Hey guys! I’m so, so, SO excited to be a Pitch Wars Mentor this year! I was a mentee in 2014, and this contest helped me so much. My mentor pushed me to dig deep, work hard, and make my manuscript better. I’ve learned so much about the industry from her and the wider Pitch Wars community, and I’m so happy to give back as a mentor. Buckle up, because it’s going to be an awesome couple of months.
A little about me:
As a writer, I’ve tried my hand at both MG and YA. I signed with my agent, Emmanuelle Morgen at Stonesong Literary Agency, in spring of 2015.
I’ve been critiquing fiction since the third grade, when my friend and I swapped stories about interplanetary immigration in the Sol system. My protagonist was from Neptune, hers from Saturn. I’ve learned a lot in the intervening years, and now acting as a critique partner is one of my favorite things about being a part of the writing community.
1. I still remember that Neptune has nine rings from my days writing about a Neptunian girl.
2. I have over twenty first cousins. Thanksgiving is a rather involved affair.
3. My heart belongs to Mojo, who is a two year old Labrador Retriever. Her heart belongs to tennis balls. I forgive her for this.
What I want in my inbox:
I’m mentoring Middle Grade manuscripts only. That means I’m looking for all kinds of books about kids in that weird time when hormones are sort of a thing, poop jokes are still totally a thing, and the world is starting to feel big and complicated just as kids are getting big and complicated enough to understand it. Sort of. As much as anyone can understand the world.
So bring me your big ideas and big worlds. Bring me too-big fears and never-too-big dreams. Most of all, bring me friendships strong enough to take down trolls with a wand up the nose.
(I swear I’m not gross)
(Okay, I’m a little gross)
I’m looking for books that have rich world building and a strong voice. I know that’s going to sound like I only want fantasy and science fiction, but there are tons of opportunities for world building in other genres, too. I want a mix! I want to see contemporary books about zany families or closed communities, such as a boarding school, small town, or secret society. I’d also love to read historical novels with a deep sense of place. If you can make me feel transported by your book, I’d love to help you nail down the rules, history, and atmosphere.
In addition, I have a few elements that I absolutely adore and you should send to me if you have them. Because if you don’t, I will be sad. You don’t want that, because I’m a very sad sad person.
A Touch of Religion: This can be almost anything–maybe there’s a fictional church with sinister motives like the Magisterium in His Dark Materials. Maybe your MC is a doubting Catholic, attends her friend’s bat mitzvah, or lives in a cult. Bring me your doubters and your faithful–I’m interested in all of it.
Deep Dark Shadowy Things: I love a little darkness in my Middle Grade reads. I love the malevolent worlds of Roald Dahl, the dangerous and fantastic Series of Unfortunate Events, the demonic protagonist of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. One of my favorite recent protagonists is Kymera of Monstrous, whose predominate thought about her father’s sparrow/terrier hybrid creature is that it looks delicious.
Fat Positivity: Body diversity is something I’m intimately familiar with. I have always been a larger than average human, and I know what it feels like to look to stories and find that even magical worlds are full of fat jokes. So if you have a big protagonist who knows she doesn’t have to be skinny to be a warrior princess or ballerina or whatever she wants to be, I want to read her.
General Magic: I do love magic. Also dragons, fairy godmothers, magic systems, and all sorts of fantasy goodness. This is even better when paired with gorgeous prose.
Science-y Fantasy Elements: Okay, this is a bit of a wildcard. But if any of you out there have a book with fantasy elements drawn from science or math, like Madeleine L’Engle’s magical mitochondria in A Wind in the Door, I WANT it. Anything that can make you feel so big and so small all at once has a real magic to it, and I want to help foster that (and send it into the world!) The Artemis Fowl series also does this, but in the other direction — the fairies use science! This is also super fun. Please send.
What you should consider sending to other mentors:
I’m probably not the right mentor for very young MG or overly sweet stories. I like a little darkness. I want the things that go bump in the night.
Even though I mentioned religion, I’m probably not the right mentor for straight allegory.
Why you want to work with me:
I’m an alumnus of Pitch Wars. I’m far from the only mentor that can make this claim, but I can speak for myself and say I love this contest. I had an amazing experience with my mentor, Lauren Spieller, who has taught me so much about this industry and become a wonderful friend.
If you want a little taste of what my previous Pitch Wars experience has been, check out my success story! It contains happy times. Also more information about my nerdier tendencies.
Furthermore: as your mentor, I will fight for you. I will push you. I will hop on the phone to calm your fears and answer your questions. I will be a Category Five Brainstorm. I will send you funny GIFs when you’re feeling down. I will love your book. We will run off into the sunset as Mentor and Mentee, conquerers of revisions and pitches.
Congratulations! You got to the end, which means you get to pick up my clue for the scavenger hunt.
Happy hunting, happy subbing, and happy writing! Be well, and see you around the writosphere.