Victoria Marini

YA contemporary

Swoon Reads/Macmillan
August 1, 2017

Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. KISSING MAX HOLDEN is her debut novel.

I’ve mentored in various query/opening pages contests, experiences I’ve found both fulfilling and enlightening. I also read regularly for my critique partners, as well as beta read for friends who write both YA and NA. Many of the people I’ve provided feedback for have gone on to sign with literary agents, and some have secured book deals with major publishers.

Simply, I’m hoping to find a manuscript that moves me. I gravitate toward character driven stories, and I love books with strong voice. If I can get behind the chemistry between characters, I can overlook a multitude of technical flaws. I love books that are atmospheric, “angsty”, have a chill-inducing twist, and full of romance. I’d love to work with a mentee who has similar tastes, and who’s determined to make his/her manuscript at strong as possible.

I read mostly contemporary YA, almost always books with a strong romantic element. In fact, it’s rare that I’ll pick up a book lacking in romance. While my heart lies with contemporary, I also read fantasy, magical realism, and some sci-fi. I’m always on the lookout for a book that makes me FEEL, regardless of genre.

My critique style is thorough. I love to dive into a story, examining its big picture, as well as fine-tuning and line editing. I often leave hundreds of comments in a manuscript’s margins — feedback detailing questions I have, areas where I’m confused, sections that might require more development, sections that could possibly be omitted, as well as anything that gives me the laughs, swoons, or chills. I strive to be both critical and enthusiastic. I’m open to brainstorming with a mentee about how possible issues within the manuscript might be addressed, and I always encourage writers to go with their gut when making changes to their story.

My ideal mentee is hard working, openminded, collaborative, enthusiastic, and eager to make his/her manuscript shine.

Favorite shows: Friday Night Lights, Parenthood, Breaking Bad, Six Feet Under, Dawson’s Creek, and Gilmore Girls (at least until the reboot).

Favorite movies: The Princess Bride, Dirty Dancing, Pitch Perfect, Moulin Rouge, Walk the Line, and Tangled, among many more.

Favorite authors: Melina Marchetta, Gayle Forman, Jessi Kirby, Miranda Kenneally, Kristin Cashore, Trish Doller, Laini Taylor, JK Rowling, Stephanie Perkins, Jandy Nelson, Jenny Han, Rainbow Rowell, Sara Zarr, Emery Lord, Lisa Schroeder, Katie Cotugno, Robin Benway, and Morgan Matson.

I’d love to mentor a writer with a manuscript similar to any of the following:

– an intricate psychological thriller with a romantic subplot, like AFTER THE WOODS
– a novel in verse, like CHASING BROOKLYN
– a sweeping romance, like THE LOVE THAT SPLIT THE WORLD
– a story with a messy, complex romance, like HOW TO LOVE
– a fantasy rich in world building, with strong characters, like THE WINNER’S CURSE or GRACELING
– a YA version of THE HATING GAME
– magical realism with gorgeous prose, like THE WEIGHT OF FEATHERS
– a lyrically written romance, like THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE
– a contemp that makes me question everything I *think* I feel, like STOLEN
– a retelling from an unexpected POV, like TIGER LILY
– an edgy contemp that gives me chills, like THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY
– a road trip story, like AMY & ROGER’S EPIC DETOUR or IN HONOR
– a contemp that might be compared to books Jenny Han, Jessi Kirby, Miranda Kenneally, Stephanie Perkins, Kasie West, Katie Cotugno, Trish Doller, Heather Demetrios, Sara Zarr, Emery Lord, or Melina Marchetta

Probably not a good fit for me: most sci-fi (unless heavily romantic, like ACROSS THE UNIVERSE), paranormal, dystopian, urban fantasy, contemps without some romance, and “”issue”” books.