How to Revise like a Mentor: Part Two!

Hi everyone!

Last week, we got some advice from four mentors about revising and writing. This week, we’ll be hearing from four more… okay, five. I was a mentor through Author Mentor Match, so I’ll be sharing my thoughts, too!

Thanks to my friend, Katie Wilson, for coming up with these ideas and these questions. Your perspective is so valuable. And oh, check out Katie’s AuthorTube channel over here!

Now, on with the interview! This week, we’ll be hearing words of wisdom from four more authors who’ve been mentors and mentees through programs like Pitch Wars and Author Mentor Match: Lorelei Savaryn, Carolyn Tara O’Neil, Meryl Wilsner, and Kimberly Wisnewski.

What is your mentoring process like?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: So far, I’ve had my mentee think through their theme and main character misbelief first. Then we dig into the antagonist, magic system/world building, and re-outline the plot based on that work. Once we’ve set up the secondary characters into that framework, I send my mentee off to draft, and then I’ll give feedback on the rewrites and we go forward from there! I’m available to chat through things with my mentee, and check in to see how things are going from time to time once I’ve given them an assignment. 

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: My goal is always to improve and encourage in equal measure. Writing is so hard, and the publishing journey is an obstacle course. You need more than strong writing ability — though that’s a requirement. You also need optimism, passion, and perseverance. A good mentor can help you keep pushing on. My mentor, J. Albert Mann, pushed me by believing in me. I try to do the same for my mentees and critique partners. 

With a mentee, I like to start with a phone or Skype call. In addition to getting to know each other better, this helps me understand the author’s intent, what elements of the novel are essential to them, and also how open they are to constructive feedback. Only then do I write my edit letter — and from there, move on to further revisions, query letters, drafting an agent list, etc.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Extremely enthusiastic, but not easy. I will shout and scream and flail about the parts of the manuscript that I love, but if I’m mentoring someone, it’s not just to make them feel good. I want to do everything I can to help improve the manuscript. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: I read through the MS, taking notes/leaving reaction comments along the way. Then, I write out an edit letter that’s mostly questions for the author to think about as they’re revising and to help the author find what might not be working just yet.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: First, I like to get a handle on what the core of the story is. What is the beautiful gem at the center of this book, and how can I help draw it out? Usually, this is a character arc and/or theme that I really want to be front and center in the revisions! The rest of the revision process circles around this, strengthening the theme and character arcs!

 

What notes do you take while reading?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I do make some notes, but not too many when I’m picking a mentee. I note any time I felt like I loved what the author did, or when something really just didn’t work as written. I also make a good amount of notes of areas where I feel like I could help the author move their craft forward in the context of their submitted story. If I have a lot of ideas for a potential mentee, then it might just be a match made in mentor heaven!

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Probably not enough, to be honest. I’m more likely to keep my thoughts in my head until the end than write them down. I do try to do one read through without leaving any comments before doing a second one at least a day later. It gives me time to sit with what I read instead of giving kneejerk reactions. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: I love leaving (and reading) reaction comments, so I’ll leave a lot of those. I like to leave questions I’m having so the author can see what the reading/thinking process is like for me as a reader. I’ll leave my predictions, things I’m wondering (But that might be answered later)… basically I just use the comments to think aloud as I’m experiencing the book. Off to the side, I’ll take notes by category, to be sorted through later and compiled in my edit letter.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I make notes along the way about the parts of the story I love and that I want to keep at all costs. I also mark down passages or elements that could be stronger, or elements that contradict the theme or worldbuilding. 

 

Do you leave notes in the doc itself?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I won’t leave notes in a doc until my mentee has addressed all the major structural issues, so I start with edit letters and ask them to revise or re-draft based on that work first. Once the plot and character arc pieces are in the right order and place, then I can go through and leave comments in the doc without doing a ton of work that will eventually change.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Absolutely. I think it’s important to highlight parts of the manuscript that are solid, and I like giving feedback on specific lines I really love. It’s also hard for me not to leave some kind of line edits if something is confusing or inconsistent, even if we’re working on developmental edits. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: YES! I love leaving comments. I also use track changes (But that’s in a later pass, looking at line edits).

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: Sometimes, yes, especially if a character does something either 1. Hilarious or 2. Extremely confusing. I like to yell about the parts that an author really does well. And when I revise myself, I leave notes along the way asking probing questions if something doesn’t quite make sense. 

 

How do you go about your edit letter?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: With my current mentee, I had her dig into the theme of her story and connect that to her main character’s misbelief. That was a whole letter in and of itself! Then there was a magic system/worldbuilding doc, an antagonist and plot letter, and then finally a letter on secondary characters. I gave them to her one at a time when she felt ready so it hopefully wouldn’t be too overwhelming, and she’d be able to see how those different pieces both build on each other and interconnect.

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: When I first read a manuscript, I track my strongest reactions in comments. I flag the places I laughed, moments a character won me over, confusing passages, scenes that moved me, etc. After speaking with my mentee, I’ll then go back and skim the manuscript again, so I can list major takeaways and revision ideas.

My favorite way to format an edit letter is by category: first, my overall impressions of Pacing, Prose, and Plot — highlighting strengths as well as areas for improvement. Then I’ll go through each of the major characters to describe what did and didn’t work for me. Finally, I’ll address key themes or motifs from the novel, and again flag the positives as well as deltas. I know how valuable it is for a writer to get feedback on both what DOES work as well as what doesn’t, so I try always to hit on both. 

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: I try to separate my thoughts into overarching categories like pacing, characterization, conflict. And while I may give suggestions of what could be done to solve issues in the manuscript, I make sure to be clear that it is the author’s work and their choice on what to do. Editors can point out places that need work, but the author gets to decide how to address them. I also like to have an actual conversation about the edits (generally over videochat). Not immediately, because as a writer I’ll admit it always takes me a few days to accept edit letters, but after the mentee has had some time with the letter, it helps to discuss it. My favorite part about working with other people (mentees or just writing buddies!) is brainstorming! On the phone, or via chat, just spitballing ideas back and forth. Again, if it’s not my book, it’s not my choice, so you have to be ready for the writer to say, “Eh, I don’t think I’ll go that way.” But sometimes hearing the wrong idea helps you find the right one. Talking out the edit letter gives you time to brainstorm together as well as clarify any parts that the mentee had questions about. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: I don’t necessarily use a traditional “compliment sandwich” model, but I do mix lots of glowing praise with critique. I discuss things by category. So, I might say something under “Characters,” like “I adored XXX! I loved their voice/observations, and I always laughed out loud when they XXX. I wonder, though, why…(question).” I always start with what’s working and then edge into what I’m left wondering. Instead of just pointing out weaknesses, I explain how I’m interpreting something. Then, they can decide if that’s the interpretation they wanted, and if not, how to better present some element of their story. 

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I divide the letter into various sections — for example, Worldbuilding, or This Magic System is Confusing, or Character Motivation. This is how I go about editing for myself, too: I do one pass through the novel for each section of the edit letter. It’s easier on my poor brain than remembering every single issue as I go through chronologically, and it makes it so I catch typos easier. 

 

What helps you determine how the story can be better? Do you look for specific things?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I look for ways to make the theme and character arc tie in as strong as possible with the plot. If I love a concept, but those areas need work, then I probably have some ideas on how to help it. Once we’ve got that, then we will dig into making the most effective use of language and word choice and pacing, etc. But I always, always start with theme.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: A good way to make the story better is to recognize what felt like it was missing when you read it. Was there a subplot that didn’t get wrapped up? Was a conflict too easily solved? Or the reverse: was a plot so convulted you didn’t know what was going on? I’m not a pro at show-don’t-tell, but a place I can see it easily is in characterization. It’s easy to talk about how funny or loyal or badass a character is, but it’s better if readers are able to come to that conclusion themselves. I wouldn’t say these are specific things I look for so much as common issues that crop up as I read. Not to harp on about a point, but again, it’s important to remember this is the author’s story. I once read a friend’s mystery, and in talking it out, suggested a different killer because it would make it “twistier.” But the twist was less important to my friend than the underlying themes of the story being told, and changing the killer would change those. So just because you would like the book more if written a different way, you have to be certain to look at it from the author’s POV and what their intent is.

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: The most important thing for me is whether or not I know what the story is trying to do at its heart. It’s such an English teacher answer, but what is this *about* to me? What piece of humanity am I experiencing, witnessing, or maybe even confronting? What questions does this story concept set out to answer?

Then, I look at how we can better communicate those things. 
catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I think about the most exciting, most fun, most marketable, most unique parts to the story. I want to make sure they shine. Sometimes you can tell these things just by reading the query (i.e. a really great hook or a really unique world); other times you’ll find hidden gems by reading through the book itself!

 

How do you break down the MC, antag, side characters, etc, to better the story?

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Same as above, really. I keep that heart/core/point–whatever you want to call it–in mind. As for characters, I make sure their reactions/responses/motivations make sense with what’s happened and where they are emotionally. Sometimes, things will happen just because they have to, for story purposes, which can take a reader out of the moment. People are unpredictable and inconsistent, but your reader has to at least understand, based on what they’ve seen so far, why your character is doing something.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I read the book STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron and learned that many stories (especially YA) are centered around the intertwining of character arc and theme. The theme is the thesis of your novel, and I want to make sure that every element, including your MC, side characters, and antagonists, are reinforcing your theme. 

 

How do you break down worldbuilding to better the story?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: For my current mentee, I asked a lot of questions. Every question I could possibly think of about her world and her magic system and how everything worked. I also prompted her to think about ways she could tie in her world to her theme. That became a working doc for brainstorming and fleshing out the world of her story.

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: This is definitely not one of my strengths, but if I were to advise someone in world-building, I would think about everything I’d need to know to get by in this world myself. If it’s not clear how someone would function in this society day-to-day, if I still have questions, I’ll ask those questions and maybe make a few suggestions.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: Mostly, I want it to make sense. Sometimes I’ll ask you to create a little rule book to explain how your world works. Make it consistent! And most of all, with magic systems especially, I want to see how magic impacts every aspect of your world. How are magic-users viewed? Are they feared or adored? How is magic viewed? What careers become obsolete because of magic? How does magic play into the life of the average person? Et cetera.

 

Do you give comments on pacing, description, interiority, etc?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I definitely will once we’ve finished up the structural edits! We’ve worked really hard on making sure all the foundational pieces like plot points and character arc are in place. Once my mentee finishes her re-draft, we’ll go through again taking a close look at those other things.

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: Always! Especially in the Young Adult category, pacing is essential. We’re often writing very mature stories, sometimes set in strange lands (fantastical, futuristic or historical!), yet have limited word count to work with. Plot structure and pacing feedback helps writers figure out which chapters are duds vs. treasures. 

Description and internal narrative are very specific to the voice of a story. You need enough to understand the setting and characters, while never drowning in unneeded detail or losing perspective. I like to flag areas in the manuscript where I crave more or less of these as a reader.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Absolutely. A lot of these issues are easy to spot from an outside perspective, but the author might be too close to it. I write romance, and it’s easy to think readers understand why two characters just have to be together, because I understand it myself. But I might not have gotten that onto the page the way I wanted to. Again, seeing these issues goes back to what’s missing when you read the story. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Sometimes. I think these things come out through other areas of the edit letter, though. If a scene is dragging the pacing down, it’s also probably not serving a strong purpose in moving the story further. If it’s a necessary scene but needs to be streamlined because it’s running long (though still needed for the story), I’ll leave comments during the line-level pass.
catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I try to tackle big-picture issues first, like character arc and structure, and then once I feel great about the direction and execution of the character arc, we can go a bit deeper into the prose itself. 

 

Do you worry much about line edits when you’re working on a mentee’s book?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: Yes! But that will be our last step before querying. We’ll really make sure things are polished up before sending out submissions to agents.

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: Only if they’re severe enough to create confusion. I don’t try to stylistically change the mentee’s writing. But I do flag areas of confusion, and I also point out habits/crutches. For example, if an author tends to rely on filter words (“she looked/saw/heard”), overuses adverbs, and so on, I will suggest they tackle that in edits.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Depends what we’re working toward. If it’s on a first read, I’d be more focused on developmental edits. But in Pitch Wars, my co-mentor and I definitely gave some line edits. With line edits, I think it’s important to not change your mentee’s voice, but instead to point out areas of confusion or repeated words (in the ARC copy of my debut, the word huge is used…three times in one paragraph *facepalm*). 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Not in the first pass. That first pass is about big picture story stuff. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on line-level and nitpicky comments if the author is going to cut or move a whole scene. 

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I don’t if I can help it, just because those edits are so time intensive and I’m usually giving a mentee my time for free. I know how money-grubbing that sounds but time is precious and we need to be wise about how we dole it out!!!

 

How do you go about strengthening the theme and the story itself?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I believe that the stories that resonate with us the most emotionally are the ones that have seamlessly interwoven theme, character arc, and plot. My Pitch Wars mentor Juliana Brandt (Author of The Wolf of Cape Fen- out now!) has created this beautifully thorough plotting doc that helps writers see how all three of those things are connected. I use this and refer to it in my own writing, and any of my mentees for the foreseeable future will work through this document as well. https://julianalbrandt.com/2018/03/on-plotting-downloadable-plotting-doc-attached/

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: Theme is everything, really, and it’s why we write novels. This is something I make sure to discuss with mentees and critique partners, to be sure that what I see as the key themes matches their intentions. Then when I read chapters where a theme is undermined by the plot, or moments that are perfect opportunities to bring it out more intensely, I can flag it for them in my edits.  

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: As an English teacher, this is probably the most important element for me, so it’s what I structure the entire edit letter around. Once we know what story we’re telling, we can streamline and revise with this in mind, so it comes across clearly, without losing the nuance that accurately depicts the complexity of humanity.
catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I usually have a phone call or an email exchange with my mentee to make sure we’re on the same page with the theme. Then we go through the plot of the story and the character arc and make certain that they are consistent with the theme. If your character is learning that friendship is more important than money, and their happy ending is having zero friends and a million dollars… something’s awry.

 

What helps you come up with brainstorm ideas to share with the writer?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I think one of the things that helped me know which story to mentor was the fact that I had a lot of ideas for her story while I read through her submission. I offered these in the appropriate places in her edit letters, but I always, always, leave the final call up to my mentee. I may suggest things that resonate, or that don’t, or I may bring up a problem that they choose to solve in a totally unique way! But usually my ideas stem from a problem I’ve seen, and thinking about some possible ways the author could choose to solve it, in the hopes that it will at least get their imagination turning!

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: As I said earlier, brainstorming is my favorite part of writing—both my own writing and working with someone else. I absolutely believe there are no bad ideas when it comes to brainstorming, because even something that ends up being really wrong for the story might push the author onto the right track with their response to it. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: I don’t do a lot of brainstorming with them, because once we start leaning too hard on my ideas it stops being their story. If they have a question, I can help them come up with ideas, but I try to do more “bouncing ideas” than actual suggesting. I’m better at helping writers get out of the corner they’ve written themselves into than telling them what to do!

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I like the Spaghetti on the Wall technique. I throw out several options for ways to improve a character or a scene or their motivations. I even include some far-fetched ones, just because they can help get the gears turning!

 

What’s helped you learn to think/critique like an agent (your own mentor experience, reading agent edit letters, self-taught/practice, etc)?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I had the benefit of being a Pitch Wars mentee in 2018, and I learned so very much through that whole experience. I also queried and received feedback from a lot of agents, and studied as much as I could on my own. I found CP’s I could trust. I read books on craft, broke down movies and books into their components to learn what worked. It was a lot of self-driven work coupled with the support of people who were in the same spot as me or a few steps further down the road.

Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: Being a mentee in Author Mentor Match (round 3) taught me a lot! My mentor was a tremendous support and ally. I became an AMM mentor myself (round 7) to pay it forward. I’ve also learned a ton from critique partners, being on both the critiquing and receiving side of things. 

As a mentor in AMM I read hundreds of queries and first pages. I learned the value of a straightforward query, and of having a clear connection between the query and the opening pages. Above all, I learned just how subjective this business is. I turned away dozens of beautifully-written stories just because the topic or the tropes didn’t personally excite me. 

I also discovered the depth of my passion for mentoring other authors of color. With how un-diverse the publishing industry is, authors of color who approach their work with a different mindset, different values, or different focus from white editors and agents are going to face so many extra hurdles in the race towards publication. I want to continue helping them succeed so we can have more beautiful, worthy, diverse voices on our bookshelves.

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: Both critiquing other people’s work and having them critique mine. When you’re just writing for yourself, or a select few people who always give positive feedback, it’s easy to think your way of writing is the right way. It’s easy to think that someone not liking your work is just them not understanding. The more you read and understand how something goes from a first draft to a final draft, the easier it is to be willing to change what you need to change in your own work to make it better. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Most of my toolbox has actually come from being edited by other people, not my own editing experience. With my first novel, I learned the importance of making every scene count for something. This led me to my revision method of using a chart to list characters, scene summary, and importance of the scene–so I can physically chart/track the character and story development throughout the book.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: I’ve had lots of awesome “unofficial” mentors along the way (including CPs) who ask me difficult questions and really push me to write my story as strongly as I possibly can.

 

How can you tell when the age category needs to change (MG to YA for example)?

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Well, first I’d look at the age of the characters. Then subject matter. Middle schoolers are tough (and have, unfortunately, been exposed to some real ugliness in this world already), but there are some things I wouldn’t want them to read about unless handled very intentionally and carefully.

I think we also need to look at who this is for. Who will relate to/care most about this character? 

 

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: Usually it’s the lesson the character learns (the theme), or the character is kind of immature or too mature, and often it’s the market. Portal fantasies are selling better in MG than in YA, for example. 

 

Any other tips on thinking like a mentor/agent?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: You want to give an agent every single reason to keep reading the next sentence, paragraph, page. That means it’s vital to be able to take critique, evaluate if it’s helpful to you, and if so, to implement it, even if it scares you. It’s also vital to look with a critical eye on your own work all throughout the process. You can’t hold anything too precious if you want to be traditionally published. Don’t let a weak word slide. Get rid of passive voice unless you intentionally need it to be there. Give your characters agency, sink into those moments that have the potential to emote deeply. Leave nothing on the table.

And read. Read books, and figure out what worked and why it was effective. Do the same with movies. Movies can be masterclasses in plotting. How does your story hold up to the works you admire?

Agents are experts at evaluating how well an author has done these things. They have to evaluate many, many manuscripts quickly and well. If you can develop that kind of eye for your own pitches and pages, then you are well on your way to gaining the skill you need to get where you hope to one day be.
Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: You want to make your story the best it can be, but you still want it to be your story. Sometimes feedback you get isn’t right for the story, and that’s okay. You don’t have to make every single change that is suggested. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: Know your story, but know that people can only ever speak from their own perspective. If you get feedback you disagree with, try to see where the person is coming from. Your intention might not be coming across yet–and that’s something you can change in revision! 

I don’t remember who said this, but I read once that the first draft is you telling yourself the story. It’s going to be rough. You’ll have weird, meandering chapters and totally unnecessary scenes–but at the time of writing, you needed those pieces. Now that you know your story, your characters, and your themes, you know better what needs to be cut!

One more thing… My rule for revision is the three Cs: Cut, Condense, Combine. If the story/scene makes sense without something, if you wouldn’t miss it if you didn’t know it was originally there–CUT! Some things are necessary but drag the pacing. CONDENSE! Some scenes are very similar in tone and direction to other scenes, and you might find you only need one. Same with characters, settings, conversations… COMBINE! I’ve obviously killed my fair share of darlings, but I will fight for some gorgeous lines if I can put them somewhere else!
catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: When you’ve been giving an edit letter, take a day or two to process. Be sad. Be angry. Breathe. It is SO common to receive an edit letter and think “I’m really bad at this whole writing thing AND my mentor hates me, so I should quit.” Nope. It’s not as bad as you think, I promise. Once you’re ready, make a solid step-by-step plan of how you can address what’s in your edit letter. It’s like eating an elephant… one bite at a time. Also: find someone else’s book to critique. You will learn SO much about your own weaknesses when it’s your “job” to point them out and offer suggestions for another person.

 

With this mentor critique knowledge, how long did it take to be instinctual or do you still have to think about it as you’re reading and critiquing your own work?

Lorelei

Lorelei Savaryn: I still hear my Pitch Wars mentors’ voices in my head as I write! But it’s totally a good thing. They pushed me to become better, and now I know how to push myself to become better. So while this level of work is more automatic than it was before I knew what I was lacking, it’s still very much a part of how I outline, and draft, and revise.
Carolyn Tara

Carolyn O’Neil: Por que no los dos? Much of my writing is instinctual. I’m a die-hard pantser. Often in first drafts I will hit at least *some* of the things I’m going for. But it’s never perfect! In revision I get to go back and apply all of these lenses to my own writing. And then I get to work with amazing critique partners who help me see so many more flaws (and gems) than I could ever have spotted myself. That’s the beauty of finding beta readers who are also writers — whether they’re your mentor or just a dear friend!

Meryl

Meryl Wilsner: I definitely still have to think about it. And I need other perspectives. I’ll sometimes think something I wrote is perfect, and don’t notice its faults until someone points them out to me. But there are also times when I think nothing I’m writing is working, and someone else reads it and loves it. Outside perspectives are invaluable no matter how much critiquing experience you have. 

Kimberly

Kimberly Wisnewski: I don’t know if it ever becomes innate, necessarily, because every story is so different. But I do think between CP reading, being mentored twice, and years of revision, along with my job as a Literature teacher, all contribute to these skills feeling more natural to me.

catbakewell

Catherine Bakewell: After revising several books and reading for several critique partners, I now have a very loud editor voice in my head. It likes to tell me about my weak character motivations, my confusing worldbuilding, my weird pacing. But when I’m writing the first draft, I can’t think about these things. I need to plow ahead and focus on getting the words, messy as they are, on the page. I leave comments for myself in the doc along the way. 

 

To the mentors who participated, thank you SO much!

If you’re reading this, please make sure to follow these amazing authors on social media and to add their books on Goodreads!

A special shout-out to Katie for this idea and her questions:

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Katie Wilson is a writer, reader, authortuber, wife, and mom. She has contemporary and fantasy ideas for ages middle grade to adult. She’s currently revising and querying two young adult contemporary novels, and was an Author Mentor Match Round 7 mentee. She loves coffee, brownies, binge-watching shows, and music she can dance to.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KWilsonAuthor

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQAO_Ds-QqcAGxguir44VVw

Other links: http://www.katiewilsonauthor.com/links

 

2019.04.10_Lorelei_Headshots-1Lorelei Savaryn is the author of creepy, magical stories for children. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and is a former elementary teacher and instructional coach. When she isn’t writing, she spends her time amidst the beautiful chaos of life with her husband and four children outside of Chicago.

Web: https://loreleisavaryn.com/

Pre-order her book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/624500/the-circus-of-stolen-dreams-by-lorelei-savaryn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52433331-the-circus-of-stolen-dreams

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LoreleiSavaryn

carolyn

Carolyn Tara O’Neil grew up in a tiny New York City apartment filled with thousands of books. Every Friday she went to the public library for even more reading material. She now lives in a slightly smaller NYC apartment with slightly fewer books, and still goes to the library every week.  

Since graduating from Barnard College with a degree in English literature, she has worked to support the education and civic engagement of young people.

Carolyn is an NPR junkie, a wannabe TV critic, and is always eager to talk about tea, stationery, books, and politics with folks of all persuasions.

Website: www.carolyntaraoneil.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52114390-daughters-of-a-dead-empire

 

mmw suit goofyMeryl Wilsner writes stories about queer women falling in love. Their debut, SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT, is due out from Berkley May 26, 2020 and available for pre-order now. Born in Michigan, Meryl lived in Portland, Oregon and Jackson, Mississippi before recently returning to the Mitten State. Some of Meryl’s favorite things include: all four seasons, button down shirts, the way giraffes run, and their wife. You can find them at http://merylwilsner.com.

Twitter/IG: @merylwilsner

Signed preorders: https://www.schulerbooks.com/book/9780593102527 (specify “signed copy” in order comments, can add personalization in comments as well) 

 

Kimberly Wisnewski PictureKimberly Wisnewski is a lover of language, equal parts dog and cat person, and a big fan of naps. She’s a Ravenclaw with rainbow sprinkles of Hufflepuff, and an INFP most of the time. She teaches 9th grade Literature at a school for advanced STEM students, where she sponsors Book Club and coaches Reading Bowl. She has been a mentee in Write Mentor and Author Mentor Match, and is excited to serve as a mentor for Write Mentor’s Summer 2020 program! Kimberly writes about awkward, nerdy teenagers who make lots of mistakes in life and love, but always find some light in the dark. Her work is represented by Alyssa Jennette at Stonesong, LLC. 

Twitter: @kimothywish

kimothywish.com

kimothywish.com/blog

Catherine Bakewell HeadshotCatherine Bakewell is a writer, artist, freelance editor and translator, and an opera enthusiast. She’s lived in Spain and in France, where she romped through gardens, ate pastries, and worked on her novels.

She is represented by Jordan Hamessley at New Leaf Literary and Media, Inc.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catbakewell