The title for my next book has gone through quite the transformation. It began as Being Bonnie, the sequel to Becoming Bonnie (Book 1). And while Book 2 is still a sequel, it's very much a book that can stand on its own (without first having read Becoming Bonnie).
My publishing team and I have gone through a few different titles, but I'm excited/happy to announce we have a final title: Side By Side. This title was inspired by Bonnie's real-life poem, The Trail's End, and in particular, these few lines:
"Some day they'll go down together
they'll bury them side by side.
To few it'll be grief,
to the law a relief
but it's death for Bonnie and Clyde."
I hope you're getting excited! I sure am, especially for seeing the final cover (coming soon)!
A Little About Me
This'll be my third year mentoring, and I'm so excited to get this party started. I'm a mama of two and a book mama of one, with three on the way. I'm published with Macmillan, under their Tor/Forge imprint. My novel, Becoming Bonnie, is the coming-of-age origin story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s. Next year, the companion novel Bonnie will be hitting shelves, telling the duo's crime spree story. I'll also be beginning a narrative nonfiction series, called Brave Like Me, with Scholastic for middle graders. As a mentor, I believe I can bring some experience to the table as far as working with editors and publishers, along with agents. I am repped by Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Also, if you want to get an idea of how I became agented and received my offer of publication, I wrote about it over on Writer's Digest (as you'll see, I'm a real believer in Pitch Wars). I'd also love for you to get an idea of my writing style. If you hop on over to Amazon and click "Look Inside" on the cover, you can preview the first chapter or so.
What I'm Looking For
This year for PItch Wars, I'm narrowing my wish list considerably. I'm looking for... adult historical fiction. That's it. If you've got it, I want to see it.
For me, any era will do. I'm down with various subgenres: women's fiction, mystery, thriller, fantasy, literary. Male or female protagonists. Past or present. First or third POV. What will push your submission to the top of my consideration are these two factors:
1. An intriguing concept
Books that I get grabby hands over have a high-level concept (i.e. premises that are easily explained) that I simply have no choice but to see how the author brought it to life. Here's a few examples of books that recently had me itching to read.
2. Great technical writing
I don't need your manuscript to be perfect, but I'd like to know you put in the time to prepare for Pitch Wars. That shows me you're ready to work. Your solid writing skills will also give me confidence that you'll be able to expertly implement feedback. My friend Google has tons of checklists/tips for ways to tighten and improve technical writing, so I'd recommend giving those a gander before the submission window opens.
Basically, dangle your killer concept and your awesome writing skills in my face, and, if chosen as my mentee, together we can work through any plot-related and character-related improvements.
What questions do ya have for me? Don't be shy, just give me a shout @jennilwalsh or leave me a comment!
Disclaimer: I know this is vague, but my interests in historical fiction are vast. I literally choose books by covers (which you obviously don't have yet) and a great premise. What keeps me turning the page is great writing (hence my two points above).
Also, please consider donating while applying. I won't see a penny of it (nor should I; I'm contributing my time/energy to an awesome cause: your career). Likewise, Brenda and her admins won't profit from your donation. Your hard-earned money will go toward offsetting the high financial and time-related costs of running this amazing contest.
To check out the other Adult/NA mentors--because you get to submit to four of us (plus two additional mentors if you donate)--keep hopping:
Thank you to AudioFile Magazine for giving Becoming Bonnie and narrator Susan Bennett the Earphones Award!
See the full review here.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness for the kind words and review of Becoming Bonnie!
Jenni L. Walsh imagines the story of the quintessential good girl turned gangster's moll in her debut novel, Becoming Bonnie. Bonnelyn Parker has always been a straight-A student and a straight-arrow girl. Since her daddy died, she's toiled extra hard to help her mama around the house while working nights and weekends at a local diner. But times are tight in Prohibition-era Dallas, and when Bonnelyn loses her diner job, she's not sure how her family will make ends meet. Her rebellious best friend Blanche drags her along to Doc's, a local speakeasy that might have jobs for them both, and Bonnelyn starts down a different path--one that will change both her life and name.
See the review on Shelf Awareness here.
On this day in history, May 23rd, Bonnie and Clyde's twenty-two month life on the lam came to an end in a flurry of bullets.
Today, I'll be taking part in a #BonnieAndClydeVersary event where I'll be talking Bonnie and Clyde and also about my novel, Becoming Bonnie, which tells the coming-of-age story of how Bonnie Parker becomes half of the infamous crime duo during the 1920s. See below for various essays, giveaways, interviews, and excerpts.
Giveaway of Becoming Bonnie on Amazon
Giveaway of Becoming Bonnie with Suzy Approved Book Reviews
Chapter 3 of Becoming Bonnie and a Giveaway with Criminal Element
Review of Becoming Bonnie and a Giveaway with EvieBookish
"Bonnie and Clyde: What's in a Name?" at Heroes & Heartbreakers
"The Bonnie and Clyde from Becoming Bonnie" at Women Writer's
"Bonnie Parker: Rebel with a Cause?" at We So Nerdy
"The Aesthetics of the 1920s within Becoming Bonnie" at Jorie Loves a Story
"15 Questions for Bonnie Parker Pre-Clyde" at the Debutante Ball
History from a Woman's Perspective sits down with Jenni L. Walsh
Jenni L. Walsh in conversation with Leah DeCesare
Audra McElyea interviews Jenni L. Walsh
Bonnie and Clyde photos, more giveaways, and other anniversary/Becoming Bonnie goodies:
Becoming Bonnie is now available in retail stores and online at Amazon, BN.com, and more!
I'd be truly grateful if you helped me spread the word about the release of Becoming Bonnie, which tells the untold story of how wholesome Bonnelyn Parker becomes half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde duo during the 1920s.
Especially for a newbie author like myself, word of mouth is the main way that a book makes its way into new hands. Below are a number of ways you can help!
If you are on Goodreads:
- Add Becoming Bonnie to your shelves
- Rate Becoming Bonnie
- Recommend Becoming Bonnie to a friend
If you are on Facebook:
- In my announcement post, tag a friend who you think may enjoy Becoming Bonnie
- or, share your own post. Please be sure to tag me (type @ and Jenni L Walsh and my page should populate)!
If you are on Twitter:
- Tweet about Becoming Bonnie. Here's some sample language:
Happy release day to @jennilwalsh and #BecomingBonnie, the story of how Bonnie becomes part of THE Bonnie & Clyde https://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Bonnie-Jenni-L-Walsh/dp/0765390183
If you belong to a library:
- Request a copy of Becoming Bonnie to be added to their shelves
If you are on Amazon:
- Leave a review for Becoming Bonnie (this matters, a ton)
If you have a local bookshop nearby:
- Go in and ask for Becoming Bonnie by name to show interest
- If all you can see is Becoming Bonnie's spine, face the cover out for all to see.
- Send me photos of Becoming Bonnie in the wild!
If you're part of a book club:
- Recommend Becoming Bonnie! If you're local to Philly, I'd love to stop in. If not, I'd love to Skype! I even have a Reader's Guide you can use for the occasion.
If you got a special gal or teacher in your life:
- Consider gifting a copy of Becoming Bonnie for Mother's Day or birthday
- Consider gifting a copy of Becoming Bonnie for your child's teacher
If you've bought Becoming Bonnie (THANK YOU):
- Carry the book around for all to see :)
Thank you in advance. I sincerely appreciate your support!
Today's the day! Becoming Bonnie is now available from Tor/Forge (Macmillan)!
There are so many emotions involved in this moment and if I begin, I may become a blubbering mess, so I want to say a simple, but heartfelt thank you to everyone who helped in my journey to become a published author, including all the wonderful book-related blogs who are helping to shout about Bonn today!
On each of these blogs, you can find the first chapter of Becoming Bonnie:
History from a Woman's Perspective | A Glass of Wine | Jorie Loves a Story | Brenda Drake | Laura Heffernan | Sandi Ward Books | The Book Whisperer | First Impression Reviews | What Is That Book About | The Maiden's Court | Sapphyria's Book Reviews | Celticlady's Reviews | I Heart Reading | The Lit Bitch | A Literary Vacation | Reading Lark | Passages to the Past | Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers | Ageless Pages Reviews | What's Better Than Books | Impressions In Ink
Becoming Bonnie releases in a WEEK, so let's have some fun with a giveaway!
There are 3 ways to enter to win this prize pack of a signed hardcover of Becoming Bonnie, 16x20 print featuring a excerpt from the novel, a faux newspaper print, and an exclusive mug:
1. Like the giveaway post on Facebook
2. RT the giveaway tweet and follow my account on twitter
3. Subscribe to my newsletter
Ends 5/8 11:59pm EST. US only.
I love hearing what readers thought about Becoming Bonnie, and Katie (aka Girl About Library)'s early review made me smile. Please take a minute (literally) and hear what she has to say!
Becoming Bonnie is releasing on May 9th! I hope you'll join me for one (or some) of the following events!
Updated April 26, 2017
Saturday, May 13, 2017
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Barnes & Noble Princeton/Market Fair
with author Lee Kelly
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
The Doylestown Bookshop
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Gaithersburg Book Festival
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Sunday, May 28, 2017
Queens Book Festival
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Writer's Digest Conference
(New York, NY)
For more information about each event, please visit my Events page.