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By Karol Ruth Silverstein, SCBWI-L.A. Contest Coordinator

SCBWI-L.A. is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2018 Mentorship Contest. These two lucky writers will each enjoy a six-month mentorship with their respective PAL member mentors. To all those who applied but were not selected, please know that our mentors considered the competition very steep. Your applications definitely made it difficult for them to choose their mentees.

“I am so honored by and grateful for everyone who submitted to be my SCBWI mentee,” mentor Andrea J. Loney said. “Everyone put a tremendous amount of thought, passion, and heart into their applications and it showed. So I encourage everyone who submitted to keep going, keep writing, keep critiquing, keep sharing, keep networking, keep revising, and once again, keep writing. I’m looking forward to seeing your words in the world.

And now for our lucky winners:

The winner of the Wade Bradford mentorship is Jennifer Fitzgerald.

When asked why she wanted a mentor, Jennifer admitted that, to date, she’d lacked the confidence to take the leap and write consistently. “I wrote because I loved to write, then I clicked ‘save as’ and did nothing.” She’s worked all her life but has never seriously pursued what she considers her first love — writing stories. “Getting a mentor, at this point in my life, would be like magically getting thrown a mental lifeline.”

As a first-time mentor, Wade Bradford expected the submitted manuscripts would reveal a clear, easy choice, but that was not the case. “There were so many worthy submissions of potentially lovely picture books, I couldn’t decide based solely on the work,” Wade said. “So I examined the question/answer section very carefully.” Luckily for Jennifer, her personality shone through in her many humorous answers.

Jennifer counts her comical ideas, economy of language and an ability to draw readers in among her strengths. And as for her weaknesses? “My structure is crap and my grammar [is] a hot mess at times. Tenses vex me. But what I lack in proper grammar, I make up for in drive, I promise!”

Wade said, “I chose my mentee because of her strength as a storyteller, not just within her manuscript, but within the responses to each question. I am very excited to begin the mentorship because I think this writer will go far, and I hope I can enhance her artistic journey.”

Jennifer and Wade have a lot of work ahead, as Jennifer’s goals are ambitious. In six months, she hopes to have her early chapter book “written and edited and sweated over enough” to consider sending it out on submission. In a year, she hopes to be published “…somewhere. Anywhere. An online blog. But published.”


The winner of the Andrea J. Loney mentorship is Monica Mancillas.

A music educator and songwriter, Monica has penned over a dozen picture book manuscripts, several short stories and is currently working on her first novel. She counts her five-year-old daughter among her inspirations, saying “her boundless imagination and silly antics have been the inspiration for many of my stories.”

When asked why she was applying for the mentorship, Monica said, “I am eager for the perspective of a published author who can help me to both improve my writing and guide me toward publication.”

Her mentor, Andrea, reports that “It was really difficult to choose between the mentee submissions — there were so many fascinating candidates with wonderful stories to share and amazing visions to manifest. The decision process went right down to the wire. But in the end, I chose the person who, in my opinion, would be most likely to benefit from the resources I could provide during the mentorship.”

AndreaJLoneyMonica considers exploring “…topics related to compassion, empathy, honesty, and a celebration of difference” to be a priority. “My dream project would not only be beautifully written, illustrated, and edited, but would help in some small measure to make this world a better place for our children.”

Like Jennifer, Monica also has ambitious goals, hoping to sign with an agent and have at least one manuscript placed with a publisher by the end of the year. When informed that she had been chosen for one of the 2018 SCBWI-L.A. mentorships, Monica was understandably thrilled and said, “I am beside myself and so looking forward to getting started!”

Congratulations to Jennifer and Monica. Happy journeying!

If you’d like to learn more about SCBWI-L.A. contests and how you can participate, check our contest page.


For more fantastic content, community, events, and other professional development opportunities, become a member today! Not sure if there is a chapter in your area? Check here.


Karol Ruth Silverstein writes various genres of children’s books. Her debut young adult novel, Cursed, was acquired by Monica Perez at Charlesbridge Teen and will be published in summer 2019. She is represented by Jen Linnan of Linnan Literary Management and lives in West Hollywood with her two exceptionally fluffy cats, Ninja and Boo.


Photos provided their respective mentors/mentees and original “#Mentorship” photo by rawpixel.com on Unsplash.