Hello! My name is Jessica, I write under the pseudonym Valerie Kane. I will be submitting my YA fantasy, INNATE, to Pitch Wars this year!
Who Am I?
As someone in their mid-twenties, this is a question I ask myself a LOT.
First, you can find me on Twitter at @ValkyrieWriting, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and Instagram at @booksanddogs.
I am a writer, a data analyst, and an anthropologist. In my daily life, I combine creativity, analytics, and a compassion for humanity in my work and leisure time. Anthropology has introduced me to other cultures and shown me a glimpse of the diversity in the human experience, which I, in turn, strive to bring to my writing.
My fandoms include Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Supernatural, Stranger Things, Lucifer, Scandal, Marvel, Disney, and Game of Thrones. If you’re in one of these, we should be friends!
I also just got into martial arts again, I run to an app that makes me feel like I’m being chased by zombies (because how else would you run?), and I have a completely adorable dog who goes volunteering with me at the hospital when it’s not too hot out.
INNATE is a mix of fantasy, dystopian, and light-sci fi with LGBTQ characters, disabled characters, and a little bit of mental illness. It’s about choosing your own fate, love that transcends hardship, and understanding that everyone has fears, even the bad guys.
The main character is a genderfluid, bisexual teen who is just really confused about herself, especially when she starts seeing and feeling other people’s worst fears. Her sister is completely blind with high ambitions and the sass to match. I spent a lot of time developing the secondary antagonist–a legally blind man whose motivations are more complex than his brother’s, the main antagonist. So I admit the main antagonist could probably use a little work but I’m not sure how to expand his role.
I am aware of my position as a sighted person writing visually impaired characters and am constantly researching and working with others to bring authenticity to the narrative. This is, of course, an ongoing process and will be until INNATE is published.
I really wanted to bring a cast with diverse backgrounds, motivations, and agendas together. Each person is trying to accomplish something different and they have to work together to get what they need.
This world features self-driving cars, high-tech bullet trains, non-lethal weapons over lethal ones, and virtual classrooms. These exist alongside gods, shrines, spells, magical talismans, and Innate users who are tied to one god and have unlimited access to that god’s power. The gods and technology coexist, but not very nicely. This is the world I have wanted to read about since I was a high schooler.
The characters live in a rainforest setting, they travel briefly to a snowy mountain setting and come to complete the Third Act in a setting heavily inspired by Japan. Setting description is a bit of a weak point for me but I LOVE going into multi-sensory details when I show the reader where the characters are. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and touch all feature heavily no matter how briefly the characters visit one setting.
Here are a couple glimpses of the Japan-inspired setting (I took these when I visited earlier this year!):
This is an ownvoices book. Please message me privately for details.
WHAT MAKES ME A COOL MENTEE?
Three main reasons: 1) I’m looking to work with someone to make this manuscript the best it can be, 2) my style is flexible and 3) I eat critiques for breakfast
1) I’m looking to work with someone.
I want to make this manuscript the VERY BEST, LIKE NO MANUSCRIPT EVER WAS.
To do this, I’m really interested in working with someone, not just getting edits and then incorporating them. I am looking for someone who will challenge me to justify why I have Thing A in the manuscript but then is okay with me occasionally asking questions about why I should change something (or asking for elaboration). I know the story I’m trying to tell, but you know writing and the industry better than I. Let’s work together!
2) My style is flexible
I write in Scrivener but I outline in notebooks and most feedback comes via Word document. I can work early mornings or late nights as long as I have caffeine. I can adapt to a mentor’s critique and work style easily–being adaptable is something I learned in my day job, where I work with a variety of people from nurses to VPs, each with different styles, needs, and deadlines.. I’m here to get the job done.
3) I eat critiques for breakfast
You can’t make me cry.
I’m serious. I challenge you. Rip my manuscript apart, throw your best at me, do your worst.
I will always be excited to receive feedback no matter how critical or how much red comments/red pen/actual blood you’ve added to it (please no actual blood though, that’s kind of a biohazard and not very good for you and I’ve seen a lot of Supernatural so I’ll be worried you just signed your soul over to me).
See point 1: I want to make this manuscript the best it can be. I know it isn’t there now. I see critiques as help, not as challenges to my ability, the validity of the story, or personal insults.
If we really disagree, I want to have a good conversation about why you think that Thing A should be changed and I think that Thing A should not be changed. I’m a scientist–when presented with compelling evidence, I will change my mind. I acknowledge your expertise well outmatches mine when it comes to writing and the publishing industry today.
I will also be extremely thankful for your help. I have a tiny understanding of the amount of work that mentors go through and would be honored to be a part of that in 2016.
I don’t read nearly as much as I’d like to but some of my favorite books are:
Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis
Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers
The Sight by David Clement-Davies
The Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
and probably most of the books currently sitting on my TBR pile!
Thanks for reading!