Meet the Team

Photo of the Gardner Literary Team

Rachelle Gardner

President and Literary Agent

As a literary agent since 2007, Rachelle has negotiated 300+ contracts with more than 20 publishers, and worked with more than 200 authors to bring their books to publication and build their careers.

She's been in publishing since 1995, worked in-house at two publishing companies, and edited books published by Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and many more. Nowadays she feels lucky to work at the foot of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.

When she's not working, you can usually find her out hiking the local trails, riding her bike, haunting bookstores, or having coffee at Starbucks.

Click HERE to see a sampling of books Rachelle has represented.
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Kristy Cambron

Vice President & Literary Agent

Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of bestselling historical fiction and nonfiction titles, as well as a literary agent leveraging more than a decade of experience in publishing for her fiction and nonfiction clients. Her work has been featured in national publications such as Publishers Weekly, Once Upon a Book Club Box, Frolic, Book Club Girl, BookBub, and Country Woman Magazine, and was named to Cosmopolitan's Best Historical Fiction Novels of 2021.

An experienced keynote speaker at national conferences and events, Kristy spent fifteen years in education and leadership development for a Fortune 100 corporation, partnering with such companies as the Disney Institute, IBM/Kenexa, and Gallup before stepping away to pursue her passion for publishing. She has a background in art and design, with an undergraduate degree in art history and research writing.

You can find Kristy at home in the Hoosier state where she enjoys hiking, watching football with her husband and three sons, and dreaming of Paris while reading and writing in her favorite local coffee shops.

Kristy's favorite genres:

Most interested, fiction: contemporary romance (indicate heat level); rom-com; romance or rom-com with magical realism; women's and general fiction, especially stories set in Europe, PNW, New England, urban/big city, small town or coastal locations; dual-time historical or historical romance (not 20th century); Regency; fiction including the arts; thriller or suspense, with romance
Not interested, fiction: mystery/cozy mystery, YA/YA fantasy, middle grade or children's, sci-fi, paranormal, horror, erotica
Most interested, nonfiction: gift, devotionals, and healthy living books, especially those incorporating photography, travel (including memoir), simple/sustainable living, outdoors/hiking, and nature; books on spirituality, especially those at the crossroads of art, faith, culture and history; narrative nonfiction, including historical and art history or literature topics; memoir, including WWII, global female experiences, or topics related to hearth/home/food or travel
Not interested, nonfiction: cookbooks, poetry, graphic novels; Bible studies, unless unique and with a platform/community
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Ashley Hong

Literary Agent

Ashley is a literary agent representing adult nonfiction and select fiction.

She was previously an editor at Penguin Random House, where she acquired and edited the New York Times bestselling This Here Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley and A Rhythm of Prayer by Sarah Bessey. At PRH, Ashley edited and project managed titles across the Crown and Random House publishing groups, giving her a deep understanding and fondness for a wide breadth of books encompassing general interest, politics, business, history, cookbooks, wellness, Christian/Catholic writing, and more.

Prior to book publishing, she cut her teeth in journalism by working at such outlets as Truthdig, CNN, and WNET, which instilled a love for narrative nonfiction in all its forms.

Ashley joined Gardner Literary in 2023, and is delighted to partner with authors and shepherd their creative work. She is most interested in the books that haunt her in a good way—the kind of writing that she keeps thinking about long after the first read. She gets excited about projects that are incisive, witty, transporting, equal parts seismic and granular—in essence, books that unearth something within her, be it curiosity, laughter, longing, ache, or sonder. Recent and forthcoming projects include Eli Harwood's Raising Securely Attached Kids, Alexis Barber's Too Smart for This, and GG Renee Hill's Story Work.

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Candice Marie Benbow

Literary Agent

Candice Marie Benbow is a writer who has written for various outlets including ESSENCE, Glamour, Religion News Service, VICE, Andscape at ESPN and the Me Too Movement. Her first book, Red Lip Theology: For Church Girls Who’ve Considered Tithing to the Beauty Supply Store When Sunday Morning Isn’t Enough, was released in 2022. She is also a highly sought after ghostwriter and writing coach.

Benbow situates her work at the intersection of faith, feminism and culture, and amplifying underrepresented voices within publishing is her deepest motivation. Moving forward, she plans to focus her efforts on representing authors of nonfiction, with particular interest in pop culture, memoir, leadership and Christian living, including Bible studies and devotionals.

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Sherri Wilson Johnson

Operations Manager & Associate Agent

Since 2012, Sherri has operated her own virtual assistant business. She has assisted authors, speakers, bloggers, podcasters, publishers and literary agents. She has designed book covers and helped authors Indie-publish their books. She brings her expertise to Gardner Literary, where she handles bookkeeping, coordinates social media, and manages day-to-day operations.

Sherri is also an author herself, having published twelve Indie novels and two which were traditionally published, so she understands the world of our clients. She lives in Georgia with her husband Dan and their two rambunctious dogs, and enjoys doing jigsaw puzzles and visiting the beach.


What People Are Saying

Rachelle’s ability to apply her expansive knowledge of the publishing industry to my specific writing career — both where I am and where I want to go in the future — is invaluable. She’s helped me navigate all the details of a writer’s life: deadlines, editors, preparing/pitching a proposal, as well as managing expectations, successes, and disappointments. Rachelle grounds me in much-needed reality, while encouraging me to pursue my writing dreams. 

~Award-winning author Beth K. Vogt


I can’t overstate how awesome it was to work with Rachelle on my memoir. Her keen editorial insights and brilliant revision directions made the difference between a half-baked book and one that drew eight publishers to the table. Her instincts are simply dead on. She has a rare gift for seeing the book that is trying to happen and helping the writer bring it to fruition.

~Bestselling author Heather H. Kopp


“My coaching session with Rachelle was invaluable. She helped me to untie some knots in my head, which were hindering my ability to make progress with my literary novel, by adding clarity, focus and purpose to the project. She read a solid sample of my work, had structured feedback and worked very hard to ascertain not only the writing itself, but who was doing the writing and why. I would highly recommend her coaching services to any writer looking to improve their work.”

~Anthony Faggioli, first-time novelist


I continue to depend on Rachelle’s level-headed and practical advice about the publishing world in general and my situation in particular. She’s been an invaluable asset to me along my road to writing. 

~Richard L Mabry, MD, award-winning author


I’ve worked with Rachelle on numerous writing projects, and she has been an integral part of each step in my publishing process. She has helped me expand and develop my ideas, strengthen my writing, consider my audience, craft proposals, and negotiate contracts. One thing I particularly appreciate about Rachelle is her honesty—she is straight-forward and direct. She has always been willing to tell me the truth, even if it hurts. This also means that when she loves my writing, I know her sentiment is genuine and my writing is strong. For an author, this is an invaluable quality of a writing/publishing coach.

~Zeke Pipher, author of Man on the Run and In Pursuit

Let's Work Together!

Through coaching, I assist non-agented authors in the areas of writing, publishing, and social media.


  1. Title tips | Z is for Zampetti on October 22, 2015 at 3:37 PM

    […] Rachelle Gardner of Books and Such Literary Agency really gives you the goods in her article. Though she tells us up front that the title of your book as published rests with the publisher, she goes on to say that a good title is a help in a query. Let’s face it, we can all use any help we can get. 🙂 […]

  2. […] settembre 2013 e scritto in risposta ad un intervento poco felice dell’agente letterario Rachelle Gardner (che io peraltro conosco e seguo con […]

  3. […] agent Rachelle Gardner has this to say about voice: “You can’t learn it. You can’t copy it. Voice isn’t a […]

  4. […] wonderful things about. And–miraculously, beautifully, shockingly–(such grace!) Rachelle Gardner liked my proposal and is going to represent […]

  5. […] Thursday at 1:33pm, my women’s Bible study groups was leaving and my phone rang. Rachelle Gardner, an amazing literary agent with Books-n-Such introduced herself and my jaw dropped. She called to […]

  6. V’s Snippet of the Week – #5 | on July 29, 2013 at 12:57 PM

    […] Today’s snippet concerns planning your career as an author, from literary agent Rachelle Gardner: […]

  7. […] Publishing Myths from Rachelle Gardner at her […]

  8. […] Rachelle Gardner at Books & Such of Santa Rosa clearly sees guidance as one of the most pressing elements of her […]

  9. […] Rachelle Gardner […]

  10. […] keep waiting for my amazing agent to call and say it’s not real. It was just a dream. But no, it is real and I’ve even […]

  11. Lots of changes, all of them good… on May 20, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    […] wonderful things about. And–miraculously, beautifully, shockingly–(such grace!) Rachelle Gardner liked my proposal and is going to represent me.That doesn’t mean I have book deal. But it […]