Kate is a video editor by day, science fiction and fantasy author by night. Her passion for writing YA novels is fuelled by a love of banter, snark, and all things Marvel, and is supported by her long-suffering boyfriend and their thoroughly indifferent cat.
I started writing seriously around 2013, by which I mean, I finally started writing the novel I’d been daydreaming about since I was 16. My magnum trash fire, if you will. After that book proved I wasn’t actually a literary prodigy (rip), I pushed myself to improve my craft and by the end of 2016, my second novel, a YA contemporary fantasy, was complete.
That novel got me my first agent—at LBA books in the UK—but it also taught me my first hard publishing lesson: just because a book is ‘good’ (in so far as we can define ‘good’) does not mean publishers will want it.
English language publishers did not want that book—it was about mermaids, and I have 30+ rejections from both UK and US publishers that tell me mermaids do not sell in YA—but three publishers in Germany did, and so in 2017, I sold my second book, and its sequel, at auction, in a translation only deal.
Fast forward to 2019. The two German books were delivered and I had a shiny new manuscript to shop, though—annoyingly—I no longer had an agent to do the shopping, as mine had left the industry. But instead of jumping straight into the query trenches (a terrifying prospect when you’re sitting on a YA sci-fi), I decided to enter that new manuscript into PitchWars, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It wasn’t a fairy tale history—I didn’t ‘win’ the showcase, or get a million offers right off the bat (not at the agent or publisher level). I was far from the first in my PW class to get agented, and I didn’t sell the book until over a year later. But I am proof that, sometimes, persistence and a good book are enough.
I ended up with multiple agent offers for that not-so-marketable YA sci-fi, and though it took a while, the book sold at auction, to an editor I adore.
And that, kids, is the story of how my fourth novel became my English language debut.
Though this is my first time mentoring in an official capacity, I’ve been CPing for writer friends (at all stages of their writing journey) for over 6 years—some of them have even sold in some pretty impressive deals.
I’ve also gone through the editorial process myself 3 times now, so I know what your future agent/editor will expect from you, and how best to prepare you for this next stage of your career.
I’ve experienced first hand what a massive difference an expert pair of eyes can make to a manuscript, and I’d love to offer that outside perspective to a fellow writer. A good support system is so incredibly important for publishing success and longevity, and I have been so lucky throughout my own journey to have incredible mentors and friends. I want to pay that forward and help another writer get their foot in the door.
I am a commercial girl at heart. I love pacy, trope-filled reads, and for me, voice is king. Make me fall in love with your character on page 1 and I will follow them to the moon. If you can do that with ornate lyrical prose, more power to you, but I do tend towards commercial prose that disappears behind the story.
My specialty is close POVs (either first present, or third past) and single POV stories that allow you to get in the MC’s head and go to war with them. But above all, I love FUN. Even if a book has complex themes and messages (all of mine do—my debut is about consent) I like to have FUN along the way.
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
- Speculative Fiction
I want fun, trope-filled reads—ideally, with a romantic subplot (it doesn’t have to be a full blown romance, or even a large part of the book, but I do love a good ship). I also love both straight and queer pairings, so really, any type of ship will do. Beyond that, I’m a sucker for all the classics: enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, fake dating, there’s only one bed… I am trash for it all.
Pace wise, I tend towards faster reads and a breakneck speed. Love action—but it needs to be balanced on the page. And plot wise, I prefer plot heavy reads (the twistier the better!)
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
Every mentee is different, so I intend to tailor my approach to my mentee’s needs.
But generally speaking, I would begin with an edit letter to address structural issues in the manuscript, and encourage my mentee to contact me any time to talk through ideas/issues. I would love to cultivate an open and friendly relationship where my mentee feels comfortable coming to me with concerns, while also ensuring they don’t feel overly managed.
Once we finish 1st round edits, I’d be happy to assess whether a line level pass is needed, and if so, offer another round of notes. Then we can start thinking about the query package/strategy.
My main focus throughout the process will be to ensure my mentee ends up with a manuscript they are 100% confident querying.
While I would love to build a lasting friendship with my mentee, I understand that not every writer wants that, so really, the only thing I want my mentee to be is open to the work.
As long as we both respect each other’s time and opinions, I think we’ll get along just fine. And if a longer-term friendship does evolve from that, well, all the better.
Above all I am looking for a fun, pacy read that’s absolutely dripping with voice. Drown me in voice, friends. I want to choke on it.
I’d also love to see diverse stories by marginalised creators and writers outside North America (I am in the UK!) though please don’t take that to mean I won’t consider US submissions, because I absolutely will!
Since a strong character voice can get me to read almost anything, I’ll keep the rest pretty general…
I am open to everything except military sci-fi or full blown space opera. My own novel is cyberpunk/dystopian, so I have a soft spot for that, but I also love space books and science fantasy.
Accessibility is key for me in sci-fi. I always say I’m a YA writer first, and a sci-fi writer second, and my books tend to appeal even to those who might not usually gravitate towards anything science heavy.
Contemporary fantasy is a firm favourite. I am not so good with historical or super high fantasy, but beyond that, I’m open to all sorts of things. Second world fantasy and retellings are fine so long as they have an interesting approach.
If you have the next They Both Die at the End or You’ve Reached Sam, I’m your girl.
DO NOT SEND ME:
- Political intrigue heavy novels
- Space opera
- Military fantasy or sci-fi
- Novels in verse
- Historical fiction
- Anything dream heavy
- Anything with more than 3-4 POV characters (I am simply not qualified to help with those)
- Third present tense (it breaks my brain)
Aurora Rising, Vicious, Iron Widow, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Red Queen, Six of Crows, Fangirl, Jem and the Holograms (I WILL make this novel IP happen one day), Dark Angel, Westworld, The 100, The Boys, The West Wing, Alias, Pacific Rim, The Edge of Tomorrow, Shadow and Bone.