Hi, People on the Internet! I'm excited to return to Pitch Wars this year as a young adult (YA) mentor. (If you've been around for a while you may remember I mentored middle grade in 2015 and 2016--while I love and write MG, YA is more in my wheelhouse, and I'm super stoked to work with a young adult author this time around!)
I may have mastered emojis since last time but I'm still hopeless at the GIF game so we're just going to get down to business (to defeat...the Huns! JK).
What I'm Looking For: DIVERSE SPECULATIVE FICTION
What I Mean By That:
- DIVERSE: I am especially looking for authors from marginalized communities, especially authors of color, especially authors who identify as queer (ie. LGBTQIA+). I will consider authors of other backgrounds, but I strongly encourage diverse creators to submit to me.
- Queer and BIPOC main characters! PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. Especially if you are writing queer speculative fiction, I urge--nay, I implore!--you to send it to me.
- SPECULATIVE: Fantasy, magical realism, science fiction, contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy--I will take all comers as long as it's not straight contemporary realism. Also, I am super excited about (but not limiting myself to) the following:
- Retellings! I am a huge sucker for fairy tale/myth retellings, especially retellings featuring complicated female characters. If you've got something like Roshani Chokshi's THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, Melissa Bashardoust's GIRLS MADE OF SNOW AND GLASS, or Julie C. Dao's FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS, yessssssssss. Please submit ALL OF THEM to me. Thank you.
- Space opera! If you have something that you can honestly pitch as the YA version of Ann Leckie's ANCILLARY JUSTICE, that manuscript better be in my inbox stat.
- Fresh, unexpected worlds! Think Rachel Hartman's TESS OF THE ROAD or Tessa Gratton's GODS OF NEW ASGARD series. If your world makes people go WOW, that is SO COOL, I want to see it. Also, if you are the YA reincarnation of Diana Wynne Jones, just send it already.
- Anything with hypnotically gorgeous writing comparable to Anna-Marie McLemore's WILD BEAUTY or Emily X.R. Pan's THE ASTONISHING COLOR OF AFTER (although let's be real, most of us mortals are never going to get there). Gorgeous voice is my kryptonite. I can work with a lot as long as I'm in love with that voice.
- If you write YA speculative fiction and are concerned that I haven't specifically called your subgenre out, please feel free to ask me about it, whether in the comments or on Twitter. (Though be aware the answer may be "Sure, if it's done well!")
What I Am NOT Looking For:
- Casts that are not diverse. The world is populated by a myriad of interesting people who are vastly different from one another. Please do not send me manuscripts that do not reflect this reality.
- Vampires or werewolves UNLESS you've got a fresh angle. Think Holly Black's THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, Gail Carriger's SOULLESS series, or Octavia Butler's KINDRED.
- Predictable "chosen one" narratives or portal jumps. I will make exceptions if it's done exceedingly well, but these are a tough sell.
- Queer tragedies. Please do not send me stories that include the "bury your gays" trope.
- Anything with rape, rape threats, sexual assault, or unnecessary violence against children or animals. The rape thing is a hard pass for me. Please do not send me anything that has a rape scene.
- Novels in verse. As I've said in the past, I enjoy reading these but I do not know how to edit them. It would be a sad waste of a mentor spot if you sent one to me. :(
Why You Should Submit To Me:
I'm the author of SHATTER THE SKY, an angry feminist bisexual dragon YA fantasy novel forthcoming from Simon and Schuster/Books for Young Readers in Summer 2019. (If you read "angry feminist bisexual dragon YA fantasy novel" and thought YESSSSSSS, you are probably my kind of person.) I'm represented by Rebecca Podos of the Rees Literary Agency, and I hold an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. I've interned at a top U.S.-based literary agency as well as the editorial department at Charlesbridge Publishing, where I read requested material and submitted reader's reports as well as revision recommendations to my supervising agent and editor. I have mentored three authors through Pitch Wars, two of whom signed with agents within three months of the Pitch Wars agent round (and one of whom will release her debut novel this year!).
As a mentor I am interested in finding the heart of your story and drawing it out. I'm both big-picture and tiny-detail oriented. My critiques start with the big picture ("What is the story you're trying to tell?") and drill down into the nitty gritty. If you are interested in working with me you should expect to complete at least two full revisions during Pitch Wars. (Possibly more!) I will also be working with you on your submission packages (query, synopsis, etc.). I am not the most hands-on mentor of the bunch and I will expect you to work hard independently--but I will always be here checking in and supporting you in whatever way I can. Writing is tough! But it's better when you've got a buddy.
Feel free to ask questions in the comments or on Twitter. Really looking forward to seeing what pops up in my inbox this year!