Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My PitchWars Bio/Wish List!!!


Hi! Welcome to my website! You’re probably here because you’re checking through mentor’s wish lists, in search of the one who might be the perfect fit for you and your manuscript. I hope I’m that person because I would love to hear from you and to see your application come through my email. I’m very excited to be a PitchWars mentor!!! Let’s get started, shall we?

About Me: First, a little about myself. I’m Indian, Gujarati to be specific. I grew up in Austin, TX and when I hit advanced classes in fifth grade, excelling especially in English, I knew at that moment that I would write. I wrote my first short story in sixth grade, two novels before I graduated high school, but then I took a break. College came around. My freshman English professor liked my writing so much that he not only exempted me from taking the finals (because my A was in the basket), but asked if he could use my poetry for his future classes. I didn’t go into the arts, however. I followed my other passion: science. I was destined for medicine and surgery and all that bloody, anatomical technical stuff. Blood and guts don’t faze me. Seriously, I’m more likely to be thinking about lunch…

I kept writing epic shorts and poetry (Iliad style), but didn’t write another book until my early twenties. It sucked. Hard. As in, it’s an embarrassment. I wrote several more books, read a lot, and found support from other aspiring authors. All the while, my writing improved because I took note of what worked and what wasn’t working. A whole new world opened up to me when I began to search for agents. A brutal world, but also a world filled with amazing talent and wonderful people. Although it took a while, and many books, to land an agent, I networked and learned a lot from fellow authors, editors, agents, publicists, librarians, and bloggers. When I hit the lows, the writing community was very encouraging and kept me afloat, kept me moving forward. My writing posse in WA. was particularly wonderful. I never gave up, no matter how difficult, discouraging, or depressing. I’m glad that I was never envious or jealous of friends and other writers who seemed to have it easy and made it big. We are all different and have our unique roads to success. Never give up. Keep writing. Keep reading. Accept help. This is not a competition. This is a way of life that requires humility and thick skin.

Now, I live in beautiful Hawaii where I feverishly type my next books when not distracted by green coconuts (yum!) and glorious sunsets. I am agented by the wonderfully skilled Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency, and I write both YA and adult. My last book, Priya in Heels, is a contemporary multicultural romance available through Entangled Publishing. I’ve also interned as an editor’s assistant with a publishing house, freelanced edit/sensitivity read, and write for Hawaii Magazine.

Random things about me: I’ve learned seven languages. I love culture and traveling and cuisine. I’m a tea snob. I live around wild growing coffee and named one of our houseguest geckos Nightcrawler. I’m a Marvel girl. I’m into graphic novels and comics and fan theories. I would LOVE it if someone got me into ComicCon. I draw really well but can’t paint. Macklemore’s Downtown plays in my head with the local moped “gang” cruises by. I discovered KPop and it was wonderful. I’m totally into NASA. I am a book whore, and my TBR is never-ending. Music moves my soul. I’m in love with Central Park in October. I’m bringing plaid back.

That’s enough about me!

What I’m looking for in a manuscript: In YA, please send me your science fiction, fantasy, contemporary, mystery, thrilled, and historical. In that order. I’m an advocate of diversity. We are a diverse species and our books should reflect this. I want a strong and engaging voice, sweeping words, epic scenes, emotion, well-researched and heartfelt diversity. Romance is always a plus, but doesn’t have to be the main focal point. It’s a broad range. I will know when I read your pages. Carry me away with your words so that I’m up all night thinking about your world.

Things that I don't want: witchcraft, demon/angel, vampire/werewolf, fae, magic, mythology, excessive profanity, graphic sex, hateful portrayals of entire groups (ie: race, religion).

Things that will most likely turn me off to a manuscript: poor writing, excessive telling/repetitiveness, lack of research, stereotypes/cliches, insta-love, blockbuster similarities.

What you can expect from me as a mentor: thorough, straight-forward, but kind edits and revisions; an initial editorial letter breaking down the main changes; line edits; open dialogue about the publishing world; encouragement. I am a fast worker, and although I don’t expect my mentee to be as fast, I do want them to give proper time, consideration, and a sense of priority to working together. We as mentors are taking a lot of time out of our schedules to provide thorough feedback, so please, give our critiques and suggestions serious thought.

Take a look around, follow me on social media, give a shout-out. I’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking about submitting to me, or even if you just want to say hello. Looking forward to seeing all of those beautiful manuscripts!

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