Hello! Congratulations on finishing your manuscript! I can’t wait to read your work!
My name is Julia Ember. I live with my wife and our legion of pets with literary names in Seattle. I write YA Fantasy, and am the author of RUINSONG (coming November 2020 with Macmillan/FSG) and THE SEAFARER’S KISS duology (Interlude Press, 2017). I’m represented by Eric Smith at P.S. Literary.
I’ve previously worked as a regional sales manager for a book distributor and interned for a top New York literary agency. I also write scripts for video and application games. (Less relevant positions include wedding cake decorator SO if you’re looking for baking tips, I am also the right person for you.) This is my first time mentoring with Pitch Wars, but I have previously mentored twice with Author Mentor Match.
WHAT I AM ACCEPTING
AGE CATEGORIES: YOUNG ADULT & NEW ADULT.
I am officially mentoring in the category of Young Adult for 2019, but I am also open to select New Adult projects with cross-over appeal with YA.
Please only send me New Adult projects if your protagonist is 23 or younger (typical college age) and the book has YA pacing.
Fantasy (especially second world and/or historical fantasy), Science Fiction (particularly with a horror bent ala Black Mirror), Retellings (particularly if queer and/or a retelling of a non-western tale), Historical (open to most eras but war/military fiction is not for me), Genre-Bent-Speculative-Things (including Magical Realism and Science Fantasy), Romance (I am open to SFF and historical romances, no contemporary romance please).
HIGHLY SPECIFIC WANTS (the ULTRA WISHLIST)
If your book conforms to what I am accepting (above), please don’t panic if you don’t see any of your plot elements listed on my highly specific wishlist below!
Above all, I love to be surprised.
LGBTQIA+ stories, particularly by #ownvoices creators.
Banter and humor! I love a book that literally makes me cackle, but is ultimately kinda dark.
HEISTS — I love reading about daring and inventive crimes. My favorite recent film is Ocean’s 8 and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see something like it but SFF.
Girls who put ambition first. (I am a Slytherin).
Monsters! Both human monsters (villain stories) and fascinating creatures.
Fat protagonists and body diversity.
Enemies to lovers OR EVEN BETTER former friends to enemies to lovers. I am trash for these tropes. I live for the angst.
Climate change allegories done well in fantasy.
Vampires. LOOK I have been a fan of vampire stories forever and I truly think that in the year 2019 they are coming back, so if you have a new and interesting twist on vampires, I want to see it.
Secret societies, literary mysteries and religious conspiracy.
Animal stories, especially about horses, whales and birds of prey. I also love dragons, mermaids, unicorns and all mythic beasts.
Historical fiction about little known queer icons ala Gentleman Jack.
WORKS I LOVE
Books: An Enchantment of Ravens, The Abyss Surrounds Us, And I Darken, The Scorpio Races, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, Timekeeper, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Belles, Dread Nation, Not Even Bones, Court of Fives, Black Wings Beating, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, The Sin Eater’s Daughter.
Movies/TV Shows: Ocean’s 8, Thor: Ragnorak, The Knight’s Tale, The Favourite, West World, Peaky Blinders, Gentleman Jack, Black Mirror, The Borgias, Downton Abbey.
Video Games: Skyrim, Witcher 3, Choice of Games, Chapters, Assasin’s Creed, Mass Effect.
PLEASE DON’T SEND ME
Manuscripts over 110,000 words. I like a fast pace and books that keep hitting me rapid-fire with twists. There are definitely mentors who are up for more sweeping epic fantasy, but I am not the right person for that book.
Books with conservative political themes or redemption arcs for bigots. I am a queer west-coast liberal — I am probably not your audience for these.
Toxic alpha male love interests with entitlement issues.
Novels written in verse.
Manuscripts that do not fit my genre categories!
I am a really hard sell for most Space Opera. I do love Space Opera that reads almost like Fantasy, such as Sangu Mandanna’s A Spark of White Fire. However, I hate both Star Wars and Star Trek, so if you think your Space Opera comps well to either of those, it might not be for me!
Manuscripts that cannot be read as a satisfying standalone. If your book is planned as series, that’s fine, but if your first book ends on a massive cliffhanger with no resolution, it’s not for me.
MY MENTORING STYLE
I am committed to helping my mentees make their book the best it can be! I like to start with a phone or skype call, where both of us can talk about our visions for the manuscript. I will then write you an editorial letter and we will tackle big picture revisions. I usually read the manuscript at least twice more after big picture edits are complete, if time allows.
I believe in talking to my mentee throughout every stage of the process, so that the editorial work is truly collaborative. I want my mentees to still feel as though they have ownership over their work, and I believe that through conversation we can land upon new solutions. I am here for my mentees both during the contest and beyond.
My strengths lie in developing complex villains and world-building. I am a history nerd who loves to travel and I want to delve deep into new and unfamiliar worlds! I went to graduate school at The University of St. Andrews for Medieval Literature and History, and I am extremely detail-orientated when it comes to historical world-building. I will challenge you on your research! When it comes to villains, I will help you get to the core of what makes them tick, so that they read as full realized people with their own motivations and goals. I am also great at developing romantic tension!
If you submit to me and I am seriously considering your manuscript, I will send you follow up questions. Please be prepared to answer questions about your story, writing and career goals, and editorial vision.