Michelle Vega, Executive Editor
An industry leader in commercial and genre fiction, Berkley has a rich tradition of discovering new talent, defining emerging trends, and building authors and series into global franchises. With Berkley’s dedicated focus and guidance many bestselling authors have grown into popular brand names, including Christine Feehan, William Gibson, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Mark Greaney, and Jayne Ann Krentz. We’re proud to publish Jasmine Guillory, Karen White, Emily Henry, Ali Hazelwood, Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray, Grady Hendrix, Simone St. James, Samantha Downing, Stephanie Dray, Susan Meissner, Kristan Higgins, and Chanel Cleeton, among others.
Our expertise in women’s fiction, romance, science fiction/fantasy, and mystery/suspense makes us uniquely suited to introduce a new generation of popular novelists and to reinvigorate the publishing programs for established bestselling authors. Known for being at the forefront of trends, Berkley continues to develop authors and acquire books on the cutting edge of genre fiction.
Berkley’s history of publishing in all formats and commitment to actively promoting the backlist means we remain focused on a book throughout its life…and on our author for an entire career.
Meet the Team
Ivan Held, President
Ivan Held is President of Putnam, Dutton, and Berkley. He currently oversees business, editorial, and publishing strategies for Putnam and Berkley.
Ivan started his career as a bookseller in Washington, DC, before moving to the publicity department at Random House, where he worked with authors ranging from Norman Mailer to General Colin Powell. In the late 1990s he was named VP/Associate Publisher and Marketing Director for the Viking imprint of Penguin. Before returning to Penguin in 2005, he founded the Random House Trade Paperbacks imprint at Random House.
Christine Ball, Senior Vice President, Publisher
Christine Ball is Senior Vice President, Publisher for Berkley, Dutton, and their respective imprints. She joined Dutton in 2008 as the Director of Publicity and Marketing after serving as publicity director at Crown.
She was named Vice President of Dutton in 2011, Associate Publisher in 2012, Deputy Publisher of Berkley in 2016 and SVP, Publisher in 2017. In 2019 she was named an “Agent of Change” by Girls Write Now. In 2020, she and Phoebe Robinson joined forces to establish Tiny Reparations Books under the Plume imprint.
Benjamin Lee, Senior Vice President, Associate Publisher, Paperbacks & Backlist
Ben Lee joined Dutton, Putnam, and Berkley as Vice President, Associate Publisher of paperbacks in March 2015. He oversees the paperback conversion program for all of Dutton and Putnam’s books. Prior to joining Dutton, Putnam, and Berkley, Ben was most recently VP, Associate Publisher of Atria Books at Simon & Schuster, overseeing campaigns for many New York Times bestselling authors including Brad Thor, Jennifer Weiner, Vince Flynn, Theresa Caputo, Rachael Ray and Buddy Valastro.
Prior to that at Simon, he sold the warehouse clubs and later handled Target, Readerlink, B&T, Ingram and the CBA. He started his publishing career at Random House, where he worked in sales with the warehouse clubs as well as in marketing with the Information Group.
Jeanne-Marie Hudson, Vice President, Deputy Publisher
Jeanne-Marie Hudson is the Vice President, Deputy Publisher of Berkley. Prior to joining Berkley, she was Senior Director of Marketing Communications & Audience Development at St. Martin’s Press, where she worked with bestselling authors Kristin Hannah, Emily Giffin, Louise Penny, Lisa Scottoline, Mary Kay Andrews, Janet Evanovich, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Augusten Burroughs, among others.
After beginning her career as a bookseller in Atlanta, she went on to publishing positions in sales and marketing in both print and audiobooks at major houses and was privileged to work with authors like James Patterson, David Baldacci, Danielle Steel, Michael Connelly, Maeve Binchy, and many more.
Craig Burke, Vice President, Executive Director of Publicity
Craig Burke is the Vice President, Executive Director of Publicity, and Special Projects Director of Berkley. He oversees publicity campaigns for the entire Berkley list and has worked with many bestselling authors, including Nora Roberts, J.R. Ward, Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jen Lancaster, A. Scott Berg, and Karen White, among others. He oversaw the publicity campaigns for a number of high-profile, bestselling books, including Ricky Martin’s Me, Joan Rivers’s I Hate Everyone…Starting with Me, and True Love by Jennifer Lopez.
After beginning his career at Alfred A. Knopf, he joined Berkley Books in 1995 and has been the lead publicist on books published by Berkley, NAL, Perigee, and Riverhead Trade Paperbacks, including the international bestsellers The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and The Color of Water by James McBride.
Claire Zion, Vice President, Editor in Chief
Claire Zion became Vice President, Editor in Chief at Berkley in July 2015. In this role, she oversees the Berkley, Jove, Ace and Prime Crime lists. She joined Penguin in 2002 as the Editorial Director of New American Library and was appointed Vice President in 2009. Prior to joining NAL, she worked at Hachette and Simon and Schuster. She started her career right out of college at New American Library. Over the years, Claire acquired many romance authors who launched successful mainstream careers, including New York Times bestsellers Linda Howard, Sandra Brown, Barbara Delinsky, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Wiggs, Carla Neggers and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Recently, she’s been proud to work with Kristan Higgins, Mary Balogh, Jane Green, Margaret George, Susan Meissner and Karen Rose.
Tom Colgan, Vice President, Editorial Director
Tom Colgan is the Vice President, Editorial Director at Berkley. He started his career at Berkley in 1985. In those days he worked on everything from the novelization of the movie ET: The Extraterrestrial to westerns. He then spent six years at Avon/Morrow and returned to Berkley as an Executive Editor in 1996. He has worked with such bestselling authors as Mark Greaney, Janet Evanovich, Lee Child, and Tom Clancy. Among the New York Times bestselling titles Tom has edited are One Minute Out, Hardcore Twenty-Four, and Tom Clancy Target Acquired.
Cindy Hwang, Vice President, Editorial Director
Cindy Hwang is Vice President, Editorial Director at Berkley. She joined Berkley in 1994 and has acquired and worked with a roster of bestselling authors including Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, Laurell K. Hamilton, Sylvia Day, Christine Feehan, Maya Banks, Nalini Singh, Karen White and Jasmine Guillory.
Cindy was heavily involved in growing Sensation into a leading romance imprint, and in the development of the digital imprint InterMix.
Amanda Bergeron, Executive Editor
Amanda Bergeron (she/her) is an executive editor at Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House, where she acquires and edits a wide range of contemporary and historical book club fiction with women’s stories at their core. She works with New York Times bestselling authors such as Emily Henry, Carley Fortune, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, Stephanie Dray, Ashley Poston and many more. She started her career at William Morrow/Avon where she published bestselling fiction such as The Alice Network, The Hating Game, America’s First Daughter, and What She Knew.
Tracy Bernstein, Executive Editor
Tracy Bernstein is Executive Editor at Berkley. She began her career at Farrar, Straus and Giroux before finding her natural habitat at more commercial publishers like Kensington and Pocket Books. She joined New American Library in 2002 and, despite a fear of driving, merged smoothly into the Berkley lane.
In addition to overseeing the Signet Classics line and the extensive Berkley backlist, she acquires and edits fiction, memoir, and true crime. The New York Times-bestselling authors she has worked with include Jen Lancaster, Montel Williams and Al Roker.
Kerry Donovan, Executive Editor
Kerry Donovan is Executive Editor at Berkley. She acquires upmarket commercial fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and historical fiction. Recent titles include Last Summer at the Golden Hotel by Elyssa Friedland, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley, The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson, and Well Matched by Jen DeLuca. She works with New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors including Jennifer Probst, Sherry Thomas, Laura Griffin, and Samantha Young.
Kate Seaver, Executive Editor
Executive Editor Kate Seaver started her career at a small independent publishing company before joining Berkley in 2005. She acquires upmarket commercial women’s fiction—including contemporary and historical—book club fiction, and romance. She works with many bestselling and acclaimed authors including Marie Benedict, Chanel Cleeton, Sara Donati, Kerri Maher, Jenn McKinlay, Victoria Christopher Murray, and Abbi Waxman.
Esi Sogah, Executive Editor
Esi Sogah (she/her) joined Berkley as an executive editor in 2022, acquiring women’s fiction, historical fiction, and romance. Her lifelong love of romance novels led to career that began at William Morrow and Avon Books before she moved to Kensington Publishing, where she worked on a variety of fiction and nonfiction.
Anne Sowards, Executive Editor
Anne Sowards is Executive Editor at Berkley. She joined Berkley in 1996 and primarily acquires and edits fantasy, science fiction, and romance. She has acquired and worked with many bestselling and award-winning authors, including Ilona Andrews, Anne Bishop, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, Jack Campbell, Zen Cho, Grace Draven, Charlaine Harris, Kim Harrison, and Laura Sebastian.
Michelle Vega, Executive Editor
Michelle Vega is an Executive Editor at Berkley. She started her publishing career as an intern for Viking and then worked as editorial coordinator for Alpha Books. She began her career with Berkley in 2005.
Since that time, Michelle has been heavily involved in the Prime Crime mystery imprint working with New York Times Bestselling authors like Rhys Bowen and Miranda James.
Jessica Wade, Executive Editor
Jessica Wade is an executive editor at Berkley, acquiring primarily in the areas of fiction with a speculative element, horror, and mystery. She joined the imprint in 2004. She has worked with a list of bestselling and award-winning authors and some of her recent and upcoming titles include The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, Agency by William Gibson, Cackle by Rachel Harrison, The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec, The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna, All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay, and A Deadly Inside Scoop by Abby Collette.
Sarah Blumenstock, Senior Editor
Sarah Blumenstock started her career selling foreign and domestic rights for Penguin Young Readers before joining Berkley in 2016. She acquires bold, immersive romance and women’s fiction novels, and works with bestselling authors such as Ali Hazelwood, Evie Dunmore, Lori Nelson Spielman, and Karina Halle.
Jen Monroe, Senior Editor
Jen Monroe joined Berkley in November 2016. She acquires conversation-starting fiction—including book club women’s fiction, psychological suspense/thrillers, speculative fiction, and select narrative nonfiction. Previously, Jen spent two years at HarperAudio where she spearheaded original programming, and produced the in-house podcast HarperAudio Presents. Originally from San Francisco, she has an English & Creative Writing degree from Sarah Lawrence College.
Kristine Swartz, Senior Editor
Kristine Swartz (she/her) is a Senior Editor at Berkley and a graduate of New York University. She acquires propulsive romance, women’s fiction, fantasy, and mystery novels, and works with bestselling authors such as Lyssa Kay Adams, Rosie Danan, Rachel Lynn Solomon, and India Holton. When not reading, she’s baking overly elaborate desserts in her tiny NYC apartment.
Angela Kim, Associate Editor
Angela Kim (she/her) is an Associate Editor at Berkley. She acquires contemporary romance, book club fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, and thriller/suspense. She is particularly keen on seeing works by authors from underrepresented communities, as well as sharp stories for the millennial and gen-z audience. Some recent titles include Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala, Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Herring Blake, Mr. Wrong Number by Lynn Painter, and The Fraud Squad by Kyla Zhao.
Sareer Khader, Assistant Editor
Sareer Khader (she/her) is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and joined Berkley in 2019. She acquires immersive and compelling mystery, horror, upmarket romance, and speculative/fantastical fiction with strong crossover appeal. Within all those genres, she is keen to see more work by authors from underrepresented communities. Sareer has worked with bestselling authors such as Emily Henry, Mark Greaney, Ashley Poston, Carley Fortune, and Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and some of her upcoming projects include Mrs. Nash’s Ashes by Sarah Adler, Nick Medina’s debut thriller, Sisters of the Lost Nation, and Sunshine and Spice by Aurora Palit.
Liz Sellers, Assistant Editor
Liz Sellers (she/her) is an Assistant Editor at Berkley and a graduate of New York University and Florida State University. She is keen on acquiring witty, smart romcoms, millennial/new adult romance that uniquely blends genres, and modern cozy mysteries. Liz joined the Berkley team in 2019, and her upcoming and recent projects include Cold-Blooded Liar by New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose and Danielle Jackson’s debut romance, The Accidental Pinup.