Mentors Amber Brown & Danielle Brown

amberanddanielle.com
@ambersharelle
@dani_nicbrown

AGENT
Both represented by Jessica Faust, BookEnds

WRITES
Mystery/Thriller & Contemporary

BOOKS
THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES
(2022) Graydon House

BIO
We both graduated with Communication/PR degrees from Rider University where we wrote and sat on the editorial staff for the On Fire!! Literary Journal. We then pursued a career in fashion and spent five years in NYC working our way up from interns to assistants to managing our own popular fashion + lifestyle blog.

Amber is also a screenwriter, so we currently live in Los Angeles, which works out perfectly so Danielle can spoil her 30 (and counting!) plant babies with copious amounts of sunshine.

Our debut novel, THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES, is forthcoming from Graydon House, Fall ’22.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND
Our journey to being published started off as separate endeavors. In fact, the book that got us our book deal was the first book we wrote together from inception. We both started writing as freshman in high school because that’s when we got into reading contemporary adult fiction and got super jealous and set the goal of becoming a NYT bestselling author by the age of 25. Ha, that didn’t happen at all. By 25, we were still deeply in the query trenches wondering if it was ever going to happen. Amber was on her 5th manuscript at that point and Danielle was still polishing up her first. Essentially we both queried multiple manuscripts to agents over the course of 8 years, two of which we both worked on (Amber drafted, queried, failed, and then Danielle rewrote them).

In the summer of 2020 we got super close and got our first official R&R on an Adult thriller that we worked on together (Amber writing, Danielle rewriting), but ultimately the agent passed. We were extremely discouraged at this point, but about a month later Amber came up with the premise to the book that would become our 2022 Adult Thriller debut and we decided to co-write the book together from point A. So maybe that was the magic sauce because from there, the journey to be published was magical. Queried, received multiple full requests same-day, multiple agent offers, auction between multiple Big 5 publishers two months later, etc. So it took 8 years and 10 manuscripts to write the one that sold.

EXPERIENCE
In college, we both sat on the Editorial board of our campus’ literary journal where we edited two issues of the journal per year. We have ample experience giving notes and constructive feedback from being a part of writers groups post college.

OVERVIEW
Breaking in and finally getting our book deal was an arduous, excruciating and sometimes demoralizing process for us and we would love nothing more than to be able to speed up the process for someone who is hungry and ready to work, someone who finds writing a compulsion, a deeply rooted passion and can’t see themselves doing anything else but becoming a professional writer. There are so many things we wish someone would have just told us back when we were still aspiring authors and would love to be able to step in and provide you with this knowledge.

Breaking into the publishing industry as Black women telling stories that put Black women at the forefront was extremely difficult. We can’t even count the amount of times we were told “I couldn’t connect/relate to the main character.” We would genuinely love to help you take some shortcuts that we weren’t privy to so your journey to getting your first book deal isn’t nearly as tumultuous!

MENTORING GENRES
Adult, Accepting Novels in Verse

  • Contemporary
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Literary Fiction

Hate: Our taste in fantastical fiction is so limited and specific, so please no high fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, magical realism, vampires (or other creatures), haunted houses, possession, curses, etc. Realistic fiction only. Also hate the trope of using mental health as a reveal or twist in a psychological thriller/suspense. Same for using a character being LGBTQ+ as a plot twist/reveal. Lastly, anything to deals with religion is a no for us unless it’s critiquing said religion.

Love: Everything else, but especially friends to lovers/childhood friends to lovers, and found family. Oh, and if you can make us cry, we will adore you.

 

WE WILL PROVIDE:

  • Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
  • Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
  • Freestyle in chat
  • Texting/DMing

WORKING STYLE
We’re willing to do whatever work is needed to get the manuscript in pristine condition, but prefer to work via email/text. Zoom/phone calls, not a fan because we’re (shocker) camera shy millennials. But we don’t have a problem doing seldom calls to clarify notes, etc.

We want to do everything we can to get your manuscript ready, but also get you ready for sub, including polishing up a query and synopsis, developing an agent spreadsheet, etc.

In terms of your manuscript, our strengths lie in sharpening prose and dialogue, shortening and tightening up the overall draft, and strengthening character development.

IDEAL MENTEE
Our ideal mentee is someone who lives to write, someone considers themselves a strong writer and needs more help on the career/breaking into publishing side of things. We are willing and prepared to provide heavy-duty notes and do multiple rounds of edits on a manuscript (if needed), but only if the writing is already at a professional level. We are also looking for someone who is very communicative, especially in communicating what they need/want, but also in responding to emails, etc.

SEND US:

  • Can’t go wrong with a fast-paced, character-driven thriller with lots of twists, turns and/or reveals.
  • Heart-wrenching, devastating contemporary or love story (that isn’t a “romance”).
  • Romantic dramas.
  • Mysteries with interesting, layered characters (like Mare of Eastown).
  • LGBTQ+ protagonists.
  • Black or other BIPOC protagonists (but #ownvoices only).
  • Anything with high-octane action sequences a la Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby.
  • Writing that has distinct style and hits the sweet spot between literary and commercial.
  • Love stories that have humor and levity in them, especially as the subplot of a mystery/thriller.
  • We have a weakness for anything involving ballet, and anything involving the fashion world would be great as we started out our career in fashion.
  • Obsessed with romantic suspense too, or a thriller where there is a prominent love story/relationship.
  • Stories about siblings are gold.
  • With Amber being a screenwriter, we are also partial to stories that have a cinematic vibe to them too.
  • Forced proximity is always juicy.

DO NOT SEND US:

  • Anything fantastical, paranormal, sci-fi, magical realism, vampires, haunted houses, witches, possession, etc. We like to read realistic fiction only.
  • Also hate the trope of mental health as a reveal or twist.
  • Same for being LGBTQ as a plot twist/reveal.
  • Anything to deal with religion is a no for us unless it’s critiquing said religion.
  • Anything involving excessive violence to women and/or children.
  • Also not really into stories about famous people, Hollywood, musicians, influencers, etc.
  • Incest is also an absolute no for us unless it’s a critique.
  • Please nothing to do with harm being done to animals of any kind (we are vegans).

FAVES

Movies: Ever After, The Last Seduction, True Lies, Black Swan, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Perfect Strangers (With Halle Berry).

TV Shows: Insecure, Euphoria, The White Lotus, Mare of Eastown, Seven Seconds, The One, Clickbait, Broadchurch, Killing Eve, Good Girls, Mindhunter.

Authors: Raven Leilani, Madeline Miller, Jennifer Hillier, S.A. Cosby, Frederik Backman, Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, Yaa Gyasi, Liane Moriarty, Kiley Reid.

Books: Razorblade Tears, Beartown, Song of Achilles, My Sister The Serial Killer, Blacktop Wasteland, Such A Fun Age, Miracle Creek, My Dark Vanessa, This Is How It Always Is, The Chain, Detransition Baby, The One (by John Marrs), Animal, For Your Own Good, Little Secrets.