she/her for both
Amanda Rutter, Azantian Lit
MK Hardy is the pen name for two geeky women living and writing together in Scotland. They have published a novel and novella with NineStar Press, and were mentees in the Pitch Wars 2020-21 programme with their adult sapphic space opera. They found representation with Amanda Rutter at Azantian Literary Agency in 2021. They also created the webcomic Manfeels Park, a Jane Austen-inspired webcomic that has been featured in the Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Salon.
When they’re not writing they spend their time walking their lurchers in the countryside, foraging for fungi, and renovating their 1880s fixer-upper to its former glory.
What does mentorship mean to you, and why do you want to be a mentor?
We were fortunate enough to be Pitch Wars mentees in 2020-21, and in doing so we not only learned a great deal about our craft, we also tapped into a into a vibrant and supportive community of writers. We want to pay it forward and continue to give back to the community however we can.
We also believe our personal skills lend themselves well to mentorship. Erin is a university lecturer on the topic of science communication and Mo is a content designer with a performance background; we are well-practiced in clear communication and working in partnership. In addition to this, we established (and still run!) the Pitch Wars mentee 2020-21 Discord, a thriving community of writers. We understand the pressures that mentees can come under and have lots of experience creating a safe and supportive environment for creatives to come together.
What is your mentorship style? What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
While we plan to be led by our mentee in how we communicate, our natural inclination is to be quite informal and friendly. While we are committed to the formal deliverables of the Rogue Mentor programme, we also hope to be in regular contact with our mentee to chat, check in, and share gifs and cat pictures. We're very adaptable and would chat with our mentee at the beginning of the partnership to establish what sort of style would suit them best.
Our strengths are our flexibility, laid-back approach and positive attitudes. We're very grounded about the process of querying and publishing; though we've had success in getting agented we know that a great deal of it was down to luck, and we are experts in setting achievable goals and celebrating success at each step along the way. We are hard to rattle and are able to provide quite a lot of support to writing friends going through difficult times. Turnaround time for feedback on changes will be quick, and we are both professional communicators with decades of experience in teaching and storytelling.
Our main knowledge gap lies in the fact we are still only part way along our tradpub journey: we have been agented less than a year and are still waiting to go out on sub. We have had experience publishing with a small press and Pitch Wars has put us in contact with a lot of very knowledgable people, and so we'll be able to draw on those resources to plug this gap.
What makes a great mentee? Describe your ideal mentee/mentor relationship.
A great mentee believes in the quality of their own work but is excited about the possibility of making it even better. They are confident in their writing, meaning they don't just blindly take all feedback, but open to learning and change, meaning they don't just reject it all, either. They are communicative and open about their process, feelings and hopes, and patient with unexpected roadblocks or delays. They understand that the query trenches and traditional publishing is a difficult road involving a lot of luck, and are pragmatic about defining what success looks like for them.
An ideal mentee/mentor relationship would be one where all parties feel creatively fulfilled and excited to go through the process of revision together. Although the mentors may have more experience, they approach it as a partnership, and respect the mentee's experiences, point of view and desires in terms of what they are hoping to get out of the experience. We would hope that it would be the start of a lasting relationship, but even if it isn't it should be a positive experience for all parties throughout.
How would you describe your normal working speed?
What kind of communication can your mentee(s) expect from you?
We are flexible and responsive to our mentee's needs and will adapt to pretty much any format. Our natural inclination is to be quite informal and chatty on something like Discord or Twitter DMs in our day-to-day communications, with more formal 'check ins' at agreed-upon points in the revision timeline. We are on GMT so live/video chat can be a bit tricky to schedule with those elsewhere, but we're open to setting up video chats for these check ins if our mentee would like them.
We will discuss turnaround times with our mentee and find a mutually agreeable schedule, and commit to clear and timely communication if those timings should shift for any reason. We will never go dark and leave you wondering what's going on! Likewise we will ask for transparency and clear communication from our mentee; no problem is insurmountable if we keep the lines of communication open and treat each other with understanding and respect.
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?
Full manuscript critique, Multiple manuscript passes and query support, Line notes/edits
How polished should your submissions be?
We're flexible; we've mainly chosen this level to show we're happy to see projects at all stages, as long as they're completed.
Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Urban Fantasy, Romance
QUEER GENRE SHIT
No but seriously, if it's queer and speculative it's probably our jam. Add a dash of sapphic romance in there and we're sold.
Things we especially love:
-female MCs, especially ones who make bad decisions for good reasons, or good decisions for bad reasons
-women who defy gender norms in their world
-settings that feel _real_ - either those inspired by actual histories and cultures, or well-realised fictional ones
-explorations of language and communication between different cultures
-stories that feel mythic
-happy or at least hopeful endings
Please do not send me:
-a main character driven primarily by revenge
-major character death that only serves the progression of the protagonist's journey (fridging)
-two-dimensional 'bad parental figures'
-black and white war narratives (Solely Good vs Wholly Evil)
-settings or characters that glamourise consumerism in a positive way
What are some of your favorite books?
The Traitor Baru Cormorant
The Night Watch
This is How You Lose the Time War
What are some books, movies, shows, games, etc. that you've recently enjoyed?
The Daevabad Trilogy
Strange the Dreamer
The Teixcalaan duology
The Bone Shard Daughter
The Locked Tomb series
The Masquerade series by Seth Dickinson
The Space Between Worlds
The Luminous Dead
Horizon Zero Dawn
The Witcher 3
SHOWS AND MOVIES
Tick, Tick, Boom!
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Five Rings
The Green Knight
The Old Guard
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Is there anything else you want potential mentees to know?