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Catching up with 2020 Editor-Writer Mentee Sara Kapadia

Updated: Jun 7, 2021

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 Middle Grade Fiction Mentee Sara Kapadia, who worked with Senior Editor Tiffany Liao over the past year.

If Sara Kapadia was not a human she would be a thylacine, an extinct creature made up of seemingly contrasting and wildly fascinating parts. Sara is an artist, educator, yoga teacher, academic, and writer who uses a transdisciplinary approach in all her projects. Sara has a bachelor's from the University of Cambridge, a master's from the University of London, and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University, all degrees specializing in education. Sara is the founder of an academic, peer-reviewed, open-access publication called The STEAM Journal focused on art and science. Sara's fiction writing is based on folk stories from South Asia and uses fantasy to transport the reader to other worlds.

Tiffany Liao works on middle grade and young adult novels as well as select nonfiction with a pop culture emphasis. She is looking for middle grade and YA fiction of all stripes, with a particular love for fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative novels. She's especially drawn to a hook-y concept, characters that breathe on the page, and unique world-building. On the nonfiction side, she's keen to publish bold, distinctive voices with a strong point of view. With every project, she wants something fresh, surprising, and unique—even unusual—in either theme, format, or scope.

Her recent titles include: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen; The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg; I Am Perfectly Designed by Karamo and Jason Brown, illustrated by Anoosha Syed; Silver Batal and the Water Dragon Races by K.D. Halbrook; The Story Collector by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb; Peasprout Chen, Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien.

Here's our Q&A with Sara!

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

I think since my book is an Indian Alice in Wonderland I think that my lovely mentor Tiffany Liao is the Cheshire Cat, especially because the advice she gives is about the character's needs and wants. Even the Cheshire Cat says, "Let your need guide your behavior." Tiffany suggested I think about the character's growth arc which really helped my plot.

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

I was surprised that my story actually met some of the story beats and that it had more shape than I originally thought.

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

To let the character have flaws that the character addresses over time so that the reader can see the character grow and learn.

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

I've been revising my Indian Alice in Wonderland retelling.

Here is a one-line pitch about my manuscript:

Ever met a blue tiger? Alisha did and he brought her to a magical cave kingdom with fantastic creatures where her rebellious nature is accepted.

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

I have several agents who have requested fulls of my manuscript, and a few editors. I am hopeful I can find an agent sometime soon!

***Don't forget to follow our Instagram (@wordisdiversity) to stay up on Agent Tips!

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


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