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 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.
This week on the Debutante Ball, we’re sharing deleted scenes from our novels. BECOMING BONNIE has a bit of an interesting history, besides being inspired by history. When my agent and I pitched editors, the novel was originally for young adult audiences. We ended up with two offers, one from a young adult publisher and another from an adult publisher. I went with Tor/Forge, the adult publisher, and BECOMING BONNIE went through quite the transformation....
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Becoming Bonnie is coming soon (72 days to be exact) and a fun way to show your support for the book is to sip and wear Bonn! You better believe I wear my Bonn tee around town :)
Take a look at the exclusive merchandise available, featuring an iconic Bonnie and Clyde photograph, along with a custom line of music from the books.
p.s. I'd love to see a photograph of you with Bonn after your purchase!
It's all because of the wonderful (so wonderful) support and excitement over Becoming Bonnie that I can announce: there's going to be a sequel, Being Bonnie!
I adore this story and these characters and I cannot wait to share the second half with my soon-to-be readers, which will focus on the depression desperation of Bonnie and Clyde, and the crime spree that made them world-famous American outlaws.
Becoming Bonnie hits shelves on May 9, 2017 and Being Bonnie will follow in the summer of 2018. Being Bonnie is up on Goodreads here, if you'd be so kind to add!
If you haven't yet added Becoming Bonnie on Goodreads, you can do so here! Becoming Bonnie is also available for preorder, including options for signed hardcovers. Please also consider signing up for my newsletter. I'm sending out the first one soon, and there may be some exclusive content and a giveaway of (hint, hint) this mug...
Now, finally, the official announcement from Publisher's Weekly!
Thank you, again. I'm so excited to share my version of Bonnie and Clyde's infamous story with you all! Also, sending so much gratitude to my agent, editor, and publisher for making my dreams a reality <3
If Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde) could snapchat, what do you think she'd share? Well, I had some fun with it, creating my own snapchats from the voice of my Bonnie from Becoming Bonnie. And, if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you may've seen a few of my #SnapchattingwithBonnieParker photos.
I post them every Tuesday, and I hope you'll check out my future #SnapchattingwithBonnieParker posts! I'll be doing them 'til May. Here's a few I've done so far. If you like 'em, feel free to show some love and share 'em.
Take the quiz below, then be sure to share your results!
This week on the Debutante Ball we’re doing authorly confessions. If you missed Crystal, Amy, or Lynn’s posts, get after them next (and look out for Tiffany’s tomorrow). But right now, I’m about to drop some truth on ya...
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I’m very excited for my inaugural post for the Debutante Ball, and for the opportunity to introduce myself and my debut novel, Becoming Bonnie. So, Hi, I’m Jenni, kid wrangler by day and author by night. And, as you may’ve guessed from the title, my novel is about Bonnie Parker, as in half of the infamous Bonnie and Clyde...
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I'm very excited to be part of the Class of 2017 for The Debutante Ball, a group blog for up-and-coming authors making their debut in the literary world. Please keep reading for the official Press Release.
PRESS RELEASE: The 2017 Debutante Ball to feature a down-in-the-dumps dumpee, an accused black teen, a rape survivor, an ancient Roman gourmand, and an American outlaw.