Hi there! I’m thrilled to be back for my fourth year as a YA mentor. And I’m equally thrilled to say that all three of my past mentees received offers of representation following the contest, and two now have book deals for their Pitch Wars manuscripts!

This year, I’m looking for YA in the following genres:

1) Magical Realism + Contemporary with speculative elements

I will swoon over atmospheric settings that feel like a character in their own right. Some of my favorites in this arena are:

•    The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
•    The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
•    Anything by A.S. King
•    The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu
•    Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
•    The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

2) Contemporary Realistic

Give me the FEELS! I love when a book manages to make me laugh and cry, or when a dynamic between two characters is so intense it makes my stomach clench. If your novel pushes boundaries or tackles controversial issues, I AM HERE FOR IT. Some favorite contemporary realistic books:

•    Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
•    The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
•    Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
•    The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
•    Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
•    Anything by Katie Cotugno
•    Anything by Courtney Summers

3) Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

I would love to see a twisty suspense or psychological thriller, especially one with emotional heft. Some recent examples I adored…

•    Far From You by Tess Sharpe
•    Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
•    After the Woods and Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage
•    The Darkest Corners by Kara Thomas
•    Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

4) Comedic Horror

Okay. So admittedly, this one is sort of oddly specific. The thing is, I’m not the biggest fan of scare-the-pants-off-you horror. But I DO love horror with a comedic or ironic twist, as well as stories that turn stereotypes and tropes on their head. Some examples…

•    The Santa Clarita Diet
•    Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
•    This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers (This is one of my favorite examples of a book with a high concept that is grounded in the emotional lives of the characters. It also has a good dose of irony.)

Aaaand since I’m now realizing I just gave three zombie examples… to be clear, there do not need to be zombies involved!

And finally, here are some elements that will give me heart-eyes and grabby hands across all genres:

•    Feminist narratives
•    Dark humor
•    Anti-heroes (love a protag who makes mistakes and could be labeled unlikeable)
•    Unreliable narrators
•    Characters with messy histories
•    Character backstories that intersect in unexpected ways
•    Family secrets
•    Sibling stories, especially those with complicated relationships in the vein of I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
•    Unusual settings
•    Slow-burning romance that is grounded in flawed characters facing real obstacles
•    Unique structures (alternating POV, alternating Before/After timelines, etc.)
•    Strong voice!

Think you images.duckduckgo.com2_-e1500378196881-150x65 what I’m looking for?? HOORAY! Here’s some more info that might help you decide if we’re a good match!

What I’m looking for in a mentee:

Someone who is willing to work hard and who will take a thoughtful approach to revisions. Someone who responds well to feedback and is willing to kill their darlings. (This does NOT mean you have to agree with everything I say. I love having a dialogue with my mentees and coming to a solution that feels right. But I do want someone who will take the time to absorb my notes before deciding on a revision plan.) Someone who isn’t afraid to cut scenes/chapters/huge sections if they aren’t working. (Fun fact: when I was a mentee I cut and rewrote about 75% of my book during the contest. It sold four months later.) And last but not least, someone who has put in the hours to get their manuscript as ready as it can be, and is looking for help to take it to the next level.

What you can expect from me as your mentor:

An edit letter with big picture feedback, as well as line edits/examples in track changes that jumped out at me while reading. Time allowing, a second pass to focus on smaller-scale revisions. Several passes over your pitch/sample for the agent round. And a cheerleader who will be there to talk over any issues that come up while you’re revising (and after the contest ends!).

Miscellaneous and possibly irrelevant facts about me (that aren’t listed on my bio page…):

•    Favorite TV shows: Arrested Development, Gilmore Girls, Fargo, Archer, Stranger Things, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, New Girl, The OC, Veronica Mars
•    Favorite movies: The Way, Way Back, Mad Max, Wonder Woman, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Benny & Joon, Now and Then, Harold and Maude, Mean Girls, Some Like it Hot
•    Favorite kind of pie: tie between pumpkin and key lime.
•    If I were an appliance, I’d be a refrigerator (because I like being full of food).
•    I’d rather be too hot than too cold.
•    Jonah Griggs is my ultimate book boyfriend.

Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or Instagram!

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I’m super excited to have some upcoming events in my home state of Michigan this summer!

Friday, July 22

4-6 PM

Traverse Area District Library

610 Woodmere Ave
Traverse City, MI 49686

Panel with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

More information: http://www.tadl.org/event/woodmere/2016/07/22/ya-conversations-meet-authors


Saturday, July 23

2-3 PM

Brilliant Books

118 E Front Street
Traverse City, MI 49684

Signing with Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of FIRSTS

More information: http://www.brilliant-books.net/event/laurie-elizabeth-flynn-emily-martin-book-signing


Saturday, September 24

9:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Boston Teen Author Festival

Cambridge Public Library & Cambridge Rindge and Latin School

More information: http://www.bostonteenauthorfestival.com/


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I’m so excited to be joining a panel of amazing authors to talk about our YA novels at Books of Wonder in New York!



Posted in 2016 debut, In-person event, The Year We Fell Apart Comment

Hi everyone! This post is part of the 2016 YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt sponsored by The Book Belles! I am so excited to have exclusive content for one of my favorite 2016 debuts, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES by Rebecca Podos. Here’s a little more about the book:
22811780All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of her father’s books to track down a woman she’s never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’ debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us – the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.


And now, a word from Rebecca on her content:

To solve the central mystery, my main characters travel across MA in search of clues, so I thought it might be cool to draw up a map of key locations from the book.

So without further ado…


So interesting! Thanks to Rebecca for sharing this awesome content, and happy hunting!

6537142Rebecca Podos’ debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston


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The wait is over and The Year We Fell Apart is finally out in the world! Join me for the official launch party at Porter Square Books on 1/26, 7pm!

There will be a reading, a Q&A, and mini-pecan tarts!




Posted in The Year We Fell Apart Comments Off on THE YEAR WE FELL APART Launch Party!

Let me start by saying, I am so thrilled to be a part of Pitch Wars! This contest has played a huge role in kicking off my own career, helping me land an agent (the amazing Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary) and eventually a book deal (my debut, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, comes out from Simon Pulse in January 2016!). This is my second year as a mentor, and last year I had an amazing experience working with some incredibly talented writers. My mentee went on to get an agent after the contest, and I am so proud to have been a part of that journey.

I’ll be mentoring YA this year, so if you’re still with me… here is a bit more on my mentoring style:

My critiques aren’t sugarcoated. I will absolutely gush and fangirl over all the aspects I love about a manuscript, but I also won’t hold back when I feel something isn’t working. This experience is all about learning and growing (and having been a mentee myself, I know how challenging it is!). With that in mind, I am looking for a mentee who can handle constructive criticism, who will take a thoughtful approach to revisions, and who isn’t afraid of hard work—even if it means cutting scenes and killing your darlings.

If you’d like to know more about me, come chat with me on twitter, where I can often be found discussing important matters such as book boyfriends, chocolate cravings, and other writerly things!

And without further ado, here are some more details on what I’m dying to see in my inbox:

Contemporary YA. I write in this genre, so it’s always something I enjoy reading. Things that will give me grabby-hands include: VOICE!!!, rich world-building (even realistic YA needs this!), and a strong hook/fresh story idea.

I’m also looking for historical fiction and magical realism! (I tend to fall hardest for magical realism that is firmly grounded in the world around us, but with a touch of the surreal. Think A.S. King or Sarah Addison Allen.)

I love writing that strikes a balance between literary and commercial, and adore stories that are heartbreaking and honest (and if you can make me snort-laugh, I’m yours). I’d also love to see any manuscripts with psychological elements (but no horror, please!), and if your ms has a slow-burning romance, unreliable narrator, or a unique structure (alternating POV, stories told in before/after sections, etc.) send it my way!

I’m NOT the best mentor for your high fantasy or sci-fi novel.

My favorite books are ones that evoke a range of emotion; especially those that make me laugh and cry. Some examples in no particular order…

  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
  • Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey
  • Anything by Jandy Nelson
  • Anything by Courtney Summers
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King
  • Anything by Nina LaCour
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Don’t forget to scope out Brenda Drake’s blog to read all about the submission guidelines!

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This week, the Middle Grade and YA debut author group I’m a part of, The Class of 2k16, launched our website. To celebrate, we’re giving away two $50 B&N gift cards!

To enter the drawing, all you have to do is:

1. Retweet our launch tweet @Class2K16books

2. Follow us on Twitter.


That’s it! That’s all you have to do, and then you’re entered in this tasty giveaway!

The giveaway will close at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 2. Be sure to check back on the Class of 2k16 News & Giveaways page for weekly giveaways of the Class of 2k15’s books!

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