Hi! I am absolutely THRILLED to be a Pitch Wars YA mentor this year. I can’t wait to find a really amazing YA novel and help make it the best book it can be.
So, why should you submit your manuscript to me?
-I’ve been in your shoes! I submitted to Pitch Wars two years in a row and while I was never picked, I learned so much in the process. The feedback I received from the mentors was invaluable—and encouraged me to keep writing.
I know how important any feedback is for querying writers which is why I will provide a query critique to everyone who submits to me.
-I’ve been through the querying trenches and have come out on the other side! After getting lots of rejections on my first two manuscripts, I wrote WING JONES which was the book that got me my agent and my book deal! In May 2015 I signed with the amazing Claire Wilson at RCW and in July we went out on submission to publishers. Within two weeks I had 8 offers from UK publishers and a pre-empt offer from Delacorte/Random House in the US. In the UK I went with wonderful Walker Books who are also the UK publishers for amazing authors like Patrick Ness and Jandy Neson.
-What this means for a mentee is I’ve had experience working with a big publishing house and a smaller independent one. I also was lucky to have TWO amazing editors working simultaneously on WING JONES, so I’ve learned a lot about how to make a book really shine.
-I enjoy editing. I plan on doing a round of structural edits with my mentee and line edits. Plus I'll be there to talk through plot problems, character development, and will help make their query IRRESISTIBLE.
-I know the industry! My day job is at the reading charity BookTrust and I get to work with all the major children’s publishers in the UK. I also am on the working group for the YA Lit Con (YALC)— the UK’s biggest YA convention! I also regularly interview authors and chair author events.
-I’m active in my critique group and work with super awesome authors. My writing partners include superstars like Samantha Shannon, Melinda Salisbury, and Krystal Sutherland. I was actually the very first person to read Krystal’s highly anticipated debut OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS. It is AMAZING and I am a very proud writing partner!
-I’m a huge fangirl! I’ve dressed up as Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Daenerys from Game of Thrones, Paige from The Bone Season, to name a few. I’ll probably dress up like a character from my Pitch Wars mentee’s book!
Think we might be a good fit? Here is what I’m looking for:
-I would love something with a bit of magical realism (Jandy Neson, Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap, Moira Fowley Doyle's Accident Season, The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender)
-I adore fantasy grounded in the real world (Laini Taylor, Maggie Stiefvater, VE Schwab, Libba Bray)
-I love books with romance and books with a focus on female friendship—if your book has both GIVE IT TO ME PLEASE.
-A vibrant, unique setting (real or imagined!)
-Strong voice. Draw me into the world or character right away. Let your writing shine! Show me what you’ve got.
-I like weird and unexpected. Having trouble fitting your MS into one genre? That’s the book for me! (think how hard it is to put anything by Patrick Ness into one genre!)
-I’m a sucker for beautiful writing.
-I swoon over literary contemporary. (Rainbow Rowell, Jeff Zentner, Sarah Crossan)
-I’m in an interracial relationship so am very happy to see this represented in books! A note on diversity, if you are writing outside your experience, please let me know what inspired the story and what your connection is to that culture or experience. And of course I’d love to see OwnVoices stories.
-Most of all I’m looking for something that makes me
. Something with characters that seem so real I can’t stop thinking about them. Something that makes me laugh or cry or gasp in shock.
I’m probably not the best fit for:
Paranormal (vampires, werewolves, etc)
Books dealing with extreme abuse or violence
Sci-fi (love to read it but no good at writing it!)
Mysteries (I love a good mystery but am hopeless at plotting them!)
Thrillers (same issue as above!)
I’m originally from Irvine, California but have also lived and worked in Hong Kong, Hawaii, and Atlanta. I currently live in London. I love to travel and have been to 6 continents and over 40 countries. I studied Comparative Literature at UC Davis and Chinese language and literature at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I probably spend too much time on twitter so come say hello
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