We are Jenna Lehne and Tara Creel.
This is Jenna’s fourth year as a mentor (she mentored Tara in 2016!) and Tara’s second year joining in on the fun. Last year we mentored the fabulous Jennifer L Brown (who is mentoring this year) and are so proud of her!
Tara works as an editor for Month9Books and WriteOnEditing. She also reviews books for The Deseret News. She is mom to four boys and writes MG … she alternates between mysteries and making you cry. She is an HGTV junkie and loves hiking and playing at the beach with her babies. She is rep’d by Samantha Bagood at Samantha B. Literary.
This year, we are introducing our team name:
Publishing is full of magic moments. Whether it’s the actual magic in your manuscript, or just the way it makes us feel. The magic moment when we fall in love with a story. The magic moment when you meet that meant-to-be CP. That magic moment when you sign with an agent. Or get that publishing deal. We are a believer in magic, and in the magic within you and in your future, so we are #teamthatmagicmoment.
Okay, here is what we are looking for from PitchWars this year:
We would LOVE a story within a story a la The Princess Bride. Especially if it has charm, humor and unforgettable characters.
If your story has any interesting timelines, please send it our way. We love The Distance to Home by Jenn Bishop. The narrative alternates between the past and the present with the plot colliding at the end.
We also love dual POV. When done right, it can be so effective. A recent book that is a good example of this is Bob by Rebecca Stead and Wendy Mass.
We’re also your gals if you have alternate formats like diary entries, texts, notebooks, letters, etc, but we’re not the best for a fully written verse novel.
If you have a DUAL POV novel with one POV in verse and one in prose … Please, please, please let us read it!
We love magical realism a la The Secret Horses of Briar Hill, Echo, or (also a story within a story) Some Kind of Happiness. The first two have historical elements that we also love in our magical realism.
Any magical realism will steal our hearts. Not sure if you’re a match, check out this post.
We gravitate toward tough issue/topic books. Give us the sad but inspiring like The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price, Starfish, Wishing Day.
You can’t go wrong if you have something like The Key to Extraordinary or A Snicker of Magic, we’re obsessed with Natalie Lloyd books. Her most recent Problim Children is also an example of a fun mystery with a dash of magic that we love.
We love mysteries, especially with codes and clues like The Book Scavenger and Escape from Mr. Lemincello’s Library.
If you have a mystery with magical realism, we will fight to the death for you.
We also love mysteries where the setting is a character. Think Greenglass House or The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.
We want to see books with tons of twists and turns. Where the MC’s path is so gnarled it seems there’s no possible way for you to untangle all of the threads by the ending of the book. Then, in those last couple of chapters, everything is sorted out in ways we never imagined possible. In YA, Sarah J Maas’ Throne of Glass series does this amazingly well.
Oooh, and time travel is totally our thing. It’s hard to do well but we are very, very interested when it is done well.
Although we are not the best for high fantasy, we love folktale/fairytale feeling fantasy like The Girl Who Drank the Moon. Or if you happen to have world-building or light fantasy like Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger, we will love you forever.
We love Lauren Oliver middle grade and would take anything reminiscent of her books.
We love horror. Especially atmospheric and creepy. And horror with heart (yes it is possible!) Think The Jumbies and The Girl With the Ghost Machine.
We love antiques and the stories behind them, so if you have a story involving these, creepy or not, we want to see it.
For us, the harder the horror pushes, the better. We loved being terrified as a kid, so the scarier the better! We’d rather have to scale things back than ramp them up.
We’re a sucker for unreliable narrators. So much so we’ll say it again and even shout it: WE LOVE AND WANT AND NEED UNRELIABLE NARRATORS!!!
We would love something creepy with a few illustrations like In These Shadows by Kiersten White or Scary Tales to Tell in the Dark.
Though we admire the heck out of these writers, we are not the best fit for Science Fiction.
At the end of the day – regardless of the genre – we just want to feel something for the characters you create. Whether they’re dealing with a supremely haunted school theater while simultaneously navigating their parents’ divorce *hey, book idea!* Or flunking the spelling bee because they have such a massive crush on their biggest competition even though he’s a snob, just tug the heartstrings. Tug them until they snap and we spiral into a book hangover. Show us the MAGIC!
What We Have To Offer YOU!
We fall in love with stories and root for them to the end.
We work hard!
We are easy to communicate with and readily available.
We will do big picture edits as well as line edits … your ms will be all sorts of shiny.
We read, read, read so we know what we like and we know how your book will fit into the market.
We’ve been at this for a long time and have the resources to help you get where you want to be.
We will be your best friend for life ❤
Please keep clicking to see all the FABULOUS MG mentors this year. If you need to, you can always head back to the PitchWars website to start over or get answers to any of your questions.