Jo is a perpetually exhausted ENFJ, enneagram 3w4, former book editor, and current writer of books rooted in reality with magic woven through them. As a British-American currently living in Atlanta, she says stuff like “knackered” and “pish” but does it while drinking a latte and side-eyeing strangers waving to her as they drive by. She is represented by Claire Friedman of Inkwell Management.
Serena is a full-blown enneagram 8w7, and has no idea what her personality type is, but Jo calls her a chaos monster so that feels right. She writes YA contemporary and fantasy, and just wants to make her characters fight the whole book and then kiss. She is also British-American, so understands when Jo is really knackered, and tells her to go off to bedfordshire. She is known to repaint a room three times in one day, and then edit ten chapters, but assures everyone it is the chaos and not illicit drugs. She is represented by Jim McCarthy at DGB.
Jo wrote a book (historical) and set it aside after querying approximately five agents. Then she wrote another book (historical-ish fantasy-ish), never really revised because lol, queried it to 35 agents and received multiple R&Rs. At the same time she got into AMM. Through AMM she learned how to revise and queried again. She received her first offer 10 days later. And then almost immediately went back to revising.
Serena wrote a lot of fanfic growing up (Pride & Prejudice lol). She wrote one book, applied to AMM, got in, revised a few times, queried, got an agent… and secretssssss. She is now writing several other secret projects that she hopes will see the light of day soon.
Jo got her undergrad degrees in Fiction Writing and International Studies from Hope College then went on to get a Masters in Publishing from City University London where she graduated with merit. She worked in-house for many years at children’s publishers and book packagers before creating tiny monsters called children, at which time she shifted to freelance work and gave herself the freedom to work on her own writing.
Serena grew up very introverted (stop laughing Jo) and considers herself a professional reader. Her mother had to go to the school’s office every Friday to pick up the stack of books that were confiscated during that week for reading in class and not paying attention, and can now read a novel in about 3 hours. She got a few business degrees when she thought she was going to move to NYC and live like Carrie Bradshaw, but then stumbled headfirst into medicine and now works in a Covid unit. She has a surprising amount of free time, and you may find random edits in your inbox at 2am. Most of her editing knowledge is from experience (working with editors and CPs) and through the AMM program itself.
Both Serena and Jo have gone through AMM as mentees, loved the experience, and are thrilled to be involved on the other side.
Serena and Jo like fresh, unexpected, voicy, well-written, high-concept genre mashings. Something with a hint of magic that defies expectations and a voice that kicks you in the teeth. Contemporaries with a mind-blowing premise. We love to laugh almost as much as we love to cry and if your aim is to have all the stakes and drama and make us hurt but also thread humor through the story, we are here for it. Give us ship-vibes! We looooove a good romantic arc.
All that said, here’s the main thing to remember: most of these things can be revised. Romantic arcs can be tweaked, humor can be honed, plotting and pacing can be fixed and tightened. While someone can learn to write (through reading and writing and rewriting and re-rewriting), it’s not something Serena and Jo can teach. So, first and foremost, give them writing that makes them salivate, a concept that makes them giddy, and an author ready to pull out the scalpel.
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
We are open to Contemporary but it would need to be high-concept. We also love Historical and Mystery/Thrillers as components, rather than a genre.
TROPES WE LOVE
- Life-changing friendships
- Dysfunctional families
- Slow burn
- Overachieving MCs
- Boarding schools/Regular school settings
TROPES WE DON’T LOVE SO MUCH
- Love triangles
- Manic pixie dream girl or Mary Sue
- Bury your gays
- Stalking as romantic/Insta-love
- Not like the other girls
WE WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes in a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
Initially there will be an edit letter. After that, a lot is going to depend on the mentee and what they’re comfortable with. Both Serena and Jo have extensive experience in brainstorming and problem solving on a developmental level and will help in whatever format the mentee is most comfortable with, whether that is video call or text chat. But they also understand that sometimes people work best with their head down. Basically: they will be as annoyingly present or on-call absent as you require.
Serena and Jo are looking for someone who is motivated, and has the time and dedication to see this book through to querying. They are going to give this manuscript everything they have, but you’ll have to meet them halfway. They will do edits, brainstorm with you, offer support and enthusiasm from the sidelines, but you’re the author. You’re going to have to do the actual heavy-lifting. Serena and Jo are still really close with their mentors. They would love to develop a lasting relationship with their mentee, going through all the publishing milestones together.
COME BE THEIR FRIEND!
- High-concept, genre-bending contemporary. Think: Sadie, Eliza and her Monsters, More Happy Than Not
- Genre-mashing Fantasy funnies. Think: My Lady Jane, Gentleman’s Guide, Gideon the Ninth, Sorcery of Thorns
- Magical worlds with beautiful prose. Think: Strange the Dreamer, Fable, The Hazel Wood, Uprooted
- Plotty contemporary fantasies with characters to die for. Think: The Cruel Prince, Raven Boys
- Re-imagined fairy tales: Spinning Silver, A Blade so Black, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, A House of Salt and Sorrow, Cruel Beauty
DO NOT SEND US:
- Love triangles (if you could basically just superimpose them on Twilight; boy/girl next door vs brooding stranger)
- Manic pixie dream girl or Mary Sue (characters must have depth)
- Bury your gays (we do not bury gays in this house)
- Stalking as romantic/Insta-love (make these characters actually work for it)
- “I’m not like the other girls”
- Sci-fi and Horror (they are likely not the best fit for stories solidly within these genres, but if there’s a fair amount of genre-mashing, then they’re game)
Jo’s favorite books include True Grit, The Scorpio Races, My Lady Jane, and Strange the Dreamer.
Her favorite TV shows are Carnivale, Firefly, Good Omens, and The Good Place.
Favorite Films: Big Fish, Stardust, Tangled, and O Brother Where Art Thou.
Serena’s favorite books include Uprooted, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, The Bear and the Nightingale, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Strange the Dreamer, You Should See Me in a Crown, and Gideon the Ninth.
Her favorite TV shows are Lucifer, American Gods, Killing Eve, Fleabag, Sex Education, Buffy, The Alienist, A Discovery of Witches, and The Vampire Diaries.
Favorite Films: Pride and Prejudice (2005), Anastasia, Crimson Peak, Howl’s Moving Castle, 10 Things I Hate About You, Ever After, Austenland, and the Young Victoria.