Your Writing Mentor Tanya Byrne
Work closely with an experienced writing tutor
Tanya Byrne is an award-winning young adult author.
She left BBC Radio in 2011 to write her debut novel, Heart-Shaped Bruise. It was published by Headline the following year and earned her a nomination for New Writer of the Year at the National Book Awards.
Since then, she has written four more young adult novels and has contributed to several short story anthologies including A Change is Gonna Come, which was named Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week and was honoured with a Special Achievement Award by the YA Book Prize. Her next young adult novel, Afterlove, is published by Hachette Children’s Group in August.
She also writes under the pen name, Lizzie Byron. Her first adult novel, a festive romance called Someday at Christmas, is also out in August and will be published by Hodder & Stoughton.
Specialises in: Children’s Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Women’s Fiction
Tanya provides tuition for our Mentoring Service.
Why we love Tanya
We are big fans of Tanya’s work as an author, and her ability to communicate the processes behind her writing makes her a particularly exceptional mentor. Tanya’s dedication to nurture under-represented voices is incredibly inspiring and we’re excited to be working with her.
What Tanya says about Mentoring
As a brown, queer, working class author, I am passionate about encouraging authors from marginalised backgrounds to tell their own stories and making publishing more open to everyone.
When I wrote my first novel, I freely admit that I had no idea what I was doing. I don’t have a degree in Creative Writing. I’d never written a short story, let alone had one published. I hadn’t even tried to write a novel, I just opened a Word doc and started writing.
The first twenty-five thousand words came easily, but then I hit a wall. I didn’t know how to plot or what pacing is or that the end of a story isn’t always the end of a book.
I should have given up, but I didn’t. I read every book about writing that I could find. I went to workshops and retreats and sought out other unpublished writers on Twitter and, to my relief, I discovered that I wasn’t alone.
It took several years, but I found a group of people that I trusted to share my work with. It was still difficult – and downright painful – at times, but I managed to get Heart-Shaped Bruise (which was called China Shop Rules back then) to the point that I felt able to share it with agents.
Even then, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no contacts. No friend of a friend who worked at a lit agency. I did it the hard way. I made a list of my dream agents then reached out to them via the email address on their website.
Luckily, it worked. I made much of that luck myself by querying the right agents and making sure that my manuscript was in the best possible shape, but looking back now, making it out of the slushpile was still damn near impossible. But I did it and I’m determined not to pull the ladder up after me.
I didn’t just do it, I’m still doing it. I’m still selling and publishing books almost ten years later. That’s why I try to mentor as many writers as I can. I wish I could help more, but with two novels published this year and another two out next year, I don’t have much time between deadlines, but I’m keen to use what little time I do have to help other writers through the process.
And I can because I understand the industry. I know what agents and editors are looking for and how to get their attention.
So, if want to make writing more than a hobby, I can steer you in the right direction and give you the advice and support you need to make your manuscript something that you’re proud to share with the world.
Start your mentoring today
Get expert one-to-one advice from Tanya Byrne as you write and edit your manuscript.