Brianne Johnson at Writers House

YA Fantasy

Untitled (2020)

Amanda Foody has always considered imagination to be our best attempt at magic. After spending her childhood longing to attend Hogwarts, she now loves to write about immersive settings and characters grappling with insurmountable destinies. She holds a Masters in Accountancy from Villanova University, and a Bachelors of Arts in English Literature from the College of William and Mary. Currently, she lives in Philadelphia, PA, surrounded by her many siblings and many books.

When I was seventeen, I worked up the nerve and told my parents that I didn’t want to go to medical school–I wanted to write fantasy books for teenagers. I have given this dream my 110% ever since. I signed with my first agent several months later, but my publication journey has definitely not been a smooth ride. I’ve written and finished over a dozen books, left an agent and signed with another, been on submission multiple times for different books, and received truly hundreds of rejections. I’m very proud and very lucky to have two books published and two more contracted in the future…and hopefully many more to come!

I’ve mentored a number of writers over the years, both officially and unofficially. I mentored in PitchWars in 2016, and my mentee, Christine Lynn Herman, is debuting in April 2019. My other mentees have either signed with agents or are gearing up to query. I’ve worked several publishing internships, primarily at literary agencies writing editorial letters and reading incoming submissions. Educationally, I have a degree in English and high honors in creative writing…and a masters in accounting? I can work magic with Excel.

I love mentoring. It’s honestly a joy to help another writer with their book, no matter what stage of their career they may be at, and it’s so rewarding to be part of someone else’s journey. I also genuinely learn something new about the craft every time. As someone who started out as a teen writer in this industry, even with the knowledge and experience I did have, I still wish I had had a mentor of my own. I would have made different decisions. I would have looked at this career differently. I don’t truly have any regrets, but that doesn’t mean the hard lessons all needed to have been so hard!

I love immersive stories. I want to laugh and have my heart broken and throw the book (gently) across the room and have to lie on the ground because of *epicness*. This is a pretty high standard at which to hold a book, but I say this more because this is who I am as a writer and a reader. I’m not a perfectionist–I’m an enthusiast. As a mentor, I am very collaborative; I spend a lot of hours on chat or Skype with my mentee discussing their story, and it’s a lot of work for both of us. But I love mentoring, I love books, and this is the type of work I always get excited about. It’s so rewarding to be part of someone else’s journey. As someone who’s published multiple books, completed internships, and been at this for a long time, I’m 100% there to talk extensively on the craft and the career, but I also am a total cheerleader. Ideally, I’d love to work with a mentee who’s passionate enough about their project and is willing to put in the work to improve both their manuscript and their own skill.

  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Own Voices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

“I love feeling immersed in a new setting. For me, that often means fantasy, but I am also drawn to very setting-focused paranormal and historical fiction as well. I am definitely an ideas person–I have so much passion for the weird, the never-been-seen-before. I think one of the reasons I love fantasy so much is how nearly every element of the story truly is born from the author’s imagination. It’s probably for this reason that I tend to shy away from story elements like fairy tale retellings or elemental magic. On a grand story level, I get most enthusiastic for concepts that feel new.

In the details, however, I am totally a trash fan of various tropes. Give me “”There’s only one bed”” and your “”Enemies to lovers to enemies to love triangles.”” I am a sucker for the fun! Note: I’m also happy to work with books that don’t have romance!

I’m not into girl hate. If you have the resented slutty best friend or stereotypical underdeveloped mean popular girl…it’s not for me. If your main character is the slutty best friend or the mean popular girl…please please send to me.”


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I am a very collaborative mentor. I would never want you to feel that your work is being pushed in a direction that loses sight of your original vision or that you aren’t 100% enthusiastic about. In past mentorships, I have assigned my mentees a fair bit of homework in terms of character and world-building exercises to highlight the best parts of the story, and my mentees and I have always worked together in regards to the plot. This has typically meant long Skype calls or gchats spent within the outline, discussing our way through the story. I have previously worked with mentees who already have strong voices in their writing but whose manuscripts still need higher level developmental adjustments–mentees who aren’t afraid to get into the nitty gritty and put in the work. After all the shared hours and effort, I am totally invested in their books and their careers! We often end up staying long-term friends post-agent, post-book deal, etc.

Someone who is up to be collaborative and put in some hard work! You don’t need to be a fast worker because I don’t expect you turn around your manuscript overnight or even in a few months (Unless you want to! Then full speed ahead!).


  • I love a good atmospheric setting, be it spooky, whimsical, grand, luxurious, or seedy.
  • Please please send me weird magic systems! I am totally drawn to big concepts that I’ve never seen before.
  • This goes without saying, but diverse voices!
  • I’d love a throwback style paranormal! Witches, vampires, any of it!
  • Fantasies that aren’t Medieval! (Not that you can’t send me Medieval fantasies)
  • If you comp any of my favorite anime shows (or any shonen anime shows)…PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
  • I freaking love girly girl main characters. I will fall for your female lead regardless, but I will fall twice as hard if she loves the color pink.
  • I adore love triangles and I’m not ashamed.
  • A story that reminds me of Your Name.
  • Also a story as quirky and funny/weird as The Devil is a Part-Timer.
  • A book that sounds like a song by Zayde Wolf, Banks, Bishop Briggs, or Ruelle.
  • Morally gray characters! (I don’t just mean hot brooding boys…I mean, I also like them *coughs* But also an actual morally gray cast.)
  • If you comp to my favorite authors, aka Holly Black, Rachel Hartman, or Naomi Novik……yes YES YES
  • Group casts!!!!!!!!
  • I don’t necessarily need to have purple prose, but I’d like to NOTICE the prose, whether its snappy or succinct or flowery. I love authorial voice and style.
  • Something that feels like an RPG game a la Sword Art Online!
  • A book that breaks my heart. I love Shakespearean tragedies and we need more of them.
  • Boarding schools!!%!@@$! Or basically any YA with loose inspirations to old MG favorites…Harry Potter, Septimus Heap, anything by Cornelia Funke, (lol Warrior Cats… I don’t actually anticipate that one at all but I am throwing it out there)

I am not the right mentor for girl hate, eating disorders, fae (unless it’s the Holly Black variety… not the other variety), assassin main characters or love interests, or elemental magic systems.

“My favorite authors include Holly Black, Rachel Hartman, and Naomi Novik. I am also a huge fan of the Night Circus, the Belles, and the Scorpio Races.

TV shows…Avatar: The Last Airbender (I’d…much rather you comp this on a character or a plot level than on a fantasy level! I’m sorry!!!), Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, Game of Thrones, Veep, Jane the Virgin, Brooklyn 99, Sherlock, the Vikings, Parks and Rec.

Anime…Hunter x Hunter, My Hero Academia, Naruto, D. Grey-Man, Death Note, Pokemon, the Devil is a Part-Timer, and Sword Art Online. I am also a huge fan of anything by Miyazaki. I also cried hard every time I watched Your Name (I would ADORE a story like that).

Games…Age of Empires, Civilizations, Stardew Valley, Pokemon, Betrayal at the House on the Hill, Pandemic, Settlers of Catan”