It's difficult to believe that another year has passed, but here we are again. It's time for Pitch Wars!
So. Hello, Internet People! I'm going to keep this short and sweet because unlike most other mentors, I have zero GIF game. Also, emojis? Color me baffled. (It doesn't help that I didn't pick up a smart phone until, um, less than a year ago.) Here's what there is to know:
What I'm Looking For: MIDDLE GRADE!
Much of this post will sound familiar to you if you were around last year. I'm still a mostly YA writer but an avid MG reader. I'm a genre omnivore - I will read and enjoy most anything if it's done right. To me, the most important things are clean writing and an unforgettable voice. If you've got that, we can work on the plot stuff. More specifically, we might be a good fit if you write any of the following:
- Fresh, unexpected fantasy. Think Diana Wynne Jones and Ella Enchanted. I'm a total sucker for anything to do with fairy tale/myth/legend retellings. See also Princess Academy or Monstrous.
- Clever historical fiction, particularly with unusual settings. Here, think The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate or The War That Changed My Life. I also recently read Adam Gidwitz's forthcoming The Inquisitor's Tale and it's freaking brilliant. Slightly related: One of my 2015 mentees was working on a gorgeous Dust Bowl historical that I loved from the first line. (But who knows? This year could (and probably will) be COMPLETELY different!)
- Contemporary fiction with a voice that makes me laugh or cry. Walk Two Moons all the way. Or The One and Only Ivan. Or When You Reach Me. Or Holes. Or The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
- As with last year, diverse representation is a plus in every category, particularly if you're an #ownvoices author.
We are probably not the best match if... your fantasy hinges on a predictable "chosen one" narrative or a portal jump, a lot of toilet humor, or characters with little to no agency. I am also not a great reader for September 11th or abuse narratives. Lastly, you would be better off sending novels in verse (poetry) to a different mentor. I really enjoy reading them - haven't a clue what to do with them editorially.
What I'm About:
I'm a children's bookseller and writer represented by the excellent Rebecca Podos of the Rees Literary Agency. I write mostly YA, mostly fantasy, and 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 mentored two writers during last year's Pitch Wars, one by myself and one co-mentoring with the estimable Jessica Vitalis and Joy McCullough. Both of my mentees signed with agents within three months of the Pitch Wars agent round.
As a mentor I am interested in finding the heart of the story you are trying to tell 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 one full in-depth revision and one lighter revision during Pitch Wars. (Possibly more!) 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. (I am not the most active Twitter-er but I'll be watching closely for the next few weeks.) Really looking forward to seeing what pops up in my inbox this year!
PS: The Blog Hop Scavenger Hunt
I debated being really cruel and hiding the letter, but let's be honest - I have to go write more than I have to bold every "S" in my blog post. The letter is S, folks!
Looking for the rest of the MG mentors? Look here!