Nia Davenport has always harbored a love of both science and crafting stories. After college, Nia studied and worked in the public health sector before discovering a passion for teaching. As an English and Biology teacher, Nia strives to make a difference in the lives of young people, minimize disparities in education for youths of color, and help students realize their dreams and unlimited potential. As a Black writer, her goals are much the same. Nia is also a freelance reviewer for Booklist.
I’ve always been a writer. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t scribbling down stories. Five years ago, I decided to reach for the impossible and pursue writing as a career. I was not an English major. I was a Biology major, and I minored in Theatre. However, like a lot of advice tells you, you do not need an English degree to be a writer. I learned how to tell compelling stories by being an avid reader all my life. I learned the craft behind storytelling through trial and error, generous critique partners and mentors, writing workshops, and tons of craft advice. I wrote three books and three novellas (Gah! They were horrible!) before I wrote and queried A Dark and Shadowed Destiny. I wrote and revised ADASD in about five months. ADASD is my YA Fantasy Persephone and Hades reimagining, and it was the first book that I confidently felt could stand up under the scrutiny of publishing gatekeepers. Three months into querying ADASD, I got a revise and resubmit offer from my now awesome agent, Caitie Flum. Along with that R&R, I received a good number of partial and full requests. ADASD very much when that I honed my writing craft through trial and error phase took place. I revised and replotted and tweaked and tinkered so much I loss count. After I received the R&R, I worked with a freelance editor and critique partners to replot and revise ADASD from beginning to end (AGAIN). I sent ADASD back to the requesting agent four months after the R&R offer. Two months after that, I had an email from her asking to set up a phone call! After I signed with my agent, we revised ADASD again (yeah, I know). We went through one round of extensive developmental edits and a couple additional rounds of lighter line edits before placing it on submission. Since writing and revising ADASD, I’ve written an adult/ crossover fantasy that is currently in revisions and a YA thriller that is currently in revisions.
I’ve worked with a freelance professional editor who is also a published author during my querying phase. Their guidance, wisdom, and advice was invaluable. I learned a lot about how to analyze a draft for flaws in pacing, tension, and world-building. As a result, tight pacing, rising tension, and vivid world-building are among the things I excel at. I have a knack for spotting places within a manuscript where these things can be improved.
I want to be a mentor because I’ve been in your places before, staring down the querying trenches. Sometimes, that position can feel so isolating and like you’re floundering in a sea of the unknown. So much publishing advice is conflicting and so much of publishing is also very subjective. These two things can be super frustrating, and it is always nice to have a mentor and friend to help weed through the frustration when in the query trenches. I love reading, I love stories, I love the craft of writing. I had a number of mentors and friends who were really gracious with their time that helped me get to the stage in my career that I am at. I am all about paying those dues forward.
I adore all kinds of fantasy! Epic fantasy, high fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy—I am here for ALL of it. Do you have vampires, witches, or fae in your manuscript? I am game if you do. Royals and nobility and court intrigue? I adore that too. I really enjoy diverse, immersive worlds and stories with confident girls who take no prisoners when provoked. I am also a huge sucker for romance woven into my fantasy. Bonus points if your story is #ownvoices.
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Epic fantasy, high fantasy, urban fantasy, contemporary fantasy, and space fantasy. Protagonists that skew older (16-19). Forbidden lovers. Enemies/friends-to-lovers. Girls who love ballgowns as much as they love knives (or any variation of kicking ass). #Ownvoices”
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
I’ve had mentoring experiences in the past where my mentor wasn’t very hands-on and it was super disheartening. I promise you, I will not be like that. My mentoring style is extremely hands-on and editorial (but not obnoxious or pushy). I genuinely simply want to help you make your manuscript the best that it can be. A huge emphasis is placed on the YOUR MANUSCRIPT part. I will never make you feel like you have to take my suggestions or push for something that you strongly feels goes against your voice and vision. I will provide an edit letter that discusses possible big picture, developmental edits that focuses on pacing, tension, conflict, world-building, and characterization. I will also provide some line edits as comments embedded in your word document as I read. However, the line edits I provide will pertain to glaring things that jerk me out of the narrative and will not be nit-picky as I want to preserve your voice and style. Once I provide feedback, I will also be available for any questions, concerns, or things you want to talk through along the way. When I’m revising my own work, I find it helpful to have the person who provided critiques available to ask questions and talk through the more puzzling things with.
Which brings me to the fact that I want my mentor to absolutely feel like they can reach out to me at any point during revisions. My most valuable, treasured critique partners are the ones who I can reach out to and have crucial conversations with about story elements that I’m having trouble puzzling out. Writing is not a solitary process. It is truly one of those special things that involves a village!
Be prepared for extensive edits and to consider drastic changes within your manuscript if they are necessary to make your story the best possible version if itself. If you are the type of writer who doesn’t take constructive criticism well or you are resistant to considering suggestions for edits, I may not be the right mentor for you.
I have undergone sweeping edits with my agent so I know how it feels to have to butcher your darlings. I also have learned that somethings that butchering is necessary to take your manuscript to the next level. My strengths within my own writing and when offering critiques are world-building, pacing, and characterization. I will be focusing on the same things when working with you. I am a stickler about being professional so I will always respond to messages in a timely manner—always within a day. My mentor can feel free to DM or e-mail me at any time and for any reason. If you ever want to hop on a video call or an actual phone call because it is your preferred method of communication, I am fine with that too. I may not be able to hold these calls within a day of your request, but I can definitely hold them within a week in most cases.
Last but not least, if I choose you as my mentee it is because I adore your story. I read it and found something really special about it and I connected with your world and characters on a deep level. Any and all feedback and critiques I provide will be offered out of admiration for your work. If you choose me as a mentor, you will have gained an additional cheerleader not just for AMM Round 6 but for the duration of your career!
As an additional note, I am a huge believer that writing within the YA space comes with a responsibility on the writer’s behalf not to do harm to their audience. Because of this, I will strongly point out any instances I see in your manuscript that reflects racism, bigotry, and prejudice.
My ideal mentee is professional, driven, open to criticism and major revisions, deadline-oriented, and passionate about writing the best books for kids, teens, and young adults.
Enemies/friends-to-lovers, epic fantasies, contemporary fantasies, historical fantasies, urban fantasies, space fantasies, intricate magic systems, stories steeped in myth and legend, stories centering characters from the Black diaspora, fantasies exploring the Black American experience in some way, sex positivity, stories with strong sibling relationships, female friendships, epic love stories, tortured/ tragic protagonists or love interests, anti-heroes, court intrigue, world-ending stakes, girls who are warriors at heart, and #ownvoices stories.
If you have a YA story that embodies the feel of L.A Banks’ adult Vampire Huntress Legend series, GIVE IT TO ME!!!!!! The same goes for a YA story that embodies the feel of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series or Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter Series.
DO NOT SEND ME:
Stories centering a marginalization you do not identify with yourself, non-white fantasies or protagonists written by white authors, and sci-fi that doesn’t skew more toward the space fantasy sub-genre.
My favorite YA books include The Belles, Wicked Lovely, Strange the Dreamer, Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses, Caraval, An Ember in the Ashes, and Six of Crows. My favorite movies include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Panther, and most of the MCU movies. I STAN The Originals, The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones, The Borgias, and Tidelands on Netflix.