Mentor Elizabeth Kilcoyne

Erin Clyburn, JDLit


WAKE THE BONES (2022) Wednesday Books

Elizabeth Kilcoyne is an author, playwright and poet, born and raised in Kentucky. She currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky. Her first novel, WAKE THE BONES, a YA Southern Gothic, coming July 12 2022 from Wednesday Books. Elizabeth uses she/her pronouns.

I worked as a ghostwriter for a few years before I started querying my first manuscript. I got my agent (Erin Clyburn, JDLit) through PitMad roughly six months after I began querying. We went on submission in January of 2020 for only a few days before we received our first offer. Vicki Lame at Wednesday Books acquired WAKE THE BONES, and will be published July 12th of 2022.

I worked professionally as a ghostwriter for several years before I queried my first novel. I teach and work as a mentor at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning in Lexington, KY. Several of my critique partners have gotten agents after we’ve worked together.

I had an incredible time mentoring AMMR8 last year and loved getting to watch my mentee tackle new challenges and grow as an author. I was a mentee of a different program before I ever signed with an agent or sold a book, and it gave me the tools to succeed as an author, so I appreciate the opportunity to give back and share what I’ve learned. I don’t think that access in publishing should be cost or connection prohibitive so I love this program as a way for writers to demistify the querying and publication process.

Send me gothic horror, contemporary fantasy with horror elements, surprise me, but freak me out.


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

I love found family, a good gothic, sensory details and magical elements that make my mouth water or nauseate me. PLEASE send me a good ghost story or a good monster story. Body horror, blood and gore all good. Uncanny creatures, and dark magic are delightful. Paranormal wise: love vampires, am willing to consider werewolves if they’re weird enough (think Rose Szabo) I’m not one for police procedurals, military fantasy, or royalty unless it’s critically examined. Not a good match for thrillers unless there’s strong gothic elements to work with. No glorification of serial killers or murderers. NO CLOWNS, NO FAIRIES THIS YEAR PLEASE.



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

I’m a fairly relaxed mentor in terms of timeline, with the availability to work around your schedule and needs. When it comes to revision, I am hands-on and in-depth. I ask lots of questions and can give recommendations that will strengthen your plot as well as help you find structures and methods that will work for you as you revise. No real preference as to plotters versus pantsers but I do like a plan and can help you formulate one that works with your goals and needs. I have no preferences as to whether you submit your manuscript in one go or chapter-by-chapter. I prefer to schedule calls via email as opposed to text message. I’m staying at home with a baby right now so if we do Zoom calls, prepare for a friendly little face to pop in and out while we talk.

Communicative and excited to get the job done. Not afraid to ask questions and make mistakes. Open to feedback, and willing to say no if advice I give doesn’t fit.


  • Ghost stories. I’d love to do a good ghost story this year.
  • Contemporary fantasies.
  • Gothics deeply rooted in place.
  • Folk horror.
  • Anything with strong relationship dynamics, be they romantic, familial, or close friendships.
  • Anything queer.
  • I like books that will frighten me and/or make me cry. Above all, I want compelling stories and beautiful writing.


  • clowns
  • serial killers
  • mental hospital horror
  • military
  • detective stories
  • hard sci-fi
  • fairies

It’s not a no for me, but I prefer advanced warning if your book contains hanging/nooses.

Summer Sons by Lee Mandelo, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson, Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones, Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo. I’ve been listening to a lot of new bluegrass and folk lately.