Mentor Cristin Williams


Kristina Pérez, Zeno Agency

MG Fantasy/Horror


Cristin lives in Europe with her husband and four daughters. When she’s not writing adventure-filled MG fantasy or dark and lyrical adult fantasy, you’ll find her studying history, photographing castles, or exploring the misty forests of the Belgian Ardennes.

I started off writing adult historical fiction. My first novel won the Paul Gillette Award in 2010, but I didn’t have any luck finding an agent for that story. My next manuscript was a YA historical fantasy, and I signed with my first literary agency in 2015. That manuscript went on submission after a year of intense revisions, but unfortunately it didn’t sell. I parted ways with my first agent at the end of 2018 and wrote an Indiana Jones-esque MG fantasy that was chosen for AMM Round 6. I had an incredible experience in AMM, both in working with my mentor and in the supportive community that my fellow mentees formed. In early 2020, I signed with Kristina Pérez at Zeno Literary Agency in London. My AMM book is currently out on submission, and I’m getting ready to send out an adult historical fantasy as well.

I’ve worked with a wide-range of CP’s, many of whom have signed with agents or become published authors. Working with editorial agents and being mentored in AMM has also honed my skills and improved my ability to offer feedback. I beta read around 20 manuscripts a year, and I mentored a wonderfully creepy MG horror in AMM round 8.

There’s something magical about helping a writer draw out the potential in their manuscript. My AMM mentor did that for me, and I really enjoyed the process of working with my mentee last year. I’m excited to choose another mentee and chase that magic again. I hope to also give them the gift of a supportive community to both cheerlead and challenge them to grow.

I’m looking for voice-driven middle grade in a variety of genres. I prefer books that have a commercial hook underpinned by deep themes and plenty of heart. Fantasy is my sweet spot, but I also love mystery and horror. I hope to find something a little bit dark and deliciously creepy.

Middle Grade

  • Fantasy
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
  • Horror

I love found family, complex sibling relationships, ride-or-die friendships. I’m unlikely to pick a manuscript with a chosen one trope, unless it’s turned on its head somehow. I love curmudgeonly characters, and characterization that subverts expected stereotypes.



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

To me, edits are all about drawing out potential. I’ll ask tons of questions to help you clarify plot, theme, and character arc, and also point out what I think is already wonderful about your book. If you are my mentee, you can expect an edit letter explaining what is working well and what I think could be improved through revisions with a follow-up call to talk things through and brainstorm solutions. When the developmental edits are done, I’ll read the manuscript again and provide scene-level feedback. I’m happy to answer questions at any stage and give input on submission materials and query lists.

Someone committed to taking their craft to the next level and working hard to make their manuscript excellent. I’d love to work with someone who will take my notes and run with them, finding creative solutions and new ways to elevate their manuscript. Please don’t sub to me if you’re not open to serious developmental revisions! Ideally, I’d love to develop an ongoing relationship with my mentee and to support them through the querying trenches to the submission trenches and beyond.


Most of all, I want to fall in love with your main character. Give me someone I can root for, someone flawed but trying their best. I’d love to find a distinctive voice, whether it be quirky, witty, lyrical, or full of whimsy.

I’d love to see:

• Fantasy (of any stripe) with imaginative worlds and settings that feel like characters in their own right. I’d love to find a darker fantasy like The Bartimaeus Sequence, The Magisterium Series, or something dark and lyrical like The Bone Garden.

• Creative plot structures where the characters search for clues and solve puzzles, like the York series or The Blackthorn Key.

• A specialty boarding school like Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series. Are your characters training to be spies, detectives, wizards, elite athletes, evil geniuses, thieves? Anything highly specific and competitive? I’d love to read a book like this.

• Myth, folklore, and legends – either retellings or original to the world you’ve created. Recently I loved The Girl Who Speaks Bear, When You Trap a Tiger, and Lalani of the Distant Sea. I’d also be interested in reading about a campy urban legend come to life, like Stranger Things in book form.

• Mystery. If your book comps to Winterhouse or The Mystery of Blackhollow Lane, please sub to me!

• Horror. I grew up reading Goosebumps and Fear Street, and I love books that chill my bones and keep me guessing until the very end. Recently I adored City of Ghosts and Small Spaces. If you would describe your book as spooky, Gothic, or dark, I’d love to see it.


• Books about terminal illness or sexual abuse.

• Space opera or books about aliens – books set in space make me anxious. I’m not the right mentor for these.

• Books where the crush is the inciting incident. It’s a personal pet peeve when the main character only enters the plot because of a cute boy/girl. I don’t mind characters having a crush, but I want the main action to be driven by the protagonist’s goals and for the crush to be a secondary factor at most.

• Animal deaths.


Books I loved in 2021 (that aren’t mentioned in my MSWL):
The Circus of Stolen Dreams
Hollowpox (Nevermoor book 3)
A Wolf For a Spell
Dial A For Aunties
The Guest List
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels
The Inheritance Games

TV Shows:
I love any kind of period drama, or shows like Project Runway where the entire creative process plays out in an episode.

Stardust, Ever After, LOTR, The Mummy