Mentor Taleen Voskuni

www.taleenvoskuni.com
@taleenvoskuni

AGENT
Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management

WRITES
Contemporary Adult Romcoms & Women’s Fiction

BOOKS
SORRY, BRO (2023) Berkley/Penguin Books

BIO
Taleen Voskuni is a contemporary writer whose debut rom-com Sorry, Bro will be published by Berkley in spring 2023. Her work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, The Bold Italic, Mic, and Cal Literature & Arts Magazine, and she was an Author Mentor Match Round 8 mentee. She graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in English and lives in San Francisco, running a research company by day, parenting a spirited toddler by night, and writing when she can.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
While I’ve been writing in some form my whole life I only started writing seriously about five years ago when I attempted my first romance novel. I queried that book, got several fulls but no offers. Then I wrote a second book (WF) but never queried it, not feeling it was working. In July 2020 I wrote a romcom, SORRY, BRO and entered AMM, and won! I was paired up with the incomparable Jesse Q. Sutanto 🙂 A short month of revisions later, I queried and received 5 agent offers. I signed with the incredible Katelyn Detweiler, and a few months after that, went on sub. Sub was tougher, I received many rejections over 4 months but received a big “yes” from Cindy Hwang and Angela Kim at Berkley. I feel extremely grateful it all played out this way—the right amount of time to learn and improve my writing skills, build a community, and get this lucky book deal.

EXPERIENCE
During my college and grad school years, I worked as an English tutor and helped about a dozen students with their literature & history papers, and college/grad school applications. I currently have a wealth of Critique Partners and love reading their work and helping them with everything from big picture edits to brainstorming to line edits. Queries too of course!

I’m also currently mentoring a precocious 8th grader writing her first novel, and it’s such a fun, rewarding position.

OVERVIEW
AMM has a special place in my heart. I consider it one of the best things that happened to my writing life, both being paired with my mentor Jesse and being part of the incredible community. Jesse’s time and generosity were so astounding to me, that I want to pay it forward by doing the same for another writer. I also simply love mentoring, and I’d love to share my learnings over the last 5 years with a mentee. I am hoping to develop a close writing relationship (or a friendship if I am so lucky) with an emerging writer, and help give them guidance through the wild world of publishing.

I loved my experience as an AMM mentee so much that I jumped at the chance to do the same and give back to another writer.
I’m looking for contemporary romance (particularly rom-coms and f/f) and women’s fiction. I love love but am more than willing to get my heart broken in women’s fiction. I am looking for female-heavy stories, particularly about romantic relationships and family. I’m a sucker for humor, for diaspora stories, stories with immigrant parents, but also willing to be surprised. A strong voice and strong mood can go a long way with me.

MENTORING GENRES
Adult

  • Contemporary
  • Romance

I’m pretty open with tropes, as long as they feel fresh. There’s no trope I dislike if you can make it feel brand new.

I am mostly looking for contemporary stories but I am also open to some historical! For historical romance and WF, I’m interested in historical from the 1950’s on. For anything earlier than 1950, please send it to me only if your book is centered around a f/f relationship. This is less a matter of what I enjoy and more a matter of my experience and skill with editing these time periods.

For genres, no SFF/Paranormal and no thriller/horror/dark books, please.

 

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
I’ll start by giving an edit letter and will be available to chat over Twitter/Slack if you have additional questions. If you want to schedule a Zoom call I’d be happy to do that too! Together we can set a realistic deadline for you to make revisions and I’ll help you stick to it. From there, I’ll give your MS another read and send any additional comments in-line. If I make any line-edits they will be light as I want the MS to be in your original voice as much as possible. Then, you can feel free to edit and ask me to look them over again or if you feel confident, you can start querying! I’m here to help you with your query letter and the query process. I got a wealth of advice when I was querying and I’m happy to share it all.

IDEAL MENTEE
Someone who loves their MS and has taken it as far as they can on their own, so they’re looking for a fresh pair of eyes. Should be receptive to edits but they should be the captain of their story so they know when a change doesn’t work with their vision. Someone motivated to revise and take their story to the next level. Would also love someone chill who I can chat with about the ups and downs of writing (or life in general!), who’s curious to hear about the query and sub process.

SEND ME:

Genres:

  • Romance especially romcoms especially f/f
  • Women’s fiction, upmarket or commercial

Please send me:

  • Humor
  • Complicated family
  • Sapphic characters!!
  • Suburban stories, like the classic unhappy family, but give me a fresh twist
  • Stories with moms
  • Diaspora stories
  • Voiiiiiice
  • Strong mood/setting/vibes
  • ANY #ownvoices Armenian story
  • For romance, I’m cool with any trope
  • For women’s fiction, I love troubled relationships, cheating OK
  • Feel free to break my heart in your book, just make sure if there’s no HEA that it’s not categorized as a romance

DO NOT SEND ME:

  • I’m not the best mentor for SFF or Paranormal, but some fabulism or light magic is okay (ie: Freaky Friday-eque magic)
  • I’m also not the best mentor for full-on thrillers or anything dark and gritty
  • Same with depressing/hopelessness, I need some light
  • Please no horror since I’m a wimp

FAVES

Movies:
Drop Dead Gorgeous, Marie Antoinette, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Clueless, Portrait of a Lady On Fire

Books:
Dial A For Aunties, So We Can Glow, Last Will And Testament, Americanah, The Most Fun We Ever Had, Six of Crows

TV:
Succession, Community, Shrill, GLOW, Shadow & Bone, Bridgerton

Other important favorite:
Dark chocolate