#AMMConnect: Spring 2019

Ready for some fun news (and a great opportunity writers?!)

I’m jumping into Round 6 of Author Mentor Match this Spring!

For those unfamiliar with the program, AMM is a mentorship opportunity that pairs aspiring middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) writers with authors already in the field. Ultimately, mentors advise un-agented writers on the journey towards becoming a published author, lifelong partner/friendships are formed, and the writing world becomes a much better place.

While I was on a writing retreat last Fall, I heard about AMM from one of my critique partners (who is a mentee) but I didn’t feel ready for it at the time. However, after revising over the last couple of months & with some healthy fear of moving forward, I decided to jump in on round 6!

So, if you're a writer with your own MG/YA manuscript ready to query, then I invite you jump in with me! The submission window is open March 1-5, which means there’s still time to get your story ready. The first step is getting the manuscript and other submission materials polished (which you can read about here). The next step is connecting with other writers via this post—so welcome to my #AMMConnnect bio!

Who am I?

I’m Caitlin, a tattooed teacher during daytime hours and writer by all other hours. You can find out way more about me on my bio page, but the just is this: I am most my soul when I am lost in story. I studied English and Creative Writing in college, with the hope of becoming a writer who owned a children’s book store (praise hands for Kathleen Kelly), but found my way into a classroom instead.

 
 
 

Now, I get to help high school students fall in love with story AND discover their own through the English classes I teach. I’m also a major bibliophile who reads multiple books at once, a Whovian, a typewriter collector, a nature lover, a D&D fangirl, and a fur mom to my literary dachshunds: Daisy & Gatsby.

 
 

What I write & why

I’m a dabbler when it comes to stories, but my true love is middle grade fiction. I love writing fantasy as much as I love writing mystery which is why I’ve several of my WIPs are mashups. The completed manuscript I’m entering for AMM is When Things Disappear, a MG fantasy (to be more specific it’s an alternate world fantasy) with a hint of mystery about loss, grief, anxiety, family, friendship, and faeries.

Here’s a brief synopsis:

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When 12-year-old Mae Byrne’s Nana disappears right in front of her eyes, leaving her a necklace and the tom, Use it Mae, she suddenly understands the immortal realm of Beyond, exists. In the weeks to come, Mae’s mother keeps telling her Nana died, but Mae pushes past the haze of grief in search of a doorway to find Nana. Along with the neighbor boy Jack--who isn’t really her friend-- she discovers Finn, a pixie from Nana’s faerie stories. He helps her find the key, but as they enter the realm, the unlikely trio of grieving girl, popular boy, and obnoxious pixie are tricked into a bargain with the Dark Fae Queen, sending them on an adventurous quest across the strange land to retrieve specific items she needs in order to send Nana back home. If Mae helps the Queen, she’ll release Nana and let them all go, but Mae knows if they fail, they’ll be stuck in Beyond forever. While the trio ventures deeper into the strange land, a mystery unravels, beginning to heal Mae in a way she wasn’t expecting.

When Things Disappear is a mash up of The Unicorn Quest and The House with Chicken Feet, and for anyone who loves tricky pixies, odd ball friends, other worlds, lovable pets, family bonds, Faerie bargains, magic, and nature. It’s a nod to classic fantasy, but what can I say… Narnia changed my reading life forever.

I write (mostly) middle grade because..

I want readers to fall into stories and find themselves. I write because books changed me when I was a kid. They helped me escape. They gave me hope. They made me laugh.
But most of all, they gave me friends I’ve kept forever.

As a middle grade writer, my heart is for my readers who often face the hardships of life at a young age. They need an escape and to know they aren’t alone. Books offer both of those things and more, and to fall in love with a story when you are young (or really, at any age) is a magnificent, magical thing.

I think I’d make a great mentee because…

I love to learn and I’m eager for critique/partnership in. I may be a writer with a day job, but I’m in writing for the long haul. I have a desire to grow as a writer, find the potential in my stories, and learn not only what I’m capable of writing, but also more about the writing craft and the industry.

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Having a background with writing workshops, critique groups, and teaching writing, I’m very willing and open to deleting/changing/revising/rewriting to whatever extent is needed, and as I’ve been working on the revision of When Things Disappear, I’ve discovered I actually love the revision process because each new pass reveals another layer to my story. But I also know I’m at a point where my eyes aren’t enough. I need someone else’s view and thoughts on my story.

As someone from small town, central Illinois, I’m also looking to connect with other writers/critique partners because they are few and far between in my area. I want to be someone else’s encourager, too.

But even if I don’t make it this round, I know there’s so many valuable things to pick up from just pushing aside the fear and putting my story and myself out in the writing world! So—if you’re a writer jumping in on AMM, let’s connect (find my social links below!)
Whether we become internet friends or critique partners, or only like each other’s tweets every so often, we’re all stories in the end.

And I’m excited to see how each of ours turns out.

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