#WriteMentor MSWL

This year, I’m thrilled to be mentoring in the 2021 #WriteMentor mentorship program. If you’ve never heard of #WriteMentor, you can read more here, but basically it’s a wonderful annual event where writers of children’s fiction submit their completed manuscripts for the chance at a one-on-one mentorship with more experienced author. As a former mentee myself, I’m so excited for the opportunity to give back to this great community.

If you’ve just come from the #WriteMentor site, welcome! And thanks for considering me as a possible mentor. I’m honored that some of you will trust me with your work. Here you’ll find my complete MSWL as well as a brief list of topics I’m not the best fit for. I hope it will help you to narrow down your choices. If you have specific follow-up questions, I will be participating in the #WriteMentor Twitter chats on April 12 and 13.

This year, I’m mentoring across age groups and am specifically on the hunt for upper-MG/lower-YA with characters that are 12-15 years old. My tastes are highly eclectic: my favorite genres to read are mystery, science fiction, and thriller, but I also enjoy contemporary, dystopian, magical realism, and action/adventure.

Please Send:

  • Anything that comps to Star Wars! Seriously, if your book is set in the recesses of space, whether it be on board a freighter, a warship, or a distant planet, GIMME, GIMME, GIMME! Star Wars is my first love, the basic inspiration for my own writing, and good, all-around fun.
  • Action/Adventure – I want high-stakes and intrigue. Think sword-fights, gun-fights, knife fights, plane crashes, and car chases.
  • Dastardly bad guys – Give me VILLAINS! And give me a main character strong enough to defeat them.
  • Heart – My common denominator across genres and age-groups is characters with heart. I want to see your heroes, no matter how unlikely. Give me a character who sees a problem, big or small, and just can’t walk away.

Also on my List:

As much as I love my action, I’m a sucker for a great feel-good MG contemporary. Front Desk and Three Keys are phenomenal. I also loved Merci Suarez Changes Gears. Think strong characters who will stop at nothing to achieve their goals and influence their personal circles, no matter the size.

On the YA side, I’m drawn to stories like THUG by Angie Thomas with characters choosing to be the voice for change and the rallying cry for justice. I also enjoy YA thrillers like anything Karen McManus.

Not a Great Fit For:

  • Explicit Sex and Language – Implied sex and a handful of curse words are probably okay, but I’m not the mentor for any manuscript with sex scenes or a lot of profanity.
  • Horror – Thriller is fine, but I’m not a horror fan AT ALL.
  • High-Fantasy – urban/contemporary fantasy like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, or anything Rick Riordan works for me, but high-fantasy is not really my thing.
  • Too many protagonists – I could probably handle up to four. I personally write from a singular POV, so if you have multiple view-point characters, I’m not the best fit.

Final Thoughts:

I hope you have a better sense of my tastes after reading my MSWL. For specific questions about the wish-list, be sure to catch me on Twitter April 12 and 13 for the mentor chats, or you can click here for information about my personal mentoring style. I’m looking forward to hearing from you and to reading your submissions.


  • Sam Brown

    Thanks for this insight, Kari. Will send you my ‘tween action thriller with heart’ , because I feel that through being a globe-trotting, A-Typical personality, who loves blunt editorial feedback and ass-kicking heroines, we could work well together! Enjoy reading all of your submissions!

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