Pitch Wars Team Interview with Julia Nobel and her mentor, Julie C. Dao
Sep07

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Julia Nobel and her mentor, Julie C. Dao

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 . . . Julia Nobel – Mentee Twitter | Website Julie C. Dao – Mentor Twitter | Website Julia why did you choose Julie as a mentor? When I was going through all the mentor bios, Julie’s was the first one that made me go YES, this is someone I really need to submit to! She specifically asked for mysteries set in boarding schools, determined main characters, and books that explore relationships. It felt like she was actually describing my book. Then there were little things, like the fact that she’s a huge Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fan (like me!). I knew we would connect really well. Julie why did you choose to mentee Julia? As a mentor, I am looking for three things: 1) raw talent, which is something I cannot teach; 2) a story I LOVE and one I wouldn’t mind reading over and over again; and 3) a manuscript that has weaknesses I feel confident (with my particular experiences and skill sets) I can help fix. Many of the submissions I read had one or two of these, but THE ORDER OF BLACK HOLLOW LANE had all three. Also, I knew right away that Julia had read my wish list carefully, because her manuscript has practically everything I asked for! Julia, summarize your book in three words. Boarding School Secrets. Julie, summarize your mentee’s book in three words. An engrossing mystery! Julia (Mentee), tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I grew up in the ‘80s, which meant my bookshelf was overflowing with The Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley High. When I was in my ‘20s, I found Harry Potter and Pseudonymous Bosch, and I became a middle grade book addict. Even though the middle grade and young adult markets have changed a lot over all those years, I think these series really impacted how I write. I love using mystery and adventure as a venue to explore relationships and personal issues. I like watching my characters grow and change as they figure their way out of all the tough situations I put them in. When those tough situations come up, family dynamics and friendships are bound to shift, and that’s when things get really interesting! Julie (Mentor), tell us about yourself. Something we might not already...

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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Rhonda Shaw and her mentor, Diana Gardin
Sep07

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Rhonda Shaw and her mentor, Diana Gardin

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 . . . Rhonda Shaw – Mentee Twitter | Website   Diana Gardin – Mentor Twitter | Website   Rhonda, why did you choose Diana? Many reasons.  🙂  Specifically, I liked that Diana was a hybrid author, and when I saw in her Pitch Wars wish list that she gravitated toward “emotional, dark, and edgy stories,” I knew I wanted to get Promise Me Always in front of her.  I also liked that Diana has written in multiple sub genres within romance. Diana, why did you choose Rhonda’s novel? Rhonda’s book speaks for itself. It definitely spoke to me. A rock-star novel has been done before, time and time again. But NEVER, at least in the NA category, has it been done with a rap star as the hero and a gifted ballerina living in the hood as a heroine. The characters literally leaped off the page and the story is very close to my heart! Rhonda, summarize your book in three words. Emotional, Gripping, Compelling Diana, summarize Rhonda’s book in three words. Intense, Raw, Passionate Rhonda, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I am a hybrid author with three published sports romances (two with Carina Press and one SP). I’m a diehard sports fan of all Detroit teams (yes, even the Lions), and a big-time animal lover, especially dogs and moose (yeah, don’t ask why moose, I can’t even explain it). I am blessed with the ability to work from home with my co-worker, Keno, my silly French Bulldog, who keeps me entertained while stuck in boring meetings. A life-long dancer until my body said, “No more!”, my dance background did play some part in the inspiration of this MS.  More information about me and my books can be found on my website,www.rhondashaw.com. Promise Me Always is my first New Adult, and what makes this story unique is while the hero is a musician, he’s a rapper. Its setting and the timeline it follows through the lives of both the hero and heroine is also a bit different.  Promise Me Always is a gripping and powerful love story, and I can’t wait to get it in front of everyone. Diana, tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. Something you might not know about me is that I have a Master’s degree in Elementary Education....

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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Shawn Barnes and his mentor, Karen Fortunati
Sep07

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Shawn Barnes and his mentor, Karen Fortunati

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 …   Shawn Barnes – Mentee Twitter | Website Karen Fortunati – Mentor Twitter | Website   Why did you choose Karen Fortunati? Shawn: Karen’s forthcoming debut, THE WEIGHT OF ZERO, about a teen struggling with bipolar disorder, resonates with me. I’m part of the support network for a family member with bipolar disorder. I hoped she would be attracted to a story that focuses primarily on inner conflict (she was). We share an interest in history and our spouses are medical health professionals. I also appreciate that we’re, um, old vintage seasoned generationally compatible. Why did you choose CHILDREN OF THE DUST? Karen: It was a trifecta of compelling story, voice and spectacular writing that did it for me. Shawn has created a main character, seventeen-year-old Matt Hayes, who I instantly connected with. That first chapter reeled me right in with Matt lovingly caring for his adopted, Vietnamese, severely handicapped sister, a complete love named Mae. The unique hook of the story to me is that Matt’s conflict doesn’t have a clear-cut solution. Matt struggles over the natural need for independence versus duty to his family – the money he provides, the physical help his mother needs as she battles rheumatoid arthritis and the childcare required by his four younger siblings. All of these responsibilities are amplified by an urgency to do right and avoid the sins of his father who abandoned the family four years earlier. As I read, I debated over what the right course was. I felt like I was learning right alongside Matt as to what the best decision was. The other aspect I loved was that the story shines a spotlight on a little publicized aspect of the Vietnam War – the unwanted children fathered by American soldiers, the “children of the dust.” Matt’s family has adopted three of these children and that historical fact brilliantly parallels Matt’s family situation. Shawn weaves these themes effortlessly into the story. Summarize your book in three words: Shawn: Honor, courage, compassion Summarize CHILDREN OF THE DUST in three words. Karen: Longing, responsibility, hope Tell us about yourself. What makes you and CHILDREN OF THE DUST unique? Shawn: I’m a husband, father, and stepfather. I’m a grandfather of two little ones, struggling to learn how to tell them “no.” I live outside the metro area of Grand...

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