Kortney Price, Raven Quill Literary Agency
Ellen Mulholland is a middle grade author, teacher, and nature enthusiast. She writes mostly contemporary and light magic fantasy for the MG market. She has two published novels with Logos Publishing and numerous journalism pieces and a few poems and short stories out in the ether. Ellen graduated from the USC School of Journalism where she also earned a second degree in English after studying with TC Boyle and Carol Muske Dukes. Ellen lives in Northern California where she enjoys open water swimming, bird watching, and baking snickerdoodles with a hint of magic for her grandson.
What does mentorship mean to you, and why do you want to be a mentor?
Mentorship means providing guidance and support. As a teacher, I know the value of standing alongside a learner and helping them through challenging growth experiences. I have been lucky to have many mentors in the writing community, and I am now ready to give back. Plus, the world is such a mess, I need to do something positive and selfless.
What is your mentorship style? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
I prefer having the mentee tell me one big goal they have for our time together and then allow me to come up with another smaller goal for their writing. Having taught for 30 years with adolescents and having mentored new teachers, I have a lot of experience and tools for time management, prioritizing, celebrating the small victories, and locating resources to help the mentee grow after our time is over. Basically, I have a Mary Poppins bag of tricks and tips.
What makes a great mentee? Describe your ideal mentee/mentor relationship.
A great mentee knows why they signed up and what they want out of the relationship. They are open to constructive criticism and not afraid to work. An ideal relationship means we both communicate our needs, are empathetic to each other's mental, emotional, and logistical needs or constraints. We both need to be flexible. COMMUNICATION is the key.
How would you describe your normal working speed?
What kind of communication can your mentee(s) expect from you?
I am open to creating something that works for both of us. Life is unpredictable, and I am not an ogre. I can be flexible. However, I teach full time, so weekend check-ins will be my go-to. Email exchanges or texting could work during the week, too.
What kinds of communication are you able to accommodate?
Email, Zoom/Skype/Video, Text/Whatsapp, Social Media DMs
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)
How polished should your submissions be?
Ideally, I want to help a mentee prep for querying, but I know that sometimes we THINK our ms is ready when it is not. Hopefully, my mentee is open to hearing that, too. I am hoping I will be able to sort out the magic mirror submissions from funhouse.
Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism
I'm here for all the MG (upper and lower). I believe I can best help stories that I am passionate about, stories I want to read as a reader, stories I can imagine in a child's hands.
Yes to: contemporary/realistic, magical realism, light or portal fantasies, mysteries, paranormal
Yes to: sibling enemies to besties, social emotional stories with a dose of goofy, awkward parents, corny jokes, puns, diverse cast of characters, neurodiverse characters, environmental justice, nature, pollution solutions, fallible and realistic MCs
If your story has these things (especially all in one), I might sword fight another mentor for it: VOICE + quirky pet + eco warrior MC + a Call to Action that is so doable it will inspire young readers to want to go out and save the world! (I can't stress enough how many swords I'd gather to win this mentor/mentee battle.)
Please do not send me:
Genres not for me: horror, high fantasy (Think LOTR), retellings, Harry Potter Look Alikes, hist fic
Themes not for me: sexual assaults, domestic violence, religious themes, morality, pro life, white saviors, super super quiet stories
What are some of your favorite books?
Current Fave: Pax (it crushed me)
I would read anything by these MG authors: Sara Pennypacker, Judy Blume, Kate DiCamillo, Erin Entrada Kelly, Jacqueline Woodson, Jason Reynolds, Kelly Barnhill, Jack Cheng, Sandra Cisneros, Meg Medina, Katherine Applegate
What are some books, movies, shows, games, etc. that you've recently enjoyed?
Recent Fave MG books: Pax, Sweep, The Miraculous, As Brave As You, Front Desk, Greetings From Witness Protection, The Wild Robot, The Land of Yesterday, Harbor Me, Aristotle and Dante
Recent Fave Movies/Shows: Stranger Things, You, Vikings, Inventing Anna, Ozarks, Sex Education, Queer Eye, GBBO, Cobra Kai
Is there anything else you want potential mentees to know?
I love to collaborate and brainstorm solutions. I am optimistic but realistic when it comes to revision work. I am not perfect and accept that I don't have all the answers. Humor can ease most tense situations.