Mentor Caroline Huntoon

carolinehuntoon.com
@carolinehuntoon

AGENT
Jessica Mileo, InkWell Management

WRITES
MG & YA Contemporary, MG & YA Fantasy

BOOKS
SKATING ON MARS (2023) Feiwel and Friends

BIO
Caroline has always loved to tell stories, but it took a while for them to translate that love to writing books. After they graduated with a B.A. from Barnard College, Caroline wasn’t sure what to do next, so they headed to the happiest place on earth, where they worked for three years making magic before moving to Michigan to become an English teacher and theater director. It wasn’t until they earned an M.A. from The Bread Loaf School of English that they finally started writing stories for young people.

Now, Caroline spends their days working with middle school students in schools and theaters. They live in Ypsilanti, Michigan with their increasingly impetuous child, Winifred, and their adorable yet needy dog, Oscar David, both of whom allow Caroline to write after they go to sleep (if they go to sleep). Caroline writes middle grade and young adult books across genres; their work often circles back to themes of loss, identity, friendship, and validating the messy and wonderful lives of young people.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
I’ve written five books (YA fantasy, MG fantasy, YA romcom, MG contemporary, YA paranormal), queried three of them, and connected with my agent in the winter of 2020. So… that was all a process. I learned a lot. In May of 2021 I went on submission with my debut novel, SKATING ON MARS, and I received my offer with Feiwel and Friends a few weeks later.

I’m currently working on revisions for SKATING ON MARS and starting work on my next novel, a middle grade contemporary story.

EXPERIENCE
This is my first official mentorship, and I’m very excited to be a part of AMM and find another author to work with! Beyond my work with other writer friends as a critique partner and beta reader, I worked as a high school and middle school English teacher for ten years, so I’ve seen… a lot of writing. I want to help make a story stronger, and I relish the chance to help build pitches and queries when people are ready to send their words out into the world.

OVERVIEW
For a long time I didn’t think I was a writer, let alone a *good* writer. It wasn’t until someone told me, after reading a poem of mine, that I had something worthwhile to say that I started to think of myself as a writer, and even then, it took time. For so long, I was resistant to sharing my work with others, even though I was hungry for an audience. Once I found someone who got me and got my work, everything changed in a wonderful way. I really hope I can be that for someone else.

I’m looking for a middle grade story with a big idea and some killer characters to play with it.

MENTORING GENRES
Middle Grade

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

Love to see a trope delivered with a bit of wink — makes me feel like you know what you’re doing and letting me in on the joke…

 

I WILL PROVIDE:

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

WORKING STYLE
Note: I’m a single parent with two jobs and a dog, so… my time isn’t always my own.

I’m really excited to connect around your book, and I hope we can both agree that we are working together in service of your story. I’m responsive via email, and happy to find a text-based chat app that works for both of us (iMessage, gchat, etc…). I’m open to a Zoom call or two, but we will absolutely be interrupted by my child telling me that I’m talking too loud or that I should stop talking all together.

I tend to fall on the cheerleader side of the cheerleader to tough love spectrum, but I’m always down for a “let’s blow everything up” developmental conversation. Fair warning, I am a typo fiend (in that, I make them A LOT and am terrible at catching them).

I know how isolating and mind-numbing the query trenches can be, so when you get to that point, I’m happy to be the person you go running to when you get a rejection in under two hours (or hear nothing after 8 months) and when you get that first full request (and your tenth full request and an ask for a phone call and an offer and, well, everything!).

We won’t always agree. We *shouldn’t* always agree, but my goal is always to make our work together productive and positive.

IDEAL MENTEE
Someone who has interesting ideas, is willing to engage, and wants to put in the time

Someone who can put up with the fact that my love language is sending TikToks

SEND ME:

  • humor and darkness
  • speculative elements that raise interesting questions
  • LGBTQIA+ characters (specifically nonbinary MCs)
  • exploration of mortality and grief mixed with hope
  • characters that are messy and, at times, unlikeable
  • characters with a particular hobby or interest (and the story ends up teaching me about that thing I had no clue about before I started reading)
  • compelling retellings that are clear in concept and thematic exploration
  • surprising narrative structure (messing with the timeline, playing with form, adding in epistolary elements, etc…)
  • Nice parents who are just doing their best
  • creepy/unsettling elements
  • tight timelines
  • the ocean (I’m a pisces)

DO NOT SEND ME:

  • eating disorders
  • abusive parents
  • H*rry P*tter references

FAVES

Books: HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones, HIS DARK MATERIALS by Philip Pullman, CHARLOTTE’S WEB by E.B. White, PET by Emezi Akwauke, FELIX EVER AFTER and KING AND THE DRAGONFLIES by Kacen Callendar, THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLD TOWN by Holly Black, ANA ON THE EDGE by A.J. Sass, CIRCE by Madeline Miller, ONE LAST STOP by Casey McQuiston, FUN HOME by Allison Bechdel, WICKED LOVELY (series) by Marissa Marr, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT by Meryl Wilsner, SPOILER ALERT by Olivia Dade, WRITTEN IN THE STARS by Alexandria Bellefleur, everything by Tamora Pierce

TV Shows: Survivor, Project Runway, Never Have I Ever, The Queen’s Gambit, Fruits Basket, 30 Rock

Movies: Spirited Away, Jurassic Park, Little Women (1994 & 2019), The Emperor’s New Groove, Inside Out