Pitch Wars Team Interview with Kosoko Jackson and his mentor, Kip Wilson Rechea
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 . . .
Kosoko Jackson – Mentee
Kip Wilson Rechea – Mentor
Kosoko: Why did you choose Kip?
Kip was actually (luckily) my first definite ‘yes’ I was going to sub to for Pitch Wars. After reading her website and seeing her interest in “historical” and “novels set in a different country,” I knew I was sold. My novel has a unique style, so someone who is a fan of verse novels, although not my style, showed they knew how to handle someone who also wrote in a unique format. She was also mentored before & repped by an agent I admired. Putting those things together–made her seem like the perfect choice!
Kip: Why did you choose Kosoko’s manuscript?
My wishlist was quite narrow (historical, verse, foreign settings), and prospective mentees responded with very well-targeted subs, including A KISS OF BLOOD AND GUNPOWDER. On top of that, I also mentioned a love of diverse characters and weird timelines in my post, and Kosoko’s story delivered these as well, pushing his story into the “I MUST HAVE THIS” category. The gritty, realistic romance between James and Tomas is so unique, and I rushed through the pages as breathlessly as any published book. I’m thrilled to be helping Kosoko make it even shinier!
Kosoko: Summarize your book in three words.
War. Lies. Letters.
Kip: Summarize Kosoko’s book in three words.
EXPATS for teens
Kosoko: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?
I’m the quintessential DC political young wonk (suit and tie, too much coffee, complains about the validity of exit polls), but I’m also a romantic in the literary sense (obsessed with wanderlust, female driven period pieces, and tough, emotional choices). In every novel I write—whether it’s science fiction, contemporary, historical–I try to combine those romantic literary elements with the thrill and high-paced environment I know how to navigate the best. In a sense, if upmarket YA was a genre, I would have all the books—all of them, I tell you!
What makes my novel unique is not only the style of which its written (a mix of epistolary, first person narration, and a secret third narrative style), but also the setting. The Kosovo-Serbian conflict is mostly untouched in literature–especially young adult. The novel is peppered with historical factoids, but also creative enough in its own to be a well-developed, holistic adventure, one where having the historical reference isn’t needed.
Kip: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know.
Like most PitchWars mentors, I’m a writer and editor, but when I was a teenager, I wanted to be a linguist and a spy. I studied languages and joined ROTC in college with the intention of zipping off into wild adventures, but was medically discharged shortly after being commissioned and ended up going to grad school to study literature instead (womp, womp).