Laura Lavoie was the recipient of a mentorship with author Jason Gallaher. Here are a few words from Laura about her experience.
I’ll never forget the moment when I found out Jason Gallaher picked me to be his mentee. One of my critique partners sent a message to our group chat around the time Tara was making the announcement that read: Get. On. Twitter. My CP Jen Broedel, who is amazingly talented, had also applied for a mentorship, and I immediately saw that Tim McCanna had selected her. I figured that was the big news, so when I scrolled and saw that I’d been chosen by Jason, I literally slid out of my chair and onto the floor. Winning a mentorship felt like a huge vote of confidence for my writing career.
One of the best things about working with Jason was how he automatically got my sense of humor. I write funny picture books, so I knew I needed a mentor who would appreciate my cheesy puns and quirky characters. For the first six weeks of the mentorship, I sent Jason one manuscript per week for critique. After I’d read through his written feedback, we’d hop on a video call and discuss what was or wasn’t working. Jason is a fantastic brainstormer, and talking things through with him gave me so many “Aha!” moments. We then picked the strongest four manuscripts to revise, knowing that I planned to start querying at the conclusion of the mentorship. Jason also helped me with my query letters and let me barrage him with general questions about publishing. His genuine enthusiasm for my work meant the world to me. I felt like I had my own personal cheerleader heading into queries, and knew that I was absolutely putting my strongest work forward.
Shortly after sending my first batch of queries, I was offered representation by my now-agent, James McGowan of BookEnds Literary. I’d admired BookEnds for a long time, and had my sights set on James from the moment he announced he’d be taking on clients. I signed the contract a few days before my last video call with Jason, so we got to live-share our excitement!
Writing with the Stars was truly transformational. I feel like I’ve come leaps and bounds from the writer I was just six months ago. My first drafts feel stronger, and I’m able to absorb feedback more quickly and run with revisions. I’ve also connected with several of the other mentees, and it’s great to have a whole new batch of talented writing buddies! A huge thanks to Tara, Jason, and all the WWTS mentors who donated their time and expertise. I’m so grateful to have had this immensely valuable experience!