Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

Adult gothic horror and fantasy with elements of mystery and suspense


Jolie is an alumnus of New York University, where she received her BA with a concentration in Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance Studies. She has a master’s degree in Writing from the University of Southern California and a PhD in Learning Sciences and Technology Design from Stanford University. Born and raised in Southern California, she now lives in Illinois and works as an assistant professor at Northwestern University. She loves ballet, tennis, figure skating, gymnastics, history, and crime shows.

I applied to AMM for R7 and wasn’t selected, yet I’m a mentor for R8. Never give up! I did DVpit last April, which eventually led me to my agent. I’m in the revision process with the goal of submission soon. Before I became agented with my current MS, I queried another MS that received a number of full requests but wasn’t quite there. Initially, I intended to revise that novel based on the feedback I received, but the idea for my current MS struck me so deeply I decided to pursue it first. It was the right story at the right time. However, I learned so much from my earlier experience, which allowed the query process for my new MS to go smoother, though every day I waited for a response felt like an eternity.

During undergrad, I interned at a literary agency and a publishing house, where I evaluated manuscripts. I also interned in the original programming department of a television network during my master’s program. I mentor undergraduate and graduate students in my current job as an assistant professor, including helping them navigate academic publishing. I have workshop experience in fiction due to my master’s, and I have taken other writing classes where I engaged in peer review. I have experience as both a CP and beta reader. A current CP of mine has a debut novel coming out next year.

I’ve received support throughout my writing journey, and I’m excited to pay it forward. I know what it means to have someone believe in your story and give you concrete feedback. I’d love to give a “yes” to someone that might make all the difference in their publishing journey. I want to connect with other writers and build community. I also want to find a story that makes me excited and have the chance to help develop it. I’d love to offer support and a little joy to someone, especially in these times.

I’m considering adult manuscripts in the horror, fantasy, and select historical fiction genres.

I love gothic stories, whether gothic horror, gothic suspense/mystery, or fantasy with gothic and/or supernatural elements. Give me creepy houses, ghosts, witches, family secrets, hidden histories, and either complex or outright evil monsters. My top interests are contemporary or historical horror and fantasy, though I enjoy some secondary-world fantasy.

Yes to reimagined stories and myths with a twist. I enjoy a traditional Victorian or Southern Gothic, but I would love to find a historical horror or fantasy set in another era or in a different/unusual location. Anyone who has a novel set in the Tudor or Julio-Claudian era with gothic or fantastical elements should apply. If you have an awesome Victorian or Southern Gothic, also apply. If you have an awesome story in any of my listed categories, apply.

I have no preference when it comes to first or third-person POV, past or present tense.

Books and authors that reflect projects I’d like to mentor: Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Mexican Gothic, Christina Henry’s The Ghost Tree, Constance Sayer’s A Witch in Time, Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, works in the vein of Tananarive Due, Wendy Webb, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Diane Setterfield, Victor LaValle, and Simone St. James. Robin McKinley’s Sunshine, Margaret Irwin’s Still She Wished for Company, Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Perilous Gard, Alexis Henderson’s The Year of the Witching, Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns.

I’d love a good vampire story. The vampires can be complex or outright evil. I probably read all of L.J. Smith’s series growing up and watched too many CW shows. Interpret this info however you like. If you love the Nightworld series and still wait for Strange Fate, apply.

  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

Tropes I love:

  • Dysfunctional families, especially dysfunctional supernatural families
  • Creepy places
  • Secrets and mysteries
  • Hidden histories and groups
  • Supernatural-academia stories
  • Ghosts, vampires, and witches
  • The tortured monster
  • The monster who’s just a monster
  • Throw at me all of your gothic tropes


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

Tough with love and laughter. I don’t sugarcoat, but I say it as nicely as possible. Truly. A fan of the sandwich-feedback method, I excel at fuzzy-sounding critiques that still get at the hard stuff. I have a flexible approach to mentorship and can adapt to different working styles based on my mentee’s needs. I want to make your MS better, but I always respect that it’s your story and vision for your work. I love brainstorming sessions and to talk through issues over a video or phone call. Be prepared to answer a lot of WHY questions about your characters’ motivations, plot structure, themes, and small details. I’ll push you on what each chapter accomplishes.

Initially, I would like to talk with you over video or on the phone about your story generally and to get a feel for how best to provide you with feedback. After our first talk, I’ll send along my editorial letter and we can discuss my comments over email/DM or hold another video or phone call. I don’t mind reading in chunks of 30-50 pages or waiting to receive the full MS. Whatever you prefer. If you do want me to read a revised MS in its entirety, I would want to talk through issues thoroughly before you delve back into the MS.

My ideal mentee has a strong vision for their story but is open to feedback. I don’t mind if you disagree with a comment or suggestion. Just be able to articulate your view and tell me why you disagree. I’d prefer someone who is flexible in their working style and attitude. Given the state of the world right now, we need to be kind to one another and make allowances for various human and life issues. At the same time, don’t flake without a word. I have no problem rescheduling meetings or waiting longer to receive revisions for any reason. All I ask is for you to let me know about the change when it’s feasible to do so.

I’d like someone who can laugh and who doesn’t mind chatting about other stuff from time to time (I promise every meeting will still be productive). I want someone who’s honest about how they feel and where they are mentally. You don’t always have to say you’re fine. It’s personally hard for me to put myself out there and be vulnerable, but I hope to create a space where my mentee feels that way with me.


  • Contemporary or historical gothic horror
  • Gothic suspense/thriller/mystery novels
  • Contemporary or historical fantasy with gothic/horror/supernatural elements
  • #Ownvoices
  • Julio-Claudian or Tudor-era novels
  • Stories set in unusual eras and/or places
  • Some secondary-world fantasy if it has gothic/horror/supernatural elements


  • Excessive violence (I don’t mind blood and gore, but I’m not that into slasher horror).
  • No rape stories
  • No police shootings
  • No prison stories
  • No stories where a slave is in love with their master

Authors: Diane Setterfield, Tananarive Due, Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Patricia McKillip, N.K. Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Margaret Irwin, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Jane Austen, Diana Wynne Jones, Sharon Kay Penman, Jean Plaidy.

All things Tudor.

TV: Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House and The Haunting of Bly Manor, Doctor Who, Law & Order (all versions), The Originals and The Vampire Diaries, Penny Dreadful (both versions), American Horror Story, The Princess Weiyoung, Planet Earth, Outlander, the ID Channel, Chicago Med/Fire/PD.

Musicals: The Phantom of the Opera, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge