Suzie Townsend

YA Dark Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Horror, Contemporary Fantasy

Fall 2018

Rebecca Schaeffer was born and raised in the Canadian prairies. Her itchy feet took her far from home when she turned eighteen, and she hasn’t returned for more than a few months here or there since. She’s allergic to stasis, loves travelling, and likes to pick up new languages. You can find her sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world, writing about villains, antiheroes and morally ambiguous characters.

I started writing when I was eleven, and kept it up all through high school, churning out multiple terrible novels. I took a break for university, and after graduation, I began pursuing writing seriously. My first novel after university was, in hindsight, bad, and after a long bout of querying, I shelved it. My second book was much better — it won a small pitch contest, and I was confident about it. A series of cruel critiques and bad experiences with other writer hopefuls made me decide to shelve it without ever querying. My next book was accepted into Pitch Wars, and less than a week after the agent round, I had an offer, and a few weeks after that a publishing deal. Years of hard work and patience, and then suddenly everything happened within a month…

I’ve been a mentee in two different contests in my time, and I’m currently a mentor in Pitch Wars. I also have a degree in Creative Writing, and years of experience critiquing and editing manuscripts.

I love dark characters. Complicated, nuanced, fractured and flawed and not ‘good’ in the traditional sense. Whether in a fantasy, scifi, horror or historical setting, a strong character will compel me to read more.

I tend to love morally grey characters, with antihero or straight up villains in the starring role. Complicated morals and interpersonal relationships are always good, and I love love love three dimensional monsters, like August in this Savage Song.

I also like stories with strong world building and atmosphere. I like to feel immersed in the story, whether that’s because you’ve built a haunting and disturbing horror atmosphere that will keep me up at night, a beautifully textured historical piece that pulls me back in time, or you’ve integrated futuristic technology in so seamlessly and so fascinatingly that I feel like I’m a part of that world.

For plots, I tend to like clever characters and action oriented stories. I especially like stories that revolve around the darker side of worlds. While I definitely do read books that focus on princes regaining lost thrones and such, you’ll truly catch my heart with things like heists, faustian bargains, cults, and criminal underworlds.

Last year, when all hope was lost for me, I applied to Pitch Wars. I got in, and the experience changed my life. My mentors helped my novel, and the exposure led to an agent and publishing deal. I want to try and give back to the community that’s helped me so much.

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Historical
  • #ownvoices
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

Fantasy — I love unique and original worldbuilding. There’s so much possibility in fantasy, show me something I’ve never seen before.

Contemporary fantasy — I love worldbuilding that integrates our world with a fantasy one in interesting ways. Think Curseworkers, by Holly Black.

Historical — I love strong historical background and knowledge combined with badass characters. Bonus points for cool historical main characters like Egyptian sultan Shajar al-Durr or Chinese pirate Ching-shih, or basically anyone found on Rejectedprincesses.com or #BygoneBadassBroads

Scifi — plots that explore technology in new and interesting ways and ramifications of it on a very individual level (like how the Diabolic or Defy the Stars redefine what it means to be human with their not quite human MCs). I have an undying love of sentient AI characters and creative use of technology.


  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Skype or phone call
  • Freestyle in chat

I tend to do overarching feedback first. I write out a letter focusing on structure, pacing, characterization, and any other issues I see in the plot. Then, after the mentee has had time to read over the letter, and brainstorm a little, I schedule a Skype chat and we talk about the changes and brainstorm solutions to the problem together. If they have follow-up questions over the next few days, we chat about them online, and then when the novel is ready, I line edit the first chapter to polish it and we do query work together to make the submission package shine.

Someone with a strong idea of what they want their manuscript to be, and are willing to put in the work to get it there.


  • villain main characters
  • monsters! especially three dimensional ones, like August in This Savage Song
  • sentient AI! I want to see a book like Defy the Stars in my inbox
  • atmospheric, creepy, haunting things
  • comedic fantasy or historical! Something like Diana Wynne Jones books or The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
  • non-western settings! Pllllllleeeeease, give me some really great books set or based on foreign countries! Bonus points for any of the places I’ve lived (Peru, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Canada). Extra double bonus points for #ownvoices.
  • heists!
  • cults!
  • faustian bargains!
  • a YA historical retelling of any of the women from Rejected Princesses or Bygone Badass Broads.
  • an Ace main character!


  • alpha males
  • werewolves (I’m totally fine with shape shifters, it’s just the pack mentality associated tropes that drive me up the wall crazy. If you have a werewolf and no pack, that’s fine)
  • insta-love
  • rape of a female character for a male character’s development

Books:This Savage Song, Victoria Schwab. The Young Elites, Marie Lu. Defy the Stars, Claudia Grey. Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Holly Black. An Ember in the Ashes, Sabaa Tahir. Dragon’s Bait, Vivian Vande Velde. Cracked, Elize Crewe. Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo. The Diabolic, SJ Kincaid. The School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer. Across the Universe, Beth Revis. The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvator. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, Julie C Dao.

TV/movies: Buffy, Death Note, Fullmetal alchemist Brotherhood, iZombie, Stargate, Brain Dead, Sherlock, Psychopass, Darker than Black, Tokyo Ghoul, Sword Art Online, Attack on Titan, Legend of the Galactic heroes, Death Note, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog, Monsters (jdrama), The Mummy (the ’90s one, not the new one), Pan’s Labrynth, Jumanji.