Bethany Hegedus’ books include Truth with a Capital T (Random House) and Between Us Baxters (WestSide Books). Both novels were named to the Bank Street Books Best Books, with Between Us Baxters garnering a star for outstanding recognition. Her debut picture book, Grandfather Gandhi, (Atheneum/Simon & Schuster) co-authored with Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma, and illustrated by Evan Turk has received starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus. Bethany has served as the Hunger Mountain Young Adult & Children’s Editor since 2009. A graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults, Bethany is the Owner and Creative Director of The Writing Barn, a writing retreat, workshop and event space in Austin, Texas. A former educator, Bethany speaks and teaches across the country.
AREAS OF SPECIALTY
- Picture books, middle grade & young adult novels.
- Manuscript critiques, private writing instruction.
“By the time I started working with Bethany, I’d already struggled with my manuscript for a few years. Bethany immediately identified what it needed and gave me portions of writing books, essays, and examples to read, in addition to her own editorial feedback. With Bethany’s guidance, I did my best work, and my book became the book I’d always wanted, but didn’t know how to write.
Recently, I was lucky enough to have offers of representation from three agents on the manuscript Bethany and I worked on, something I didn’t expect and wasn’t prepared for. Even though we’d finished working together months ago, Bethany helped me identify exactly what I wanted in an agent and navigate my communications during the selection process. Working with Bethany was the best decision I could have made for my writing career.”
“It’s not an exaggeration to say Bethany completely changed my professional life; I feel so very lucky to have had her as a mentor. Not every writer is a great mentor, but Bethany has several unique gifts I’ve never had in another teacher: she works by aligning each individual’s unique vision with what his or her story is trying to become, regardless of genre. She empowers her mentees to trust their own instincts, as well as offering invaluable exercises/feedback to help her students better understand craft and story structure. Working with Bethany, I found myself developing much deeper relationships with my characters, and with my complicated story itself; I began to understand what it really means to build a story and to trust myself as an author. She is the most encouraging, supportive mentor a person can have. Lastly, she is savvy about helping her students navigate the agent search/contract offer process. I’m truly so grateful.”
“Bethany’s critique of my picture book was some of the most valuable feedback I have ever had on a piece of writing. She goes far beyond a line by line critique and really digs into the story on a deeper level. Her suggestions strengthened my characters and pushed me to find the “heart” of my story. Her love of the picture book medium and her extensive training in the subject are evident in the detailed, thoughtful notes she offers. And she always, always encourages you to be persistent; she sees the potential in every writer.”
“Bethany delivers concise and helpful suggestions, but always with great respect for the writer’s vision for the story. She is able to offer feedback without treading on the writer’s voice. If you’ve had much critique feedback, you know this is a necessary talent that not everyone possesses.
I have a perhaps strange analogy for picture book writing, but I liken it to lacing up a corset: Learning to lace is the easy part, but that final tug that cinches everything up before you can tie it off is crucial. That’s the part I seemed to always miss. I could write the main parts of the story, lace it all up pretty, and tie it off with a nice bow, but being unable to master that final tug, it all seemed to slip and loosen up. Somehow the finished product was just never as tight as it needed to be. After working with Bethany, I’m a much better cincher-upper now.”