#WriteMentor – why I mentor

So, I’m a mentor for #WriteMentor and I wanted to explain why I signed up, my approach and the sort of ‘mentee’ I hope to support.

See that kitten? That’s me, hiding in a book. Although I’m not as furry, or as cute. But I did hide in books as a child. Painfully shy, an ‘extreme introvert’, books were a way to escape myself. And even now as an adult, when the world gets too much, or even when everything is just fine, reading is where I go. I love to read, and that is one of the reasons I like being a mentor. I want to read your words.

When I started writing seriously over a decade ago, I had this image in my head of the writer as a tortured soul alone in their garret. And I went with that for a few years, writing in isolation, afraid to show my words to anyone.

You can read about my journey out of the garret here if you like. But to cut a very long story short, which is kind of what this is all about, I discovered the wonder of working with other writers – sharing stories, giving and receiving feedback, and positive, constructive criticism.

I found my writing family while studying for an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University. But I appreciate that such an opportunity is not available to everyone. So, I would like to support a writer who may be nervous about sending their story out into the world, or who hasn’t yet found their writing community, or someone who struggles with the whole ‘putting yourself out there’ part of the journey to becoming a published author.

While I always try to offer critique in a kind, constructive manner, I will be honest with you if I think something isn’t working or needs improving. I’m also a detail person, and have a bit of a reputation for spotting typos and continuity issues.

An empathetic character and a strong narrative voice are far more important to me than genre. I like books that make me think and have some beauty in them. I read all sorts of stories but in particular I like:

In YA: Contemporary realism, the grittier the better; feminist speculative fiction; issue-led books, particularly mental health; historical. In MG: contemporary; magical; adventure; historical.

If this sounds like the kind of mentoring you’d like, please put me down as one of your choices on the mentee application. If not, take a look at all the other wonderful mentors available.

Hello

Kathryn Clark – About Me

When I was very small, I could fly. I remember the feeling before take-off, like the start of a sneeze, but in my toes. I swooped up and around the hall of our tiny terraced house and looked down at the swirls in the black and green carpet. I was flying. Or perhaps, I was dreaming. Or perhaps, it was a story I told myself.

I grew up in Surrey in an ordinary family, in an ordinary town. I read lots of books and studied English at university. I went on to work in a wallpaper shop and a call-centre; as an aromatherapist, a researcher and a writer of web content. And all that time I made up stories in my head. But it wasn’t until I was really quite old that I started writing them down.

Now I write all the time. Stories for young people, usually. You can read some of them here.

I also like to help other writers with their stories. You can read more about this here.

I live in rural Gloucestershire with my husband, two teenagers, two cats, and a border terrier. I have a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, and love reading, running, the sea, dark chocolate, and earl grey tea.