I’m very excited to have been chosen as a mentee for this year’s DVMentor from Diverse Voices, Inc.
As a neurodivergent writer, I often feel like my work will go unseen or misunderstood. I’m so thankful for programs like this in which I can grow my work comfortably.
I have high hopes that this will be an important step for my work and will help me develop my voice into something that will make agents and editors bite the hook, as it were.
DVMentor is a six month mentorship with a published author, during which I will get editorial feedback and help with my query letter and pitch.
The goals of the program are:
To build community among book creators of marginalized identities.
To educate book creators of marginalized identities on the business of publishing, including finding an agent.
To prepare pre-published self-identifying marginalized book creators for #DVpit (if they choose to participate).
[Mentees must] identify with a marginalized community, per DVinc’s mission statement [BIPOC, queer, trans/nonbinary, disabled (including neurodivergence and neuroatypicality), religious and cultural minorities]; never have had an agent; must never have had a full-length book published (exception made for self-published); must have a completed or near-completed manuscript on which to work with a mentor, and it must be unpublished (“published” here includes self-publishing), aimed at the US English language market; must be willing to receive critique and open to advice; must be respectful of any clearly stated boundaries; must be serious in their pursuit of an agent; must be over the age of 18.”diversevoicesinc.org
I struggle greatly with my disabled identity. It took a very specific incident for me to begin to think and accept that I needed assistance with my mental health, and my neurodiergence doesn’t interupt my life the way a physical disability does. But that’s why my stories are so important. Because these are things I’ve struggled with since I was a child.
If I’d had stories like the ones that I write when I was younger, I might have been able to ask for help and accept my mental illness sooner. And that’s ultimately my goal as a writer. To showcase mental illness as part of the character and not the conflict.
I think that’s what every writer from a marginalized background hopes to show, that life doesn’t revolve our differences.
I’m going to be working with Maya Prasad!
Maya Prasad is a South Asian American author, a Caltech graduate, and a former software engineer. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where she enjoys hiking, canoeing, and raising her budding bookworm daughter.
Her YA debut Fall Winter Spring Summer will be published by Disney-Hyperion in fall 2022. Sejal Battles Super Storms is the first in her chapter book series to be published by S&S/Aladdin in spring 2023. Maya has also had short fiction published in Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA, Cast of Wonders, and Voyage YA. A recipient of the We Need Diverse Books mentorship program, she is passionate about creating brown girl leads in children’s literature.
Again, I’m very excited to be in this mentorship and I can’t wait to get started.