A BIG Mentor Monday welcome to Michaela Maccoll, author of two historical novels entitled, Prisoners in the Palace and Promise the Night. Both have earned so many starred reviews, they should be re-titled as constellations!
Hi, Lynda! Thanks so much for the opportunity to muse out loud about mentors. Who do you single out and say…. That one! He or she is my mentor! It’s additionally tough for me because I don’t like asking for help. I’m loath to use up too much of their time or goodwill. I ration these mentors, for better or worse.
But I do have a “mentor” that I go back to time and time again. Who is the first to receive any news. Who has seen every major revision and kept me writing through a careful combination of praise, guilt and critique.
My mentor isn’t a person, it’s three people: my critique group. Sari, Christine, Karen and I have been together for over five years now. I brought the group together originally (Sari and I were old friends, Christine I met at a conference and Karen stood behind Christine and I in the ladies’ room line at SCBWI!), but what keeps us going is how useful and necessary we are to each other.
We all bring strengths to each other and shore up the weaknesses together. Sari has such a deft gift for romantic comedy, she always finds the romance in my scenes, even if I don’t. Christine has a poet’s soul and when I write to something beautiful, I ask myself “What would Christine do?” And Karen? Her clear no-nonsense approach to editing has helped me find the germ of what’s good and clear out the dreck more times than I can count.
These gentle ladies are the only ones who’ve seen my highs and lows. I trust them and love them.