Pitch Wars Team Interview with Mary Dunbar and her mentor, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Sep14

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Mary Dunbar and her mentor, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

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 Dunbar – Mentee Twitter | Website Laurie Elizabeth Flynn – Mentor Twitter | Website   Mary: Why did you choose Laurie? Laurie was at the top of my list from the start. First of all, she wanted gritty, edgy contemporary, and she specifically noted that she loves stories with a hint of mystery and messy, unreliable narrators. That told me she would be a great mentor for STILL BREATHING. Also, her mentoring style seemed to fit with my writing process, and I definitely wanted a mentor I could bounce ideas off of. I knew from her book, FIRSTS, that she loves voicey characters and isn’t afraid to push expectations. We talked a bit on Twitter, and we commiserated about being total phone klutzes, and if someone drops their phone as much as I do mine, I know we’re a good match! Laurie: Why did you choose Mary’s manuscript? Right away, I gravitated toward the concept of Still Breathing. It deals with grief and friendship and finding yourself when you’re not sure who you are anymore, and figuring out if it’s possible to go back. At its core is a love story so beautiful and haunting that it gave me chills. I asked for voice, and I got voice. I asked for feels, and I got feels. This is the kind of book that will make you happy and sad and angry and hopeful. Jordan is the kind of main character you’ll remember long after turning the last page. After finishing Still Breathing, I was still (no pun intended!) thinking about him. And I may have held my breath more than once. Mary: Summarize your book in three words. Loss. New beginnings. Laurie: Summarize Mary’s book in three words. Heartbreaking, haunting, evocative. Mary: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, but in sixth grade, I got serious about it. A one-page story for spelling turned into a book I asked my teacher to read, and she encouraged me to keep working. I had no idea how to write a query letter or get an agent, so I just sat my stories on shelves after I finished them. In college, I majored in creative writing, but I wrote YA, and my...

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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Wendy Roberts & Alicia Zaloga and their mentor, Michelle Hauck
Sep14

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Wendy Roberts & Alicia Zaloga and their mentor, Michelle Hauck

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 . . . Wendy Roberts – Co-Mentee Twitter Alicia Zaloga – Co-Mentee Twitter Michelle Hauck – Mentor Twitter | Website   Co-Mentees: Why did you choose Michelle? Alicia: I fell in love with Michelle “at first sight”, or in the case of the internet “at first block of text”. She mentioned some great SFF for starters. Then she quickly got down to business. Straight forward and clear. A little twitter stalking, and I was sold. Helpful advice, encouraging words, and a fun vibe. (If I don’t sound like I’m gushing yet, please insert the appropriate number of *squees* necessary to convey sparkle ponies riding on winged ice cream cones.) Wendy: We <3 Michelle! When we were researching mentors, I read samples of their work when I could find them. I read the first couple pages of Michelle’s book Grudging and thought “Yes! I like her style.” It was also a fantasy rooted in historical detail, which seemed to mesh well with what we were doing. And when she brought out her katana to scare the other mentors away from our book, we knew she was the right choice. Michelle: Why did you choose Alicia and Wendy’s manuscript? First there is the fantastically detailed world building to this gaslight fantasy, the incredible depth of the characters and they both carry through right to the ending. The fact that this is the manuscript I most wanted to read over and over. And to top it off, I think I can help guide a finished story that will be even better. I could easily see Straybound in a bookstore. Plus, the first chapter starts with a grave robbery all in a tone that reminds me of Charles Dickens. It’s a show stopper right there. Co-Mentees: Summarize your book in three words. Alicia: Contractual. Bloody. Pining. Wendy: Always read contracts. Michelle: Summarize your mentees’ book in three words. Detailed. Unique. Superfantasyrific Co-Mentees: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? Alicia: Our MS was co-authored, so that’s two brains for the price of one. Perfect for when one of your main characters is a resurrectionist. We created a 19th century city at once familiar and wholly original. It’s an Edinburgh/London cousin that sweats and breathes to its own song. We have a few of those, too. Our heroine is the one with the stiff...

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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Sara Metz and her mentor, Dannie Morin
Sep14

Pitch Wars Team Interview with Sara Metz and her mentor, Dannie Morin

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 . . .   Sara Metz – Mentee Twitter | Website Dannie Morin – Mentor Twitter | Website   Sara: Why did you choose Dannie? When I read Dannie’s mentor bio, I loved her sense of humor and level of professionalism. She was witty and fun, and she could offer poignant, constructive feedback. I knew she’d help transform my novel into a better story. We exchanged tweets before I submitted; she had previously mentored a novel involving a school shooting and I wanted to learn more about that experience. Dannie expressed that this topic was important to her, and she was dedicated to sharing the types of stories I’m writing. Dannie: Why did you choose Sara? Sara’s manuscript is brilliant. Not only is it super marketable right now, but her plot structure is incredibly sound. When I set out to make my wishlist this year, I really wanted to do something more genre-y but Sara’s manuscript grabbed me and would not let go. And after getting to know her a little bit on twitter, I knew we would be a good match. I seriously am so stoked to whip this thing into shape together before the agent round! Sara: Summarize your book in three words. Adversity, faith, courage. Dannie: Summarize Sara’s book in three words. Gorgeous, evocative, necessary Sara: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? As a Muslim, I wanted to write a book that offered a realistic, nuanced portrayal of Islam and Muslim life. Sadly, it’s far too rare. Also, I lived in Syria from 2010-2012, before and after the start of the current civil war. This allowed me to rely upon my experiences for the MS’s world-building, and I could supplement it with stories from friends and family who lived or still live in the country. Finally, as someone who works at a school and has many relatives who are teachers, fear of a mass shooting is increasingly prominent in my everyday life. Dannie: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. Man! This question gets harder to answer every time. Okay so one thing Sara and I haven’t even talked about yet is that one of the characters in her mss has a preemie baby born at 31 weeks. And my daughter (aka Editorial Assistant) was a...

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