Eric Smith at P.S. Literary

Fantasy, Contemporary, LGBTQ+


Originally from Chicago, Julia Ember now resides in Edinburgh, Scotland. She lives with her girlfriend and their city based menagerie of pets with Harry Potter themed names. Luna Lovegood and Sirius Black the cats currently run her life. She is the author of The Seafarer’s Kiss duology, published by Interlude Press, as well as multiple novellas and short-stories.

I queried a ton of trunk novels and published a few novellas and short stories, before finally attracting the attention of a publisher during a twitter pitch contest with The Seafarer’s Kiss in 2016. I followed a less traditional path, in that I got my agent after I already had a contract for two books with Interlude. My agent and I went on submission last year with a project that ultimately didn’t sell, and are currently on submission with a new fantasy!

I previously worked as a Sales Manager for a large book distributor in the UK. My job depended on my ability to pitch and sell titles to accounts across the country, so I think developing hooky pitches is one of my strengths! I’ve also interned for an agent, and had many critique partners go on to get book deals!

I was lucky that very early on in my career, a few more experienced authors took me under their wing and helped me navigate my first book, finding an agent and figuring out how to market myself. I still really benefit from those friendships and I cherish those people. I really want to pay that back by helping someone else!

I’m looking for a story that starts with a bang, and grips me to the last page. I’m really passionate about fantasy and historical! Send me your morally grey villains, your sassy animal sidekicks and your f/f romances.I want to be your gif godmother and your cheerleader!

I was lucky enough to have published authors who did this for me, and I want to give back. I’ve been through the full publishing process and worked in the book trade for years. I can give advice about all stages.

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

I like high stakes and horrible villains. Battles, epic quests, enemies to lovers. I LOVE retellings. I’m a hard sell for the younger end of YA and prefer books with crossover adult appeal.


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

I am pretty informal with my critique partners and I want to develop a similar, collaborative rapport with my mentee. I want my mentee to feel comfortable asking me anything. I will read your manuscript thoroughly and leave detailed in-text comments. I’ll also want to chat with you on skype or hangouts about big-picture things and talk about possible solutions together. From my own experience working with an editor, I think the best solutions to problems in manuscripts often come when you brainstorm with another person. I will always encourage and support your ideas, but I want you be active in our editorial process together! I’ll also read subsequent drafts until we both think the book is ready.

Someone with a great work ethic and a sense of humour! Publishing is a tough business; I want to work with someone who can look at it with humour and is invested in their writing for the long haul.

I would also like someone who is self-aware of their own flaws as a writer, and understands what their creative process looks like.

Immersive fantasy and historical — This is my first and greatest love. Give me beautiful, sensory, world-building and meticulously researched details, spiced up with magic. I especially love stories that place literature and libraries at the height of conspiracy. I am a history nerd, and studied Medieval England up to PhD level. I can help with fact checking for most periods, and am able to read Old Norse.

I love to explore, travel and learn about new places too, and would love some #ownvoices fantasies and historical novels from outside Western Europe.

Queer ladies in all genres — I love reading about badass queer women! Their queerness does not need to be the focus of the story — in fact, I prefer if it’s not. I want to read more fiction where queer women are having all kinds of adventures, not just exploring their identities.

Anti-heroes and villains — I adore stories where I’m quite sure who to root for. Give me your Slytherins! I love characters who exist in the moral grey area, as well as those who are downright evil. Dark retellings are an evergreen favourite of mine. I would especially love to see retellings of some lesser known classic stories, i.e. Beowulf, or those that draw on mythology outside the Western European canon.

I do not want stories about ancient, immortal characters who seduce naive young people. The immortal/vampire/fae trope can be done well, but if the younger character isn’t super savvy or powerful in her own right, or it’s not made explicit that the immortal character is “young” for their species, it’s likely to be a Hard Pass from me.

Stories with an anti-immigration bent, i.e: featuring deportation/internment/racism, from anyone other than #ownvoices creators.

Stories about redeemed bigots who learn a lesson.

Any variation of the master/slave romance trope. I would class “captured prisoner of war” as fitting into this, unless the power dynamic has been completely flipped before the romance begins.

Horror or grim-dark. I can handle dark themes, but I like there to be a ray of light at the end of the tunnel when I read YA fiction.

I read so much that my favourites are constantly evolving, but here are some books I’ve really enjoyed recently:

And I Darken by Kiersten White (and the rest of the series!)
For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer