Liz Lawson is an author, a music supervisor, a wife, a mom, and a bunch of other things, too. She’s been writing for most of her life in one way or another — in high school her SAT II essay about gopher throwing was awarded a perfect score, and in college she held a position on the editorial board of the campus newspaper.
Since college, she’s written for a variety of publications, including PASTE MAGAZINE, went to grad school, lived in six states + D.C., worked on a multitude of films and many, many episodes of television, got married, birthed a child, birthed three books (the last of which is her debut, THE LUCKY ONES!), and has done some other stuff, too, probably.
Her debut contemporary YA novel, THE LUCKY ONES, will release from Delacorte Press/Random House in 2020. It’s the story of May and Zach, and deals with the healing process after extreme tragedy. It’s inspired in part by all the children who have experienced school shootings, of whom there are far too many in this country.
Currently, Liz resides in Los Angeles, CA, where she lives with an adorable toddler, a fantastic husband, and two VERY bratty cats.
I wrote a women’s fiction book about five years ago that never saw the light of day. After finishing it, I realized my heart was really in YA, so I wrote my first YA contemporary and queried it about a year later. I got a fairly good response (and a couple R&Rs) but nothing panned out. In the meantime, I had started writing what became THE LUCKY ONES. In early 2018, I queried it for a week and got a 50% request rate, which was WAAAY different from my prior querying experience, so I knew I was on to something. I was offered an exclusive R&R from Writers House after I’d been querying less than a week, and ended up taking it. Three months later, I resubmitted the revision, and signed with my agent shortly after (the beginning of August 2018). After just a couple more tweaks, we went on submission the Tuesday after Labor Day, and we had our first offer a week later, from Delacorte Press. We still had so many other subs out so were considering what to do, but Delacorte made a great offer and pre-empted the rest. And, here we are!
I majored in English and Philosophy in undergrad, and have my masters in Communications with a concentration in Rhetoric. I was also on the Editorial Board of my college newspaper, and worked as an intern and then a freelance writer at Paste Magazine.
It took me a long time (years) to get involved with the online kidlit writing community. It can be an intimidating, overwhelming place. My goal in mentoring (other than helping with your book, of course) is to be able to help my mentee feel like they have not only a mentor, but a friend, in their corner. Someone who they can talk to about the stresses of querying (and hopefully some day being on submission!) who has been through it. I’m a pretty empathetic person, and I want to be able to give my mentee a place where they can vent, laugh, cry–scream if you need!–about the beast that is publishing and the cruel, cruel mistress that is writing.
I’m fairly straight down the line in my love for voice-y contemporary YA, but I’ve recently found that I have a passion for historical fiction, too, so I’m open to either! In either, I really enjoy emotional, break-my-heart, serious contemp YA, mysteries, thrillers, and romance. (I do prefer romance not to be your ONLY plot, though.) I don’t know that I’d love books that have zero romance. I like kissing! I’m open to blended genres too (magical realism + contemp, etc). Last, I’m a big fan of humor, even in the most serious books. (Maybe ESPECIALLY in the most serious books, if used properly.)
- Magical Realism/Fabulism
- Will they / won’t they
- Emotional / rip my heart out while it’s still beating and stomp on it contemp
- Morally gray characters
- Angry girls
Do not like:
- Endings that aren’t earned
I WILL PROVIDE:
- Edit Letter (Big Picture developmental feedback)
- Line edit (dropping notes into a Word Document)
- Skype or phone call
- Freestyle in chat
At the end of the day, this is your career and your book, and I think an ideal mentorship can only exist if both the mentee and the mentor acknowledge that. I might suggest changes that you don’t like — that’s fine! I’m more than happy to have someone push back on me, ask me to give them reasons behind notes, and challenge edits. I want my mentee to be passionate enough about their writing and their book and confident enough in themselves to be able to do that.
That said, communication is key on both ends of this relationship. When I read your book, I’ll take notes and also make line edits, and then send them on to you. After you’ve digested, we can chat over phone/skype/email/whatever, and make sure we’re on the same page. At the end of the day, my goal is to make YOUR book the best version of itself it can be — and work collaboratively with you to do just that.
Someone who is ambitious and passionate and confident enough in their writing that they’re willing to go to bat for it. At the same time, someone who is willing to slash and burn when needed. Someone who’s willing and able to collaborate and work hard to get their manuscript to the place it needs to be!
Contemporary YA – something that has humor and heart. More than open to books that tackle serious subject matters as long as there’s more to them than just that. Murder. Boarding schools. Stories that involve music in one way or another (my day job is in music). Complicated friendships. Friendships that become something more. Road trips! HUMOR!
DO NOT SEND ME:
No fantasy please.
No “issue” books that are JUST about the issue and nothing else (i.e. not into books that use issues as a plot device and nothing else)
TV: Russian Doll, Insecure, Broad City
Film: The Princess Bride, LA Story, Moonlight
Books: Every single Courtney Summers book, WILDER GIRLS by Rory Powers, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis, HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE DARK by Kathleen Glasgow, PEOPLE LIKE US by Dana Mele
I love music of all types (minus country, sorry) and I work in the music industry for my day job. So, if you’re a music person, we might have something in common.