It’s pitch wars party time!
Hello #pitchwars people! I’m Maria, an MG writer from Texas! By day I am a social worker and work at a high school, and by night I read and write all things middle grade. I am mixed race (Mexican-American and white). I’m English/Spanish bilingual, with English as my first and primary language.
I write books about Latinx kids with interesting hobbies being their best selves (and let’s be honest, sometimes their worst selves too). I like fun hooks with big concepts, but the core of my stories are all about relationships. (Here is the podcast episode that helped me realize this about my writing)
I met my amazing agent through the contest #dvpit, and I am SO EXCITED to be a pitchwars mentor for middle grade this year! Are you ready!?!?!?
Throughout my journey, there have been folks guiding me, lending me a hand, and cheering me on. I am incredibly grateful for that support. I want to do the same for other authors of color who are on their way up.
I have been consistently supported by authors of color, and I want to do my part to uplift voices of color in middle grade. As I move forward in this publishing journey, I want to bring as many other authors of color with me as humanly possible, especially in middle grade, where my heart lives. I’m here to support someone on their way, and to give a hand up to someone who is going to change the world with their words.
As someone with a lot of privilege, I see it as my duty to be opening doors for all POC, not just myself. Creating bookshelves with positive representation where kids can see themselves goes beyond just one author and their own books: it’s about all of us linking arms, bursting through those doors together, and creating a lasting change.
I love middle grade, and as a mentor, my goal is to champion books by other authors of color and to bring more diversity to this incredible category that is so dear to me. So I will definitely be on the lookout for that this year.
If I decide to mentor your manuscript, it’s because I love it with all the fibers of my being, and because I have ideas of how we can bump it up to the next level. I’d like to be able to help a mentee to “level up” in their writing. I would like to work with someone willing to dig in and revise their manuscript, and who has things that they need to work on that are strengths of mine. And THEN I want to cheer you on for your entire career.
This year I will be accepting ONLY middle grade submissions. For more info on the talented and lovely YA and adult mentors, check out their wishlists. Within MG, here are the genres I would be a good fit for, along with some of my favorite things.
Please send it to me! Contemporary MG has my heart! This is what I write, and what I read and loved growing up. Send me all your books about friendships, sibling relationships, relationships with parents, school stories, dealing with crushes, and issue books! Some recent contemporary favorites I have are the Track series books by Jason Reynolds, Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya, Allie First at Last by Angela Cervantes, The First Rule of Punk by Celia C Perez, Stef Soto Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres, and Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel by Diana Lopez. Growing up I loved Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time by Lisa Yee and Frindle by Andrew Clements.
Whether it’s light and fluffy, heavy and heart-wrenching, or anywhere in between, I’m all for contemporary MG!
Magical Realism and Contemporary with Magical Elements –
I’m also interested in magical realism! Some books I love in this genre are The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner, Bubbles by Abby Cooper, and Love, Sugar, Magic by Anna Meriano.
Contemporary Fantasy and Low fantasy in our world –
I will be on the lookout for light fantasy that has one foot still firmly planted in contemporary. Simple magic systems and “everyday magic” will be the best fits for me in this genre. I like mermaids and the show Supergirl (side note: tweet me if you want to chat about that show), if that gives you an idea of what I’m interested in here. In fantasy, I prefer slice-of-life stories to full on saving-the-world epics. Give me all the character relationships and humor. If it reads like a contemporary, but there happens to be magic, I’m game! A favorite of mine is Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt.
Other stuff (Epistolary! Verse! Graphic Novels! Fun with format!) –
If you have a verse novel or graphic novel that fits one of the genres above, I’d love to see it! Some of my faves are All’s Faire in Middle School, Origami Yoda, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, and Forget Me Not. Interesting stuff with format is also my jam – epistolary, texts, alternating timelines, multiple points of view etc. My own books all do different things with format.
An array of things I love and would love to see:
-#ownvoices, diversity, intersectionality
-cousins and extended family
-food (and desserts!)
-oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, pools, and other bodies of water
-modern day princesses
-team sports and unusual sports (I was a high school mascot and a lifelong swimmer)
-stories that include code switching or language switching
-anything set at a Title I school
-quirky town/neighborhood with interesting neighbors
-humor during hard times
-humor anytime, really. Love everything from laugh-out-loud fun to inner smiles and clever moments
-kids of color living their best lives
I’m not the right fit for (but there are others out there who are!):
-complex magic systems
-portal fantasy (going into another world)
-saving the word as the main plot
-animal main characters
-foster or adoption narratives that aren’t #ownvoices
One last note: I entered Pitch Wars in 2016 but wasn’t selected as a mentee. I still feel like that experience helped me level up in craft, made me own my identity as a writer, and I’m so glad that I had that experience. My hope that this can be a positive experience for all of you.
Happy pitching to all and to all a happy pitch wars
If you want to stay in touch (whether you are subbing to me or not) here is where you can find me around the internet:
Pitchwars bio: http://pitchwars.org/mentor-profile/maria-frazer/
Back to the blog hop: https://pitchwars.org/pitch-wars-2018-mentor-blog-hop/