Bronwyn McLennan

Bronwyn McLennan - Ghostwriter

Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan

I have 18 years' experience working on award-winning titles for Penguin Books and other clients. I specialize in YA and women's fiction.

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Overview


For the past 18 years I have worked on over 500 titles in my role as a book editor, overwriter, ghostwriter, submissions officer and project manager, both in-house and on a freelance basis.


I’ve collaborated with all kinds of writers, at every level. I’ve edited books that went on to win literary awards, such as John Hunt’s The Boy Who Could Keep A Swan In His Head (winner of the 2019 Sunday Times Literary Award), and worked with renowned authors such as André Brink (twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize), who wrote, “I must say, I found the editing magnificent and sensitive. I hope I can work with Bronwyn again!” Other Lives (Penguin Random House)


As a ghostwriter, overwriter and developmental editor, I have also helped writers develop and shape their ideas into novels, memoirs, essays and articles.

I have always found the most enjoyable and rewarding part of my career to be the relationships formed with writers during the often intense, intimate process of bringing their books to publication.


I believe we all have a story to tell, and I am passionate about helping people experience the deep fulfillment of expressing themselves, of being able to see their vision, ideas, inspiration and insight realized and being shared with others.


I am particularly drawn to young adult, coming of age and women’s fiction, and any writing that seeks to go beneath the surface and explore the deeper meaning of things. I also enjoy writing children’s fiction.


I would love to collaborate with you to bring your ideas to life, to help you establish themes, formulate an outline, develop characters and build place and atmosphere.


I am also available to assist as a book coach, providing motivation and mentorship, tactics for overcoming writer’s block, writing prompts, tools for generating ideas, and suggestions for building strong plot and characters, working through the drafting process, self-editing, revising, querying agents and more.


Themes and topics that interest me include: creativity, mindfulness, philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, neurodiversity, ADHD, addiction, Japanese culture, poetry, art, ballet, architecture, women’s literature, feminism, LGBTQ activism, music, mysticism, energy healing, meditation and the ocean.


Some books I love include A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez, Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout, The Likeness by Tana French, Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, Memories of the Future by Siri Hustvedt, Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong, Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, To the North by Elizabeth Bowen, No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, Entering the Castle by Caroline Myss and Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck.


And a few favorite YA reads: Yolk by Mary Choi, We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Looking for Alaska by John Green, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, Slammed by Colleen Hoover and The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser.


My fiction has been published in literary magazines and anthologies (see The Bed Book of Short Stories below), and my first novel is currently out on query. Samples of all my work are available on request.


Please see below for some clients' testimonials.


“Bronwyn McLennan, you are a true gift from the Universe. Thank you for loving this project, for encouraging me and for being the finisher.” Donna Macallan, author of The Fairy Godmother’s Guide To Getting What You Want (Penguin Random House)


“Bronwyn McLennan had the insight and courage to tell me I could do better than the original draft and worked with me on a tight deadline through an almost total rework of the material. It says much for her guidance that I worked with more intensity than ever in my life before without questioning the direction she advised. The final, and infinitely better, structure of the book is due to Bronwyn’s input.” Maureen Collins, author of Straight Talk: How to Manage Conversations That Scare You (Penguin Random House)


“One of our trusted and valued freelancers, Bronwyn McLennan is commissioned regularly by us to edit manuscripts and write reader reports on novels being considered for publication. We appreciate her keen eye for quality writing, her suggestions for improving a manuscript, the warm and constructive working relationships she forms with the writers whose novels she edits, and her general care and precision in her work. She is also very reliable and delivers on time. Thank you, Bronwyn!” – Catriona Ross, Managing Editor, Local Fiction, Penguin Random House South Africa


“There is a singular unfairness in publishing and it is this: the author’s name goes on the cover and if the book is enjoyed, we get the accolades. However, any book you read is only ever as good as its editor. A brilliant writer with a sub-par editor will result in a mediocre book. The two best editors I’ve ever had were Thomas Grundberg, a Swede who edited a book I had published in Sweden. He challenged and educated me, he forced me to think beyond that which I’d written and helped me to dramatically improve the book. Bronwyn McLennan has done the same with this book. She panel-beat the chapters into a better structure, she asked questions that forced me to think again and eliminate, expand or do more research. She was patient when I refused to change some things or hotly debated one issue. If this book does well, it is a singular tribute to her skills; if it doesn’t, the responsibility is mine alone.” Charlene Smith, author of Committed to Me (Penguin Random House)



“This book would not be anything without the wonderful editor I was blessed to have, Bronwyn McLennan. Thank you for making sense of my book and turning it into something people can understand and relate to. It has been a pleasure working with you as I found you to be open and sensitive to my needs as the author. I challenged you and questioned you during the editing process but you always responded with further suggestions and ideas. It is a difficult thing to give over your creative work and allow someone to fiddle with and tweak it. You were keenly aware of my discomfort at times, and showed such patience and understanding. I gave you vegetable soup, you returned to me with comments attached, and with my added comments it looked like my dog’s breakfast, but you whipped it into a gourmet soufflé of haute cuisine standard! I don’t know how you did it, but well done!” Toni Lee, author of You’re Happy … You Just Don’t Know it Yet (Penguin Random House)

Services
Short-Form Content
Languages
English (SA)
English (UK)
English (US)
Fiction
Coming of Age
Contemporary Fiction
LGBTQ Fiction
Magical Realism
Middle Grade
Women's Fiction
Young Adult
Non-Fiction
Religion & Spirituality

Work experience

Editor, writer and ghostwriter

Freelance
July, 2005 – Present (almost 17 years)

Working on 300-plus titles, including award-winning novels, memoirs and biographies, for publishers such as Penguin Random House.

Submissions officer and editor

Penguin Random House
June, 2009 – June, 2010 (about 1 year)

Evaluating manuscripts, preparing and presenting submissions for editorial meetings, liaising with authors and reviewers, editing, and writing blurbs, author biographies and promotional material.

Editor and project manager

Juta Publishers
December, 2003 – June, 2005 (over 1 year)

Project management (overseeing the execution of projects from rough to final manuscript), editing and writing.

Portfolio (14 selected works)

The Tearoom

Haley, Gretchen

Not a Fairytale

Ali, Shaida Kazie

Woman, Trashed

Brodie, Joanne

True Blue Superglue

Hobbs, Jenny

Love Interrupted

Malatji, Reneilwe

Nomtombomsa and the Sacred Pool

Reid, Chris Ntombemhlope

Bronwyn has 1 review

Professionalism
Professionalism
Quality
Quality
Value
Value
Communication & Punctuality
Communication & Punctuality

C K
Bron wrote two children's short stories for us (3k words each/5th grade level). She was amazing from the moment I connected with her on Reedsy. Bron was super responsive, timely (lightning fast!), warm, and collaborative. She was always willing to brainstorm with us and figure out the best course of action to make sure we'd be happy with the final product. I HIGHLY recommend working with Bron. ...
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C K, April 2022

Bronwyn McLennan
It was truly a pleasure working with Laken. She has amazing vision, and collaborating with her was fun and inspiring. An ideal client and project. Thanks so much, Laken! I loved writing these stor...
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Reply from Bronwyn McLennan

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