@rjsomer

AGENT
Whitney Ross

WRITES
YA Science Fiction and Fantasy

PUBLISHING STATUS
In Revisions

BIO
Rachel is a Canadian based in South Korea. She mostly writes genre-bending YA science fiction, specifically space opera and space horror. When she’s not writing, she’s working as an academic editor and being a mom to one eight-year-old human and two sassy cats. Her hobbies include destroying the kitchen with badly baked goods and frequent hair dye disasters.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
I’ve been writing stories as long as I can remember, which led me to pursue a degree in English. In 2012, I decided to take publishing seriously and began writing YA. I signed with an agent with my second book, but like so many agent-author relationships, it didn’t work out. I wrote a few more books and recently signed with a fantastic agent. We’re currently revising my YA space opera for submission.

EXPERIENCE
In addition to mentoring in round 2, I have extensive experience in academic publishing, both in editorial and content development. I’ve worked on over sixty published books for educational markets in Asia. I’m able to wear many hats as an editor, whether big picture feedback, character development, or line editing is needed. As a critique partner, I work with many agented and published authors.

OVERVIEW
Publishing is a marathon, not a sprint, over very uneven terrain. There are so many ups and downs, and during my early querying years I really wished I had someone trustworthy to guide me through the rough patches. If it wasn’t for the writing community, I wouldn’t have eventually made it through querying—twice! I hope to keep paying it forward as long as I’m able to.

Navigating publishing can be daunting, and I think everyone should have a mentor to guide and support them. I generally connect with my mentees for multiple books, so this could be a long-term partnership. I’m a big SFF geek, so I’d love to mentor an author who is writing in multiple sub-genres. I love books that blend and cross genres in fresh and exciting ways.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Own Voices
  • LGBTQIA
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

In sci-fi: Give me your big space operas, fresh dystopian/post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk, genre-bending stories that blend magic and technology, lesser-known retellings in space, military sci-fi, and survival stories on alien planets or after a space disaster.

In fantasy: I want dark character-driven stories centering non-Western cultures, ownvoices especially encouraged. I like relatable villains, anti-heroes, unique magic systems, and lush world building. I will also take fresh Fae stories, because I can’t resist.

In horror: I’m looking for creepy settings that ooze personality and feel like a main character. Bonus for gothic undertones and bone-chilling creatures. I’m also interested in horror that crosses genres: second-world fantasy horror, space horror, etc. I prefer horror that leans heavily on the thriller side, not straight-up slasher.

I WILL PROVIDE:

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

WORKING STYLE
I will read your manuscript for big picture and character development issues. You will receive both in-line comments and an overall edit letter. Then I will do a second pass and suggest line-level edits. When the manuscript is ready, we’ll work on your query, pitches, and synopsis. My feedback is to-the-point, but I do not skimp on the love. I will be your biggest cheerleader and make sure you know how amazing I think your work is.

IDEAL MENTEE
I would love to work with someone who is open to feedback. So much of publishing is revising and rewriting large parts of your book, but it’s also a dialogue between writer and agent/editor. I want to help you reach your vision, not impose my own vision on you, but that may mean big edits.

SEND ME:
I’m looking for diverse casts, positive representation of mental illness/disability, morally ambiguous characters, bisexual protagonists, found families, siblings, villain love interests, love triangles (yes, I said it!), and ownvoices narratives (though don’t feel pressured to self-identify). I have a soft spot for aliens, cyborgs, vampires, outlaws, smugglers, and bratty royals. I love revenge stories, especially with so-called “unlikeable” heroines, as well as villain origin stories.

DO NOT SEND ME:
I’m not the best fit for contemporary or historical. I prefer far-future sci-fi, not sci-fi set on Earth as we know it today. I will absolutely not look at suicide stories, on-the-page self-harm, sexual assault as a plot device, white saviors, or disability inspiration porn.

FAVES

Books:

  • The Grisha Trilogy
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
  • The Belles
  • Poison Princess
  • Defy the Stars
  • These Broken Stars
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • (I also love older science fiction by Kurt Vonnegut, Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, etc, and I would love to read stories that subvert and recontextualize the tropes in these books for modern YA readers.)

Films:

  • Alien
  • Edge of Tomorrow
  • Event Horizon
  • The Descent
  • Star Wars
  • Crimson Peak
  • Stigmata
  • Pitch Black
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • The Fifth Element
  • Mad Max: Fury Road

TV:

  • The 100
  • Game of Thrones
  • Westworld
  • Dokkaebi
  • Reign