Suzie Townsend

Dark Fantasy, Contemporary Fantasy

THE BONE GARDEN (August 6, 2019)

Heather Kassner loves thunderstorms, hummingbirds, and books. She lives with her husband in Arizona, waiting (and waiting and waiting) for the rain, photographing hummingbirds, and reading and writing strange little stories.

I’ve been writing since I can remember, but I never seemed to finish anything. When I started a dark little middle grade story, something finally clicked, and I completed it. Soon after, I began querying, receiving both requests and rejections. About 3 months later, I signed with my agent, revised, and was on sub for about two weeks before it sold in a pre-empt.

I was an AMM mentor in Round 4 and loved the experience (and my mentee!) so much. I’m bringing that same enthusiasm this round!

Writing can sometimes feel so solitary, or at least, it was for me when I wrote THE BONE GARDEN. I didn’t know anyone in the writing community, let alone have any critique partners. And getting feedback is so, so important. I am excited to be a mentor, as I had such an amazing experience in Round 4, and I’d love to support another writer.

Anything with magic will draw me in, whether it’s woven like a fine thread or whether it bleeds across every page. Genre is less important to me than the storytelling. I love contemporary fantasy or historical where the magic flits through air, never quite settling, just as much as I enjoy dark fantasy where magic vibrates through the world.

I want to fall in love with your characters. They might be strange or lonely or broken, searching for their place in the world. They might be strong or iron-hearted, driven by love or revenge. Whatever their journey, I hope to find characters I care about so much that I chase after them into their stories.

And language is everything. Prose that is beautiful like The Disappearances and anything Laini Taylor, heartfelt and heartbreaking like The Dollmaker of Krakow, dark like Coraline, or atmospheric like The Night Circus.

I’m a sucker for a great first line, but of course that’s a little thing compared to the whole of the story. I’m looking for a manuscript that sets the tone early on and maintains its unique voice throughout.

  • Fantasy
  • Magical Realism/Fabulism
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

In any genre, send me the strange and unusual. There aren’t specific tropes I hate, but of course, the concept and execution should feel fresh.


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

An edit letter is so important and will balance all the things I love in the story with thoughts for revision. I have a good eye for finding inconsistencies. And I also tend to ask questions to more deeply explore character motivations and plot, etc. Ultimately, my comments are just suggestions, as it’s YOUR story, but I hope my feedback will resonate with you and give you ideas on how to strengthen your manuscript.

As for line edits, it will depend on what you want/need, but this step will place the final polish on your manuscript.

And I am flexible, so if you have questions, if you need encouragement, if you want to brainstorm, I’m just an email away.

I would love to work with someone who is motivated to revise, open to feedback, and focused on the process as much as the result. Someone who knows their characters inside and out and understands the heart of their story, but is looking for help digging deeper into the manuscript and making it shine.


  • Magic (whimsical and glimmering or dark and twisty)
  • The unknown (something that is off, the feeling you get watching Stranger Things or reading Bird Box, a prickling sensation that has you glancing over your shoulder)
  • Atmosphere (build the setting and the world like it’s a character all its own)
  • Something that makes me feel (break my heart and then stitch it back together again)


  • Mermaid stories
  • Elements to the plot that rely heavily on coincidence

It’s not a long list, as I don’t want to miss a story that might surprise me!

Some of my Favorite Books:

  • Splendors & Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
  • The Graveyard Book & Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
  • Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager
  • Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi
  • Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
  • Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
  • An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Vicious by V.E. Schwab