Thao Le

Contemporary YA

On Submission.

Ashley Schumacher is a young, scrappy, and always, always hungry Gryffindor born and raised in Texas. She has a degree in writing from the University of North Texas, but credits her writing abilities to her parents, as they spent a great portion of her childhood driving her to bookstores and libraries.

When she’s not writing or reading, you can find her singing Disney and Broadway songs in the car with her Slytherin husband, calling her friend and critique partner for the umpteenth time, protecting her snacks from her greedy golden retriever, crying through the latest Pixar film, or cursing while playing Mario Kart. She is also moderately fond of visiting her friends and family, but please don’t tell them; they’re all much too pleased with themselves as it is.

When I made the tough decision not to pursue graduate school for writing, I promised myself I would work towards publishing my first book. I spent the next two years writing, editing, attending workshops, and resisting the urge to throw my first novel into a dumpster fire, and I’m so glad I did. By the time I was ready to query, I had a polished manuscript and – more importantly – the world’s best critique partner and friend in my corner. I signed with my agent in spring of 2018, we spent some time revising my manuscript together, and now we’re on submission and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

While I don’t believe one must go to college for writing in order to become a published author, I personally found studying creative writing as an undergraduate invaluable. It was through workshopping short stories and receiving feedback from professors that I learned how to be a helpful and gracious critique partner and how to be both encouraging and effective.

Since college, I have been lucky enough to work with writers from all levels of publishing – aspiring, agented, published – and have found that I truly enjoy the challenges that traditional publishing presents, especially querying. It can be a nerve-racking time, but nothing feels better than sending your book baby out into the world knowing you’ve given it every chance to succeed.

I’d be lost without my little group of work proximity associates, and I’d love the opportunity to be an encouragement to others! Great mentors and friends are invaluable constants in an industry full of ups and downs, and I hope I can be a champion for some one who needs a Leslie Knope in their corner. (Sorry not sorry for the Parks & Rec references.)

Bring me your quiet books, your loud books, your fantastical. Bring me the book of your heart or the book you’ve tried to light on fire more times than you can count and yet it’s still here demanding to be read.

I think books are a lot like people and can be many things at once, so suffice it to say that if your book makes your heart sing, I want to see it. I’m especially fond of character-driven narratives and lyrical prose, but I am constantly surprised by the books that worm their way onto my shelf of favorites.

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Romance

Some of my favorite books are difficult to describe or shelve, and I think that’s wonderful!

I’m a sucker for magical realism or a bit of fantastical embedded into a contemporary setting. I also adore fantasy, especially the recent standalone releases that set out to tell a story in one book instead of seven. (I love Harry Potter as much as the next person, but sometimes you just want to sink your teeth into one solid fantasy story and then let it go.)

Again, character-driven remains at the top of my list, no matter your genre or tropes.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat
  • Owl Post (be aware this can cause significant delays in correspondence as my owl is not the speediest)

I’m BIG on accessibility and asking stupid questions, mostly because I have had to ask a lot of them myself. Writing is one thing, but publishing is another beast entirely! The business side of writing can be intimidating, and it’s totally reasonable (and expected!) that you’ll have lots of inquiries.

When it comes to editorial stuffs, I am one of those people that can’t help but line edit. I’m not so concerned with grammar or spelling (Hey, it’s not your fault if autocorrect insists you’re using the wrong form of “”you’re”” in YOUR manuscript), but personally I work best when I have guideposts throughout my manuscript to help me with rounds of edits. (I will definitely overuse smilie faces and exclamation points for all the bits I love best.)

I also find a “big picture” edit letter helpful for both mentors and mentees as it helps summarize the main parts that need further work and gives the writer a heading.

I’m okay with phone calls, Skype calls, texts, emails – whatever makes YOU most comfortable!

Writing is re-writing, so come ready to work! When I commit to something, I give it a lot of time and attention and care, so I expect the same from anyone who sends their book my way.

If you aren’t ready to do the the hard work of making your book the best it can be (i.e. if you’re unwilling to rewrite scenes or add new ones), I’m probably not the best mentor for you.


  • Nearly-purple, lyrical prose is my jam
  • Sibling stories
  • Rom-Coms
  • Small town stories
  • Standalone fantasy stories
  • Kickass girls and guys who could totally wield a sword or rule a kingdom…but regrettably they’re stuck in the 21st century.
  • Platonic friendship stories
  • Enemies-to-Lovers (I blame Pride & Prejudice for this.)
  • Book-loving characters
  • Plus-size protagonists
  • Please bring me all the fictional dogs//cats//llamas//misc. animals to pet.
  • Contemporaries with killer world building
  • Stories heavily influenced by seasons/weather
  • I love, love, love books that don’t quite fit into any genre. If you’re unsure where your book would be shelved at the bookstore, send it to me!
  • Fairytales and retellings always welcome.


  • excessive violence (including sexual violence)
  • heavily political narratives – I’m exhausted by reality”

Oh, hi there! Welcome to my wheelhouse. It’s very eclectic and always changing because I love being surprised! Here are some fav YA books in no particular order:

  • I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
  • The Walls Around Us by Nova Sen Suma
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (This is technically new adult, but I’m 100% here for YA books that have crossover appeal!)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Not a YA, but top three fav books of all time)

Besides the above, I’m a big fan of Disney movies, sloths, Broadway, Harry Potter, Marvel, Outlander, dogs, Parks & Rec, and true crime Netflix documentaries that I have to watch through my fingers. I also enjoy podcasts, the various aspects of Nerdfighteria (pumpkins and penguins), doodling in my sketchbook, and playing various instruments. If your characters are passionate about a particular fandom or form of art, send their precious hearts my way!