Untapped–a new imprint and magazine for Christian teens and tweens from Written World Communications–is on the hunt for outstanding fiction and non-fiction writers.
In the following interview, Executive Editor Christina Harris (Untapped.firstname.lastname@example.org) discusses what she’s looking for, her favorite writers, and plans for the publication of the imprint’s first novel and magazine.
What do you look for in a story? Are there any specific types of stories or plots that you wish writers would send you?
Strong author voice, logical and original plots fit for the YA audience, and real characters. I’m a huge fan of YA speculative and I wish there were more out there in that genre that are better than the average or just non-occult. Saying that, I also would love to receive pretty much anything, be it set as wild west or contemporary, that fits my criteria that I mentioned before. It is definitely hard to find.
Why would you pass on a story?
Weak voice, bad writing style, “bunny trails” in the plot, lack of conflict in the story, stories that are “written down” for YA teens (I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen submissions that are geared toward too young of an audience), and the immoral depicted as good. (Please don’t send me something about a Christian Vampire or Witch! Although there can be evil vampires and witches if it’s part of the plot.)
What do you enjoy the most about editing?
Exploring another soul’s unique God given gift. I get to be the first to review something that someone poured their heart into and I can help them live their dream of getting the manuscript published. It also makes that the hardest part of my job here because if I find I can’t publish it, I (because I also love to write fiction) know how it is to devote so much time and then find out your story won’t take off or that the entire novel needs a rewrite.
Who are some of your favorite authors and why? Favorite short stories? Is there a story (or two) that was completely unforgettable… changed your life or outlook in some way?
Even though I’ve said I love speculative fiction, there is one book that always sticks in my mind that is not speculative at all: The Blue Castle by L.M. Montegomery. Most people haven’t heard of this novel, but I picked that little book up and couldn’t put it down until the end. Set in the early twentieth century, the story is about Delancy Stirling who is 29 and an old maid. She never really lived life. One day when she finds out she only has a year to live, she throws caution to the wind and even asks a man to marry her! I laughed, got angry with the characters who treated her unfairly, and cried for Delancy during her adventures. The ending is absolutely beautiful!
Anything new coming to Untapped this year?
We’re hoping to release for the first time a magazine and also publish our first novel.