Carolyn Tara O’Neil grew up in a tiny New York City apartment filled with thousands of books. Every Friday she went to the public library for even more reading material. She now lives in a slightly smaller NYC apartment with slightly fewer books, and still goes to the library every week.
She has dedicated her career to education and human rights. After spending four years supporting prosecutions for genocide and crimes against humanity, she became particularly concerned with how we build societies that lift all members together rather than tearing us apart. Her books touch on these themes.
Carolyn is an NPR junkie, a wannabe TV critic, and is always eager to talk about tea, stationery, books, and politics with folks of all persuasions.
I first queried in 2017, with very little success! I’ve been writing my entire life, but that year I grew serious about getting published. I dove into online articles, blog posts, books, and chat forums, looking to shape a winning query + opening. But all my attempts fell flat. No bites.
Luckily for me, that was when I got into Author Mentor Match. Revising my manuscript with my mentor and collaborating with my new network of fellow mentees, I became truly ready to query. A year after my first attempt, I queried again. This time I found my wonderful agent Andrea Somberg, and ultimately sold my book.
Writing really does take a village, more than I realized as a solitary, aspiring writer. AMM brought me into a community of fellow writers I’ve learned tons from, and introduced me to my mentor who continues to be an inspiration and voice of support for me. I’d love to pay forward everything that AMM brought me.
Writing is my lifelong passion, and I love editing and revision. Through multiple writing groups, I’ve had the chance to give feedback on books that are now either agented or published. I’ve developed a sharp eye for plot structure and character development. I give honest feedback both on what works and what doesn’t in a manuscript, and in queries. Sometimes I find myself quoting QueryShark without even realizing it….
As an erstwhile English major and English teacher, I enjoy reading and analyzing my friends’ works. However, I’m not the best fit for someone looking for grammar-level edits. Finally, as an AMM mentee myself, I really enjoy the mentor-mentee relationship and am ready to be a cheerleader for my mentee!
OVERVIEWThe greatest thing my mentor did was believe in me. I want to repay the confidence and growth she helped me achieve, by paying it forward to another aspiring author. I’m eager to find a writer whose voice I love, whose story excites me, and who I can provide value to with editing and exposure to the publishing industry. So much has surprised me during the publishing process. I’d like to open fellow writers’ eyes to the realities of getting published today.
Being a mentee within Author Mentor Match changed how I think about writing, and made me realize what a communal exercise it is. I now feel like I’m a part of a community of writers, and I’m excited for more mentees to join.
I really enjoy the process of revising, and look forward to working with a mentee who is open to constructive criticism — but not beholden to it. I expect to do more than one round of revision together, as needed.
YA & Adult:
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
I love character-driven stories. I’m more excited by internal struggles than situational conflict — think Brontes over Austen — but even better when those internal struggles can be tied into societal commentary!! As a historical writer I am very big on setting, and always interested to read an unusual place, time or world.
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Skype or phone call
My editorial style is very thorough. I aim for encouraging but honest critique. I’ll provide an edit letter with detailed feedback on the highlights of the manuscript, and the aspects that didn’t work for me. Once my mentee has revised after our exchange, I’m happy to read again and share thoughts on the changes.
I consider face-to-face communications essential for any relationship, but especially a mentoring one! So I expect at least one Skype call with my mentee, and I’ll always be ready to answer questions about my feedback or about the publishing industry.
My ideal mentee has experience with beta readers, and has already done some revision based on feedback. I’d like to work with someone who is ready to accept constructive criticism on their work and to level up their manuscript. I don’t expect them (or anyone) to take all my suggestions! But definitely to be open to them.
I also hope that mentees are eager to become a part of the AMM community, as there’s tons to enjoy and learn from here — and plenty of opportunities to give back.
I’m a big genre fan! In **YA**, I particularly enjoy:
- historical fiction
- fairy-tale retellings (I’m still all in on this one! 🙂
- contemporaries if they’re about PoC
In **Adult**, I love:
- mysteries — especially a good cozy!! Think Anthony Horowitz
- thrillers — with a lot of character development. Think Grafton’s Alphabet mysteries, Evanovich’s Plum series, and anything John le Carre
- character-heavy, soft sci-fi; think Madeline Roux and Maureen McHugh
- romance, especially historicals — e.g. Alyssa Cole, Laura Lee Guhrke, Eloisa James
- historical fiction
DO NOT SEND ME:
- stories devoid of hope (dark is a-OK though!)
- any worlds that recreate oppression against women or PoC without commentary or purpose
*AUTHORS!* Agatha Christie, Kristin Cashore, Justina Ireland, Brontes, and everyone mentioned above
*TV!* Battlestar Galactica, The 100, Community, The Americans, Veep
*YOUTUBE CHANNELS!* Alexa Donne, Damon and Jo, Downshiftology, Bookishpixie, the clexa chronicles, Stacey Flowers, The Financial Diet, and so much more