John Cusick (Folio Jr.)

Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comedy

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Quinn Sosna-Spear was named a California Young Playwright at seventeen and went on to study at the University of Southern California. She has since written books, films, and virtual reality projects. “The Remarkable Inventions of Walter Mortinson,” her debut novel, was inspired by the untimely death of her own mother. Quinn hopes to share with all readers—particularly those struggling with loss—the humor, poignancy, and adventure in such things … as dreary and impossible as they may seem.

“Remarkable Inventions” was the first book I had written. I spent six months writing it and began querying around early-2015. I had NO idea what I was doing and I made a lot of mistakes (which I will definitely help you avoid, haha). I did manage to catch the interest of John mid-2015, and he asked me for revisions. I had to take a hiatus from my book for other work but turned the edits around mid-2016. He signed me late-2016. We revised and then sent it out. I managed to snag my amazing editor Liz Kossnar about three months later, mid-2017.

I began my career as a playwright but transitioned into film in college. I received a BFA in Writing for Screen and Television from USC and I was a few credits short of a minor in Evolutionary Biology (you know, if you’re into that). Aside from my book, I’ve since worked in the writing and editing of film, television, video games, and comics, primarily. I have casually mentored fellow writers who are looking to transition into publishing and have more formally mentored students through the Young Playwright’s Program and the Teaching Ethics Program.

The only reason I am able to write professionally is because a few key people reached out to me very early in my career and offered me advice and support. I didn’t have ‘connections’ and I wasn’t very good at making them, so I silently waited for someone to notice my writing. I was INCREDIBLY fortunate that they did. I would like to offer similar support to others who are in the same position I was. I know what it feels like to despair over how impossible a career in writing seems, to feel alone, to feel like I don’t know enough or deserve to be published. I also know, now, how it feels to push past those fears thanks to the people who supported me. I would be honored to finally be able to pay it forward. Plus, I just like making friends who also love stories! Yay!

I am looking for someone who is telling a story that only they can tell. I care more about the writing itself than I do the concept, structure, or spelling/grammar (hey-o diamonds in the rough—let’s dust that baby off!). I am looking for someone who is super excited to start editing and who is willing to make changes, but who also knows when to fight for their own voice. I don’t have many genre requirements or requests because I think good stories come in all shapes and forms from all kinds of people. Gimme the weird, the inimitable, and the beautiful!

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Historical
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Own Voices
  • Romance
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

“The majority of my professional experience is in fantasy (both high fantasy and magic realism) and sci-fi, but I have also written in a variety of other genres. Please don’t shy away from querying me because you have a contemporary/romance/mystery/etc. I love good stories, regardless of genre.

I would love to work with an #ownvoices or LGBTQIA author, but I want to be clear that I am not a marginalized writer myself. That being said, I do have some experiences that could be helpful for certain stories: I grew up with a parent with a psychotic illness (she was also, at times, homeless and abused drugs), my mother committed suicide when I was a teen, I was diagnosed with OCD at one time (specifically “primarily obsessional OCD”), and I have Jewish and Mormon family.”


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

I’m a pretty hands-on mentor/critique partner/cheerleader. I’ll send you a broad edit letter (structure, tone, consistency, characters), I’ll do line edits throughout (small changes, suggestions, copyedits, fabulous gifs), and I’ll jump on a call if you need help brainstorming or if you feel stuck. Mostly though I’m happy to do whatever you most need, so feel free to let me know if you’re looking for something in particular. I’ve worked with a large variety of creatives who work in different ways and require different assistance, so I understand the value of tailoring support to the individual. If that means you want joke pitches, or to go back to outlining, or just for me to send you inspiring videos featuring dogs reacting to soldiers coming home—hey, I’m here for you.

My ideal mentee is someone who is excited about editing and is willing to persevere in the face of obstacles that feel impossible to overcome. I would also like to work with someone who is confident in their writing and who knows when to fight for their own voice.

My MSWL is less a “list” and more a . . . feeling? (MSWF?) I’m less compelled by the concept than I am the writing itself. I’ve read stories with real showstopper concepts but if the style isn’t there then I’m not interested. Alternatively, I’ve enjoyed stories immensely that aren’t high concept at all. I’m looking for writers who have their own voice, who can make characters feel real, and who can make me both laugh and cry. I want to be envious of your writing. Structure, age range, genre, and tone can all be adjusted, the abilities to bring characters to life and impart a distinct voice are irreplaceable. I want to read something that can only be written by you.

I’m probably not the person for talking animals, religious stories, stories that require knowledge of sports, excessive sex or violence, or horror.

“Top 5 MG-ish Books (from when I was a kid): Wayside School is Falling Down, Frindle, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Giggler Treatment, The Phantom Tollbooth.

Top 5 YA-ish Books (from when I was a teen): Harry Potter, Ender’s Shadow, The Things They Carried, I Am the Messenger, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The House of the Scorpion (okay so that’s six, but who’s counting—other than, you know, the both of us?).

Top 5 Movies: Big Fish, Baby Driver, 12 Angry Men, The Iron Giant, The Princess Bride.

Top 5 TV Shows: I Love Lucy, Pushing Daisies, The Good Place, Columbo, Over the Garden Wall, GLOW (okay, six again–sue me).

Top 5 Comics/Graphic Novels/Manga: Maus, My Hero Academia, Marvel 1602, Abbott, Noragami. ”