Hey fellow hopefuls and mentors! Welcome to the blog I started just for this. (I’ll add other posts eventually…)
A LITTLE ABOUT ME
I’m Sierra, a rising college sophomore. I go to Arcadia University (go Knights!) and study sociology and creative writing. The reason I’m not a creative writing major is so I can find new things to write about.
And as a sociology major, I’ve found plenty of new writing inspiration. Mostly through Google searches for my essays.
When I’m not writing (LOL), I read, play with my cat (his name is Bronx and he’s a brat), dabble in Pilates, and listen to alternative rock. I also write for Arcadia’s prospective student blog, Because Arcadia. Check that out here.
SO, WHAT AM I WRITING?
My Pitch Wars submission is Death by Society, a YA Contemporary/social issues (is that a subcategory yet? It should be). Here’s a little blurb:
16-year-old Carter Harper ingests dozens of antidepressants to permanently escape vicious bullying. But her one-way ticket out of high school is snatched away when a classmate saves her life and Carter’s shipped to a psychiatric hospital. She resists recovery, only stays there for a week, and plans to finish the job as soon as her mother and boyfriend take her off constant suicide watch. Which…could be a while.
Meanwhile, the most popular girl in school (think Regina George, only worse) asks Carter to join her clique as a twisted apology for her past behavior. Carter, a socially inept genius, finds it hard to fit in with the people who’ve caused her so much pain. Still, she has to play along so she won’t be bullied anymore. She can’t risk them turning against her, because her major depressive disorder and self-harm habit will worsen. She doesn’t want that to happen—thanks to her unexpected popularity and three new friends, her life is improving. Yay! Nothing could possibly go wrong! Nope!
There’s also subplots that focus on three other girls.
Lilly Fieldsman: Lilly has to confront the demons of her past while juggling the needs of her nearly catatonic mother and anorexic younger sister.
Abby Wallace: After her best friend ditches her in favor of Carter, Abby’s coveted spot on the social ladder is in jeopardy. And the violence in her personal life is reaching a boiling point….
Sloane Campbell: Sloane heads to Winterwood Psychiatric Hospital after a suicide attempt gone wrong. While there, she rooms with Carter Harper, who unintentionally changes her life for the worse.
So mentors, if you like:
- LOTS of morbid humor that has my CPs saying “this is awful but hilarious”
- A raw, honest look at depression and self harm
- Diversity! (#ownvoices, LGBT+, racial diversity, neurodiversity)
- Semi-unlikable, complex, messy female characters
- Four distinct POVs: a sarcastic tech-lover, altruistic future doctor, loyal yet cruel queen bee, and tepid painter
- Unlikely and sometimes toxic friendships born of tragedy
- 95% of conversations passing the Bechdel test
- Chapter titles that are book titles (including The Scarlet Letter, The Fault in Our Stars, and Thirteen Reasons Why)
- A romance (or two) that ties into the plot but is never, ever the focus
You should check my entry out. Just saying.
WHY SHOULD I BE YOUR MENTEE?
Well, for starters:
- I will send you a boatload of GIFs during editing. Or not. Your call.
- I threw out my entire first draft and rewrote Death by Society during April NaNoWriMo. Then I threw 80% of that out and did another rewrite in May/June. I’m used to fast deadlines and revision. I’m ready to give this my all…again.
- I’m up for challenges. They’re what makes writing fun.
- Two years of cyberschool and running several online businesses have taught me self-sufficiency and discipline.
- I’ll send you cat pics.
Look at his little faceeeeeee
WHAT ELSE AM I WRITING?
This fall, I’ll be writing my third novel (the first was a lower YA historical, we’re not talking about that), which explores REVENGE. It’s about Kennedy, who was bullied by a group of five girls freshman year. Each one did something unforgivable to her, from pouring lemonade on her at a chorus concert to stealing her clothes in gym class. She comes back to school senior year, ready to get some serious comeuppance on the girls who wronged her. Let me say that this book is darker than Death by Society. Much, much darker. If Death by Society doesn’t pan out, I’ll start querying that book fall 2017 and sub it to that year’s Pitch Wars. You can check out my playlist and signature GIF for that book over here.
Don’t mess with Kennedy. Or Cookie.
WHAT AM I READING?
What am I not reading? Some of my favorites, old and new, include:
- Some Girls Are/Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers (I’m not choosing and you can’t make me.)
- Tarnish by Katherine Longshore (this is my favorite depiction of Anne Boleyn.)
- More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (this title is inaccurate. It made me more sad/contemplative than not. But it’s brilliant.)
- The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson (political scandal + awesome friend group + fantasy author? YES.)
- The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory (I loovovvveeed reading about this smart lady. I love this book. I need to read it again.)
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (SHE DID THAT.)
- Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton (another case of SHE DID THAT. Well, they all did.)
- More. Many, many more. My tastes skew toward YA contemporary (gee, what a surprise) and historical, and adult historical (especially about the Tudors).
WHAT AM I LISTENING TO?
Some of my favorite bands/songs in no particular order include:
- Twenty One Pilots
- “Ode to Sleep,” “Heavydirtysoul,” and “Tear in My Heart”
- Panic! At the Disco
- “Time to Dance,” “House of Memories,” and “The Ballad of Mona Lisa”
- Marina and the Diamonds
- “Are You Satisfied,” “Guilty,” “Primadonna,” and “Blue”
- “Anklebiters,” “For a Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic,” and “I Caught Myself”
- Absolution and Origin of Symmetry
- The All-American Rejects
- When the World Comes Down
- “Castle,” “Colors,” and “Control”
- Death Cab for Cutie
- “Marching Bands of Manhattan,” “Cath,” and “What Sarah Said”
- The Postal Service
- “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight” and “This Place is a Prison”
- Fall Out Boy
- “The Kids Aren’t Alright”
- Jukebox the Ghost
- “Everybody Knows,” “Half Crazy,” and “Oh, Emily”
- OK Go
- My Chemical Romance
- “Famous Last Words,” “Helena,” and “Boy Division”
WHAT AM I WATCHING?
- TV SHOWS: Scandal, Desperate Housewives (RIP, my fave), Empire, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 2 Broke Girls, Mozart in the Jungle, Orange in the New Black (before S4E12)
- MOVIES: Mean Girls, Frozen, GBF, Clueless, Marie Antoinette, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl
RANDOM FUN FACTS
- I wrote the first draft of Death by Society in my hometown, and the second while I studied abroad in Scotland.
- I studied abroad spring semester, freshman year and visited Scotland, Italy, Vatican City and England. My favorite place is St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
- I wrote the first draft of DBS when I was a high school rising sophomore. Coincidence, anyone?
- DBS won a YoungArts merit award in 2013, the same award that Kerry Washington, who I totally imagine being Carter’s mom, won.
- I’m going to get a tattoo based on My Chemical Romance’s “Famous Last Words” soon.
- I once visited an obscure little castle in England, Hever Castle, to see the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Thanks, The Other Boleyn Girl. (Really, thanks. It’s a beautiful place.)
So, that’s me. Thanks to Lana Pattinson for organizing this blog tour! Be sure to check out the other mentee bios!