Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Julie FarrellWe Are FractalsAmy BeashelYAOwn-voices, contemporary romance89000

The ones you love hurt the most.

Seventeen-year-old Isaac’s family is at breaking point, ignoring his mom’s mental illness which he’s terrified he’s inherited. It’s like someone pulled a cloud over the sun and it only comes out when he’s with his lifelong best-friend, Jess. 

Jess’s family broke when her mom gave her up for adoption as a baby. Thankfully, she found love, security and family with her wonderful adoptive parents. So why would she rock the boat now, by searching for her birth mom?  

Both Jess and Isaac have secrets they hold in dark spaces. But through their friendship they’ve found the light. So when they unexpectedly kiss in a beautiful collision under the stars, that friendship becomes something bigger, brighter – and more dangerous – because now they have so much more to lose.  

When Jess’s search for her birth mom takes an unexpected turn, and Isaac’s anxiety over his mom spirals; secrets unravel and they are pulled in opposite directions. As Jess and Isaac struggle to overcome their fears, save their families and fight for their futures, they must face their biggest fear of all: losing each other forever.

WE ARE FRACTALS is a dual POV own-voices, coming-of-age contemporary, where Love From A to Z and When The Stars Lead To You meet Breathless in a sweeping story about family, love and identity. It’s set in the stunning landscape of Redding, California. Complete at 89000 words, it was recently awarded a special mention by the International Write Mentor Children’s Novel Award, and runner-up for the Jericho-Marjacq Underrepresented Voices competition. 

I’m a writer and accessibility consultant with professional writing credits, and I’ve freelanced in publishing for nearly a decade as a children’s bookseller, a children’s agent reader, and marketing executive. I’m a member of SCBWI and active in the writing community. I was a finalist in the Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Bursary Award earlier this year, with an excerpt of WE ARE FRACTALS. 

The novel is inspired by my experiences of living with mental and chronic illnesses, and having been a young carer for my mum. I’ve recently completed courses in screenwriting and business start-up and I’m currently outlining my next novel. When I’m not writing, I’m playing guitar or piano, cooking epic veggie meals, and going for long walks up big hills – always chasing the sky. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Julie Farrell


WE ARE FRACTALS

JESS

We’re lying on the hood of Isaac’s car – the hard metal is doing a number on my back, but I don’t care. He drove us up to the Shasta hills, where the view expands for miles and miles, and the falling darkness ignites a thousand little lights below us, like a swarm of fireflies getting ready to take off. The stars are much brighter here and we’ve already seen a couple of meteorites flashing ethereal luminous trails across the inky sky. Whenever I see one, it’s like the world is so much bigger than me – that anything is possible if we chase the stars.

I’m scanning the sky with my binoculars but am acutely aware of Isaac watching me. I control my breathing so he can’t hear my heart trying to escape from my chest. 

Butterflies have been dancing in my stomach all day. I shiver despite the warm, balmy night.

We’ve been here an hour, talking about random stuff and waiting for meteors. But I know Isaac needs to talk about something. He’s not himself. Although he seems okay right now, his beautiful face had a shadow over it when he picked me up. A sort-of haunted look. 

I keep the concern out of my voice when I ask, “So, how are things?” I don’t move my eyes away from my binoculars either, but I should know better.

“Jess…” He turns his head away. 

This time I pull the binoculars down and look at him. “It’s okay I get it, you don’t want to talk. I’m worried about you is all.” I pick at a squished bug that’s been mummified to the hood.

“I know. I’m okay, Jess.” He looks at me, as if he’s weighing up whether to say something else. “Look, my mom had a – an episode, it stressed me out, kinda.” He looks up at the sky again. “But I’m fine now.”

He closes his eyes for a moment. 

So it’s his mom. 

For as long as I’ve known Isaac, Marie has been chronically ill. Depression, panic, pain. The last time I saw Marie, we’d gone to Isaac’s house after school, in our junior year, and he’d told me she’d be in bed because her health was getting worse. We were in the middle of annihilating each other on one of his computer games when she appeared in the living room like an apparition, in a floaty white nightdress, with a matted halo of black curls and a glazed look over her eyes. She wasn’t like that every time I went over, but eventually he stopped inviting me, and now he always comes to my place. 

He never talks about his family.  

I take a deep, centering breath. 

“What do you mean – episode?”

He runs his hand through his hair, then rubs his thumb over the tiny black Obsidian pendant, on a leather cord round his neck. He usually fiddles with it when he’s anxious.