Claire Friedman, InkWell Management
Dark Fantasy/Historical Fantasy
SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS (2023) Little, Brown
M. K. Lobb was born in small-town Canada and hasn’t left, save for a short stint during her childhood when she lived in Germany. She has her Bachelor’s in political science and has worked a number of government jobs. When not talking about books, she can be found playing the piano, weightlifting, or googling writing-related questions that probably have the FBI concerned.
I’ve been writing all my life, but didn’t start doing so seriously until I was nearly twenty. My first book was inspired by World of Warcraft and should not be read by anyone, under any circumstances, ever. It wasn’t until writing my second book that I learned about traditional publishing, but once I did, it became an all-consuming goal. I started extensive research into agents and querying, and I’ve never really stopped! Four shelved books later, I discovered Author Mentor Match. It sounded amazing, but I didn’t expect to be chosen. I submitted my YA Historical Fantasy and was absolutely thrilled when I was picked by my fabulous mentor. Together we worked on making that book shine, and it did extremely well when I queried. However, it still wasn’t the book that got me in the publishing door. My eighth book was an unusual process for me, but once it was ready, I sent a query to a dream agent who had requested an R&R on my previous book. She requested the full right away and offered less than two weeks later. I signed in July of 2020 with Claire Friedman of InkWell Management. We revised together for a few months and went on submission in November. By April of 2021, an offer came in from Little, Brown, and now SEVEN FACELESS SAINTS will be on shelves in early 2023!
My education journey began at a school for advanced studies in the humanities, and although I didn’t stay there, it taught me so much about reading and critiquing work. I built more of a knowledge base through my university electives (hey Science Fiction and Fantasy lit!), and a previous job in which I was a content editor. I’ve been beta reading for years and have worked with a variety of critique partners. Many of these people now have agents and/or book deals of their own! I also mentored in the previous round of AMM, an experience that I really enjoyed.
Author Mentor Match was the first time anyone outside of my family and close friends ever believed in my work. My mentor’s guidance and support really gave me the drive I needed to get back into the query trenches after years of going through it alone. The program also catapulted me into the writing community, and gave me a network of people to learn from. I truly don’t think I would be where I am today without having discovered the program.
I’m open to anything fantasy, whether second world or our world with a speculative slant. If your book can be described as dark, edgy, swoony, and/or atmospheric, I demand to see it! I am partial to good prose — plot issues can be fixed easily enough, but style is something you fashion over time. As long as your writing makes me feel things, though, we can tackle the rest!
- Urban/Contemporary Fantasy
Send me your dark fantasy, your historical fantasy, your gritty urban fantasy. I love retellings of myths/legends, fairytales-turned-creepy, and anything with a steampunk vibe. Within that, give me a good romance storyline, and I’m happy! Do not send me contemporary without a speculative element – I won’t be the best fit. Same goes for straight historical.
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
I’ll start by writing an edit letter with my overall feedback, and from there I’d encourage you to communicate with me as much as possible. I’m fairly informal, and although I’m happy to discuss over phone or email, I’m also perfectly fine with someone slipping into my DMs whenever they want! Once we’re done with big edits, I’ll do a second read and see whether anything else needs tweaking. Then, if required, I would do a line edit where I look for awkward phrasings, grammar issues, etc. After that, if you want, we would work on querying! I’m very flexible regarding the process — I’m focused on the results.
My ideal mentee doesn’t take themselves or their work *too* seriously. Naturally I hope you are goal-oriented and willing to work hard, but I think it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself and have fun with the process. I also want you to be comfortable telling me if you don’t agree with elements of my feedback. I’m very open, and ideally I would want my mentee to be the same. Finally, I would hope you have a bit of experience with revising and story structure, but don’t worry about that too much. What’s most important to me is that you’re hungry and committed to doing the work.
Give me some drama, some grit. I love darkness, but also humour. If anyone has ever read your book and said, “this character is the worst,” I probably love them already. More specifically, I’m a fan of:
- crossover YA
- morally grey characters – make me root for someone endearingly questionable!
- dual or multi-POV
- rivals/enemies who have to work together
- begrudging attraction & banter for days
- well-rounded villains. hot villains. villains in general.
- twisty plots, sneaky betrayals – those OMG moments!
- worlds inspired by a certain historical period or event
- characters doing bad things for good reasons
- diverse characters simply existing in a fantasy world
- cults/creepy religious vibes
- anything steampunk
- body horror (I can handle it all)
- romance where both sides are just chaotic problems
- memorable/atmospheric settings (creepy churches! grimy cities! stormy seasides!)
DO NOT SEND ME:
I’m not the best fit for:
- mythical creatures (fae, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.) unless it’s creepy
- running from unwanted marriage/arranged marriage
- characters discovering their secret royal lineage
- multiple timelines (flashbacks are totally fine)
- low stakes/plots that revolve around an “inner journey”
- finally, if it can be described as “feel-good,” it’s probably not for me
However, I’ve been surprised before, so if you feel like other elements of your book really align with my tastes then don’t overthink it!
Books: The Last Magician, Six of Crows, An Ember In The Ashes, The Raven Cycle, These Violent Delights, Caraval, Down Comes the Night, A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, Agnes at the End of the World, Four Dead Queens
Shows: White Collar, Psych, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, The Office, Peaky Blinders, Shadow and Bone