This year I am one of the Mentors for the WriteMentor Summer Programme. This is the first time I have been involved in WriteMentor, but I know several people who have benefitted from their mentoring partnerships, and I would love to help another writer to improve their craft and get the best out of their writing. If you’re thinking about applying to be a mentee, here is some more information about me, my taste in fiction and what you can expect from me as an editor and mentor.
I’m currently writing MG fantasy fiction and I am represented by Julia Churchill at AM Heath. I have a BA Creative Writing and I was the Managing Editor of a literary website for four years, which involved a lot of reading and editing submissions. I have also been involved at an editorial level in several anthologies of short fiction. I am part of a children’s writing group through SCBWI, in which we regularly critique each other’s work. I review books for Netgalley, Armadillo Magazine, and my personal blog, and I read 258 books last year—which gives me a good idea where your book might fit in the context of the publishing market. I am also a primary school librarian, which means I have first-hand experience of what children like to read.
However skilful a writer you are, it is impossible to see your own blind spots—another pair of eyes is an invaluable tool in your writing process. As an editor, I will give you my honest opinion on the big picture, the foundation blocks of your story—characters, setting, plot, style—as well as the finer details. Though we all have our own individual writing style and narrative voice, as an editor I will look for the gaps and the bumps—the bits that stand out and don’t flow with the rest.
I love to read fantasy and sci-fi. Some of my favourite authors include Becky Chambers, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, Sarah J. Maas, Laini Taylor, VE Schwab, Katherine Arden and Samantha Shannon. (I have read the Hunger Games trilogy and Lord of the Rings at least five times each.)
When it comes to children’s fiction, I particularly love Frances Hardinge, Jonathan Stroud, Dominique Valente, Vashti Hardy, Rick Riordan, Jessica Townsend and Sophie Anderson. The best children’s book I’ve read lately is The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell.
I’d love to hear from you if you think I might be able to help with your WIP. Full details of the WriteMentor Summer Programme are available on the WriteMentor website and applications are open 15 – 16 April 2021.