Catching up with 2020 Editor-Writer Mentee Alyssa Reynoso-Morris

Updated: Jun 7




Our Editor-Writer Mentorship is an annual program that pairs upcoming writers from underrepresented groups with experienced book publishing editors! Our Editor Mentors provide substantive feedback to help raise a strong manuscript to its best position for submission to potential agents and editors. This is an opportunity to learn from the knowledge of experienced acquiring editors. This program is free of cost due to the generosity of our volunteer editors.


We are excited to catch up with our 2020 Picture Book Mentee Alyssa Reynoso-Morris, who worked with Associate Editor Jessica Anderson over the past year.


Alyssa Reynoso-Morris grew up listening to her Abuelas’ stories of hope and service. They motivated her to found Schools for Sustainability to establish environmentally sustainable schools that alleviate poverty. As a Career Coach, she helps teenagers and adults find the intersection between their skills and passion. These stories, experiences, and her Afro-Latinx identity inspired Becoming Gloriana.


Jessica Anderson, associate editor at Christy Ottaviano Books, an imprint of Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, works on a wide range of picture books, middle grade and YA fiction. She is the editor of the YA debuts Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown; The Spaces Between Us by Stacia Tolman; and Wrong in All the Right Ways by Tiffany Brownlee, as well as the picture book biographies Brave Ballerina: The Story of Janet Collins by Michelle Meadows, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, and Samuel Morse, That’s Who! by Tracy Nelson Maurer, illustrated by El primo Ramón, among others. She holds a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Columbia University.


Here's our Q&A with Alyssa!


1) Which fictional character/personality did your Editor-Mentor most channel?


Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender - my mentor was kind and nurturing. She was encouraging but not afraid to give it to me straight. She was clear in her feedback and communication. I really appreciate her and am excited to continue working with her. I hear so many horror stories about how competitive and cutthroat the publishing world is - and that all may be true - but that was not my experience with my mentor. She was kind and insightful. She was encouraging and motivating.

2) What surprised you about your writing or yourself during your mentorship?

I was happy to hear that my writing resonated with an editor. An idea that I wrote down and then edited - a lot - with the support of critique partners, evolved to a point that an editor was able to see the potential. And then my editor-mentor was able to give me further insight and feedback that enabled the story to truly blossom.

3) On a long day of writing or querying, what sage advice from your Editor-Mentor will be floating around in your mind?

Surrender.


4) Will you share with us what you've been working on? Give us the one-line pitch of your manuscript.

I have been working on not one - but two manuscripts - with my mentor. More details to come.


5) What's next for you and your writing career?

I am agented and am excited to sell some books




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To learn more about the Editor-Writer Mentorship Program, CLICK HERE.