Mentor Alysha Welliver


Samantha Fabien, Root Literary

Historical Fantasy, Fantasy & Sci-Fi


Alysha Welliver is a Sri Lankan-German-American writer with a love of fantasy, history, and space. She’s an advocate for diversity and inclusivity in books. When not writing she loves to travel, cook, and coordinate author events at her local indie bookstore, Best of Books. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and is a member of SCBWI.

I have been writing towards the dream of publication for nine years. I queried 5 books before landing my agent with number 6 at the beginning of 2020. We sent that book on submission, but unfortunately it didn’t sell. We’ve gone out with a new one (book 7), so I’m currently on submission again and working on book number 9.

Though I have not directly mentored before, I have many years experience studying and strengthening my craft, as well as working with others in revisions and feedback. I have an MFA in Creative Writing and I’ve completed major developmental revisions with my agent. In addition, for the past 6 years, I’ve worked closely with the same three writers in my critique group. We’ve met every two weeks for that entire time! We’re all kidlit writers (PB through YA). Our critiques start high level (plot, world, character, pacing, voice) and narrow to lower level (word choice, showing vs telling) once we’ve read the entire first draft (usually in a beta read). Since July of this year, me and one of those CPs have added weekly swaps. We’re both on 2nd drafts and need real-time feedback to meet deadlines with the cleanest, strongest version we can possibly create. Our feedback is at once both high and low level.

Writing is amazing and fulfilling, but it is also extremely hard and can be very isolating. I felt that viscerally after my MFA program. I was alone and drowning in rejection and self-doubt. I knew I needed to continue learning, but had no idea how, since I knew no kidlit writers. Eventually I found SCBWI and surrounded myself with encouraging writers who not only helped me level up my craft skill, but also cheered me on during revisions and rejections. That was a game-changer for me. Now I have a community to turn to when I get editor rejections, when my agent thinks we need to shelve a book, when I can feel a chapter isn’t working and need a new pair of eyes and a positive way forward. They are the reason I haven’t given up, that I win the battle against self-doubt, that I continue to believe I will accomplish my dream with joy and excitement. Now I want to be that game-changer for another writer. I want to help grow their skill, their confidence, and their hope.

I’d love to find a mentee who’s motivated to do the hard work and ready to be encouraged every step of the way on this long, winding journey! I’d also love a mentee interested in building a relationship that will last far past AMM.

I am open to fantasy of all kinds–historical, portal, urban, high, etc. I’m also open to science/space fantasy (think more Star Wars than The Martian). Above all I am drawn to voice. Grab me with the voice, hold me with tension, hit me in the feels and I’ll be requesting more!

Young Adult

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

I’m a sucker for enemies-to-lovers, rivals-to-lovers, and the grumpy/sunshine combo. I also love Found Family, Revenge stories, morally grey characters, and characters with tons of passion for something.

As far as fantasy subgenre goes, I’m pretty open to anything with magic in it. In sci-fi, I like space operas and near-future stories with fun or dangerous tech. I’m not the best fit for hardcore science or horror, though I like a well-placed character death.



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

I’ll start with a big picture editorial letter, then follow with a skype or phone call. Talking through ideas is so beneficial and I think brainstorming before a revision is necessary to not fall into the weeds. I’m not going to disappear after that though! For me, mentoring has many facets. I’ll be available to brainstorm, provide line edits, be a sounding board whenever needed, and of course be a cheerleader from the beginning of revision through the query process. Though our initial exchange will be structured, I’m confident we’ll find a communication groove that works best for us in the long run!

My ideal mentee is open to critique and willing to put in the work to make their book the best it can be! Strengthening craft skills often means reconfiguring and rewriting. I’d like someone who is a thousand percent invested in this whole getting published thing, takes strengthening their skills seriously, and is able to separate their art from themselves, which means they see critique of their work and not of their own innate worth. I’d also like someone who is excited about this AMM journey and is looking for guidance as well as a cheerleader and shoulder to cry on. Bonus points if they geek out on craft books!


  • Strong voice
  • Historical fantasy, science fantasy (witches, vampires, werewolves, aliens welcome!)
  • SE Asian stories
  • Diaspora stories
  • Romance subplots
  • Fierce & Passionate characters
  • Morally grey characters
  • Stories that blend genres
  • Multiple POV/ensemble casts
  • Mythology, folklore, fairytales

Overall I’m looking for a distinct voice and fantasy in all subgenres. I especially would like a diverse and inclusive cast.


I’m not a great fit for:

  • novels in verse
  • horror
  • hard science
  • anything that doesn’t have magic or a speculative element


  • My Lady Jane
  • NeverNight Chronicles
  • Truthwitch
  • Illuminae
  • The Cruel Prince
  • Invictus
  • Unearthed
  • Wolf by Wolf
  • The Raven Boys
  • Grave Mercy
  • Warcross
  • The Wrath & The Dawn
  • Battlestar Gallactica
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Pacific Rim
  • Black Panther