Selling my first book was one of the best days of my life and it’s something I want you to experience as well. Before I get into all the things that give me grabby hands, allow me to introduce myself. If you’ve visited my Pitch Wars pages in the past, you’ll see I continue to want a lot of the same things…
My name is Natasha Neagle (that’s Nagel like bagel), but most people on the interwebs call me Nat. Either one is fine. I’m married with two not-so-tiny humans (Evil Genius and Mini Me), four demented cats, and three dogs. I’m a diverse author of YA, who makes my characters far more badass than I could ever be. My first YA fantasy, THE BODY PARADOX, is coming in 2018 from Entangled Teen. Read an interview I did about selling it before I’d even written it here.
By trade, I am a teacher. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction. I am currently seeking my Ed.S. in Educational Leadership through Old Dominion University (where I also received my BS in Biology). For the past few years I have been teaching middle school science, but I am returning to high school to teach Biology and Ecology this September and cannot wait.
This is my third year participating in PitchWars. I didn’t participate in 2015 due to personal reasons. Anyway, enough about me. Now on to the good stuff.
No NA or Adult.
FYI: Make sure you have a synopsis available! It must include any surprise twists you have in store. Don’t worry if it sucks, a terrible synopsis will not exclude you from being picked. In fact, if we pair up, I’ll make your synopsis shine along with your query and manuscript.
The following will give me grabby hands and fill my heart with happiness.
DIVERSITY & #OWNVOICES
The novels on our bookstore shelves do not represent the world. They never have. This is a problem. I want novels that could have helped me when I was a teenager, trying to understand why I felt the way I did and who I was in the world.
Does your book feature LGBTQIA? GIMME.
I’m particularly interested in bisexual main characters, but I’d love a trans character to shine in the spotlight. Basically, if you have any LGBTQIA main characters represented in your novel, I WANTS IT.
Does your book feature a physical or mental disability or illness? GIMME.
I’m particularly interested in characters with mental illness, but I’d love to read from the perspective of characters with physical disabilities, as well. If you have them in your novels, I call dibs on your manuscript.
Does your book feature POC? GIMME.
We don’t look the same and our books need to reflect this. For years, my students have complained to me that they can’t see themselves in books.
If you have diverse characters within any of the genres I’m looking for below, I need your novel in my life.
Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Horror.
These will always be my first love. I became hooked on reading fantasy and horror when I bought my first Christopher Pike book from the bookstore when I was 8. My first manuscript was a fantasy that featured alternate histories (drooling for this in my inbox, BTW) and the first novel I sold was a fantasy.
If you know me at all, you know I’m 100% in love with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series and the TV show. I even used it as a comp title for one of my novels. Sidebar: If you are an Outlander fan, we MUST follow each other on Twitter because HELLO, SEASON 3!
While I may not be the best fit if you’ve written an epic fantasy, plots that mesh time travel with romance and feisty ladies with gorgeous guys (kilts not required), DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200. GIVE IT TO ME NOW. Also, I’d really enjoy this from a male POV.
I swoon over supernatural and sci-fi characters thrown into an otherwise normal world. Especially when they are the love interest. On a random note, the X-MEN characters will forever be my favorite. As for horror, I want to be afraid. I want to question EVERYTHING…
Have you taken a person from history or plucked a story from the headlines and worked it to have a fantasy/sci-fi/horror twist? If so, I need to see your manuscript!
Thrillers and Mystery.
Besides writing fantasy, I’ve written a few YA thrillers and mysteries. I’ll read a good psychological thriller ALL DAY LONG. Any story that will make me wonder who dunnit is my jam. Unreliable narrators are my favorite! I enjoy reading books where I refuse to stop reading because I have to know if the characters are going to get out of their current situation. I want to be shocked. I want to keep guessing until the end when you totally pull the rug out from under me. Make me go back and reread, looking for clues once I reach the end.
I found that I like to write a bit of everything when I wrote my YA contemporary. I’m a fan of books that show how young adults handle romance and heart break because when they fall, they fall hard. One of my absolute favorite couples is NALEY from One Tree Hill. If you’ve written characters that have gone through even a fraction of what these two went through, then I NEED TO READ IT! If it’s diverse, even better!! I’d also kill for a novel about friends, siblings, road trips, music or summer/training camp. I always wanted to work in a coffee shop, movie theater, or amusement park, so if you’ve written something that deals with any of these settings, send your query my way.
Your Genre Not Listed?
That’s okay! If your novel is filled with the voice of quirky characters that will make me laugh, ugly cry, or feel ANY emotion, then GIMME. I’m not a huge historical fiction (unless *cough cough* time travel or some alternate reality is involved), but that doesn’t mean I won’t read it. Because I have. It makes me happy when books surprise me, and I love them. If your manuscript has any of the elements I mentioned above, definitely consider me. If you think I might be able to help you take your novel to the next level, consider me.
If you’ve written from a male POV, multiple POVs, have dual timelines, reverse timelines, etc. please consider me for your mentor! I eat that stuff up with a spoon. And not a little spoon, I mean, the big serving spoons!
When in doubt: QUERY ME. PICK ME. LOVE ME.
What You Can Expect From Me:
My feedback will be honest, just like the feedback you will receive once the book is published. I always offer up suggestions when I find an error and turn things into teachable moments (the teacher in me will never die) or ask questions to make you think outside of the parameters of what you’ve written. My former mentees will tell you, I will push you to revise and resubmit until I think it’s perfect.
If I don’t like something, I will tell you.
If I love something, I will tell you.
I will help you edit your manuscript and point out the following:
- lack of voice/internal dialogue
- plot holes and continuity issues (especially if they are science related)
- passive voice
- filter words
- overused words/phrases
- words/phrases used too close together
- lack of setting/missing details/pointing out where you could expand a scene
Some of my favorite books (this list will probably change next year):
- The Handmaid’s Tale (I’ve loved this since reading it in college) by Margaret Atwood
- An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
- Outlander (books 1 & 3 are my favorite) by Diana Gabaldon
- The Season of You & Me by Robin Constantine
- The Mara Dyer Series by Michelle Hodkin
- My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
- Red Queen Series by Victoria Aveyard
- The Harry Potter Series (OF COURSE!) by J.K. Rowling
- Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
- 11/22/63 by Stephen King
I have so many books to read (and listen to on audiobooks), but the only books I’ve been reading on a regular basis this year have been educational textbooks. Le sigh.
Some of my recent favorite TV shows/movies
- WONDER WOMAN
- One Tree Hill
- The Night Shift
- Stranger Things
- Pretty Little Liars
- Gilmore Girls
- Gossip Girl
- Veronica Mars
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Doctor Who
- The Walking Dead
- Game of Thrones
- American Horror Story
- SO MANY MORE – just tweet me and you’ll see