I’m so honored to join the team as a #WM mentor this year. As a mentee from the program’s launch, I’ve been participating on both sides of the process for almost a year. In 2018, I was mentored by the incredible Marisa Noelle and wrote an entire book in one summer. After many tears, countless rejections, and two more full rewrites, I ended up signing with Lynnette Novak of the Seymour Agency. I’ve written nine novels (finishing up the tenth), have one book on submission (soon to be two), and have sent hundreds of queries. If you’re looking for pluck, spirit, and an indefatigable cheerleader, I’m your gal.
I’m offering a FULL MENTORING package this year. That’s right, folks. One mentee, one book, and all my attention. Need help with your query? I’ll check out that query. Need synopsis doctoring? I do that, too. Beta reading, critiquing, and editing? Psyah. Having a bad day and need someone to send you funny GIFs? Consider me spunky your literary sidekick.
What I’m looking for
I’m only taking one project this year, so I need to fall in love with it. I hate it when people say that, but it really is true. If there were five more of me, I’d be able to do more, but please trust me when I say you don’t want five more of me.
I’ve written both MG and YA, but I tend to lean toward the MG side of things. If you have a YA and feel like you’re a good fit, don’t be afraid to send it my way! I’m laying out parameters, but I’ve never been one for setting boundaries.
My specialty is horror and dark fantasy, so if you have anything creepy, crawly, eldritch, or spooky, I want it. I’m talking the uncanniness of Coraline, the insidious realism of The Tulip Touch, the chilling twists of The Ink Drinker, or the wicked charm of Splendors and Glooms. I love MG horrors that take on the classic Grimm model, stories with a conclusive moral that show character development with just a pinch of whimsy. Retellings are okay, but I’d rather see something original. No haunted dolls, please. If you have ghosts, I’m going to hesitate, so make sure your pitch your “ghostess with the mostest.” There are a lot of ghost stories on the market right now, and I’m a bit of a spirit snob. (I used to work in the most haunted house in America and spent a lot of time as a part-time ghost.)
I also love funny books, especially in the MG realm. Gallows humor is my absolute fav. Campy is a go, particularly if it has to do with monster tropes. Goosebumps are classics, but I also love the intricate irony of stories like Holes, eerie laughs like Sideways Stories from Wayside School, and the madcap horror of In the Land of the Lawn Weenies. If you’ve got a sarcastically self-aware paranormal hero like Warm Bodies, send me your sweet little murder muffins. No sparkly vampires, please.
At the end of all things, I’m a sucker for good writing. If you’re a pro with prose, send me your genius. By no means is this list exhaustive. If you’ve got a darn tootin’ good book, don’t be afraid to submit just because it doesn’t fit neatly into these descriptions. I have certain genres I prefer over others, but I love getting gems that make me change my mind.
Books I LOVE:
All the books aforementioned, and anything Neil Gaiman or Stephen King. The Graveyard Book is my all-time favorite, but I’m also in love with The Tale of Despereaux, The Thief Lord, The Wide Window, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. I devour Mary Downing Hahn, Chuck Palahniuk, Carl Hiaasen, and Louis Sachar. I also LOVE graphic novels. Nimona, Preacher, and Doctor McNinja are some of my favorites.
What am I watching?
Kill Bill, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Pan’s Labyrinth, Deadpool, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Babadook top my movie list. I love Van Helsing, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and any campy horror movie like Plan 9 From Outer Space. What We Do in the Shadows and Your Name stand out as my recent favorites.
I’m an anime nerd. Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo reign supreme. I’m an insatiable fan of Preacher and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I’ll also binge nine episodes of The Office, if you’re up for it. Netflix’s Castlevania rocked my socks.
Who the heck am I?
Good question. Here’s a rundown:
I was born and raised in the middle of a cornfield. At the age of eighteen, I joined the Navy and traveled the world. I enjoy ultramarathoning, playing honky-tonk piano, writing music, and snooping around in graveyards/haunted houses. I get cranky if I don’t get my coffee. While I am Yankee, I’ve spent the last few years living back-and-forth from France. I’m a bit of a Francophile, but I still drink wine out of a box.
I have a rambunctious, eight-month-old corgi named Bilbo Handsomepants.
What’s my mentoring style?
I learned a lot working with #WM last year, but my defining moment was when I had to decide if I was doing this for validation or to improve my craft. My mentor encouraged me to make editorial changes that pushed me out of my comfort zone, and my book became infinitely better for it.
If we’re going to work together, please warm up to the idea of killing your darlings. I’m not an editorial ax murderer, but if you ask for my feedback, I’ll give it to you straight.
You’re a great writer. You know that, and so do I. I’m here to help you. If I didn’t believe in your potential, I wouldn’t be volunteering my time. If I don’t have an answer, we’ll find someone who does. If we run into a roadblock, we’ll work our way through it. I can’t promise you a silver bullet, but I can promise the next-best thing—an astounding community of friendly, dedicated writing professionals who will do everything in their power to help you succeed.
So bring it on, you wonderous wordsmiths! I can’t wait to bask in your brilliance. <3
Copyright © 2018 Hannah Kates - All Rights Reserved.