Eric Smith

YA/Adult Fantasy

RUINSONG (November 24, 2020) Macmillan Children’s/FSG
THE SEAFARER’S KISS (May 4, 2017) Interlude Press

A world traveler who has visited almost seventy countries, Julia currently lives in Seattle with her wife and their city menagerie of pets with literary names. She has worked as a bookseller, educator and wedding cake decorator. Julia is a history and classic literature nerd and holds an MLitt in Medieval Literature from the University of St. Andrews. Her books include The Seafarer’s Kiss duology, a Norse myth inspired retelling of The Little Mermaid, published by Interlude Press (Duet Books), and Ruinsong, a standalone high fantasy reimagining of The Phantom of the Opera, forthcoming from Macmillan Kids (FSG) in November 2020.

I stared my publishing journey with small presses, before signing with an agent and embarking on a more traditional path. I sold a couple of novellas to a now mostly defunct small press, before my YA/NA fantasy duology (THE SEAFARER’S KISS, THE NAVIGATOR’S TOUCH) was picked up by Interlude Press. I was initially pretty discouraged when I first queried agents in 2014 because f/f was at the time not considered to be sellable by many — I had more than one email rejection suggesting that I turn my girls into “buddies”!

But by the time The Seafarer’s Kiss came out in 2017, the market for queer stories had changed (thank you WNDB <3) and I had started to push myself to write longer, more commercial fiction and to aggressively tackle my craft weaknesses. So in 2017, I started querying agents again with a new project and I signed with Eric Smith at PS Literary! Fall 2017 was a hard time because we initially went on submission with a manuscript that didn't sell, while I was struggling with health issues and writing the second book in my Seafarer duology. However, in Fall 2018, we successfully sold RUINSONG to Macmillan after an R&R. EXPERIENCE
I have mentored twice previously with AMM, and also been a Pitch Wars mentor. Many of my critique partners have gone on to get book deals and sign with agents! I have a MLitt in Medieval Literature, and am especially good at small detail historical fact checking!

I have worked with two different small presses in addition to a Big 5 Publisher — one small press that I think hurt my career and another that jump-started it. I’ve had successes and failures, and I think that I can help my mentees go into the forest of the publishing world with their eyes open while maintaining a sense of optimism.

In addition, I have been a regional sales manager for a UK book distributor and have interned for a top NY literary agency.

I love finding and nurturing great work! I feel lucky to have worked with some great writers in past AMM rounds and during Pitch Wars. I derive a lot of personal satisfaction from helping new writers.

While I didn’t formally participate as a mentee in a contest, I was lucky enough to find some much more established writers early in my career who were willing to help me. I want to pay that back!

The best part of my publishing journey has been connecting with a group of supportive and talented writers. I started my own journey without a community, and if I could go back in time, I would have reached out to other writers sooner. I hope that I can make my mentee feel that they are not alone in this!

This year in AMM, I am considering both YA and Adult SFF manuscripts.

As a mentor and a critique partner, I am very detail focused. I would love to find an original, compelling manuscript that hooks me with its premise, but that maybe has a few rough edges that need sanding down. I have a collaborative work style and like to chat with my mentees on skype and hangouts to find solutions together.

YA & Adult:

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Historical
  • #ownvoices
  • Horror
  • Genre-bending speculative fiction

Fantasy — I am a fantasy fan first and forever. I love second world fantasies and retellings in particular, especially those that take place in worlds that seem fresh. I live for masterful world-building, court intrigue, strange magic systems, life or death stakes, enemies to lovers romances.

Historical — I love well-researched historical fiction! I would love to see an exploration of a lesser known figure, or historical fiction based on non-Western settings. Vikings and Norse mythology are evergreen favorites of mine, and in addition to Historical Fiction, I also adore Historical Fantasy.

Sci-Fi/Horror — I am a huge fan of near-future thrillers that show disastrous outcomes from technology or as a result of climate change. I also love horror — though I am hard to scare!

In all of my accepted genres, I would love to see diversity, particularly LGBTQIA+ characters and #ownvoices works by POC.


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

I like to work collaboratively! All of my mentorships usually begin with a skype call, where I can get to know my mentees and their expectations. Afterward, I provide a big picture editorial letter addressing any structural, character or plot issues in the manuscript. Then we dive into my favorite thing, which is line edits!

With all of mentees, I commit to be there for you throughout the querying process (and probably way beyond because I love to make writer friends).

My ideal mentee is open to critique and understands that revision is often harder than drafting. I want to work with someone who is friendly and collaborative, who maintains optimism about the journey but is also a realist about their crafts strengths and weaknesses.
I love dark stories with unexpected twists! Send me your villain origin stories, your grim-dark fantasy, your monster girls.

  • Morally grey protagonists in it for themselves.
  • Heists!
  • Opulent royal courts with dark secrets.
  • Enemies to lovers romances.
  • Banter and humor! I love characters who can make me cackle!
  • Swoon-worthy love interests — I would especially love to see an outrageously flirtatious queer girl with confident “bad boy” energy.
  • Magic systems that incorporate the arts.
  • Technology that both intrigues and scares me.
  • Horror that is genuinely terrifying. I tend to be more afraid of the things people will do, rather than supernatural elements.


  • Space — I am a really tough sell for anything that takes place in space. I can count on my fingers the number of space books or space movies/TV shows I’ve genuinely enjoyed. I don’t like the Mandalorian, or Star Trek. Some of my exceptions include Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor and A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna — two very character driven novels that take place mostly on new planets, rather than inside the space ships. If your space opera has a fantasy feel like those two books, you can try it with me, but if it’s more like Star Wars, send it to someone else!
  • Manuscripts that can’t be read as a satisfying standalone. I very rarely read complete series, preferring to dip my toes into the waters of lots of different fictional worlds.
  • Novels written in verse. While I enjoy reading these, I am not a poet and would not know how to go about editing with you.
  • Contemporary — Please do not send me your novels set in contemporary settings!
Books: Court of Fives by Kate Elliot, The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Dread Nation by Justina Ireland, Timekeeper by Tara Sim, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova.

TV Shows: Mindhunter, Black Mirror, The Tudors, The Borgias, The Witcher, Dexter, Westworld.