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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