We are both represented by Deborah Warren at East West Literary Agency.
Both Nicole and Megan write MG and YA, both in prose and in verse.
Megan: ALONE (January 12, 2021)
Simon & Schuster/Aladdin
Nicole: On submission, MG fantasy
Megan E. Freeman attended an elementary school where poets visited her classroom every week to teach poetry and she has been a writer ever since. She writes middle grade and young adult fiction, and her debut middle grade novel-in-verse ALONE will be published in January 2021 from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Megan is also a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, and her poetry collection, Lessons on Sleeping Alone, was published by Liquid Light Press. An award-winning teacher with decades of classroom experience, Megan is nationally recognized for her work leading workshops and speaking to audiences across the country. Megan used to live in northeast Los Angeles, central Ohio, northern Norway, and on Caribbean cruise ships. Now she lives in northern Colorado.
Nicole M. Hewitt is a middle grade writer living in the Chicago area with her husband, three kids, and three fluffy pups. Nicole homeschooled two of her three kids, and she taught theatre and language arts at a large homeschool co-op for six years. These days, she spends her days writing, blogging, freelance editing, attempting to keep her puppy out of trouble, and working on seemingly endless home redesigns and renovations. She is currently on submission with her first middle grade novel.
Megan: My publishing experiences have been varied and include many poems published in literary journals and anthologies, in addition to my debut middle grade novel in verse, ALONE. My poetry collection for adults, LESSONS ON SLEEPING ALONE, was published by Liquid Light Press in 2015. My experience in becoming agented and publishing books for children came largely through the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). I queried agents on and off for four years, taking a long break at one point to completely rewrite my entire manuscript. Ultimately, it was through active participation in my local SCBWI chapter that I eventually met and signed with my agent. ALONE was then acquired by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin and will be available in bookstores everywhere starting January 12, 2021.
Nicole: I wrote a few failed first drafts before completing and querying my MG novel CONVENERIMUS. I was very thankful to sign on with my agent after only a few months of querying, but the book has been on submission for a year now and hasn’t found its home. I haven’t given up, though–I’m currently working on a new MG fantasy in verse (and hoping that CONVENERIMUS will eventually still make its way into kids’ lives).
Megan: I taught K-16 for many years and spent the last fifteen years of my education career as the director of a professional development center in one of the country’s top 100 high schools. I mentored scores of people over the course of my career and specialized in strategies for improving writing and revision. I also trained hundreds of other mentors, focusing specifically on understanding the nuanced differences between mentoring and coaching, and how to meet the different needs of mentees, depending on where the mentee falls on the continuum of mastery.
Nicole: I am a professional freelance editor and have worked with many authors to develop and polish their manuscripts. While I have put editing (mostly) to the side recently to focus on my own writing, I have always loved working with an author to make their book the best it can possibly be. (Most of my edits were developmental edits, where I would help guide the author on points of plot, character development, pacing, etc. I’m proud to note that one of the authors I work closely with became a USA Today Bestseller with a book that I edited!)
We first met at a party our agent hosted during the Los Angeles SCBWI conference, and we have loved the community of support we’ve found among the other authors and illustrators in our agency. Additionally, we’ve both been on the mentee end of mentorships that transformed our understandings of writing and the industry, and we feel privileged to be able to offer that support to other writers. We know that the right mentor-mentee relationship can make all the difference in navigating the world of traditional publishing, and it’s just as beneficial to the mentor as to the mentee.
We have been working together as critique partners (and more!) for over a year now. In addition to swapping manuscripts and providing feedback for each other, we send daily emails and have weekly phone calls where we set goals, hold each other accountable, and encourage each other as we navigate the publishing world. This partnership has been incredibly valuable to both of us, and we love the idea of shepherding someone else through the revision and querying process and sharing what we’ve learned. We have seen firsthand how rewarding it can be to work closely with other writers, and we are excited to extend that to a mentee.
We both enjoy heartfelt contemporaries, contemporaries with a speculative twist, and fantasies (including portal fantasies). We both write in verse as well as prose, and we would welcome submissions for verse novels.
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
- Novels in verse
We hesitate to list tropes we like or dislike, since a great story well told can make even the most common trope feel fresh and original again.
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
- Zoom meeting with screen share
Megan is great at posing questions that help writers identify key issues in their manuscripts and at providing actionable feedback to focus and prioritize revision. She also has a knack for framing the query/submission process so as to take the sting out of rejection and empower writers to manifest their goals through actionable steps.
Nicole is great at spotting pesky plot holes and helping an author think deeply about character development. She also has a keen eye for detail, and can help make certain that the manuscript is truly polished before the mentee starts querying.
We will collaborate together to provide feedback to inform and drive developmental revisions of the overall manuscript, as well as provide a line edit once the developmental revisions are complete. We will also be available to help create a strategy for querying and provide feedback on the query letter.
We are open to communication in various forms (email, messaging, phone, etc.) and would be happy to form a lasting relationship with our mentee that will extend well beyond AMM.
If you are our ideal mentee, you are an ambitious writer who is committed to developing your skills and learning as much as you can about the world of traditional publishing. You have already created a writing community of critique partners with whom you share work, and you regularly seek out and participate in a variety of learning opportunities related to your publishing goals. You see yourself as an active agent in your own success, and you have taken your manuscript as far as you possibly can using all your available resources. You are ready to partner with us in doing the hard and wonderful work of elevating your manuscript to the next level of excellence.
- Verse novels
- Quiet contemporaries with emotional resonance
- Lyrical fantasies, like Anne Ursu, Roshani Chokshi, Sophie Anderson
- Fairy tale/mythology/classic retellings
- Fantasies with unique magical systems and/or settings
DO NOT SEND US:
- We’re probably not the best choice for goofy humor or novels that are primarily comedies (some comedic elements are welcome!)
- We’re a little weary of the “kid has magical powers and goes to a special school for kids with magical powers and has to save the world” premise.
Megan: I love quiet stories with big heart like Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, The List Of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead, Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin, and anything by Kate DiCamillo. I also love stories told through beautiful language like I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, Voices by David Elliott, and Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough. And I adore books with irreverent voices like Matilda by Roald Dahl, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, and pretty much any book John Green writes.
Nicole: My all-time favorite series is the Unwind Dystology by Neal Shusterman (I’m a sucker for a dystopia that really makes you think), and my all-time favorite TV show is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A few middle grade verse novels I love: House Arrest by K.A. Holt, Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, and The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton. To get an idea of other books I’ve loved, the best thing to do is take a look at my blog, Feed Your Fiction Addiction, where I’ve shared hundreds of books I’ve loved!