Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Carly Heath is the author of The Heathens of Muskox Hollow (Soho Press). Her previous work has been published in Meridian: the Semiannual from the University of Virginia, selected for Best Gay Stories 2017 (edited by Joe Okonkwo, author of Jazz Moon), shortlisted for an Aeon Award, and named first runner-up for New Letters’ Alexander Cappon Fiction Prize. She was an Alden B. Dow Creativity Fellow, and earned her MFA from Chapman University.
My novel sold with my second agent, so I have the experience of querying twice and going on sub twice. Though Heathens was my first novel, I have now written five books and also published short fiction.
This is my second time mentoring for AMM. I’ve taught literature, creative writing, and storytelling at the college level for a number of years. I’ve interned at American Zoetrope, providing coverage on short stories and screenplays. Authors I’ve CP’d for have gone on to get agents and book deals, some have had their books sold at auction. I’ve also helped many with query letters, synopses, and the querying process.
I’m excited to help others avoid the mistakes I made when I was just starting out. I also love helping others polish their projects and develop their characters.
I love diverse books by diverse authors that have big feels! For me, emotion is what grabs my attention in a story. I adore main characters who care deeply about something. I believe books should be representative of the intersectionality of our world, and so I appreciate when the cast of characters includes POC, queer, disabled, religiously diverse, and other marginalized identities (and intersections of those identities).
- Contemporary, Romance
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
- Literary is my jam as well.
Above all else, I want books that have big, big feels and characters who experience the full range of emotion.
- Friends to lovers
- Historical doesn’t need to have magic in it (but can)
- Found families
- Friendship stories
- Animal companions
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
My strengths as a mentor include: character development, addressing pacing issues, enhancing the emotion of a scene, fixing structural issues, helping with sensory descriptions and internality. I provide a comprehensive edit letter and in-line notes and can meet over zoom for brainstorming sessions. I’m also flexible, so just let me know what you need to be successful, and I will provide 🙂
My ideal mentee knows that no book is great in it’s first, second, or even 10th draft. Many revisions (sometimes dozens) are what it takes to make a good book great. Revisions often mean major surgery and restructuring, not just cosmetic adjustments or fixing typos. Be prepared to kill lots of darlings and do some serious thinking and reworking until the manuscript really shines.
- Marginalized authors writing a diverse cast of characters
- Anything dealing with disability and showing that disabled characters don’t have to be “inspiring,” “perfect,” or happy/positive all the time.
- Ace/aro characters and queerplatonic relationships
- Feminine cis hetero (or queer) guys who wear make up and dress femme
- Emancipated teens
- Anything that centers the female gaze (or the trans gaze and/or enby gaze)
- Because there shouldn’t be any gatekeeping when it comes to dismantling the patriarchy, I’m all for supporting queer women, trans, and enby authors who write cis guys.
- Destroying white supremacy
- Anything comp-able to Yuri on Ice
- Anything with horses or other animal pals.
My tastes are all over the place. I read all genres. If your book has big emotions and lovable characters, I’ll probably love it. Don’t limit yourself to just what’s on my MSWL. Send it my way.
DO NOT SEND ME:
If all the characters in your book are white, hetero, cis, and abled, I’ll probably pass.
Not a fan of toxic Love Interests or abuse of any kind
As an assault survivor, I can’t handle anything dealing with sexual assault
Please no animal abuse, animal exploitation, hunting, slaughtering etc…
- Yuri on Ice
- Howl’s Moving Castle
- Madeline Miller (Circe, Song of Achilles)
- Adam Silvera
- Becky Albertalli
- Shaun David Hutchinson
- Taylor Jenkins Reid (Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
- Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch, The Secret History)
- Justina Ireland (Dread Nation)
- Mackenzi Lee (Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue)
- Stephen King (especially The Dark Tower series)
- Margaret Atwood
- Kurt Vonnegut
- Peaky Blinders
- Mozart in the Jungle
- Umbrella Academy
- Black Panther
- Phantom of the Opera
- Les Mis
- Stranger Things
- Schitt’s Creek
- The Good Place
- Downton Abbey