We work with a number of experienced freelance editors and published writers on our bespoke mentoring programs. You can find out about the mentors we have available below...
Nadine Wild-Palmer is a freelance children’s author, writer, and presenter. Her debut children’s novel: The Tunnels Below, was published in 2019 by Pushkin Press and she is currently working on her next title. Nadine also writes short stories and poetry for both children and adults. Nadine’s career as a writer has also enabled her to give her words a voice as she works across disciplines as a voice-over artist for audiobooks and podcasts and has worked as a continuity announcer for Channel 4, E4, and now Together TV. A seasoned actress and comedian she has an impressive and diverse CV that has seen her creative career go from strength to strength. Whether you’re looking for help with a theatre script, need someone to tweak your lyrics for a song, or are in the market for a fantasy adventure, Nadine is at hand and she sure has a way with words. For more information go to www.nadinewildpalmer.co.uk or, check out her Instagram and Twitter: @nadinewildpalm
Nadine is available for mentoring slots from February 2021.
Alexandra Sheppard writes Middle Grade and Young Adult novels, so she'd like to read manuscripts aimed at children aged 8-14+. She is open to most genres, she's particularly interested in the following: contemporary fiction, comedy, horror/thriller and stories with a supernatural twist. If the manuscript focuses on family, friendship or identity then even better!
Alexandra is available for mentoring slots from February 2021.
Heloise Wood is an award-winning arts journalist who has worked on staff at The Independent and The Bookseller as well as a stint in book PR. Through her extensive network of agents, editors and scouts, she has a specialism for uncovering literary trends and a thorough insight into the books market.
She is particularly interested in narrative non-fiction particularly revealing perspectives from front-line jobs or unusual experiences as well as more general memoirs, essays and explorations of history and psychology. She originally worked in non-profits focused on social justice issues before becoming a journalist and retains an interest in this area.
She is also a huge fan of fiction. A recipient of an Arts Council grant for her own fiction writing, she has also reviewed novels for The Bookseller and The Independent. She adores commercial thrillers and murder mysteries as well as literary authors such as Tessa Hadley and John Lanchester along with coming-of-age narratives and short story collections.
Heloise is available for mentoring slots from February 2021.
Natalie Young is an experienced editor and literary consultant working with authors on a range of genres and subjects, both fiction and non-fiction. Formerly a journalist with The Times and an Arts editor for Prospect magazine, Natalie left journalism to focus on creative writing with the success of her second novel Season To Taste in 2014. Since then she has worked as a freelance editor, mentor, and consultant. She has given talks and worked on retreats and is passionate about helping authors to trust their own process and explore ways of finding their own voice. She is currently working on her third novel, supported by grants from Arts Council England and The Royal Literary fund while also working with a screenwriter to adapt Season to Taste for screen. Whatever stage you are at with your writing, Natalie is happy to help.
Testimonials for Natalie
'As a mentor and editor, Natalie is able to provide what all writers need: honesty and insight with rigour and sympathy.'
'I found Natalie as I was trawling the internet researching literary agents with a view to sending my work to somebody in the hope of getting it published. I had just completed a Creative Writing MA and received really positive feedback from my course tutors but my manuscript wasn’t yet polished and ready for market. I was nervous to work with someone else on the manuscript but I knew that I needed some expert help. Natalie has been such an incredible guide through a re-draft process. She listened carefully when we spoke about what I wanted from the mentoring package and has been supportive and encouraging every step of the way. She’s very astute, could see immediately what needed work, and her personable approach meant that she was able to communicate it to me in a way that felt solution-focused and never critical. During the many conversations I’ve had with Natalie – over email, Skype and in person – I have felt inspired to do the work my manuscript needed and feel reinvigorated in my writing journey.’
'I thought long and hard about engaging the services of a literary consultant, slightly sceptical about their benefits and a little nervous about exposing my work in such a way. However, I’m thrilled to say my fears dissolved with Natalie. Her detailed report captured precisely what it was that was missing from my manuscript. Immediately I saw what it was that I needed to do to strengthen their story. I found the whole process thoroughly worthwhile. I’ve learnt so much and really improved as a writer thanks to my engagement with Natalie.’
‘Natalie got to the heart of things, the heart of my story, the heart of my hero, my reasons for writing what it is I’m writing. Then she got to work, focussing on key issues and helping me explore new methods, new ways. It can be challenging for sure but I wouldn’t have it any other way. With Natalie’s mentoring I feel I’m taking great steps forward as a novelist.’
Sara Starbuck has spent over twenty years working in UK trade book publishing. She has had experience as a commissioning editor, desk editor and development editor, and also as an author’s agent. She currently works as a freelance book editor, proofreader and writer, specialising in fiction, YA and children’s books. Sara is the author of eight published works so far, including the non-fiction memoir Breakfast Epiphanies (Atlantic Books, 2006); the children’s adventure novels, The Dread Pirate Fleur and the Ruby Heart (Random House, 2009) and its sequel, The Dread Pirate Fleur and The Hangman’s Noose (Random House, 2010); The Fairythorn Tales series under the pseudonym, Lara Faraway (Templar Publishing, 2013); and most recently two non-fiction books for children, Lions (Hachette Publishing Group /Born Free Foundation, 2015) and Leopards (Hachette Publishing Group /Born Free Foundation, 2016).
Sara is passionate about storytelling and working with writers. She has a keen eye for a good story and the ability to hone it.
Testimonials for Sara
‘I learned more from Sara's edit on my first draft than I did in two years on a Creative Writing MA. Incisive, intelligent and creative editing that absolutely lifts a piece of writing.’
Jane Brittan author of The Edge of Me
‘Sara has the most attuned editorial eye I’ve ever come across. She notices gems no matter how deeply hidden and can coax the very best out of people with her gentle and encouraging hand. Her talent as a writer herself has, I think, a lot to do with this.’
Jodie Hodges, Literary Agent, United Agents
‘I’ve worked with Sara as an author and as a proofreader, she has been a delight in every respect. Talented, reliable, responsive and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of the publishing industry, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her services.’
Felicity Johnston, Commissioning Editor, Orion Children’s Books
'Sara Starbuck commissioned my first novels at Hodder & Stougton and I couldn't have wished for a better editor. Hugely insightful, sensitive and warm, she cares passionately about her writers and their work. She helped me become a much better writer and - some thirteen years and eleven books later - she is still my go-to person for advice on all things writing and publishing and the first person I recommend to other writers seeking editorial guidance. Massively experienced, highly respected within the publishing industry AND a lovely person, what more could any writer ask for?'
Siobhan Curham, author of Dear Dylan, the Shipwrecked Series, True Face and The Moonlight Dreamers
Alex Hammond has worked in publishing for most of his professional life, and there's nothing he likes more than talking to an author about their book, diving into the pages, and helping them identify any issues that might be holding their story back.
Alex holds a BA (Hons) in American Literature with Creative Writing from UEA, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Lancaster, and is currently studying for a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton. After completing his MA, Alex worked at Rogers, Coleridge & White literary agency, working with authors such as Zadie Smith, Philip Hensher, Nick Hornby, Sandi Toksvig and Joe Dunthorne.
Alex joined Cornerstones Literary Consultancy in 2014, managing editors, assessing new author enquiries, and scouting for agents. He maintains a close relationship with Cornerstones, and also works directly with authors at the Romantic Novelists’ Association Summer Conferences, and at A Chapter Away writers’ retreats.
Testimonials for Alex
'I asked Alex to give me feedback about my 32,000-word outline of my work-in-progress. Alex provided me with amazingly accurate and pertinent feedback. He clearly read my outline in close detail, and completely understood what I was trying to achieve. His 3,000-word written report to me was just great - full of really meaty plot, character, and tension advice. He also did a mark-up version of my 32,000 outline - which was thankfully blunt and to the point. My face-to-face meeting with him, where we talked about my novel, was even more helpful; he was able to respond in a very constructive way to my many questions and requests for advice. I could not recommend him highly enough.'
Tom Irvine, author of Amy's Proof
Kylie Fitzpatrick is a novelist and Creative Writing tutor and has worked as a freelance manuscript editor for over ten years. Prior to this she worked as a script editor in the U.K, the U.S, and Australia after training at the Australian Film, Television and Radio school. She has worked for the BBC and the Australian Broadcasting Commission. She is the author of four historical novels which have, between them, been published in eleven languages, and is a lecturer on the Creative Writing degree course at Bath Spa University.
As an author herself, Kylie understands the sensibility with which writers approach their work, and knows from experience that writing a novel can be a deeply personal undertaking. She believes that a good editor is not only fluent in the technical language and the mechanics of crafting a novel but can also identify its underlying themes and sensibilities and help an author to identify the story that they want to tell. She understands that allowing someone to read and critique one’s writing can sometimes feel a little like having one’s soul critiqued.
Because of her teaching experience, Kylie is as comfortable and competent working with a writer who needs guidance in the basic principles of narration, composition and character development as she is with more assured and experienced writers. She is passionate about supporting emerging novelists and helping them to refine all aspects of technique, from prose through to plot. She has edited both literary and mainstream fiction, including YA and historical, and also memoirs.
Testimonials for Kylie
'Kylie was my mentor and editor when I wrote After Everything. She was patient, encouraging and nursed me through many early drafts, always offering the most constructive and creative advice in both plot and character development. She knew when something was not working, and more importantly, knew how to fix it. I couldn't have completed the book without her encouragement and I know I wouldn't have got a two book deal with Simon and Schuster in America without her help. In short, she was invaluable. And good fun as well.'
Suellen Dainty, author of After Everything
'It’s a lucky writer who falls into the hands of Kylie Fitzpatrick. Astute, capable, experienced and with a fantastic intuition for drawing out the soul of a manuscript, Kylie is able - with great gentleness - to guide you in the right direction. I highly recommend her as an editor and mentor.'
Jennifer McVerigh, author of The Fever Tree, a Richard & Judy Summer Read
Louise Buckley has almost a decade's worth of experience working in publishing. Currently a freelance editor, she previously worked as an editor at Pan Macmillan publishers and Dorling Kindersley publishers, and as a bookseller. As an editor she commissioned, edited and published a list of fourteen adult commercial fiction authors. She edited genres ranging from crime and thrillers, historical fiction and women’s fiction through to science fiction, horror and fantasy. She published bestselling authors such as Jessica Knoll and Mary Wood and award-winning authors such as Ryan David Jahn.
As an former agent and an editor she is able to combine her editorial expertise with knowledge of the publishing industry to offer advice and support on both the technical aspects of a novel as well as commercial viability. She has always enjoyed working directly with authors, which she finds an innately rewarding process, by helping authors to become more confident in their work and the book become the best it can be.