Agent: Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Associates
Published books: Currently revising for submission
Bio: I'm a middle grade author originally from Kentucky and now based in New Zealand. I spent five years working in a bookstore, plus another five years working in the film and video game industries, which taught me incredible lessons in storytelling, character development, world-building, and marketing.
Experience: I began writing in earnest in 2013. My second completed manuscript was selected for Query Kombat and Pitch Wars in 2017, and ultimately got me my agent Katie Grimm at Don Congdon Associates in 2018. In the past five years I've spent a lot of time acting as a beta reader and CP and learning a lot from other people's manuscripts, and I've built a reputation for giving thorough and useful feedback.
Mentoring style: I really love big picture edits, which is why I'm offering a developmental report. Oftentimes critiques focus so heavily on what needs to be improved that it's easy to walk away without any idea of what one does well! So my aim is to give a strong sense of things that are working really well for me, as well as areas that could be developed further. Depending on the needs of the manuscript, I'll look at where plot structure, character development, and world-building can be strengthened. I'll also include big-picture notes on writing style and voice, such as pitfalls to watch out for or things that are already working well and could be strengthened further to make the manuscript really shine.
Mentee style: Getting feedback can be very difficult, because oftentimes feedback from different people can conflict. This is a very subjective industry! My main hope is for a mentee who will think about the feedback for a little bit to figure out whether or not they agree, and then think about the best way to tackle that feedback. I'll be happy to answer questions and brainstorm as well.
What you'd love to see in a novel? I'm a big fan of middle grade fantasy and adventure stories especially, though I often find stories I love in unexpected places! I have a soft spot for stories based on fairy and folk tales, heists, survival stories, and anything that uses magic in a clever, emotionally-impactful way. I love to travel, so anything that helps me feel grounded in a place not often seen will usually catch my eye. I would also love to see positive disability rep, especially in a fast-paced adventure!
Favourite novels: There's a very special place in my heart for the books I read when I was a middle grader, such as The Two Princesses of Bamarre, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (yes, the first one is still my favorite), and The Tale of Despereaux. More recently I've loved The Gauntlet, The Jumbies, and The Wolf Wilder.
Mentoring package offered: I'll be offering a full manuscript developmental edit report.