Lyndall writes YA Gothic about kisses and curses. She grew up running wild in her very own secret garden in the Barossa Ranges of South Australia, and now lives in a 100 year old cottage close to the sea. She has a B.Arts (Hons) in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide, and spent many years as a youth librarian fostering a love of stories.
She thinks Sarah should have stayed in the Labyrinth with the Goblin King and the Beast should never have turned back into a prince.
I have dreamed up stories forever, occasionally writing some of them down. I have always loved Gothic literature and been fascinated with writing monsters- one of my earliest memories was being severely disappointed after watching Labyrinth, when Sarah didn’t stay with the Goblin King. I went on to study Gothic lit and monsters as a postgrad, which was basically just me obsessively shipping Clarice Starling x Hannibal Lecter in a vaguely academic context. The book I signed with my agent was the first full-length book I’d written, but the product of about ten years of dreaming and thinking and putting off as I navigated balancing a career as a librarian and motherhood. In 2017 my work contract ended, my children were getting older, and I suddenly had more time to read again. On a recommendation, I picked up S. Jae-Jones’ WINTERSONG and fell in love. Suddenly the little seedling story that had been there for all those years demanded to be written down. I put together a complete mess of purple prose and gaping plot holes which became AT THE LAKE’S EDGE. I submitted it to R4 of Author Mentor Match and by a miracle, Kim Smejkal took me on as a mentee. With Kim’s help, I did a full rewrite of the manuscript and after another few rounds of less-intense revisions, I was ready to query.
I’d queried ATLE for about a month when I decided to participate in PitMad. My pitch did really well, and I received multiple offers. Jill’s was the second offer and I knew almost right away she was perfect. She was so in love with my book, and understood it so well. She represents so many of the YA authors I grew up reading and I felt so awed to be held in their company by her. (My partner loves to tell everyone how I woke him up at 1AM yelling “Garth Nix’s agent liked my book!” *hides*). Jill is amazing and relentless at pushing me to extend my writing skills- I’m currently in my second round of revisions with her and hoping to go on submission in Spring 2019.
I have a B.Arts Hons (first class) in Creative Writing and a Grad Dip in Library & Information Management (I am very good at recommending comp titles!). I was a mentee in AMM R4 and loved the program so much that I jumped at the opportunity to be a mentor. I’ve done a lot of CP/beta reading work for various other aspiring writers, and I’m in a tight-knit critique group with two other R4 mentees (*waves at coven sisters*). We’ve worked together critiquing work through our AMM revisions, querying and now agent revisions.
I had the most wonderful experience in AMM as a mentee. I learned so much with Kim’s generous and insightful help, and I attribute a big part of my success so far to the revisions I did with her. I love the supportive community that came from the program, and I’m so excited for the opportunity to pay that forward. I adore working critically on a story I am passionate about: I want to find something wonderful and help it grow to be even more amazing. It’s such a great feeling to be trusted with a manuscript, be able to dream up ideas and suggestions, then read a revision to see those suggestions put into practice. I’m excited to work with a mentee to help them make their story shine. I want a book that is dark and atmospheric and beautiful. Whimsical but with bite. I love dark fantasy and Gothic stories, small-cast books and “quiet” stories with small, personal stakes.
I want to fall in love with your prose: either lush or understated, I don’t mind, but I want to work with someone who finds joy in the artistry of language. ALSO: I need romance. This is vital to a book I work on. I want a story where the romance is, if not the main plot, then a major subplot. I want emotional nuance, romantic stakes, complicated relationship dynamics. I want to feel butterflies and obsessively ship your characters together. I am extremely passionate (no pun intended, ha) about centreing female desire and empowered, sex-positive romance with sexy consent. The more complex and subversive the romance (give me all your monster romances!) the better.
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
I love Gothic romance, dark fantasy romance, literary YA, contemporary dark fantasy, contemporary Gothic/horror, imaginative fairytale retellings and imaginative retellings of classics
Overall I want a story that is richly atmospheric with a strong romantic subplot. Something that will make me feel butterflies and fall in love
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
First off, I will provide you with a big-picture edit letter, outlining broad developmental suggestions to work on. Fair warning: I will be honest and will call you out on all the bits where you’ve hand-waved and sticky taped it together- but I’ll do it nicely! I will also yell very loudly about everything that I love. We can collaborate and brainstorm together to prepare a revision plan, then I’ll be here for any help you need once you get to work. And probably make you a playlist and an aesthetic because I love them.
Depending on where your manuscript is at, I might do a second big-picture edit letter, then I will dive in and leave in-text comments for smaller-scale revising. I’m happy to work with you until you feel it’s ready! So whether that is one round of revision or a full rewrite, I’m here. Whenever you’re ready to head off into the query trenches, I’ll be there to support you, and help you put together a query/synopsis/first pages package.
I want to work as a partnership with open communication. I’m happy to have ongoing discussion as you revise in whichever method that suits you best. I’m in Australia but I’m used to navigating time differences, and I’m flexible for what you’d prefer: skype/DM/email/etc. I’m always happy to schedule a call or time to chat and work through a problem, or just catch up to yell about how writing is equally the best/worst.
I want someone who is not afraid of hard work. Someone who is able to ask questions when they need but also confident in working independently. Enthusiasm and occasional silliness are good too! I want to work with someone dedicated to seeing their book through from manuscript to query ready. You don’t need to work fast- I have two kids and I understand the struggles to balance life with writing, but you do need to be committed.
Most importantly, you need to be accepting of critical feedback. I will be kind but honest: I’ll encourage you to kill your darlings where they are needed, and do whatever it takes to make your book the best it can be.
- I live for complex romantic dynamics: slow burn, hate – love, enemies – lovers, marriage of convenience, love triangles… if it’s twisty and messy, then I want it. Bonus points for pining and angst
- MONSTER ROMANCE: if you have a monster and someone who loves them, I want your book. See also: VILLAIN ROMANCE
- If your story has a dynamic that can be compared to Hades x Persephone, Cardan x Jude, Alina x Darkling, Sarah x Jareth, Marya x Koschei… please send it my way
- I am also complete Reylo TRASH and would love any story with that type of dynamic
- I’d also love a romance like Puck x Sean in THE SCORPIO RACES or Waverly x Marshall in PLACES NO ONE KNOWS
- Anything that can be compared to any of the media on my FAVES list
- Imaginative fairytale retellings
- Imaginative retellings of classics
- Stories with gorgeous prose that I will swoon over
- Beautiful aesthetics: I’d love something with the aesthetic of a Guillermo del Toro or Sofia Coppola film, the 1992 DRACULA, or the look of AHS S8 (though perhaps with a slightly better plot…)
- I am a former 90s Goth so anything with that aesthetic (think Poppy Z Brite, Nick Cave’s MURDER BALLADS album, or early Anne Rice) would be amazing!
- I love creepy forests, mysterious gardens, haunted houses, liminal spaces, rooms full of secrets, atmospheric descriptions of anything
- Stories where the environmental setting (a forest, a garden, a haunted house, a graveyard, a moorland, the night sky above) is a big part of the atmosphere
- Empowered girls: I love stories that explore the precarious magic and mystery of being a girl (ala THE VIRGIN SUICIDES), examinations of female desire, and stories that put girls front and centre. I love “the princess saves herself” as a trope
- Soft boys: secret cinnamon rolls, boys who cry, boys who write poetry, boys who are tender and wonderful. If you have a boy like Marshall from PLACES NO ONE KNOWS I will love him. Soft monsters are even better
DO NOT SEND ME:
I’m probably not the best mentor for someone who wants to write an epic, high-stakes story: big-cast, epic high fantasy, heist narrative, court intrigue etc.
If your book doesn’t have a romance, then I’ll probably struggle to engage with it enough to offer insightful help.
Also I’d prefer not to have books featuring animal death, sexual abuse/rape or babies/children dying unless it has a really, REALLY good reason for being in there.
Please don’t send me things vastly outside my preferred genres: while I am a wide reader, I don’t have the expertise to mentor the same range of books. I am definitely not a good fit for Sci Fi, Historical, or straight Contemporary that isn’t fantasy/horror/Gothic.
BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA
WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT
THE GOOD DEMON
THE SCORPIO RACES
WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN THE CASTLE
THE SECRET HISTORY
SHADOW AND BONE trilogy
THE CRUEL PRINCE
THE WICKED KING
THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST
THE TALE OF THE BODY THIEF
THE LIGHT BETWEEN THE WORLDS
PLACES NO ONE KNOWS
EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD
THE TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES
THE PRINCESS AND THE PEA
THE VIRGIN SUICIDES
AS ABOVE SO BELOW
A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (2004)
SLEEPING BEAUTY (2011)
LA BELLE ET LA BETE (2014)
THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE
AMERICAN HORROR STORY
FLORENCE + THE MACHINE
BEYOND THE BLACK
DEAD MAN’S BONES
THE SISTERS OF MERCY
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS