Pitch Wars Interview with Mark O’Brien and his mentor, Helene Dunbar
Sep17

Pitch Wars Interview with Mark O’Brien and his mentor, Helene Dunbar

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their projects. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions. Meet Mark O’Brien and Helene Dunbar Team: Team Ennui     Helene Dunbar (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.                            I like books that stay with me long after finished. Books with characters I want to know. Prose that makes my breath catch. I mostly read YA contemporary / paranormal so that’s what I write. My books have angst in them. A lot of angst. Because I used to be a teenager. I have an irrational fear of spontaneous combustion, a deep love of U2, & pretty much hate driving (hence all of the car-related deaths in my books).   Mark O’Brien (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.       I love reading emotional, character-driven young adult fiction—and fittingly, that’s also my favorite genre. My writing style is heavy on three things: voice, literary descriptions, and angst. A lot of angst. I justify this because I’m a teenager. Fun facts: When I was one year old my parents had me audition for a soft pretzel commercial, and I almost got the part. Also, I started querying my first manuscript at age fourteen. Six books and four years later, I like to think I’m doing a little better for myself. Oh, and I’m married to Taylor Swift. Weird but true! (It’s not true.)   Helene, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?        I’ve been trying to bash my way into PW for a while now. My first agent signed me through Authoress Anonymous’ Baker’s Dozen, so I know the value of these sorts of contests. Plus, I really wanted to give back to the writing community and I love the idea of fostering up-and-coming authors. Mark, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?           I did Pitch Wars back in Ye Olden Times (2013) and got in with Laura Tims as my mentor. Though I was an alternate, I had such a great experience with the contest and knew I’d be entering again if I didn’t have an agent by 2014. I did not, in fact, garner any offers of representation—but I also didn’t get in. In the remainder of 2014 and 2015, I buckled down, cranked out a new manuscript, and polished it as much as I could—and happily, Helene Dunbar loved it! Helene, what are you most excited for? I’m most exiting to see how Mark’s book develops. I immediately fell in love with these complex, flawed, beautiful characters and...

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A Pitch Wars Interview with Tracy Gold and with her mentor Rachel Lynn Solomon
Sep17

A Pitch Wars Interview with Tracy Gold and with her mentor Rachel Lynn Solomon

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their projects. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions. Meet Tracy Gold and Rachel Lynn Solomon Team: Team Ollie/Wally (our dogs’ names — we’re crazy dog moms)   Rachel, tell us a little about yourself.            My number-one favorite thing to read is realistic YA. I love how genuine, raw, and complex the emotions are, and how fragile adolescence can be. To me, contemporary YA explores identity and self-awareness in a way no other genre or category does. Some of my favorite authors are Courtney Summers, E. Lockhart, and Morgan Matson. I love writing that is fearless, sharp, and heart-wrenching. I write a lot about teen girls making bad choices, the high-highs and low-lows of high school relationships, sex positivity, forgiveness, identity, and mental illness. Some fun facts: 1. I sang in an all-girl punk rock band in high school. At our very last show, everyone in the audience took off their pants and threw them onstage. 2. I broke a Guinness World Record! I was part of the largest gathering of natural redheads! 3. I have a geographic tongue.   Tracy, tell us a little about yourself. Hi, all! I’m in Pitch Wars with a YA contemporary, which was super fun to write. While, of course, I enjoy reading YA contemporary, I also love to read books across all genre boundaries. Some recent favorites are Jandy Nelson’s I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, Libba Bray’s BEAUTY QUEENS, and James Dashner’s THE MAZE RUNNER series. All-time favorites include anything by Octavia Butler (Don’t know her? Read PARABLE OF THE SOWER. She was doing dystopia before it was cool), NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro, and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. I’m also all about epic fantasy classics like LOTR, GoT. Then there’s Harry Potter—I grew up with Harry and midnight release parties! I was in love with Ron. And Fred and George. But I was always more of an Oliver Wood than a Cedric. Now that I’m an adult (kind of), I’m all about Sirius. Before I wrote my Pitch Wars manuscript, THE ACCIDENTS, I wrote a YA Apocalyptic trunk novel. It was a learning novel, though there was one scene of the main characters driving an ice cream truck through deserted Baltimore City that I have to resurrect sometime, right? I participate in WritingChallenge.org, which has a different hashtag every month (#septwritingchallenge is now). We all try to write 1000 words a day, or spend an hour a day revising, and tweet...

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