1. I had a grandmother named Snookie and grew up on the Jersey Shore before it was something to be embarrassed about (okay, so maybe growing up in Jersey has always been something to be embarrassed about).
2. I slept in a tent in the Serengeti in Africa and survived the terrifying hours of an unidentified animal thumping the outside directly behind my head by reciting, often word for word, the entire story of Dirty Dancing to my husband. He countered with Star Wars.
3. I am 4’10”. I may or may not have a Napoleon complex. In times of war, this is a good thing.
4. I wish I knew at the time that my sixth-grade teacher was a psychic. She foretold the future by writing on my report card “Lori will be an author.” Nice. But would it have killed her to add a winning Powerball number or two?
5. I have copyedited everything from an essay by the president of Mexico to the energy policy plan for the state of Oklahoma to a knitting for dogs book. I will find every missing comma, every double word, every “than” instead of “then.”
6. I cannot be friends with you if you do not like Fight Club.
7. I love all things vampire. Always have. Always will. If you know who Damon and Klaus are, you are my people.
8. I write about teenagers because apparently I still am one. My editor was impressed with my ability to nail a sixteen-year-old’s voice. I didn’t confess that the voice is simply mine.
9. I need three things for my perfect day: beach, book, and backup book for when I finish book one.
10. I can successfully hail a taxi in New York City in the rain.
My YA contemporary fantasy BECOMING JINN publishes May 12, 2015, from Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan. The sequel will follow in Spring 2016. I’m represented by the inimitable Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency. My main character, Azra, is a Jinn, a modern-day genie. So I know a thing or two about granting wishes. You can read a snippet of my book here. I am a bursting-with-pride member of the amazing group of 2015 debut authors known as the Freshman Fifteens and the Fearless Fifteeners.
My PitchWars Wish List
I’m serving as a YA mentor. While I read and love all genres, I’m most drawn to contemporary, whether contemporary/urban fantasy, straight contemporary, or realistic (light) science fiction. Historical if it’s Tudors/Downton Abbey like. If your book makes me laugh, you will win my heart. Characters rule for me. The stronger, the better. I love stories that blend genres and styles: a dash of humor, a pinch of suspense, an ounce of romance. The more you flavor your writing stew, the more I’ll want to gobble it up (after writing, cooking is my next love). I want your LGBTQ stories, your snarky and/or strong heroines, your antihero gents. Make them real and make me care about them, and you’ve got me. I’m less drawn to straight-out action, crime, horror, romance, and high fantasy. Stories involving religious themes, sports of all sorts, and very dark or political aspects are probably not for me.
Most of all, my mentee should be ready to work, and work hard. My 2013 mentee Laurie Elizabeth Flynn can attest to that (she tied for third in number of YA agent requests during Pitch Wars and signed with an agent shortly thereafter; check out her great Pitch Wars advice!). My critique will be full of smiley faces but won’t shy away from pointing out the areas that need work. I have a knack for dialogue and am particularly good at trimming the fat. I won’t ask you to do anything I won’t, and haven’t, done. I have recently come out the other side of doing revisions on BECOMING JINN for my editor and know firsthand how one or two pointed questions can make your book better. If you pick me as your mentor, I’ll devote all I’ve learned to make your book the best it can be.
Oh, and don’t forget, if needed I can pull out my big Jersey hair, whack a hyena, wiggle through the smallest of spaces, contact my psychic sixth-grade teacher, slash a dangling participle, never talk about Fight Club, resist compulsion, pass for sixteen, build a sand castle, and if we’re ever in NYC together in the rain, get you that cab.
Like last year, I’ll be offering some free query and first-page critiques prior to the August 18 submission date. Follow me on my blog (sign up at the top right of this page), Twitter, and Facebook to find out the when and how!
I’ll also be giving more hints on Twitter about what I like from now until submission day. If you submitted to me last year, this does not preclude you from subbing to me again if my wish list matches your book!
For more on the contest, including submission details and the agent list, visit host Brenda Drake’s Web site.
Becoming Jinn has a release date!
May 12, 2015, Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan
Available now for preorder!
Add it to Goodreads!