Monday, March 18, 2019

The Write-Mentor Post You've Been Waiting For!

Wowzers! Time is zooming by! Soon, you and I might become that perfect “Write-Mentor
Match” you and I have hoped for. (We’ll be the PB & J, the Big Mac and fries, the bacon
and egg, salt -n- pepper … or any analogy that fits well with coffee! ;) )

And as a potential mentee, I know you have questions. This is the post that I hope answers
them. (If not, drop me a mss, either here or through Twitter-verse etc. Ultimately, I’ll update
this post with any answers that can help everyone.)

Why I Chose to be a Mentor:

My own mentors have always held those sweet spots in my heart. I remember every
personal message, every “push” in the right direct, every subtle (and not so subtle) hint that
a mentor has given me along my writing journey.

I’m thrilled when they tell me my work is “ready” and I work harder on a revision or a WIP
when they suggest I try something different.

Mentors are golden. They are the voice whispering in my ear and the note in my in-box
reminding me that another opportunity, or idea awaits.

I want to be that person for you.

My History:

This is my first year with Write-Mentor, but I’m bringing years of background with me. Like
many of you, I’m a writing machine. I’ve been writing since I was little and have been
encouraged by all the best role-models along the way. I enjoy writing everything but am
devoted to writing stories for children.

I taught English/Language Arts for more than half my career. (Most of my own writing came
from ideas I workshopped with students.) In my “spare” time, I’m a regional rep. for SCBWI-
IL and I’m part of the planning team for a bi-annual summer retreat called Words in the
Woods. Over the many years of my involvement with SCBWI, I’ve met other authors, agents,
editors and publishers that have greatly contributed to my understanding and insights into
the kidlit world.

What I’m Looking for:

First and foremost, I am only looking for writers who are working on pictures books, chapter
books, or middle grade novels. If you write YA or adult, we have some other great mentors
in the Write-Mentor program for those.

Whether your story is intended as a PB, chapter book or middle grade novel, what really
makes me ooh and ahh most are books with fun and gutsy characters, and I love a MC
with flaws. I’m someone who will root for the underdog and cheer when they pull themselves
up. I want to be with them as they overcome or solve their problem, with or without help.

I’d like to see more strong female leads and boys who aren’t afraid to take a stand for what’s
right. Don’t be afraid to personify. Magic realism, in all forms is a selling point for me.
Toasters to tadpoles, the more unique the better! (I’m a fan of writing about small creatures

If a story has a STEAM (or STEM) tie-in, I’d love to see it. I want to read books that will
inspire children-- provide "windows" to the bigger world. The teacher in me (25+ years)
also gets excited when I find stories that are “mirrors” for my students -- possibly your
potential audience. (And as your mentor, we might even take parts of your story for a
test-drive with student readers.)

When it comes to genres (specifically for middle grade), I tend to read realistic, fantasy or
sci-fi most, but if you have a mad-genius or creative problem solver/puzzler as a MC in a
mystery, you might have me hooked! (I’d die to read a fantastic, modernized Nancy Drew
for a MG audience!)

Some of my favorite kid-lit authors include:

Maurice Sendak (PB) (A dated reference, but still my favorite)
Kathi Appelt
Katherine Applegate
Andrea Beaty (PB)
Ame Dyckman (PB)
The Fan Brothers (PB)
Dan Gemeinhart
Alan Gratz
Oliver Jeffers (PB)
Adam Rubin
Brian Selznick
Sarah Weeks

I hope that answers some of your questions. I'm looking forward to being the Write-Mentor
for you!


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