Amanda (A.B.) Wilson
she / her
Rebecca Strauss, DeFiore Literary Agency
Amanda (A.B.) Wilson is the pen name of a heat-seeking archivist trapped in the upper Midwest. She writes contemporary romance for elder Millennials/Xennials who have a fondness for karaoke, 90s music and pop culture, and spicy scenes in startling settings. Amanda's Shellenberg Brothers series is published by Totally Bound publishing and she is represented by Rebecca Strauss at DeFiore Literary Agency. When not writing kissing books, she's probably writing about archival theory, collective memory, and user-oriented description practices - that or wrangling a recalcitrant cat and seven year old who loves soccer and hates swimming. *shrug emoji*
What does mentorship mean to you, and why do you want to be a mentor?
Mentorship is about giving back to the community and acting as a trusted guide in what is often a very confusing and impenetrable industry. It is about celebrating wins and commiserating about setbacks beyond the formal program timeline as well as focusing on craft, skill, and professional development within the context of the mentorship. I feel very lucky that I stumbled into a great community and have been the beneficiary of mentorship that helped guide and support my work and publishing journey. Not everyone has that luck and programs like Rogue Mentor are so important for connecting and developing writers. I hope to pass along the kind of support and guidance I've received from my mentors to another author.
What is your mentorship style? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
My mentorship style is one of positivity and cheerleading. I'm not a huge public flailer, but my support is unwavering and I will blow up my mentee's DMs with all of the lovely things. Tough love/brutal critique isn't my style at all and I would never say that a mentee "must" change something, but I will suggest alternatives that might be compelling. I tend to ask questions and ofter options because, at the end of the day, it's the mentee's vision and creative output that matters most.
I've been told I take an annoyingly structured and organized approach to writing and my career as an author. I'm pursuing trad right now, but have published with a small press and plan to self-pub in the future. I am ALL about goal setting and thinking holistically about building author careers. This affects how I think about the entire writing, revision, and querying/pub processes and it's something that I will ask my mentee to think about during our time together. Because I take such top-down, big picture first approach to writing, I'm not the greatest at copyedits - I'll do my best, but that will not be my priority in our work together.
What makes a great mentee? Describe your ideal mentee/mentor relationship.
A great mentee is open to guidance and critique, ready to make an investment in their career and craft, but at the same time ready to stand their ground if I propose something that doesn't work with their creative vision. Above all, the mentor-mentee relationship is collaborative and each party will have something to learn from each other and, hopefully, it's a relationship that surpasses the timeline of the formal mentorship and continues to evolve over time.
How would you describe your normal working speed?
What kind of communication can your mentee(s) expect from you?
- I prefer a mix of verbal and written communication where possible. Would love to do a video or phone call introduction where we discuss the MS, plan out what type of mentorship we’re going to pursue, and agree to a communication plan and timeline. After that, we can do written communications while the project is in process. I’m probably better with email, but am happy to use whatever platform a mentee feels most comfortable with. I’m a talker and like to think out loud, but I also recognize that phone/video calls can be really stressful for people and wouldn't want to put undue pressure on a mentee who does not feel comfortable with them!
- For written communications, I'm usually a fast turnaround - especially if it's over email or text. You can expect me to get back to you within 24 hours on written conversations and I'm happy to schedule zoom or phone calls out a few days.
- I know we all have lives outside of our writing life and scheduling can get a little hairy. Depending on the mentee and project (and our geographic locations!), we may have more or less comms throughout the mentorship, so communication and flexibility will be critical for us. I’ll lay out my schedule with my mentee when we first chat and we can work from there!
- Note: If we end up doing the Brainstorming/Planning/Outlining mentorship, then I would expect to have a lot of our communications happen through multiple calls and zoom sessions where we can whiteboard together and work on shared documents.
What kinds of communication are you able to accommodate?
Email, Zoom/Skype/Video, Text/Whatsapp, Social Media DMs, Phone calls
Are you able to make accommodations for mentees that request them?
Indefinite/As long as the mentee needs to complete our work together
Check all that apply: What do you plan to offer as a mentor?
Submission package critique (Query, Synopsis, 50 page sample), Partial manuscript critique (50 pages), Full manuscript critique, Multiple manuscript passes and query support
How polished should your submissions be?
Magic Mirror, Funhouse Mirror, Antique Mirror, Two Way Mirror
I am offering four different mentoring options, potential mentees who think we might be a good match can apply to me with varying levels of polished projects:
1) 2-pass query package critique (Magic Mirror)
2) 1 full MS pass with edit letter (Magic / Funhouse Mirrors)
3) Traditional Full MS + Query Package (Funhouse / Antique Mirror)
4) Brainstorming/Planning/Outlining (Two Way Mirror)
Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
For Romance: Love all the sub-genres, Contemporaries, RomComs, Historical, Paranormal, and SFF romance. HUGE fan of PNR and SFF romance in particular and would love to see both/either in my inbox, with the caveat that the world building and any magic or technology systems must be extraordinarily well-developed. I love any and all pairings/groupings in human and monster/alien forms. :)
For Mystery/Thriller/Suspense: I’m more into psychological suspense, cozy mysteries, and thrillers where ordinary people get thrown into extraordinary situations. Not the biggest fan of police or military procedural stuff, but the occasional old-school Law and Order or detective noir is kinda fun.
- BIPOC / LGBTQQIP2SAA / DIS authors and those from other marginalized communities, please apply if you feel like we might be a good match. You will never, ever be asked to self-identify and I would love to read and support your stories however I can.
- If you're set on a trad career, awesome. If you're set on hybrid or indie, awesome as well. I'll do my best to give career advice tailored to what you hope to accomplish.
- If you write Dark Romance, message me about your project and give me your CWs ahead of the application window. I read it and am definitely open to mentoring it, but it's going to take the right project that avoids my triggers. Would love to have that conversation before you go through the effort of applying to me!
Settings and Elements I LOOOOVE…
- Sports and sports-adjacent storylines
- Performing arts
- Complex social organizations w/ weird archaic rules of order
- Unique occupations
- Fairytale retellings
- Spooky, dark, atmospheric settings and evocative writing with strong multi-sensory description
- Psychological suspense and horror
- Open and honest discussions between MCs about birth control, consent, testing, safe words, aftercare, etc.
- Character and voice-driven stories
Tropes I’m Trash For…
- Enemies to lovers
- Friends to lovers
- Fated mates
- Fake relationship
- Forced proximity
- Secret cinnamon roll alphaholes who get broken and rebuilt through the love of their person (is this even a trope or just my personal catnip?)
Honestly I'm basically three tropes wrapped in a trench coat at all times, so unless it's listed in my Anti-MSWL, give me a shot!
Heat Level: I write open-door romance that is pretty high heat. I would prefer to mentor someone who also writes open-door as I think intimacy building through sexual interaction is delightful, but as long as you've got characters with great chemistry, hit me up.
Please do not send me:
These are non-negotiable - please don't message me and ask if ""x"" counts. I've noted where things are ok with me if they happen off-page.
- Books that don't end in a clear HEA or HFN. I'm not gonna fight about this, it's one of the only rules of the genre.
- Second chance, marriage of convenience, marriage in trouble, widows/widowers, and lessons of seduction - I have projects with these tropes going and don't want accidental crossover. Sorry!
- Inspirational romance, erotica
- Medical settings or characters spending a huge amount of time in the hospital
- On or off-page loss of child (abduction, death) or injury to child
- On or off-page depictions of animal abuse
- On-page rape or sexual assault, off-page brief mention if in the past is fine (dub-con, consensual non-con, see my note about Dark Romance)
- On-page and off-page cheating between MCs. Am ok with on- and off-page cheating if it's an MC with a soon-to-be-ex partner, or side characters.
- Racist, Antisemitic, White Supremacist, Homophobic, Transphobic, Ableist, Fatphobic, Nazi, Colonial, or Enslaver MCs getting HEAs. Just no.
What are some of your favorite books?
In no particular order
- The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
- Rock Bottom Girl by Lucy Score
- A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Milla Vane
- Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon
- Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly
- Radiance by Grace Draven
- America's Geekheart by Pippa Grant
- Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
- Make it Sweet by Kristen Callihan (if you twisted my arm real hard, I'd probably toss in the entire VIP series as a box set too)
What are some books, movies, shows, games, etc. that you've recently enjoyed?
Shows/Movies - I adore campy plots and characters with oddly wholesome moments of existential angst - Knives Out, Ted Lasso, F1 Drive to Survive, and I'm just starting Severance.
Books - At the top of my TBR are new books by India Holton, Olivia Dade, and Martha Watters.
Games - I'm a classic board game type of person. Prefer Scrabble, Yahtzee, and I'll probably play that newfangled one called Catan or whatever if you make me.
Is there anything else you want potential mentees to know?
What I’m good at…
- Brainstorming, planning, outlining and reverse outlining
- Building super organized revision plans off of an edit letter
- Big picture stuff like arcs, pacing, and character development
- Cheerleading and flailing wildly at how amazing you are
- Deep POV
- External plots and subplot development
- Dialing up the heat and intimacy in your open-door scenes
What I’m not the goodest at…
- Pantsing and chaos drafting
- Grammar and punctuation…let’s just say I have an “intuitive” grasp on these things :)
- Line-level edits in a first-pass on a MS
If you submit to me, please include the following in your metadata section (the one where you tell me your genre, comps, and word count):
- Content or Trigger Warnings
- Which mentoring option you're most interested in pursuing: 1) Query Package, 2) 1-Pass MS + Edit Letter, 3) Full MS + Query Package, or 4) Brainstorming and Outlining
If you have burning questions for me about my Dark Romance note, the types of mentorships I'm offering, how I define those various levels of polish, or really anything other than "does this count" about my anti-MSWL...please hit me up at authoramandawilson[at]gmail[dot]com or on Twitter [at]tatsandromance.