Robert H. Pruett, Publisher and Owner

Robert H. Pruett​
President and Publisher
As a veteran teacher of English, creative writing, and journalism at the high school, college, and university levels, working with emerging and professional writers has been one of Robert’s passions for over four decades. His broad experience as a writer and teacher gives him a sensitive understanding of the writing, editing, and publishing processes.

In addition to founding Brandylane in 1985 and Belle Isle Books in 2010, Robert founded and served as editor of Pleasant Living, a magazine for Virginia’s River Country, from 1989 to 2016, and also founded and edited V Magazine for Women from 2004 to 2012. Although a lover of the classics, memoir, biography, dystopian fiction, poetry, and works focusing on social justice, his interests are far-ranging, and he has published hundreds of books in diverse genres and subject matter. Robert is a published essayist and poet and holds a BA in English from Georgia State University and an MA in English and interdisciplinary humanities from Virginia Commonwealth University. He lives in Richmond with his wife, Tanya, and their Boxer, Harley.

Tanya Pruett, Brandylane Publishers

Tanya Pruett
Vice President, Editor, and Project Manager
Tanya has been providing promotional services, project management, author support, and editing at Brandylane since 2006. Tanya attended Oberlin College, lived abroad in Ireland and Japan, and ultimately graduated from Bluefield College in 2007. With more than twenty years’ management experience in human services, human resources, and international education, Tanya has a passion for promoting our authors and a particular fondness for children’s books that teach tolerance and understanding. She also loves cooking fresh from the farmer’s market, photography, travel, and world music, as well as reading memoirs and books about social justice and personal development. Tanya lives in Richmond with her husband, Robert, and their sweet dog, Harley.

Erin Harpst, Brandylane Publishers

Erin Harpst
Publisher’s Assistant, Senior Editor, and Project Manager
Erin joined Brandylane in 2012 after receiving a BA in English literature from Yale University and a certificate from the Columbia Publishing Course. Having grown up on a steady diet of children’s books, Erin believes that all kids deserve good books to read, and always delights in seeing a new picture book or middle-grade novel find its way across her desk. A lifelong resident of Virginia’s Tidewater region, she enjoys observing local wildlife, preparing (and eating) seafood, and going on unavoidably short walks on the tiny beach near her home in Newport News.

Haley Simpkiss, Brandylane Publishers

Haley Simpkiss
Senior Editor and Project Manager
Haley graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2014 with a BFA in creative writing. A longtime resident of northern Virginia, she moved to Richmond in late 2016 when she couldn’t take the DC metro traffic anymore. Haley is an enthusiast of speculative fiction and will recommend the short stories of Jorge Louis Borges to anyone who asks. Her favorite projects to work on are books for children, but no matter the genre, she loves to watch her authors’ books take shape from concept to first printing.


Ceci Hughes
Editor, Project Manager, and Publicity Assistant
Ceci joined the Brandylane team in 2021. She brings a background in publishing, writing, editing, and book promotion from her experience at Blue Dragon Publishing in Williamsburg, Virginia, and her work with the College of William & Mary Writing Resources Center, The Flat Hat, and Vinyl Tap Magazine. She graduated from the College of William & Mary with a degree in English and music and has since graduated from the Columbia Publishing Course. When she’s not editing and promoting books for Brandylane, Ceci can be found crocheting, reading, or any of her other many hobbies. Although she enjoys all genres, she’s especially a fan of short stories, poetry, and literary fiction.

Sami Photo

Sami Langston
Sami is a born Richmonder who graduated from Mary Baldwin College in 2015 with a BFA in graphic design. Starting with a lifelong interest in art, Sami began pursuing digital art in the seventh grade and quickly discovered a passion for design. In their downtime, Sami enjoys a myriad of hobbies, including writing, painting, sewing, doll collecting and customization, and writing and illustrating comics. Outside work, Sami is often found wandering local cemeteries or antique malls, searching for tales that only weatherworn headstones and old trinkets can tell. Sami’s favorite genres to read are fantasy, mythology, and history, but enjoys bringing any genre to life with visual art. They currently live in a cozy apartment/menagerie with one loud cat, one shy rabbit, a goofy goldfish, and two very chatty, very cuddly birds.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Jenny Waggoner
Jenny graduated from the University of Richmond with a degree in marketing and management, but spent most of her corporate career working in the Accounting Department for Circuit City Stores, Inc. She has spent the last sixteen years volunteering in Henrico County Public Schools and using her bookkeeping skills to assist various PTAs and booster organizations. In her downtime, she can be found spending time with family and friends, reading, doing crosswords, and tackling her never-ending list of home improvement projects. As a lover of all things book-related, Jenny is excited to join Brandylane and the world of publishing!

Grace headshot

Grace Albritton
Editor and Project Manager
Grace graduated in 2021 from Virginia Commonwealth University with an MFA in Creative Writing. A resident of Richmond for over a decade, Grace dabbled in a variety of industries before deciding to focus on writing, editing, and publishing. She is an ardent lover of literary horror and will expound on the merits of Shirley Jackson at just about any given opportunity. That being said, Grace is an equal-opportunity reader and loves nothing more than discovering an exciting new piece of work of any genre. When she isn’t reading, writing, or working, she can be found playing fetch with her dogs, enjoying an afternoon by the river, or waging a battle of attrition against the weeds in her garden.

Jenny headshot

Jenny DeBell
Editor and Project Manager
The best thing about earning a BFA in Painting at Virginia Commonwealth University and an MFA in Creative Writing at Lesley University is that both disciplines taught Jenny how to look closely at the world around her. She took that skill into her professional life, where she has worked up and down the East Coast as a scenic artist, a food illustrator, a copywriter, and a content editor. For visual inspiration she looks to 1930s and 40s American painting, but inspiration on the page is harder to narrow down. She loves Southern fiction for rhythmical language and storytelling, Lydia Davis and Rebecca Solnit for their observations, and children’s picture books for their infinite magic. But ask her again next week. Jenny is delighted to be counted among the team at Brandylane, a truly talented – and very funny – group of book lovers. Jenny lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Mary-Peyton Crook, Brandylane Publishers

Mary-Peyton Crook
Mary-Peyton was born and grew up in RVA, and she graduated from JMU in 2009 with degrees in English and Psychology. She worked in bookstores, libraries, and as a freelance editor and writer before joining Brandylane in June of 2018. Mary-Peyton likes fantasy, gritty southern noir, magical realism, creative nonfiction, short stories — and “just fiction in general.” Find Mary-Peyton on Instagram reading books all around Richmond!

Annie Tobey, Brandylane Publishers

Annie Tobey
Senior Editor
Annie holds a B.A. in English from the University of Richmond, where she also earned secondary teaching certificates in English, speech, and drama. She published her first book in 1990, For Any Young Mother Who Lives in a Shoe, and has published numerous articles in local and national periodicals. She lives in Richmond.

Megan photo

Megan Swartzfager
Megan joined Brandylane as a manuscript evaluation intern before becoming a project manager and editor. She graduated from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2021 with an MA in English with a concentration in literature, medicine, and culture, which she puts to use in her day job as a medical editor. Though she is based in Los Angeles, Megan spent half her life in Mississippi, where she studied English literature in Faulkner’s shadow. She lives with her fiancé as well as their two cats and their three-legged dog and enjoys running, knitting, and writing.

Maryanna photo

Maryanna Stufflebeem
Editor and Project Manager
Maryanna Stufflebeem has worked as an elementary and early childhood educator since she graduated from Longwood University in 2008. She loves the world-building of fantasy and sci-fi novels and children’s books that play with form. In her free time, she enjoys movie script readings with her friends, walking around Maymont Park, and attending the many Richmond festivals throughout the year with her two sons.

Andrew photo

Andrew Holt
Editor and Project Manager
A Foreign Service brat born in Germany, Andrew spent his childhood living abroad and escaping into the stories and cultures of Europe and the Middle East. He went on to graduate from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in English and a minor in anthropology. In addition to working as a tutor in elementary schools focusing on childhood literacy, Andrew was a manuscript evaluator before joining Brandylane as a project manager. He enjoys science fiction and fantasy novels but will never pass up the chance to read a good story, whatever the genre. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia.


Ashley Barnhill
Editor and Project Manager
Ashley’s interest in writing and literature dates back to when she wrote a Christmas-themed children’s book for a middle school English project. Many creative writing courses and extracurriculars later, she decided to pursue a career in publishing, which led her to Brandylane. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a BA in English and is very familiar with the Richmond area and its history. Ashley loves to read anything that’s realistic or historical fiction but is open to different genres. During her free time, she writes in her journal, watches movies, and visits historical museums and sites.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset

Hannah Tonsor
Editor and Project Manager
Hannah joined the Brandylane team after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with her BA in English, creative writing, and digital marketing. She met her husband in her first creative writing class at ND, whom she now lives with along with their sweet Siamese cats, Tullamore and Seamus. She’s an avid reader of literary and upmarket fiction, as well as a writer of poetry and prose. In addition to her work with Brandylane, she currently works as an editor for multiple publishers and magazines, but in her free time, she can be found running her bookstagram @hannahrae.reads, doing pilates, or cooking new meals at home.


Sarah Beam
Editor and Project Manager
Sarah graduated from the University of Virginia with a BA in English and linguistics and a minor in ASL and Deaf culture studies. Sarah is a music lover, amateur artist and printmaker, and lifelong learner. Her first editing experience was as the editor in chief of the Soapbox, a satirical newspaper that graced the halls of Hermitage High School during her time as a student there. Since then, her interest in writing and editing has led her to various fiction writing and poetry courses at UVA, as well as a publishing class in her final semester. This course expanded Sarah’s interest in the book as a whole, including the thought and artistry that goes into layout and page design. Sarah has an affinity for children’s books and their power to inspire young creatives and change-makers alike. This focus and the familiar location of her hometown, Richmond, drew her to Brandylane!

claire picture

Claire Dupuis
Editor and Project Manager

Claire graduated from the French University of Sorbonne with a Master of French Modern Literature and Languages, before moving to the USA in July 2011. Mother of 4 children, she now lives in the small town of West Point, Virginia, where she enjoys spending time along the riverbanks and looking at the Victorian-style houses. Since university, Claire has always been a lover of children’s literature, romance stories, and biographies. If she is not reading or writing, Claire loves discovering new places during her free time and doing photography. She has been part of the Brandylane team since June 2023.

Back to Top