Our Brain Trust

No matter what phase of a project, we work closely as a team to develop ideas and provide feedback to make sure the book is developing as powerfully and effectively as possible.

The visionaries we work with are often busy, and can sometimes need a collaborative writer to make the writing process more easeful, joyful, and successful. Our team includes writers that have been selected from the country’s best writing programs, and we have worked closely in cultivating and developing their skills as collaborative writers. Unlike most literary agencies, we also have an editorial director and developmental editor as full time team members to help shape our projects.

Ultimately, our goal is to deliver a book to the publisher that reaches its ideal expression and inspires readers around the world.

What We Do

  • Agenting
  • Writing
  • Editing
  • Spontaneous dance parties
  • Changing the world

What We Don't Do

  • Stop working after selling the book
  • Give up
  • Ask for receipts
  • Stick to one time zone
  • Wait for others to change the world

Our Superpowers

  • Seeing the big idea
  • Starting the conversation
  • Radical collaboration
  • Influence for good
  • Turning ideas into action

Things We Love

  • Our authors
  • Our collaborators
  • Our families & friends
  • Being Idea Architects
  • Contributing to a better world

Doug Abrams

Founder & President

Lara Love Hardin

COO, Editorial Director, Literary Agent

Rachel Neumann

Rachel Neumann

Director of Strategic Initiatives, Executive Editor, Literary Agent

Esmé Schwall Weigand

Assistant Editor, Senior Collaborative Writer

Jordan Jacks

Collaborative Writer

Ty Gideon Love

Director of Author Success, Contracts Manager

Staci Bruce

Project Manager

Cody Love

Video Production

Mariah Sanford

Office Manager

Boo Prince

Media Coach

Sylvie Rabineau

Film Agent

Susie Nicklin

Translation Rights Agent

Jemma McDonagh

Translation Rights Agent

Camilla Ferrier

Translation Rights Agent

Aaron Shulman

Collaborative Writer

Josh Rosenblatt

Collaborative Writer

Mark Hitz

Collaborative Writer

Alyssa Knickerbocker

Collaborative Writer

Jenny Davis

Collaborative Writer

Nina St. Pierre

Collaborative Writer

Jacob Albert

Collaborative Writer

Ruth Sheeroh Murega

Transcriptionist

Eric Rayman

Legal Counsel

Read a little more about us

Doug Abrams

Superpower //Dreaming up life-changing, culture-changing books while falling off surfboards and training for triathlons.

Doug is the Founder & President of Idea Architects. He is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperCollins where he spent a decade trying to balance truth (with a small “t”) and Relevance (with a big “R”). He comes from a publishing family and learned about ideas, books, and culture around the dinner table. He has had the privilege of working on books for Nobel Peace Laureates Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Jody Williams. He has written books with Desmond Tutu for over a decade and most recently is the co-author of The Book of Joy with Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama. His books have been credited with convincing then-President Bill Clinton to stop genocide and for launching the modern anti-slavery movement.

He is also interested in the power of the Internet and multimedia to change culture and was on the founding team of JustGive.org, a philanthropy website that has pioneered new forms of giving and channeled over $300 million to charity.

Dialogue is key to Doug’s work, and he believes that genius is a collaborative process. His goal is to bring people together in a cultural conversation through books and media. Throughout all of his wide-ranging projects, Doug aspires to help build a prism through which life-changing conversations and experiences can be created and nourished. He has had the privilege of interviewing extraordinary global heroes including Jimmy Carter, Bono, Carlos Santana, Richard Branson, and many others.

He is the author of two novels that have been translated into over thirty languages.

He is married to Rachel Carlton Abrams, an integrative physician and the love of his life. They have three children, Jesse, Kayla, and Eliana. He can also be found riding waves where he lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Working with Doug Abrams at Idea Architects has been a wonderful joy. He is thoughtful, intelligent and really has a way of seeing the potential of a project. ~Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Lara Love Hardin

Superpower //Extreme production and reproduction. Stitching story threads.

Lara Love Hardin is the COO, Editorial Director, and Senior Collaborative Writer for Idea Architects. She holds an MFA in creative writing from UC Irvine and is a New York Times bestselling writer. Her many lives include backpacking nomad, radio talk show host, pet cemetery owner, and criminal justice advocate. She has also taught creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine, and is a published fiction writer. She lives in Santa Cruz, California with her husband, dog, cat, goldfish, and six (yes, six) children.

BOOK TITLES IN COLLABORATION WITH IDEA ARCHITECTS

  • Notes to the Future, Nelson Mandela
  • The Book of Forgiving, Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • Mindsharing, Lior Zoref
  • Into the Magic Shop, James Doty
  • The Man's Guide to Women & The 8 Dates, John & Julie Gottman
  • Enjoy Every Sandwich, Lee Lipsenthal
  • Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans
  • The Sun Does Shine, Anthony Ray Hinton

Thanks to Lara Love, our collaborative writer, for finding the true voice of Bill-and-Dave and crafting the words we’d have written if we were real writers like she. We so appreciate her patience in enduring countless hours of meetings, videos and recordings with no weakening of her ardor for the work or sincere affection for us. When our own energies were flagging, we could simply borrow from her bottomless well of cheerful readiness and productive availability. Lara demonstrated an incredible ability to listen deeply and then write us perfectly. She did not write for us or about us or on behalf of us. She wrote us, and we and every one of our readers are well served by her fine work.
(Bill Burnett & Dave Evans, Designing Your Life)

My first and foremost thank-you is to Lara Love Hardin, my partner in writing this book. We’ve spent countless hours together in which I’ve learned to admire and adore her gift with words. If writing a book is like having a baby—although the pregnancy is longer than nine months—then Lara is the proud mother. Lara, thank you for your amazing work and friendship. You have a very special place in my heart.
(Lior Zoref, Mindsharing)

Once the contract was signed, I suddenly realized the burden I had accepted and the associated deadline for completion. Fortunately, Idea Architects came to the rescue by partnering this effort with their editorial director, Lara Love. At every stage, I could not have asked for a more helpful, diligent, and thoughtful person to guide me through the process of the writing and editing. Also her ability to turn a phrase, her talent for finding the critical details that bring a story to life, and her gentle nudging for me to go to places that often were uncomfortable and painful were critical to any success this book might achieve. For almost two years, Lara and I met twice weekly before sunrise, and it is through this period that she also became a close friend, and it is this friendship for which I am most grateful.
(James Doty, Into the Magic Shop)

Lara Love was our researcher, our literary companion, and our supporter through many drafts. She is an aptly named genius with a heart of gold. She is really very, very gifted.
(Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Book of Forgiving)

Rachel Neumann

Rachel Neumann

Superpower //Making the impossible inevitable. Using language to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

Rachel Neumann specializes in creating books that you pick up before knowing why you picked them up and don’t put down until they’re done.  For the past 15 years, she has worked in book publishing in New York and California with an emphasis on developing culture-shifting narrative nonfiction.

As Publisher and Editorial Director of Parallax Press, Rachel transformed a small nonprofit into a multimillion-dollar trade publisher. She used her gift for finding books that make spiritual concepts useful to daily life to create Thich Nhat Hanh’s best-selling 8-book Mindfulness Essentials series.  As the Associate Publisher and Editorial Director of Shambhala Publications,  Rachel focused on developing diverse and underrepresented authors in wellness, psychology, health, politics, and creative living.  She has co-created two successful children’s imprints and has worked with publishers large and small on expanding and diversifying their audiences.

Rachel has been the personal editor and collaborator for internationally-revered teachers Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, as well as dozens of other best-selling authors. She is the author of four books. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, and other national and international publications.

Rachel is based in the Bay Area and speaks and teaches regularly around the country.

She’s happiest in the ocean, in the middle of a good book, or upside down. Not all at once.

"Thanks to Rachel’s profound understanding of my teachings, style, and voice, my message has been communicated clearly, correctly, and authentically to thousands of readers. I am deeply grateful for her skillful work and dedication.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

Esmé Schwall Weigand

Superpower //Finding and transmitting the heart of a story. Lyrical prose & authentic voice.

Esmé Schwall Weigand is Senior Collaborative Writer and Assistant Editor at Idea Architects. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. Her fiction and personal essays have appeared in The Normal School and Apalachee Review, among other publications. The Choice, her first Idea Architects collaboration, won a 2017 National Jewish Book Award and a 2018 Christopher Award, and is an international bestseller. She lives with her husband and two young daughters in Portland, Oregon, where she enjoys playing her cello and racing her children up muddy mountainsides.

BOOK TITLES IN COLLABORATION WITH IDEA ARCHITECTS

  • The Choice, Dr. Edith Eva Eger
  • To Stop a Warlord, Shannon Sedgwick Davis
  • The Awakened Brain, Dr. Lisa Miller (forthcoming)

"Esmé Schwall Weigand, my cowriter--you didn't just find the words. You became me. Thank you for being my ophthalmologist, for your ability to see my healing journey from so many different perspectives." ~Dr. Edith Eva Eger

"For Esmé Schwall Weigand, I’ve lost count of the number of times I wanted to give up on this book. Thank you for keeping me 'in it' and bringing my heart to its words and pages." ~Shannon Sedgwick Davis

Jordan Jacks

Superpower //A sense of rhythm, both behind the keyboard and a set of drums.

Jordan Jacks holds an M.F.A. from Washington University in St. Louis and a B.A. in English from Yale. His fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review,The Yale Review, Weekday,Territory, and The Organist, the podcast from KCRW and McSweeney’s.  Jordan was the 2015-2016 James C. McCreight Fellow in Fiction at The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and has been awarded scholarships and/or residencies from Bread Loaf, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, The Key West Literary Seminar, St. Albans School, Washington University in St. Louis, and The James Merrill House.

 

Originally from Texas, he lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he is finishing his first novel and a collection of short stories.

Ty Gideon Love

Superpower //Talking about books. Eavesdropping in five languages.

Ty Love is our Director of Author Success, Publicity & Marketing. At the office he helps with publicity, marketing, and helping our authors one-on-one through every step of the publishing process. Outside of the office he speaks fluent English and Italian, and French, with a proficiency in Dutch, and American Sign Language (with Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic on his list!).

He’s happiest reading, cooking elaborate meals, and finding the highest point in any city to hike.

Staci Bruce

Superpower //animal whisperer, empath

Staci Bruce is an administrative and non profit professional who has developed an extensive background in marketing and community service.

Staci holds a MBA in Marketing and through her previous jobs in the field, she found that her talent for working with people and event planning could connect with her love of community service.  Staci previously served as the Director of Volunteer Services at The Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York.  There, she oversaw the mobilization, recruitment, and maintenance of the volunteer program for over 90 Catholic Charities agencies in 60 different regions.  Her swan song was to oversee a three-day playground build in The Bronx, with over 500 volunteers.

In alternate worlds Staci has been a: detective, veterinarian, nutritionist, the pre Terry McMillian, farmer, hippy (or hippy farmer), comedian, music video producer, and an American Ninja Warrior.

She resides in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and cat Marley. The three of them foster animals yearly through the ASPCA.

Cody Love

Superpower //Creating inspiring stories that move people to tears while draining 3 pointers and playing guitar.

Cody Love is our Director of Community Engagement at Idea Architects. Cody Love is passionate about creating visually appealing stories for projects he believes can make a wiser, healthier, and more just world.  An aspiring film director, he graduated from CSULA with a degree in Television, Film and Media Studies.  Cody’s portfolio boasts a wide range of projects including Documentaries, Short Films, Promotional Videos, Music Videos, and Social Media Content.  He is most proud of the work he did helping to create short videos for the launch of The Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which were viewed by over 2 million people.  When he steps away from video production, Cody, a former college basketball player, enjoys playing basketball with his five siblings, hiking, traveling, playing guitar and occasionally lounging on the beach.

Mariah Sanford

Superpower //The firm belief that “No job is too small, and no challenge too great.” Radiating compassion through service.

Mariah Sanford is our office manager and resident dance party curator. In addition to all things administrative, she aids in rapid-fire transcription, scheduling, copyediting, and keeping everyone satiated with healthy snacks. In her spare time you can find her studying psychology, writing, drawing, and keeping a fiction and non-fiction book in constant rotation. She lives in Soquel with her cat.

Boo Prince

Superpower //Insatiable curiosity with incredible capacity for courageous conversation. Voice and broadcast maven.

After many years of experience as a radio talk show host, journalist, and voice artist, Boo can spot a story like her Siamese cat can spot a Sunday roast. On a quest to discover the next generation of global visionaries, Boo stalks the smartest and most interesting people on earth to find the next big idea that will help us create a wiser, healthier, more just world. While she is totally at home behind the microphone, (having voiced more than 3000 commercials), Boo is most inspired by helping others find their best voice. She has a Bachelors degree in Communication, Journalism and Literature. Boo lives in Johannesburg with her husband, their two little boys, and three treat-seeking Siameses.

Sylvie Rabineau

Superpower //Being the ultimate advocate for writers who aspire to see their stories on screen. Empowering authors to adapt their own material and become multi-hyphenate talents.

Sylvie Rabineau is the co-head of WME’s Literary Packaging Department. She ran her own boutique literary agency, RWSG, for 18 years before WME acquired the agency in October of 2016. Sylvie represents, hand in hand with publishing agents, a curated list of authors, screenwriters, and television creators from across the globe. Sylvie is a passionate reader who has built her career around reading and discussing stories that will become entertainment for the world.

Susie Nicklin

Superpower //

Susie, CEO of the MILD group and the Marsh Agency, began her career at The Bodley Head publishers and as a translation rights agent before becoming Director of English PEN and subsequently Director of Literature at the British Council. She represents writers, sells foreign rights, works as a bookseller and curates and chairs literary events.

 

Photo credit: Sarah Hickson

Jemma McDonagh

Superpower //Enthusiastic plate-spinner. Selling translation rights throughout the world and many time zones with minimal breakages.

Jemma joined the Marsh Agency in 2010 and is now Rights Director. She started her publishing career in the editorial department at Orion, before moving into rights selling at Gregory & Company Authors’ Agents. Jemma sells translation rights in over 20 languages and works with our clients on the sale of UK rights.

Camilla Ferrier

Superpower //Cheerfully selling translation rights in every language possible. Helpful tall person skills (reaching for books on high shelves, etc).

Camilla has been the MD of the Marsh Agency since 2012 and with the company since 2002 having started her publishing career at HarperCollins. Alongside her managerial role she sells translation rights across the agency’s client base in multiple translation territories and represents a number of Estates worldwide.

Aaron Shulman

Superpower //Helping highly specialized scientists who casually use terms like "extra-dimensional bypass" to connect with non-scientist readers like himself.

Aaron is one of our writers and a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Montana. Aaron loves working with visionary researchers whose books change the way he sees his world and the people in it. A former Fulbright scholar to Guatemala, his work has appeared in The New Republic, The American Scholar, and The Believer, and he is a regular contributor to The Los Angeles Review of Books. He is currently writing a narrative history of the Paneros of Spain, a family of strange, brilliant poets whose lives traversed many of the 20th century’s important moments.

Josh Rosenblatt

Superpower //A subtle understanding of the semicolon.

Josh Rosenblatt is the author of Why We Fight, published in 2019 by Ecco, and the founding editor of VICE media’s Fightland.

Mark Hitz

Superpower //voice

Mark is a writer from Boise, Idaho. He has an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas, where he won the Keene Prize for Literature, and was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train and The Best American Non-Required Reading. For more than a decade he worked as a documentary sound engineer, in which his job was to listen quietly while more interesting people talked. Same job, basically.

Alyssa Knickerbocker

Superpower //Creator of characters, maker of metaphors, master of description. High-functioning on very little sleep.

Alyssa holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She was the Halls Emerging Artist Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Axton Fellow in Fiction at the University of Louisville, where she directed a literary festival on “time travel” in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction, exploring the different ways that writers leap into the past and future in their work. Her essays, which focus on motherhood, identity, and childbirth, have appeared most recently in Tin House and American Short Fiction’s parenting column “Bourbon and Milk.” Her fiction has appeared widely in journals and magazines and she is at work on a novel set in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, where she lived for many years and worked as an environmental educator, sailing instructor, challenge course facilitator, and bus driver. She lives on the Kitsap Peninsula with her husband–a science teacher–and their two little boys, who would love a dog/cat /rabbit/lizard/anything. (She is currently winning this fight and has no pets.)

Jenny Davis

Superpower //Concision.

Jenny is one of IA’s collaborative writers and a graduate of the MFA program in nonfiction writing at the University of Iowa, where she taught writing and served as Art Director for Defunct Magazine.  Her essays are largely concerned with navigating uncertainty; they have appeared in literary magazines including Gettysburg Review, Creative Nonfiction,andHayden’s Ferry Review,and have twice been cited as “notable” essays in the Best American Essays series. After Iowa, she went to Guangzhou, China, where she became a founding member of the Sun Yat-sen University Centre for Creative Writing in English, led the SYSU National Chinese Universities Shakespeare Festival team in competition, and taught courses in narrative journalism and creative writing. Since coming back to the U.S., Jenny has worked as an academic advisor at Washington State University and as a writer for Whitman College. She currently lives in northern Idaho.

Nina St. Pierre

Superpower //Curiosity (good thing I'm not a cat). seeing others so they can see themselves. asking the wrong questions at the right times. pushing past platitudes to get to the beating heart of the story.

Nina St. Pierre is a collaborative writer for IA. A California native, she comes from a long line of scientists, wanderers, and mystics. After migrating east to get her MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Rutgers, where she founded an experimental writing salon called The Dark Room, she made a long-dreamt-of leap to New York. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn and flies through the streets with the greatest of ease on a Slovenian moped. Her articles and essays, which focus primarily on art, feminism, and spirituality, can be read in Catapult, InStyle, Narratively, NYLON, Brooklyn Magazine, Flaunt, Electric Literature, and in the anthology Burn It Down. She’s forever finishing a memoir about mysticism and madness set in rural northern California.

Jacob Albert

Superpower //simplicity.

Jacob Albert, a Collaborative Writer for IA, lives in the Bay Area. He has an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers and a BA from Yale. He was most recently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in fiction at Stanford University. His writing has appeared in Guernica and he has taught creative writing to high schoolers, retired seniors, middle-schoolers and Stanford undergraduates. Prior to turning to fiction, he worked as a private investigator and business journalist.

Ruth Sheeroh Murega

Superpower //Turns the rapid-fire dialogues of our visionaries into coherent text.

Ruth is a freelance transcriber who’s been working online for the past four years on freelance sites such as Elance, Upwork, Fiverr and Rev.com. She has worked extensively with our team to transcribe the brilliant conversations that our authors have with our collaborative writers and us. When she’s not transcribing or updating her latest blog post on her blog, you’ll find her enjoying family time, reading a nice fiction book, or watching the latest episode of the Blacklist series.

Eric Rayman

Superpower //All things legal.

Eric was general counsel to The New Yorker magazine from 1998 to 2000, and Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Simon & Schuster from 1984-1998. Between 1980 and 1984, he was Chief Counsel, Studio and Network Operations at Home Box Office. He began his career at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison, where he practiced law from 1977 to 1980. Since 1988, Eric has taught media and entertainment law at Cardozo School of Law, where he is an Adjunct Professor.

Eric is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times and Conde Nast Traveler, and a producer of the feature film FireDancer and the documentary film Return to Afghanistan. He is a graduate of Columbia Law School and Harvard College and serves on the boards of The Harvard Lampoon, No Strings and the Charles Addams Foundation.