Carrie Pestritto

YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Historical


Kalyn Josephson is a Technical Writer in Silicon Valley, which leaves room for too many bad puns about technically being a writer. She grew up in San Luis Obispo, CA, but now lives in the Bay Area with four awesome friends (because it’s the Bay and she’d like to be able to retire one day) and two black cats (who are more like a tiny dragon and an even tinier owl). When not writing YA Fantasy, she loves baking, reading, playing sports, and watching too many movies. Visit her at @kalynjosephson on Twitter or on her website at kalynjosephson.com.

I wrote my first book at the end of high school, and then proceeded to commit every mistake in every book. No CPs/Betas read it, there were a thousand and one writing mistakes (filters galore), and the query—well, let’s not go there. My second book got me into Pitch to Publication, and garnered a few full requests that never panned out. My third book made it into FicFest—this is the book that almost went all the way. Great request rate, no bites, and I shelved it earlier than I ought to of, because I got the idea for my fourth book that eventually landed me multiple offers (and which also went through Pitch to Publication). So I have lots of experience as a mentee! In the end, I signed with the wonderful Carrie Pestritto, who I actually ended up doing an R&R for. After signing, we did a couple rounds of edits together (about March-August) and sent it out on sub in early August. In November, THE STORM CROW sold to SourcebooksFire.

I have a degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Santa Clara University, and also a degree in Biology with an emphasis in Ecology and Evolution, so if you’ve got sciency magic systems, I wanna see ‘em. I’ve been mentored 3 times in other contests, so I totally understand what it is to be on the other side of things. I’m currently a member of a critique group of awesome ladies (<3 my Guillotine Queens), some of which are agented writers out on sub, some R3 AMM mentees (and a fellow R4 mentor! Hi Sam), and other amazing writers deep in the querying trenches who will one day take over the world. A lot of my ’16 Pitch to Publication peeps are agented and on sub as well, so I’ve been exposed to a lot of different writing/agent/submission related woes and situations.

Ever since I learned about competitions like Pitch Wars and AMM, one of the biggest things I was looking forward to if I ever got agented was the chance to be a mentor in one. I want to help someone reach their dream like others once did for me.

I’m looking for books with strong characters with even stronger emotions (points for banter and gray morals), unique magic systems, worlds, and settings, and stories steeped in myth and folklore. Give me diverse casts and fresh voices and original worlds.

  • Fantasy
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I love all types of Fantasy, from high to urban. I especially love stories where settings play a huge role, or ones steeped in myths and fairytales. Morally gray characters are my lifeblood, and I’d love to see stories with strong female friendships and girls kicking ass and unlikeable heroines (who I always love). I’m not the mentor for stories with the “girl that’s not like other girls” trope, or stories where the focus in romance. Give me romance of all kinds, but if it’s the sole focus of the book, there are other mentors who are better suited.


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

My mentoring style will be very collaborative, with a focus on whatever strategy works best for my mentee. I’d like to start by focusing on overarching edits for bigger things (plot, character, worldbuilding, etc), which is best done in an edit letter. Once the big things are squared away, we can dive into line edits in the manuscript itself. My approach is very open and honest. If I love something, I’ll say it. If I think something needs work, I’ll tell you, and I’ll give you examples and suggestions to get you started

I’m flexible, and I’d like to work with my mentee in whatever way works best for them. If you need to talk (discuss ideas/changes, ask questions about my feedback, whatever!), I’m happy to email, skype, FB/Twitter chat, or whatever you need! We can discuss what strategy works best for you.

My strengths are in dialogue, worldbuilding, characters, and condensing (aka cutting out unnecessary words and scenes and streamlining everything). I’m also weirdly good at queries (and even more weirdly, like writing them).

My ideal mentee is a hard worker who’s willing to make necessary revisions. Someone that can accept critical feedback and is comfortable discussing and collaborating throughout the process, but who is also comfortable working independently and doing the necessary research. Ideally, my mentee would be someone looking to form a long term writing relationship and who is kind, professional, and easy to communicate with.


  • Fantasy that blurs genres – give me mysteries or thrillers in a fantasy setting!
  • Banter is the key to my heart.
  • Give me wit and cleverness and intelligent characters.
  • Morally gray characters and broken characters that are trying to put themselves back together (think anyone from Leigh Bardugo’s SIX OF CROWS).
  • I love mythology and folklore and fairytales of every kind.
  • Give me lush, magical settings (Ireland and Scotland are my favorite places in the world, but I’ll go anywhere) and complicated worlds.
  • Magic systems are my love (science-based magic systems, simple magic systems, complex ones, magic is magic and does whatever systems).
  • For urban fantasy, give me unique stories and creatures (no vampires, werewolves, ghosts).
  • Give me diverse casts of characters in every way.
  • Dark fantasy and whimsical fantasy are my go to types, but I love everything from political stories to stories about every day characters after personal things.


  • No secret princesses please.
  • Portal fantasy isn’t high on my list.
  • Romantic Fantasy books are best suited to another mentor (fine with books with Romance! Just not as the focus of the plot.)
  • Not a fan of vampires/werewolves/angels/mermaids.
  • Please no sexual assault/rape.

Authors: Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, Laini Taylor, Brandon Sanderson.
Books: Recently loved THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton, UPROOTED by Naomi Novik, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson, and THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert.
TV: Love Avatar the Last Air Bender, Orphan Black, Sense8, Peaky Blinders, Death Note.
Films: Miyazaki films (esp. Princess Mononoke), LOTR, Coco.