Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary Agency

Middle Grade


Tracy is a Filipino-American author of books full of humor, magic, and young people with sunny hearts in a sometimes stormy world. By day, she is an attorney who works in national housing policy and programs, and by night, she squeezes in writing, family time, pup pets, and bites of her secret stash of candy. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband, chatty toddler, and photogenic Maltese.

According to my grandmother, I inherited my love of the written word from my great-grandfather, a school teacher in the Philippines. I like to think this means writing is in my blood. Over the years, my writing has taken many different forms, from handwritten stories on stapled-together printer paper to law journal articles to picture books and novels. When I started to pursue traditional publication, I signed with my first agent through PitMad and an in-agency passalong, and we went on submission with two historical narrative picture books. During that time, I found myself enjoying the middle grade space more, and so my agent and I amicably parted ways. Through a referral from a wonderful critique partner, I queried and later signed with Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency. We went on submission with a contemporary fantasy MG late this summer!

I have plenty of experience critiquing manuscripts of several talented writer friends at all stages, whether they’re getting ready to query agents or have a few published novels already under their belts. I’ve also helped review and polish everything from queries, synopses, author website copy, to Twitter contest pitches, and I’m eager to pass on everything I’ve learned to a mentee.


I want to help you put out your best work. Sometimes, the only thing you can control in the publishing process is the quality of the books you send out into the world. I consider myself so fortunate to have writing friends whose thoughtfulness and encouragement helped me make my own writing the best it could be. In addition to the writing itself, my amazing critique partner group, the Guillotine Queens, have helped me through many a writing/publishing crisis. It’s this kind of support that I want to bring to a mentee through AMM.

I love helping others level up and giving them the tools and connections to keep excelling. My journey through publishing involved a lot of trial, error, and pestering wiser writers for advice, and I’m excited to share everything I’ve learned through it all with my mentee. If you’re clicking around on this page, I don’t have to tell you how important it is to have some solid writer friends in your corner. I’ll be one of the ones patching you up, giving you pointers, and cheering you on as you head back into the ring.

I’m open to middle grade in any genre but horror and romance/crushes. I love funny works and stories about marginalized kids living their best lives. I’m looking for a strong writer, with that elusive middle grade voice, who is ready to put in the hard work and who is fine with having a cheerleader constantly shouting encouragement in their direction.

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Historical
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

I’m open to middle grade in any genre but horror and romance/crushes.


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

I’m a plotter with a sizable craft book library and love of structure, so be prepared to get some writing blogs or craft book suggestions thrown your way. I have a good eye for structure, tightening up character and story arcs, and pinpointing places where the writer can tighten their hold around the reader’s heartstrings. I also go a step beyond “this doesn’t work” type of feedback so that it’s more “this doesn’t work: this may be why, and here’s what to consider as you think this over.” Lastly, as a side effect of my day job, I’m very deadline-focused, so I’ll try my hardest to get you things when I tell you I will, or I’ll at least give you a big heads-up if I’ll need more time.

When working with you, I’ll first want to get to know you, your book, and what you perceive its strengths and weak points are. This is important because, at the end of the day, this is your book and you decide what’s best for the kind of story you want to tell. I want to make sure that my feedback is appropriate to what you want to learn and where you want to improve. This can be via email/chat/call/Zoom – whatever works best for you.

Then I’ll give you a big picture edit letter and in-line comments. Once you’ve got a chance to mull it all over and brainstorm ways forward, we’ll connect via chat/call/Zoom before you dive into revisions. After your draft is finished, I’ll read a second time and provide additional in-line edits as needed. I’ll also help with a query and a synopsis when you’re ready.

Remember that my feedback is guidance, not a bible. You’re not going to hurt my feelings if you don’t take one of my suggestions (trust me: I’m a lawyer, and plenty of people don’t take my advice), but I do expect my mentee to come to the table with an open mind, ready to learn and discuss.

My ideal mentee is someone who is already confident in the quality of their work (because they’ve heavily self-revised or have a critique partner or two) but who would appreciate another perspective. They should have a strong vision of the kind of story they want to tell and why, be open to having collaborative discussions about what works or doesn’t, and be willing to put the time and effort in shaping and polishing their writing.

I’d love to see stories about marginalized kids living (or trying to live) their best lives, whether it involves saving the world or learning how to live in a changing one. I have a soft spot for funny stories, ones with ethnically or economically diverse casts, and, in fantasy/sci-fi, ones that immerse you in their rich, unique worlds.

This isn’t an all-inclusive list, but if your story hits one of these, I’d like to see it:

  • All the middle grade humor. Even the fart jokes.
  • Misfits with unique hobbies, interests, or goals 
  • Big families and multi-generational households
  • Fantasy or sci-fi settings that are detailed and well-thought-out
  • Cool kids who aren’t mean
  • Kids learning about their roots and being proud about who they are


I’m not the best mentoring fit for issue-driven books, “chosen one” themes, portal fantasies, and scary/dark stuff.


Recent book faves: Dragon Pearl. A Song Below Water. The Poet X. Other Words for Home. Spirit Hunters. Where Dreams Descend. The Sound of Stars. The Storm Crow duology. Stand up, Yumi Chung!

Movies: this changes depending on my mood, but I can never go wrong with Moana, Thor: Ragnarok, or What We Do in the Shadows.

TV: On my DVR, I look forward to seeing new episodes of holiday-themed baking shows, Killing Eve, and 90 Day Fiance (and all its iterations). One of my crowning glories has been that I’ve seen every episode of The Simpsons, but I’ve recently fallen off that because having a toddler really makes it tough to fit in eight hours of tv a day (Homer joke there).

See a trend? I tend to like stories with strong female characters, wackiness, or a little bit of chaos with heart at its center.