Chelsea Hensley at KT Literary

Adult SFF



Lia Ryerson is a Brooklyn-based fantasy writer and inexpert doodler.

Originally from Colorado, Lia moved to New York to pursue an MFA in creative writing (and a life uninhibited by altitude sickness). A classic middle child, both her personality and writing have been described by friends as “funny, then abruptly infuriating.”


I queried my first book in late-2019 and became the self-proclaimed Revise & Resubmit queen—I had a lot of “close, but no cigar—try again!” responses to the full MS, and ended up shelving it in favor of picking up Save The Cat! and binge-watching authortube videos as I licked my wounds. In early 2020, I decided to try plotting a new novel with story beats, and ended up signing with my agent for that new MS that summer!


Way back in undergrad, I landed my first ever internship with Simon & Schuster (RIP), and never looked back—I knew I wanted to be as involved as possible in the writing and book communities going forward. Since then, I’ve managed to lasso a handful of cherished critique partners through internships, online writing communities, workshops, and my MFA program. Several of those CPs have gone on to nab agents and book deals during our time working together. During the day, I write and edit articles for an online media company, and freelance on the side.


Writing is beautiful. Publishing is hard! The entire process is nebulous at best, but the one constant that has buoyed me through the hurdles—the dread of the blank page, the first-draft blues, the rejections—has been my friends in the writing community. Sometimes all it takes is having someone in your corner who believes in you and your work to help you fall back in love with the process.

I’m excited to find voice-y, innovative, progressive genre Adult SFF (Give me queer! Give me funny and weird! Give me voice that drips off the page and morally gray protagonists!). I’m not looking for a particular kind of book so much as something that feels utterly specific to the author—like only you and you alone could have written your MS.

While I’m open to pretty much all genre Adult SFF (contemporary, epic, etc.), right now dark academia is a big yes from me. I’m particularly excited about SFF with mystery and/or horror elements, and while I’m open to paranormal, I’m picky.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • #ownvoices

I’m not a huge fan of the farmboy to hero trope.


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


My mentoring style is open-ended and collaborative—I want you to feel comfortable expressing what works and what doesn’t for you. Typically, I like to write in-line comments (these can range from questions I have to flagging awkward word choices, to compliments) and then provide an edit letter, which includes feedback on things like character arcs, dialogue, plot development, action, pacing, exposition, emotional connection, and more.

I am open to having a phone conversation or Zoom-call after you receive your edit letter to go over any questions and talk everything out, but ideally my mentee will be someone who prefers to communicate via gchat, e-mail, or text. I’ll always be available on those platforms to brainstorm, ping-pong ideas, answer questions, provide moral support, or chat!


My ideal mentee is here to work hard and grow—revision is a tough but essential part of the publishing process, and ideally you’ll have some experience receiving feedback and revising. That said, my hope is that you’re also comfortable asking questions and using your discretion. I’m not here to change your MS—I’m here to help you make it the best version of the book YOU set out to create.


  • Give me unique mythologies, diverse casts, and complicated, messy characters—think “Black Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse (my favorite book of 2020 so far).
  • Books with unique hooks that read smooth as butter. Books that feel nostalgic and transfixing and aren’t afraid to break your heart—think “The Invisible Life of Addie Larue” by V.E. Schwab, “The Wayward Children” series by Seanan McGuire, and “This Is How You Lose the Time War” by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.
  • Voice, please, and irreverent humor! Growing up, I LOVED the “Wayside School” books by Louis Sachar. Now, think Tamsyn Muir, Terry Pratchett, Jasper Fforde, etc.—all different, but all dripping with voice.
  • Some other favorites: “The Poppy War” trilogy by R.F. Kuang, “The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet” by Becky Chambers, “The Fifth Season” by N.K. Jemesin, “Song of Achilles” by Madeline Miller, and “Magic for Liars” by Sarah Gailey. Always here for #ownvoices and LGBTQIA+ rep.


I’m not the right mentor for a pandemic book, and I’m not the right fit for novels that use someone else’s sexual trauma as a motivating factor for the protagonist.


My favorite shows include Black Mirror, Fleabag, I May Destroy You, The Leftovers, Normal People, The Queen’s Gambit, The Haunting of Hill House, Game of Thrones, Buffy, and The Wire.

Do with that information what you will!