Dear #WriteMentor Agent:

After her science-obsessed parents are sucked into her book, lonely thirteen-year-old writer and resistant math whiz, Issy Garcia, must figure out the secrets behind what they really studied out back in their barn lab.

Clues and ingenuity lead Issy to the true nature of her parent’s experiments—time travel, and she desperately follows them through the wormhole.

But this 1886 New York City is an alternate world of bizarre costumes, steam-powered machines, and automatons. Arriving a week before her mom and dad in the timeline, Issy must step out from behind the mask of her scarred face, put aside the family lies, and engineer a way to get everyone back home.

Alone in the city she meets clever orphan, Mekasha. He wants to help, but old habits of mistrust challenge Issy beyond her willingness to open up.  

From the steampunk streets of New York to the Statue of Liberty, Issy attempts to brave forward and risk betraying her only friend. It’s a race to outrun the time travel pirates and find the energy sources needed to save her family before she’s trapped alone in a world of steam and odd tech.

TIME WRITER is a middle grade adventure with STEM elements at 55,000 words. It has the good feels of THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET mixed with the thrill of FLIGHTS AND CHIMES AND MYSTERIOUS TIMES. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, a 2018 #WriteMentor mentee, and 2015 graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dani Camarena


Electricity crackled outside my upstairs bedroom window, making my bangs rise like a prickly cactus. It didn’t make sense. Blue skies blanketed my neighbor’s house the next acre over, but here, it was as if Zeus himself was flinging a stash of lightning bolts toward our roof. My house had a topsy-turvy sort of personality I couldn’t explain.

I smushed my nose to the warm window pane and peered through the rain. My parent’s barn-turned-science-lab sat across the short dirt path out back. 7:30 pm and Mamá and Papá were nowhere to be seen. It was way past the time we’d set for the reading of my first completed novel.

Not a shocker. This bizarre storm must’ve had them up to their safety goggles with data. Data that was clearly more important than their only daughter’s literary masterpiece.

Maybe I was being dramatic. But, I still couldn’t believe my science-obsessed parents had moved me across the country from the only home I’d known in Cambridge, Mass—just so they could set up a lab in Cornville, Arizona. Not Phoenix. Not Mesa. They insisted on Corny-ville where the nearest shopping center was thirty minutes away. And the June heat. 110 degrees. ¿En serio? They must’ve been exposed to some loopity-loop chemical to make that choice.

Míja,” Mom had said, her voice all syrup-y. “You’ll love the open land in Arizona.”

“Yeah, right. On what planet?”

She’d crossed her arms. “Isadora Bella Garcia. This specific spot is vital to our weather research.”

“It’s Issy, as in Is-zee,” I corrected her. Pronounced that way it sounded like a cool author’s name. Not that Mom cared. She wanted me to focus on math and become a science genius like herself.