I'm the author of THESE GENTLE WOUNDS (Flux 2014 - named one of Buzzfeed's Best Books of 2014 as well as one of Epic Reads 30 Books That Will Change Your View of the World), WHAT REMAINS (Flux 2015) and BOOMERANG (Sky Pony 2018). I'm agented by the amazing Lauren MacLeod of the Strothman Agency. When I'm not writing fiction, I work as a communications manager and freelance journalist.
I’m a freelance editor and ghostwriter, and my YA fiction is represented by Logan Garrison of the Gernert Company. Mostly I write fantasy, but I’ve got a historical WIP and I read pretty much everything. I have my master’s degree in linguistics and I’m a sucker for worldbuilding that includes distinctive use of language.
WHAT WE’RE LOOKING FOR - YA (only)
WE WOULD LOVE TO READ:
-Contemporary YA: Make us cry. Make us swoon (Beth in particular loves to swoon) and root for complex and flawed characters (Helene in particular loves flawed characters). If your book is heavy on action, but not on character development, we’re likely to pass, but we’re open to quiet novels that stay in our heads long after the cover is closed.
– Urban Fantasy YA: If you’re writing somewhere in the vein of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, Maggie Stiefvater, or Holly Black’s books, then send it.
– Historical YA: Particularly historicals set in cities in the 20th century. Notice. Cities. If your rural southern town is a character, it’s unlikely to hook (no joke here, Helene reluctantly lives in the South and isn’t much interested in reading about it), but if it’s full of 60’s politics, 20’s flappers, 70’s flower children or almost anything in the 80’s, there’s a good chance we’ll fall for it.
– Magical Realism / Paranormal / Speculative: Merging these topics here, because the line can be so murky. Think Maggie Stiefvater’s books in which the characters are at the forefront.
YA Memoir: Helene particularly loves memoirs, but they’re a hard sell. So you’re going to have to wow us.
-LGBT YA Yes. Please. Particularly where the characterization goes much further than a coming out story. People are complex and we love books that show that complexity (Think Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, or Teeth). The top things we read for are voice and complexity.
BUT WHAT WE ARE NOT LOOKING FOR:
•A novel much over 100,000 words (although if you have something with amazing characters, go ahead and try).
•High fantasy (we got a lot last year, so PLEASE do yourself a favor and send these to someone who will take them!)
•Horror (Unless you’re talking Andrew Smith’s The Marbury Lens and Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Black. Why? Because in each of those examples, while the story is fantastical and horrific, the characterization drives the story)
•Thrillers (although, see above…)
•Teen pregnancy novels. Just seen too many of them.
•Novels with scenes of graphic rape or abuse (Beth is too sensitive)
OUR FAVORITE BOOKS:
Some of Helene’s:
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
The Starboard Sea by Amber Dermont
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
Don’t Let Me Go by J. H. Trumble
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
Coda by Emma Trevayne
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer
Some of Beth’s:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
Fire by Kristin Cashore
II’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
Blackbird House by Alice Hoffman
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Why should you pick us:
My first agent found me through Authoress’s Baker’s Dozen contest and I really believe that these opportunities are invaluable. My long-term crit partners (of which Beth is one) would probably tell you that I’m not one for mincing words, but that when I fall in love with characters or plots, I fall all the way. My strength has been helping them to round-out their characters and dialogue in ways that can illuminate their character’s inner core. Also, I love brainstorming in long, multi-colored emails so expect a lot of discussion about motivation, and voice, and intense inner workings!
I’m a geek for plot and structure and I adore those “big picture” reads where I see how everything fits together. If things don’t fit together, I’m determined to figure out why it isn’t working and how it can be fixed. Also, with my experience in freelance editing, I’m particularly adept at that final polish, working to make sure the lines flow easily and every punctuation mark is in its place.
To find out more about Pitch Wars, visit the wonderful Brenda Drake's blog. And don't forget to check out all of this year's amazing mentors!