Greetings, aspiring writers of YA! I am Lisa Amowitz and this my very first year as a Pitch Wars mentor, so I’m kind of a newbie at all the protocol stuff.
However, I am far from a newbie in this publishing game. Though my first book BREAKING GLASS was published in 2012, behind that moment was a long, long road of skill building, rejection, and loads and loads of constructive feedback to wade through. Behind that moment are three different agents, heartbreak, meltdowns. Many times I was ready to give up, but crawled and scratched my way back to the writing chair.
Why? Because I had stories in me, pushing to get out. Stories I had to tell myself. And if I wanted to tell those stories, I reasoned, maybe someone else might want to read them if I worked hard enough.
To do that I realized, I needed to develop the hide of a dinosaur and the steady determination of the ocean tide. I had to continue while watching others succeed as I did not.
I had to tell myself this:
comparison is the thiEf of joy...
There is always someone out there who strikes gold while you only get coal.
The process took me years—and it’s still ongoing.
Does that sound like you? Are you just itching to get your story out there, not for fame and money, but just because it deserves to be read?
Then I’m here to help.
Heck, I’m a professional helper. I’m a Professor of Graphic Design—I help people learn for a living.
I have no formal degree in writing, just an MFA in Fine Art. My writing cred comes from the internet and the countless people whom, over the years helped me polish my craft. I’ve seen many of these transform from hesitant beginners to accomplished authors because THEY DID NOT GIVE UP.
As best I can, I’ve tried to give back. How do I work?
I am tough. I’m less about line edits (though I am kind of a sentence structure geek), and more about pacing, plotting, deleting slack scenes and extra words. If you are delicate about your ms and sensitive to red ink—I AM NOT YOUR MENTOR. I may be tough—but I am kind. I will let you know what shines, and help you cut out what is dragging down your manuscript.
If you have the passion, drive, and stubborn determination to prevail, no matter the amount of setbacks (there are ALWAYS setbacks in publishing. It really never ends…just saying) then
I BELIEVE IN YOU!!
So what kind of submission am I looking for? I am YA only—it’s what I read, what I write, and what I am best suited to work with you on.
I lean toward urban fantasy, clever dystopic, mystery/thriller/ghost, magical reality, historical fantasy, historical fiction, sci-fi, and some contemporary. Love QUIRKY.
I am a looking for books that are lyrical in their use of language and imagery, detailed in their world-building, genuine in the crafting of true and unique characters. I enjoy some romance, but I do not think a book whose sole emphasis is on romance is for me. I like depth—and growth. I crave deeper themes to be explored—though I am also, very, very plot driven. I love action, suspense, mystery like plants love the sun.
I’m looking for textured, beautiful, magical YA with a distinctive voice.
Maybe, to give you a better idea of my tastes I will list my favorite authors/books:
1. Of course, it’s no surprise I love HARRY POTTER and the HUNGER GAMES. But that’s been done. If you could come up with some new twist on it, fine—I’m your mentor.
2. One of my favorite books of all time is THE BOOK THIEF, by Marcus Zusak. This book literally changed me as an author. It taught me the power of voice. Yes, it is somewhat magical reality, as it is narrated by Death! Yep—falls right into my zone.
3. Maggie Stiefvater’s RAVEN CYCLE. Maggie is my patron saint. Her finely detailed characters, her creepy bad guys, her incredible sense of place, coupled with the wonderfully original blend of myth and magic in her stories, makes her most definitely, my Goddess of All Words.
4. Alexandra Bracken’s PASSENGER. Here you have my love of history, fantasy, and voice all rolled into one single wild adventure of a book. I also loved her DARKEST MINDS series.
5. Patrick Ness: I kind of worship this guy. He is the king of voice and totally original narratives, combining depth, humor and total strangeness. THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy is right up there in my pantheon. Also, I am a huge fan of MORE THAN THIS. Confession: I have not yet read A MONSTER CALLS.
6. Ransom Rigg’s MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN. Twisted, dark strange: Love, love LOVE!
7. Leigh Bardugo: SIX OF CROWS. How do I love this book? Let me count the ways: Character—so intricate—all interwoven with their own secrets and pasts. Storyline? Tense, suspenseful—unpredictable. All of this pulled together with deft, vivid prose. SWOON!!!
8. Ruta Sepetys: SALT TO THE SEA Strictly historical, it’s really not that different in structure from SIX of CROWS in that it unfolds in four POVS and follows the character’s converging story lines. Very human, very dark—Gorgeous prose you can eat with a spoon. It hardly gets better than this.
9. ILLUMINAE, by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’m not always a big reader of sci-fi, but I am a huge Star Wars and Star Trek fan, so any YA that has all of the above features and is set in space or the future works for me. This book was so original and amazing. I actually listened to the audio book which was performed like an old fashioned radio play. Incredible.
Other authors who have made an impact on me:
Anne Rice: INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE; Stephen King: THE STAND, STAND BY ME; Robert Heinlein: Stranger in a Strange Land; Marie Lu: Young Elites; Victoria Schwab: Vicious, A Darker Shade of Magic; John Green: Looking for Alaska.
In summation: I am looking for unique and original YA with strong voice, lyrical prose, finely wrought characters with depth, mystery, intrigue. If your manuscript have those ingredients then I WANT YOU:
But most of all, the thing I most want to see from you, my potential mentee is
YOUR ORIGINAL VOICE!
Lisa Amowitz is an award winning author of three fantasy/thrillers for young adults, UNTIL BETH [Spencer Hill Press, 2015], VISION [Spencer Hill Press, 2014], and BREAKING GLASS [Spencer Hill Press, 2013].
She is also a cover designer and Professor of Graphic Design at Bronx Community College. www.bcc.cuny.edu
She is represented by Shannon Hassan of
Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency
Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency
Learn about her books: