Pitch Wars Interview With Hilary Harwell and her mentor, Elly Blake
Oct02

Pitch Wars Interview With Hilary Harwell and her mentor, Elly Blake

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Elly Blake and Hilary Harwell Team: #TeamEllyB Elly Blake (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I was lucky to have a mom who loved all things fantasy and I picked up that passion early. I still wish Narnia were real, along with Middle Earth, Prydain and now Mim from my mentee’s book, THE TRINKET GUARDIAN. (I would love to be friends with Oliver, Esme and Wilder.) I read a wide range of genres, but fantasy and romance are always my staples. I try to blend both in my writing, which is currently YA fantasy. Hilary Harwell (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I’m a stay-at-home mom to three kiddos. In my previous life I was an anthropology major, sterling and mixed metal jewelry artist, and Cash Management Analyst at a major Swiss investment bank for eight years. I grew up in Connecticut, have lived in Jacksonville and Atlanta, and now call Colorado home. I read just about everything – my twenties were spent reading non-fiction, primarily philosophy, but I gave that up when I decided I wanted to write kidlit. My thirties have been focused on fiction for obvious reasons—both for kids and adults. I love reading middle grade, YA, and am not afraid of dark, gritty subject matter, but my heart belongs to the fantasy classics I read as a kid (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis). Oh, and Stephen King’s IT. I still have issues with storm drains and clowns. I write primarily middle grade fantasy – dark and whimsical – and atmospheric horror. Creeping kids out is fun! Elly, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? The Pitch Wars community is one of the most vibrant, supportive writing communities out there and I feel so fortunate to be part of it. I’m forever thankful to Brenda Drake for the way Pitch Wars changed my life. I was thrilled to be asked to participate as a mentor. Hilary, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? I chose to participate in Pitch Wars because it’s such an amazing opportunity to not only improve a manuscript, but to connect with other writers and hone my craft. Not to mention how well-recognized it’s become in the industry! Shout out to Brenda for that! Elly, what are you most excited for? I’m excited to help Hilary polish her already fantastic book, and to give other people the opportunity to meet her wonderful characters and visit her enchanting...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Joe McCourt and his mentors, Dionne McCulloch and Fiona McLaren
Oct02

Pitch Wars Interview with Joe McCourt and his mentors, Dionne McCulloch and Fiona McLaren

Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project. Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.   Meet Joe McCourt and his mentors, Dionne McCulloch and Fiona McLaren Team name: McA-Team Dionne McCulloch (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I’ve always had my nose in a book and love reading pretty much everything although I’m not a massive fan of lacy-skirted historical fiction or romance. Give me a hair-raising horror or adventure story any day! My earliest childhood dream was to be a writer but then I diverted into being a TV producer, traveling through Africa, playing in a rock band and having 3 kids before I finally got around to it. I kept telling myself–it’s all research! Fiona McLaren (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself. I enjoy reading pretty much everything, though I’ll make everyone gasp in horror and say that I’m not a huge classics fan (or romance!). There are some I love (Dickens & Shakespeare) but there’s a lot that isn’t to my taste. I adore YA of all strokes, older fantasy MG, childrens/adult crossover books, adventure, mystery and crime. Writing style? Probably a bit more purple than it should be! Fun facts…hmmm…I can drive a horse and carriage, I wrote my first novel at 16 (120k!), when I was 15 I wanted to change my name to Rebecca, and my elbows turn out the wrong way! Joe McCourt (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself. I’m all over the place when it comes to reading, though I tend to lean toward adventure tales, particularly Middle Grade. My favorite book as a kid was BIOGRAPHY OF A GRIZZLY by Ernest Seton-Thompson (written before you were born) and ever since then, I’ve had a real soft spot for animal stories, like THE CALL OF THE WILD, WHITE FANG, BABE THE SHEEP PIG and THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. I was lucky to find the inspiration for my story right in my own back yard. Dionne, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? Because you learn a lot as a writer from editing. More importantly is the immense reward of finding a mentee with whom you gel, whose story really grabs you, and who you can help to push their work to the next level. Fiona, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars? Because it took me a long time to come across the writing community and when I did it helped me in ways I cannot even begin to explain. I’d love to pass on what...

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