Mentors Emily Grey & Kat Hillis

@emilygreywrites

katherinehillis.com
@kehillis

AGENT
Emily:
Kiana Nguyen, Donald Maass Literary Agency
Kat: Carrie Pestritto, Laura Dail Literary Agency

WRITES
Fantasy & Sci-Fi

ON SUBMISSION (Emily)
REVISING
(Kat)

BIO

Emily Grey (she/her) is an author of queer adult and YA sci-fi/fantasy with a BA in Creative Writing. A cooking and enamel pin enthusiast, she lives in New York with her wife and dog.

Kat Hillis (she/her) is a sci-fi/fantasy author who earned her BA in English Literature. She lives in Alabama, where she enjoys the two weeks of tolerable weather a year. When she’s not staring at the stars or writing, she’s drawing, gaming, or making handcrafted soap.

PUBLISHING BACKGROUND

Emily: My publishing journey has been long! I’ve been writing seriously since right after college, but I didn’t start thinking about traditional publishing until 2015. I applied to AMM–and was rejected!–but was chosen as a mentee in the next round! I’ve written ten books and queried three, though it was my second novel I queried that landed me an agent. I’ve been on submission with my YA novel for a few months now, and am in the midst of revising an adult space opera for submission with my co-writer (and co-mentor!), Kat.

Kat: My publishing journey has been a long one. I finished my first novel in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2015 that I really began searching for an agent for my third manuscript. For three years, I queried without really knowing what I was doing, or how to revise. Then I entered AMM with my sixth manuscript, and got in! After that it was super easy, barely an inconvenience–just kidding. I worked hard on that book, queried, and made friends and CPs in the writing community. Then I wrote more books, got into Pitch Wars in 2019, and queried that book just as the pandemic hit. I wrote two more books and revised and queried until book nine (the fifth I’d queried) got me an agent offer. Yes, I’m an Aries, why do you ask?

EXPERIENCE

Emily: I hold a BA in Creative Writing, am a PitchWars 2021 co-mentor, was mentored through AMM in round 4, and have had multiple critique partners go on to sign with agents and/or publish their debut.

Kat: I’ve been a mentee for both AMM and Pitch Wars, and I’ve worked with critique partners who’ve gone on to sign with agents and sell books.

 

OVERVIEW
We’ve both benefited from mentorship programs, especially AMM, and we’re excited to give back to the community that has given us so much (it’s how we met, too!). We’re looking forward to guiding a mentee through both the revision and query processes and helping them in the ups and downs of their own journey with all the things we’ve learned from our own.

First and foremost: we’re looking for queer narratives in sci-fi and fantasy! We tend to go for books that are character-driven with interesting worldbuilding. Genre-blended and weird books are our favorites, and we love tropes. We’re also looking for fresh takes on classics. If you worry your book is too weird or not queer enough, we want to see it!

MENTORING GENRES
Adult

  • Fantasy
  • Sci-Fi
  • Urban/Contemporary Fantasy

Genres:
-Sci-fi (all subgenres except military)
-Fantasy (all subgenres except portal fantasy)
-Science Fantasy
-Genre-bending or genre-blending, send us your sci-fi mysteries, your second world fantasy rom-coms, your magic that feels like science and sci-fi with the whimsy of magic!
Favorite Tropes:
-Enemies to lovers
-Idiots to lovers
-Found family
-Only one bed
-Forced proximity
-Hurt/comfort
-Mutual pining
-We love just about every trope!

 

WE 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
We’ve been working together for years (and are revising our co-written book for sub!), so we’ve honed our process and hope to provide you with the best possible experience we can. Our mentoring style will be highly dependent on our future mentee! No two mentees are exactly alike or need the same things, so we plan to be flexible and figure out what’s best for everyone when the time comes. Before we begin the process, we’ll talk with our mentee about expectations, scheduling, and their specific needs and boundaries to make sure we’re all on the same page.

During the revision process, we will be working on both big-picture edits as well as line edits. We know writers don’t always nail revisions on the first try, and that’s okay! We’ve both done this, and worked through multiple rounds of edits with our former mentor–and we’re looking forward to doing the same with our future mentee. We will both also provide guidance (and spreadsheets) for the world of querying. We know how tough it is out there and we’d never leave you hanging.

Overall, if we choose you, it’s because we love your work and believe in your skills, but we’ll expect you to be willing to put in hard work. We believe in order to work on what’s not working, you have to know what is working. That being said, we’re both pretty to-the-point, and since being able to quickly process feedback is a critical skill in publishing, we’ll work with you on doing so during the mentorship period. We’ll do our best to help our mentee make their book the best it can be, which means listening to your vision more than enforcing ours. It’s your book, after all.

IDEAL MENTEE
Our ideal mentee is someone who isn’t afraid of hard work and wants to improve their craft skills–not just for a single book, but for all future books and their career, as well. If you feel your manuscript is missing something, but just can’t take it further on your own, we want to see it!

SEND US:
This is non-exhaustive, and just because we haven’t thought of it doesn’t mean we don’t want to see it!

  • Weird, queer books (and we mean ALL queer narratives, including ace/aro, trans and non-binary, etc.)
  • Books by authors traditionally marginalized by publishing (BIPOC, disabled, queer, neurodiverse, etc.)
  • Marginalized characters where their marginalization(s) are not the plot
  • Unique worldbuilding
  • Give us all the tropes!
  • Found family narratives
  • While not necessary for us to love your book, both of us really enjoy a strong romantic subplot.
  • Stabby women (who know what they want and go after it) or cinnamon roll men
  • Anything sapphic
  • Writing that makes us want to lie down because it’s so good
  • Writing with strong narrative confidence (this might sound weird, but what we mean by this is prose that feels purposeful, whether it’s super straightforward or super stylistic.)
  • Settings that feel like characters
  • Carefully constructed, thoughtful lore
  • Books that have a strong aesthetic/vibe
  • Moments of humor (especially puns)
  • Gays in space!!!
  • If your book has the same level of energy as Gideon the Ninth, we want it (we know Gideon is a tough comp, so we don’t need you to be writing goth necromancers in space, but just like… if your ideas are deeply wild and weird and you present them with confidence and authority, we’ll be on board)
  • Retellings but make them gay (we are not the best fit for anything that can comp Romeo & Juliet, as this is too close to our own project)
  • Once more, with feeling: queer stuff!!!
    Seriously, if your book is queer SFF and we seem like a good fit, send it to us! Even if your book doesn’t hit all/any of these MSWL points, we want to see it!

DO NOT SEND US:
Please understand that these aren’t just preferences, they are triggers for one or both of us.

  • Nazis (of any sort)
  • On-page childbirth
  • Detailed, on-page medical procedures
  • Zombies (unless they are sentient, a la iZombie)

FAVES

Books:
-This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
-The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
-Jurassic Park and The Lost World by Michael Crichton (if your book comps these but is queer, send it to us!)
-Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
-The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
-The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
-Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
-The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
-Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

TV:
-Lucifer
-Hannibal
-Black Sails
-Good Omens
-Masterchef
-The Expanse
-Loki
-WandaVision (if you have this in book form please, please send it to us)

Movies:
-Jurassic Park
-The Mummy (1999)
-The Princess Bride
-Lord of the Rings
-Deep Blue Sea
-The Thing (1982)
-Thor: Ragnarok
-Cabin in the Woods
-Pacific Rim
-Jennifer’s Body
-Rise of the Guardians