Melanie Castillo of Root Literary

MG/YA Science Fiction & Fantasy

Little Brown Young Readers

Maeeda Khan, writing as M.T. Khan, is a SFF writer with upcoming projects in the MG, YA and Adult space. She focuses on stories close to her heart⁠—evoking cultural and societal conversations through her works.

When she’s not writing, M.T. Khan has her nose deep in physics textbooks or glued to her CAD computer as she majors in Mechanical Engineering. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, she currently resides in Toronto, Canada, with a hyperactive cat and an increasing selection of fantasy video games.

I’ve been writing ever since I knew people could string words together and call it a story. The earliest book I wrote was a Frog Prince retelling, a world full of random and strange adventures that I spent my leisure time exploring. It wasn’t until high school rolled around that I started to read the Epics of fantasy, and fell in love with none other than Lord of the Rings. From then on, I knew I wanted to write stories that could evoke emotions from people. (It’s like magic!)

Although I’ve been writing for over a decade, just this year (2020), I wrote and pitched my MG contemporary fantasy, Nura and the Immortal Palace, in a pitch contest and received attention from over 60 agents. After narrowing down my prospects, I signed with my agent, went on submission two weeks later, and got a book deal two weeks after that. It all happened within a whirlwind of six months, and I’m incredibly grateful to the writing community that helped me at every stage. I wanted to give back to the community by becoming a mentor!

Ever since getting a book deal, I’ve become accustomed to professional edits, edit letters, and the different components of the revision process. My critique partners have become agented, and I’ve done a whole slew of query + first chapter critiques where the writers have attained agents afterwards. I also have experience as a mentee, so I know how it feels to be on the other side of this mentor-mentee relationship. I hope to make this a comfortable and enjoyable process for the both of us. As my major is mechanical engineering, I’ll make sure to fact-check the science and math if your story involves any.


The writing community has helped me a ton. Ever since joining and participating in lifting up other writers and sharing stories with them, I’ve found another source of joy and inspiration. As my way of giving back, I want to help emerging writers in their publishing journeys by becoming a mentor.

As much as writing likes to rip my heart out and stomp over it, it’s also given me immense happiness. That happiness is what I want every writer to feel when looking at their work. I’ve been through the whole process of insecurity, doubt, and defeat, but I’ve come out a stronger writer because of it. As a mentor, I plan to hone my mentee’s story to the point that it shines through their screen. I want my mentee to feel proud of their work, happy at what they’ve achieved, and by the end of this mentorship program, have transformed into a better writer.

As a mentor, I’m very editorial. I’ll be looking at big-picture edits, worldbuilding, characterization, pacing, and general attention-grabbing elements. I love richly imagined worlds with characters that keep me guessing, emotional arcs with a spark of humour, and if it keeps me entertained throughout its entirety, your story will be perfect for me.

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

The middle grade books I love to read have a vivid voice that I can follow through to the end, morally grey characters, as well as a lot of heart and humour. Middle grade doesn’t have to shy away from tougher, darker subjects, and I love stories that pull on my heartstrings and make me think.


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

Ideally, I want this experience for my mentee to be fun, educational, and uplifting. I want to be a comfortable ally, teach them tips and tricks about writing and publishing, while also being their biggest cheerleader.

We’ll likely start with a big-picture edit letter, which will contain my questions and concerns about plot development, character dynamics, etc. We can go over everything on a phone/video call or chat (your preference). From there, we’ll establish a revision plan that best fits the needs of your book.

I prefer to dive into the full manuscript to get an overall idea of the story instead of reading chapter by chapter. At any stage of the writing process I’ll be available for questions and guidance. When it comes time to query, if you’d like me to be by your side, I’d love to help you research agents and refine your submission materials.

My ideal mentee understands that revision is a necessary step to the path of publication. Revision can make you fall into an endless pit of doubt, but that’s why I’m here to help! As my mentee, you’ll be prepared to sharpen your skills, push the boundaries of what you’re used to, and be open to feedback. You’re probably serious about getting published and know how to implement critiques. I’d like to develop a long-lasting friendship with my mentee where I can be there for the rollercoaster of your publishing journey.


Don’t feel limited to this list! I love being surprised. If you have a great voice and excellent craft, then I’ll want to take a peek regardless.

  • Ghibli-esque stories
  • Secret societies
  • Twists on clichés
  • Philosophical exploration
  • Genre-bending fiction. (fantasy books with modern tech, creepy monsters lurking in a sci-fi world)
  • Well-planned plots. (Make me second-guess every plot development and gasp at the twists)
  • Complicated family structures
  • Found families & ensemble casts
  • Dark twists that aren’t apparent at first
  • Rich & vivid settings that could be its own character
  • Timely books that can speak to current issues


Animal stories probably aren’t my thing.



In no particular order…


  • Ghibli movies
  • The Godfather
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Shawshank Redemption
  • Animated Disney movies
  • Into the Spiderverse
  • Black Panther and Civil War are my Marvel faves
  • LOTR
  • Game of Thrones (we don’t talk about the ending)
  • Breaking Bad
  • ATLA


  • FMA:B
  • One Piece
  • Attack on Titan
  • Hunter x Hunter
  • Code Geass
  • Angel Beats
  • Death Note


  • Six of Crows
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora
  • LOTR
  • Kite Runner
  • The Hate U Give
  • A Monster Calls

 Video Games:

  • Final Fantasy
  • Elder Scrolls
  • Kingdom Hearts
  • Persona 5
  • Undertale