at Johnson & Wales University’s writing lab and as an English TA to help students strengthen their skills and become more confident in their writing abilities. When she wasn’t working or studying, she strengthened her own skills in the Mixed Martial Arts Club. Kat always had an interest in publishing, so she is excited to be part of Amplify Publishing Group today. When she’s not working, you can find Kat working on her novel, playing Dungeons & Dragons, cooking, or traveling.