So, the lovely founders of Pitch Wars have decided I’m qualified to mentor people for the upcoming session. I don’t know if they’re crazy or just super nice (maybe both?) but I’ve agreed to do it and I couldn’t be more excited to read some amazing manuscripts and roll around in some awesomeness with y’all.
First things first: I have to tell you a little bit about ME, so you can decide whether we’d be a good match. Lucky for you it’s not forever, just for the duration of the contest. A lifetime commitment to me is something you’d want to think long and hard about – just ask Leigh Ann Kopans or Denise Grover Swank, my longest lasting critique partners.
Okay. Back to business.
I started writing seriously six or seven years ago, and what I mean by “seriously” is that I finished my first novel. I thought it was super fun and awesome.
Then I finished two more novels. They were not awesome either. My friends who read them were all…
It wasn’t until I tried my first Young Adult manuscript, which would become my first published novel, that I fell in love. It was not, however, smooth sailing from there. I did sign with an agent, but after a year of back and forth revisions, lack of communication, and never going on sub with the book, we parted ways. It was for the best, but of course, it felt as though I was going backward.
I felt out of control of my career. I felt like it would never happen, like everyone else was moving forward while I sat still, and like my stories were never going to be good enough. It was dark days, y’all.
Then something magical happened. My good friend and oldest critique partner, Denise Grover Swank, decided to self publish. It was over three years ago, and there was still a huge stigma, but she took the plunge and her success and happiness convinced me to follow. In July 0f 2012, I published a YA science fiction novel called WHISPERS IN AUTUMN.
I was happy. I felt in control of my career. My stories were out there for people to read.
It wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t cheap (good editors are worth their weight in gold), but man, was it worth it. I published the rest of the books in THE LAST YEAR series (WINTER OMENS, BETRAYALS IN SPRING, and SUMMER RUINS). I wrote more YA novels and started to query again, and in the meantime decided to try my hand at the hot new pretty shiny thing, New Adult Romance.
So, I took inspiration from three of my favorite things: Gossip Girl, tennis, and sexy antiheroes and wrote BROKEN AT LOVE.
I had a ball writing the book, readers really took to the characters and style, and it allowed me to get into a position quit my soul sucking government day job to write full time, which has turned into the most amazing year of my life. I cranked out three more books in the same series – BY REFERRAL ONLY, BE MY DOWNFALL, and STAYING ON TOP (writing as Lyla Payne), then penned a little ghost story/mystery/Southern romance/drama that I absolutely adore called NOT QUITE DEAD.
Somewhere in the middle of all of that I contributed a short story to the anthology FIFTY FIRST TIMES (some amazing amazing authors included), published GYPSY, the first book in a brand new YA science fiction series (superheroes this time!) and signed with my agent, Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary. She’s been a dream to work with during a couple of submission and revision processes, and I hope our partnership continues for a long time.
So, here are a few quick and dirty (and random) facts about Trisha Leigh/Lyla Payne:
There’s nothing I love more than just hanging out with my dogs/family/boyfriend at home.
My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life, but I could also quote the entire script of Tommy Boy without missing a step.
I have a completely mortifying phobia of stinging insects.
I’m literally afraid of the zombie apocalypse.
The book that made me want to write YA is THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH by Carrie Ryan (loved the whole series).
When I read for fun, I typically pick up contemporary YA, but I also love adult crime fiction, mysteries, science fiction, and anything that features a disease spread of any kind (zombies included of course).
I hate showers. Total waste of time.
I could eat an entire bag of Hershey’s Kisses in one sitting.
No one – NO ONE – went through a more inappropriate or awkward phase of N’SYNC fandom than I did.
Charleston, SC is my favorite US city.
My favorite television shows, in no particular order: Fringe, Felicity, Alias, 2 Broke Girls, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Seinfeld. If you (or anyone) tells me they don’t like Seinfeld, this will be my first reaction. (My second reaction will be that we probably won’t be friends).
My favorite book as a child was A Wrinkle in Time, but I spent tons of time reading Nancy Drew, too.
My favorite classic is Wuthering Heights, though A Separate Peace is close behind.
I’m obsessed with Ebola. It’s going to kill us all. Or, you know, at least 6 out of every 10 of us.
I guess that’s about it for me – I mean there’s more, and it’s all interesting, but you know…time constraints and all of that. I suppose we should leave you a BIT of time to read the bios of other mentors. 🙂
What I’m looking for as far as Pitch Wars:
YA Science Fiction
YA Dystopian or Post-Apocalyptic
ANYTHING that has a disease/epidemic/zombie tilt would make me SUPER HAPPY.
If you want to send me NA (because I have two identities and all), it would have to WOW me, but I’m not ruling it out.
COME TO ME AUTHOR FRIENDS.
PS: If you’re curious about any of my books, please browse my website, and visit http://www.lylapayne.com for more information about my New Adult and Adult titles!
PPS: Hop around to the other mentor’s websites/blogs too, and check out their bios and wish lists!