Lauren Spieller

YA Contemporary

On Submission

Haley Neil is a writer and current MFA candidate at The New School, studying Writing for Children and Young Adults. Before this degree, she obtained her Masters in Education while working full time as a preschool teacher.

She writes silly and heartfelt stories when she isn’t petting dogs or baking.

I began my publishing journey when I was three and would dictate silly stories to mom. I started seriously writing in high school, when I spent a summer studying creative writing at an intensive in Oxford. I sent out my first queries for picture books, though I knew I wanted to write for all areas of children’s/YA. During this time, I also started my MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I signed with my agent with my YA Contemporary over the summer (partly thanks to Pitmad!). I’m currently on submission for the first time… with two books!

I have previously worked as a mentor in my capacity as a teacher and held leadership roles in NYU’s Literary Clubs (in both London and Florence). I am currently getting my graduate degree in writing for Children and Young Adults. I have a number of wonderful critique partners who have trusted me with their books (and am so excited that you all will be able to read some of them quite soon!).

I want to be a mentor because there is no way that I would be where I am in my publishing journey without the help of other writers. I would love to give the same kind of help to another writer so they can realize the full potential of their story… and deal with the practical ins and outs of the industry!

What I’m looking for:

  • Humor that will make me laugh so hard that I concern my roommates
  • Emotions so strong I need tissues and/or chocolate
  • Preferably the above two in the same story
  • Banter please!
  • Many shenanigans
  • Believable romances (totally okay if they are paired with wacky tropes!)

  • Contemporary
  • Romance
  • #ownvoices


  • give me any and all romcom tropes- give me your enemies/rivals to lovers, your friends to lovers, your fake dating, etc…. or any of these with a twist!
  • coming of age stories are always appreciated
  • complex stories that have a mix of the light and airy with deep emotional punches

Not a fan of:

  • “the mean girl” trope
  • WWII stories (I know I didn’t tick off historical, but please, these ones are for sure not for me)
  • heavy drug/alcohol use


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

I am totally flexible with whatever works best for my mentee. My ideal overall plan would be to first focus on the big picture with an edit letter. After these questions have been addressed, we’d move on to the line edits. As for phone calls or emails in between/during, I’d be open to what my mentee feels comfortable with!

My ideal mentee is prepared for revisions, okay tearing things apart so they can build them back stronger, and genuinely loves writing. They are open when it comes to communication. A touch of silliness is always a plus!


  • Stories about fierce friendships.
  • Stories with travel.
  • Sibling stories.
  • Your most banter filled rom coms.
  • The more shenanigans, the better.
  • Stories about identity and self discovery.


  • No horror! (I am way too easily scared.)
  • I’d prefer stories without self harm.
  • While I’m okay with light elements of magic, I’m not the best person for a high fantasy story.

Books: Good Omens, The Princess Bride, Red White & Royal Blue, Love Hate & Other Filters, Let’s Call it a Doomsday, and anything Rachel Lynn Solomon has written (Today Tonight Tomorrow is one of my all time favorites, preorder it now, thank me later). There are so many more, but I need to control myself!

TV: Schitt’s Creek, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Good Place, Derry Girls, Parks and Rec, New Girl, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Lovesick

Movies: About Time, Stuck in Love, Saved!, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Bonus!: I lived in London for three semesters and it still has a special place in my heart. I like baking, I love force feeding other people.