Pitch Wars Interview with Nicole Panteleakos and her mentor, Ellie Terry
Sep30

Pitch Wars Interview with Nicole Panteleakos and her mentor, Ellie Terry

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have #TeamWeirdSisters . . . Nicole Panteleakos – Mentee Twitter Ellie Terry – Mentor Twitter | Website   Nicole: Why did you choose Ellie? While I would have been content to work with any of the mentors I submitted to (all are awesome!) I was beyond thrilled when I saw Ellie’s name beside mine on the #PitchWars list because I knew she would share my vision for the manuscript, would help me whip it into shape, and perhaps most importantly, that she would share my love and understanding of my main character, who is nonverbal/autistic and OBSESSED with space and space travel. I initially submitted to her in great part because she is neuro-diverse, as is her MG novel’s main character (as am I and mine), and neuro-diversity is absolutely intrinsic to both my manuscript and my life, so I knew we’d be a great match. Ellie: Why did you choose Nicole and PLANET EARTH IS BLUE?  Besides being extremely interested in neuro-diversity and the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, I absolutely fell in love with Nicole’s main character, Nova. Her story is so raw. It’s simultaneously sorrowful and sweet–just how I like stories to be. It touched my heart deeply. And it will touch the heart of anyone who reads it. Nicole: Summarize your book in three words. Heart. Hurt. Hope. Ellie: Summarize your mentee’s book in three words. Heal. Love. Family. Nicole: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I had trouble with this Q so I asked a few of my friends to describe me and the answers they supplied were “quirky,” “quick-witted,” “a bleeding heart liberal,” and “kind of weird,” which all seem accurate enough. The setting of PLANET EARTH IS BLUE is relatively unique, taking place in an unnamed New Hampshire town during the ten days leading up to the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986, and the structure is somewhat different too, alternating between third person POV and first person letters from my protag to her missing sister, but ultimately what sets it (and me) apart from other MG manuscripts is my main character, Nova. Nova is autistic, nonverbal, and intellectually disabled, plus she has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and sensory issues. I modeled many of her ASD/OCD traits after myself as a child, including her problems with socks and her...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Ashley MacKenzie and her mentor, Amy Trueblood
Sep30

Pitch Wars Interview with Ashley MacKenzie and her mentor, Amy Trueblood

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . .   Ashley MacKenzie – Mentee Twitter | Website Amy Trueblood – Mentor Twitter | Website   Ashley: Why did you choose Amy? I submitted to Amy because I was scouring wishlists for Mentors who were interested in sibling relationships over romantic relationships in contemporary YA. Since Amy listed family stories and dual POV among her wants, I thought she might be a good fit for my manuscript. Add to it the balance of professionalism and fun she brought to her Mentor post, and I thought she might be a good fit for not just my words, but for me, too. Amy: Why did you choose Ashley and her manuscript? I chose Ashley because I loved the themes of her book: sisterhood, family, and forgiveness. I also liked her writing style, and I will admit after doing a bit of research, I liked her online personality too! Ashley: Summarize your book in three words. Connection. Strength. Hope. Amy: Summarize Ashley’s book in three words. Strength. Courage. Love. Ashley: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’m a high school French and English teacher based out of Vancouver, BC (Canada). My 2016 Pitch Wars manuscript, WE ARE EMBERS, is the story I wrote while querying my 2015 Pitch Wars manuscript. Yep, that’s right — I did Pitch Wars last year and am ridiculously excited to be back for another few months of intense writing and revision. WE ARE EMBERS follows the story of two sisters in the immediate aftermath of a house fire, and it was (unfortunately) inspired by one of my friend’s experiences with losing her condo to fire. I had been looking to write a manuscript about sisters, and this inciting incident made me think about my own sister, and how differently we handle crisis. So, I created two sisters who have lived the same experiences, but react to this upheaval in their own ways. WE ARE EMBERS is one day in these sisters’ lives, but it’s a day that brings so many others to the forefront and shows that no action — and no person — exists without impacting the people around them. Amy: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. Besides writing and editing full time, I’m involved in a local group that collects new or...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Cass Scotka and her mentor, Kelly Hopkins
Sep30

Pitch Wars Interview with Cass Scotka and her mentor, Kelly Hopkins

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have TEAM KISMET!!!!   Cass Scotka – Mentee Twitter      Kelly Hopkins – Mentor Twitter | Website   Cass, why did you choose Kelly? First and foremost, I chose Kelly because of her true enthusiasm for the fantasy/paranormal genre. This genre is not always one everybody prefers, but her blog displayed such passion I could feel it! Kelly has also worked with similar themes in her books as are in mine, which adds a deeper layer to her editing with me for PitchWars. Lastly, Kelly used references to both X-Files and Twilight in her blog, which showed we’re pretty much kismet! Kelly, why did you choose Cass’s manuscript Muse? When I read MUSE for the first time, I was hooked by the immediate action that Cass packed into the first chapter. That kept me reading. By the time I made it to chapter three, I was in love with the characters and rooting for all of them! Cass’s book is part fantasy, part love story, part coming of age. I love books that skim the edges of multiple genres. MUSE had me at HELL-O! When I talked to Cass about her book, that’s what really sold me. She was open to changes and I just knew we would make a great team—and we have! Cass, summarize your book in three words. Muse hunts killer (If looking for more plot oriented) Kelly, summarize Cass’s book in three words. Action-packed romantic fantasy. Cass, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? In my youth, I devoured books from authors such as L.J. Smith and Christopher Pike. As an adult, I still binge-read writers like Kresley Cole, Maggie Stiefvater, and Lauren Kate. My goal is to inspire a new generation of readers to continue the joy of discovering fresh versions of age-old tales of magic and inspirational characters. I pulled from my Irish cultural background to create a new twist on Muses and the powers used to inspire. To sound a bit trite, I’m of the Buffy generation, and offer a powerful female lead who knows her abilities from the start and isn’t afraid to assert herself. Kelly, tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. I have three horses; two are rescued Standardbreds and one is a Quarter-Appaloosa that I’ve had since he was a babe. In...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Erin Fry and her mentor, Kevin A. Springer
Sep29

Pitch Wars Interview with Erin Fry and her mentor, Kevin A. Springer

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have Team Two ROFLs. . .   Erin Fry – Mentee Twitter | Website Kevin A. Springer – Mentor Twitter | Website   Erin: Why did you choose to enter Pitch Wars? Everything I read about Pitch Wars was glowing. Seriously, the twittersphere just couldn’t say enough positive things about this contest. Plus, I had a manuscript that I loved, loved, loved but still felt like it wasn’t quite “there,” and I was at a loss at how to get it “there.” The possibility of a mentor to help me? Super cool. And badly needed. I figured at the very least, I might make a few new connections on Twitter. Instead, I ended up with the opportunity to work with a talented, knowledgeable author. The whole process has been tremendously fun and positive and encouraging. I would nudge anyone out there who has a completed manuscript and is looking for an agent to jump in and give Pitch Wars a try. Kevin: Why did you choose Erin’s manuscript? This year was so tough. I read so many stories that were great, but the concept of having a character split between the “main” story and the direct communication with the reader drew me in. As I read, I could tell she was so close to having her story to where it needed to be. With that being said, I felt as if my strengths could get her there. I am not a mentor who is going to re-work the entire manuscript, but rather give the punch it needs throughout the story to bring out details in certain scenes that will make it richer and make the character more relatable. Erin: Summarize your book in three words. Magic. Mystery. Manipulation. Kevin: Summarize Erin’s book in three words. Unexpected. Twist. Mystery. (I know Erin used that word, and I wanted three original words, but “mystery” was too good to not include twice – one for each Rolf!) Erin: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I teach middle school history and English by day and write when I am not grading papers. I actually explained to my students this week that my two jobs require me to impart the truth half the time and lie the other half. (And hope I don’t mix those up.) I coach cross...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Ian Barnes and his mentor, J.C. Nelson
Sep29

Pitch Wars Interview with Ian Barnes and his mentor, J.C. Nelson

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Ian Barnes – Mentee Twitter   J.C. Nelson – Mentor Twitter | Website   Ian: Why did you choose JC? How could I not? Writes kickass urban fantasy? Check. Plays Ticket to Ride? Check. Loves Battlestar Galactica and Granny Weatherfax? Check and check. Referenced Shadowrun positively in a Goodreads review (I’m not a stalker, you’re a stalker)? Well, I figured if anyone was going to like my story, it’d be him. JC: Why did you choose Ian and Slow Burn Armageddon? I chose Ian/Slow Burn Armageddon because I started reading it, and from the moment it began, I just said “I need to read more of this.” Then I got to the end of the pages and said the same thing over and over—until I’d finished the book. Ian: Summarize your book in three words. Hacking, magic, shitstorm. JC: Summarize Ian’s book in three words. Cyberpunk Shadowrun Armageddon Ian: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and Slow Burn Armageddon unique? My manuscript has about ten books worth of backstory that will never see the light of day. Does that count? No? Okay, then. I’m obsessed with all things computer and fantasy-related. Being a lifelong gamer, combining the two felt like a no-brainer. Blend cyberpunk and urban fantasy, add in the worst possible person to be the big damn hero, then over-season with video game jargon and sarcasm. I couldn’t not write this story. JC: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. I took several years of Latin in school and loved every moment of it.   Check out J.C. Nelson’s latest release . . .  The Reburialists Burying the dead is easy. Keeping them down is difficult. At the Bureau of Special Investigations, agents encounter all sorts of paranormal evils. So for Agent Brynner Carson, driving a stake through a rampaging three-week-old corpse is par for the course. Except this cadaver is different. It’s talking—and it has a message about his father, Heinrich. The reanimated stiff delivers an ultimatum written in bloody hieroglyphics, and BSI Senior Analyst Grace Roberts is called in to translate. It seems that Heinrich Carson stole the heart of Ra-Ame, the long-dead god of the Re-Animus. She wants it back. The only problem is Heinrich took the secret of its location to his grave. With the arrival...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Laura Robson and her mentor Chelsea Bobulski
Sep29

Pitch Wars Interview with Laura Robson and her mentor Chelsea Bobulski

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Laura Robson – Mentee Twitter | Website Chelsea Bobulski – Mentor Twitter | Website Laura: Why did you choose Chelsea? I decided I wanted to sub to Chelsea as soon as I read the part of her bio where she started talking about her strengths (pacing, characters–basically all the stuff I think it most important in a manuscript and wanted to make sure really shined in mine). Once I got to the part about all her favorite books, I was beyond sold. ALL my favorites–Harry Potter (of course!), The Diviners, anything by Maggie Stiefvater… I also knew we’d be a good fit since we both love contemporary fantasy, and that’s what my manuscript is! Plus, I read her blog posts on not giving up on the road to publishing and I was beyond inspired. I really wanted a mentor with that kind of attitude and determination! Chelsea: Why did you choose Laura? I chose Laura because her submission, SALTWATER BLOOD, had everything I was looking for: a really cool, unique concept supported by effortlessly lyrical writing. It also helped that her voice reminds me so much of my favorite YA authors: Maggie Stiefvater and Victoria Schwab. Laura: Summarize your book in three words. Ghosts. Siblings. Murder? Chelsea: Summarize Laura‘s book in three words. Haunting. Mythological. Atmospheric. Laura: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’m a junior at Stanford, which means I’ll be juggling Pitch Wars edits with obsessively watching college football. I mean, um, classes. My bookshelf is perpetually overflowing. I will read anything, but my two favorite genres are low fantasy and funny, light-hearted contemporary romance. Those are also (not so coincidentally) my favorite things to write. The idea for SALTWATER BLOOD came in part from my friendship with my brother. We’re super close (no backstabbing and betrayal involved as of yet), but we are completely different people who don’t always have the same moral guidelines. SALTWATER BLOOD, at its core, is the story of a brother and sister. I wanted to write a story about two fundamentally good people, both justifiable in their actions, who find themselves on opposite sides of a fantastical conflict. It seemed only fitting that these characters be siblings. Chelsea: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. I am also a huge fan of college football, to the...

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Pitch Wars Interview with April Wall and her mentor Kara Seal
Sep28

Pitch Wars Interview with April Wall and her mentor Kara Seal

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . April Wall – Mentee Twitter | Website Kara Seal – Mentor Twitter | Website April: Why did you choose Kara? I chose Kara because so many of her wishlist items spoke to my manuscript. She loved speculative fiction, ghost stories, and spirited heroines. As she pointed out in her mentor bio, she’s a contest veteran and I knew she’d have the expertise to whip my novel into tip-top shape. Plus, her birthday is the day before Halloween and there’s no way I could go wrong sending her a story about a gang of ghost busting middle school girls! Kara: Why did you choose April? I chose April to mentor because her manuscript wowed me with its spot on MG voice and it was almost like April tailored it to my wishlist! I fell in love with the spooky MG Ghostbuster-esque premise. April: Summarize your book in three words. Ghostbusters meets Goonies. Kara: Summarize April‘s book in three words. Spooktacular friendship tale. April: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’m a MG writer who loves all things kooky and weird. Ghost stories have always held a special place in my heart as with most middle grade readers and I wanted to show a different take on it. One where instead of hiding under covers with eyes closed tight, ghosts were sought out bravely and breathlessly. I felt uniquely qualified to write this story as I also dabbled in hunting ghosts as a child, but I was nowhere near as brave as my MC. Kara: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. My day job is planning programs for teens at the library. My last big event was an author visit from Maggie Stiefvater. It was AWESOME! Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And don’t forget to stop by the Agent Showcase starting November 3rd to see how our teams do in the final...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Susie Fisher and her mentor Jennifer Blackwood
Sep28

Pitch Wars Interview with Susie Fisher and her mentor Jennifer Blackwood

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Susie Fisher – Mentee Twitter Jennifer Blackwood – Mentor Twitter | Website Susie: Why did you choose Jennifer? Why did you choose (Mentor)? I was intrigued by Jen’s wish list. She was looking for something from the past with a fresh spin, something fun and edgy, and unique formats. I added her to my list before reaching out on Twitter. Also, her editing style matches mine. Honest feedback leads to a great revision. My manuscript is in good hands, and I like the idea of having someone in my corner for the long haul. Jennifer: Why did you choose Susie? Why did you choose (Mentee/MS)? I chose Staged because it hooked me right from the first page. I LOVED the Gossip Girl aspect of the blog, plus the main character is very relatable. I had a clear vision as I read it of what changes could be made to make the book query-ready. Susie: Summarize your book in three words. Country music scandal. Jennifer: Summarize Susie’s book in three words. Gossip Girl meets Nashville (sorry, I cheated and used 4 words but I couldn’t resist!)   Susie: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? My husband and I reside in a suburb five minutes from Detroit. We have five rescue cats–all of my friends joke about me being the cat lady. After a trail of querying bumps and bruises, I wanted to write something closer to my heart. I wove my love for country music and gossip magazines with segments of my own life experience, and Staged was born. Check out Jennifer’s latest...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Mary Keliikoa and Suzanne Park and their mentors Sarah Henning and Kellye Garrett
Sep28

Pitch Wars Interview with Mary Keliikoa and Suzanne Park and their mentors Sarah Henning and Kellye Garrett

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Mary Keliikoa – Mentee Twitter | Website Suzanne Park – Mentee Twitter | Website Sarah Henning – Mentor Twitter | Website Kellye Garrett – Mentor Twitter | Website Why did you choose Sarah and Kellye? Mary: The minute I saw their wish list and their love of mystery novels, I knew they were the team for me. I love their diverse experience in journalism, TV writing, teaching and editing. I knew with their mystery backgrounds, if chosen, I’d be in the master class of my life. Suzanne: Oh, that’s an easy question. Because I love Idris Elba, and they do too. I love the Wire, and Luther, and hunks with British accents. It was a mentor-mentee match made in heaven. But other than that, Kellye and Sarah were looking for submissions with strong voice and humor, and those were two things my writers group thought I had going for me. My genre was women’s commercial fiction though, not mystery, so I was worried they’d pass. I am so happy they picked me! Kellye and Sarah are the best! Sarah is a tiny bit cooler, though. Sarah and Kellye: Why did you choose Mary? Both of our first loves are mystery novels and Mary has written a different take on the classic P.I. novel. Imagine that instead of being a single loner with no kids, Kinsey Millhone was divorced with a pre-teen daughter and the mother-in- law from hell. Our wishlist theme was Idris Elba because we wanted to our mentee’s manuscript to have mystery, voice and humor.Mary gave us all of that and then some with her main character of Kelly Pruett. (The name didn’t hurt either!) Sarah and Kellye: Why did you choose Suzanne? Uh, did you not just read that voice? Her manuscript is full of it. We were both seriously laughing at our computer screens like crazy people. Not only that, but Suzanne did a great job of using that terrific voice and humor to navigate important social issues regarding finding one’s place and direction in the world all the while navigating what other people—parents, bosses, friends—want you to be. It was very relatable to us, even though we’re a few years older than Julia, the main character. Those concerns are just part of getting older and coming into your own as an adult. Summarize your book in three words. Mary: Deception. Debauchery....

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Pitch Wars Interview with Adam Sass and his mentor Lisa Amowitz
Sep27

Pitch Wars Interview with Adam Sass and his mentor Lisa Amowitz

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Adam Sass – Mentee Twitter | Website Lisa Amowitz – Mentor Twitter | Website Adam: Why did you choose Lisa? Lisa was an absolute tiger about my MS. Before I even submitted, she found my Pimp My Bio with my pitch and was all about it. She requested immediately and was so bursting with passion once reading it that there was just no other choice for me. Her passion matched my own, and she knew exactly what to do with my MS. Lisa: Why did you choose Adam? I found Adam on #pimpmybio and something about him just drew me to him. We interacted a little on Twitter and I kind of begged him to sub me. I was thrilled when he did. And I you know that kind of moment when you think you MAY be falling in love and worry something will go wrong? Well, clearly that didn’t happen and I fell hard for his MS. I daydreamed about what i wanted to do to make it even better. I quite a few other mss I also loved dearly—but in the end, Adam’s premise, his amazing voice, the dark, dark humor, and his generally great personality sold me. I then proceeded to growl like a pit bull at any mentor who came sniffing. I swear—I eyeballed that tentative list like a hawk, waiting to pounce. Not going to say if I had to or not in public. *wink, wink* Adam: Summarize your book in three words. Surrender. Overcome. Escape. Lisa: Summarize Adam’s book in three words. Anxious. Gay. Superpowers.   Adam: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I come from a screenwriting background, so constant revision is in my blood. I’m not afraid to kill darlings. I understand the core story is what’s most important to preserve and that the outer layers must serve the core or get out. My MS is unique because as a student of improv, I know character is king—even in a twisted plot like mine. My MC is my favorite because he faces the darkness of this corrupt “gay conversion” camp with defiance and humor. He’s a dependable light lost in a wicked place. Lisa: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. I designed stained glass windows for the NYC Metropolitan transit authority’s Arts for Transit. They...

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Happy Release Day to PHANTOM LIMBS by Paula Garner … A Pitch Wars Success!
Sep27

Happy Release Day to PHANTOM LIMBS by Paula Garner … A Pitch Wars Success!

Purchase Here   Release Date: September 27th, 2016   About the book … Moving on has never been Otis’s strong suit. After three years, he’s still reeling from the death of his younger brother, Mason, and from the sudden departure of his best friend and first love, Meg, whose family moved across the country after Mason died. Otis would never have survived these last few years without Dara, his ball-busting, one-armed friend and self-appointed swim coach, who is hell-bent on transforming Otis into the Olympic swimmer she can no longer be. Otis, though, is increasingly sure that he’d rather find his own dream than continue chasing Dara’s – especially when he learns that, after three years of radio silence, Meg is coming back for the summer. All Otis wants is for him and Meg to be as close as they once were (okay, maybe a little closer) – despite Meg’s mysterious defection, despite the football player all over her Facebook page, despite Dara’s tightening grip and loosening screws. But as they sift through the archaeology of their past and Otis discovers the reasons behind Meg’s disappearance, he must face some uneasy truths about his brother’s death – and about himself. As he realizes that none of their visions of the perfect future can ever pan out – not Dara’s, not Meg’s, not his – Otis must decide which dreams to hold on to and which to leave behind.   Praise for Phantom Limbs “A must-have.” — School Library Journal (starred review) “Garner’s debut gently but deeply explores how loss and grief affect different people in different ways, and the strength it takes to live on through it.” — Phantom Limbs featured on Barnes & Noble’s 22 of Our Most Anticipated Contemporary YAs of the Second Half of 2016 list “Tragedy cuts deep, and every character in this book has scars – terribly visible or under the surface – and they are beautiful. Paper Towns fans take note, this is your new favorite book.” — Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore – The Autumn 2016 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview “Otis is a refreshingly authentic male protagonist who will win readers over . . . [A]n uplifting story about resilience and the power of relationships.” — Sarah Weber, BookPage Review, Web Exclusive – September 13, 2016 “Garner’s debut is impressive . . . The nuanced way that Garner deals with loss is not only beautifully done, but it’s thoughtful and insightful. . . . [A] quietly affecting, well-written gem of a book that will resonate with readers, long after the last page has been reached. A definite YA standout for 2016.” — Romantic Times   About the author...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Suzi Guina and her mentor, Alexandra Alessandri
Sep27

Pitch Wars Interview with Suzi Guina and her mentor, Alexandra Alessandri

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams. And now, we have . . . Suzi Guina – Mentee Twitter Alexandra Alessandri – Mentor Twitter Suzi: Why did you choose Alexandra? When I read Alexandra’s bio during the blog hop, so much clicked. But it went well beyond her wish list and my manuscript, to her as a person. We have A LOT in common. Alexandra wrote about being Colombian-American and how the Andes mountains feel like home. I have this same connection with the island of Faial in the Azores, which is the setting of my manuscript. Alexandra’s a poet; my first two manuscripts were poetry collections (though I hesitate to call myself a poet). She’s a college professor, teaching English and creative writing. I teach the same subjects at both the high school and college levels. But it was Alexandra’s connection to her culture that really drew me toward choosing her. My manuscript explores the feeling of being between two cultures and languages, Portuguese and American. I thought that out of all the mentors, she would get it. What I couldn’t have known was that Alexandra’s own Pitch Wars manuscript delves into many of the same themes as mine and she would be able to use her own experiences with that manuscript to help me with mine. It turns out we have even more in common than I realized! Alexandra: Why did you choose Suzi? The first inkling I got of Suzi’s story came in a tweet, when she asked several of us mentors  if we had aversions to mermaids, particularly Portuguese mermaids. I was intrigued by the  fact that Suzi was Portuguese and that her story’s setting was deeply rooted in her family’s homeland. I hoped she would submit, and sure enough, she did! Then, when I started reading, the connection to place was immediately palpable—and as I mentioned in my bio,  I’m a sucker for a strong sense of place. The setting is not just the setting; it’s an intricate  part of the story, and Isabel’s journey, as well as the plot, is deeply rooted in it. This  resonated with me on so many levels, not the least of which was the fact that my own Pitch Wars manuscript explored similar themes. In her answers to my questions, Suzi mentioned that writing this story was in a way a love  letter to her culture. And that blew...

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