Pitch Wars Interview with Maxym Martineau and her mentor, Layla Reyne
Oct17

Pitch Wars Interview with Maxym Martineau and her mentor, Layla Reyne

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 . . .  Maxym Martineau – Mentee Twitter | Website   Layla Reyne – Mentor Twitter | Website Maxym: Why did you choose Layla? I submitted to Layla for a variety of reasons, but I was initially drawn to her because she mentioned a love for C.S. Pact’s Captive Prince Trilogy. At the time, I hadn’t read any of Pacat’s work (I’ve since devoured the first book in this series and she was right to recommend it), but I did a lot of research on Goodreads and the internet to get a feel for it. I wanted a mentor who wasn’t afraid of darker themes (i.e., masochistic relationships, indentured servitude, etc.). In addition, I wanted to work with someone who was familiar with both fantasy and romance elements. From the beginning, I’d flagged Layla’s mentor bio on Brenda’s site, as well as her Pitch Wars wish list. Her revision plan speaks to my weaknesses, and I really wanted someone with those strengths to help beef up my work. And she’s a fan fic lover like myself. I couldn’t go wrong! Layla: Why did you choose (Mentee/MS)? THE RAVEN PRISONER hooked me from page one. It absolutely started in the right place, the voice was crystal clear and wonderfully snarky, and there’s a curveball in the first 250 words that I ADORED. It was a total Keyser Söze moment. I did one of those slow blinks, cursed, then cheered loudly. As I continued to read, I didn’t once lose interest, I loved Maxym’s main characters and the romantic tension between them, and I fell hard for her secondary characters too, one in particular (Gavin is mine, forever and always). TRP was already a really good manuscript – engaging characters, clear stakes, voice-y as hell, with a nice balance of fantasy, adventure, romance and suspense – and I knew how to help make it great. It was my front-runner early on. When I started checking mentee bios, twitter interactions, etc., Maxym’s dedication, kindness and professionalism sealed the deal. This was a manuscript and author I couldn’t wait to work with! Maxym: Summarize your book in three words. Sexy, snarky, dark. Layla: Summarize Maxym’s book in three words. Sexy, snarky, surprising. Maxym: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I guess I’ll start with the same random fact that I did on my...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Olivia Hinebaugh and her mentor, Karen McManus
Oct17

Pitch Wars Interview with Olivia Hinebaugh and her mentor, Karen McManus

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 #TeamMaze, for our twisty, turn-y books!. . .    Olivia Hinebaugh – Mentee Twitter | Website   Karen McManus – Mentor Twitter | Website   Olivia: Why did you choose Karen? Right away, her wish list jumped out of the post. She wanted so many things my twisty story had, and I was looking for someone who got “edgy.” But also, her journey to publication is so inspirational. She was where I am today just a year ago. That, and her book sounds awesome! Karen: Why did you choose Olivia/DOWN WITH MO? I read Olivia’s submission late at night when I was tired, and my eyes flew open at her voice. Her first chapter grabbed my attention and made me laugh out loud more than once. The three main characters were crystal clear in my mind days later, and I tore through the full MS when I got it to find out what happened to them. I was fortunate to get a lot of great submissions for PitchWars, but Olivia’s was the one I couldn’t stop thinking about. Olivia: Summarize your book in three words. Backstabbing, theatre, jealousy Karen: Summarize Olivia’s book in three words. Lovable unlikeable narrator Olivia: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I wrote this book for myself and my high school self. I love theatre, and would have geeked out about a book that referenced all my favorite plays. I studied playwriting in college, so it was fun to incorporate all of that. But also, it’s really frank about sex and darker parts of our brain. And, well, dark and sexual thoughts happen, why hide them? I’m actually a really sunshiny person, but maybe that’s why I’m drawn to darker subjects. It feels a little dangerous, a little taboo. My ultimate writing goal is to be able to have my work described maybe as a cross between the Coen Brothers and Melina Marchetta. That’s doable, right? Karen: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know. I wrote my first book in second grade, about a witch who couldn’t cast spells. That character arc might be the most satisfying I’ve ever created. Check out Karen McManus’s upcoming release . . . One of Us is Lying The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Hill & Cindy Baldwin
Oct17

Pitch Wars Interview with Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Hill & Cindy Baldwin

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 #TeamMascaraTracks! . . .  Cory Leonardo – Mentee Twitter   Amanda Hill – Mentor Twitter | Website   Cindy Baldwin – Mentor Twitter | Website Cory: Why did you choose to submit to Amanda and Cindy? My gut said to. (Truth!) From the very beginning, Amanda and Cindy were my first choice. When I read their PW wish list I knew what I had wasn’t exactly what they were looking for genre-wise. However, everything else they’d written pointed to a possible match made in heaven, and I could tell we all loved a book that would make your heart crack open. #TeamMascaraTracks wanted big issues, emotional resonance, and hope, and I really felt like the stories of Alastair, Fritz, and Bertie afforded it. And if that didn’t happen to work, I took a chance on them falling in love with this crazy little cast of characters. I sure did. (By the way, the gut was right, as guts often are. Amanda and Cindy are THE BEST!) Mentors: Why did you choose Cory? Amanda: Cory’s poetry is beautiful and her knack for voice and funny asides with a big helping of heart reminded us of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. We were hooked from the first pages. Cindy: When we got Cory’s query, I was pretty sure it would be a quick pass—it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. As soon as I opened the pages, though, I fell head-over-heels in love. Cory’s prose is crisp and witty while still being totally accessible to a middle grade audience, and her poetry is fantastic. When Amanda and I requested her synopsis and just reading THAT had us tearing up, we knew it was a keeper. Cory: Summarize your book in three words. Peevishness, Poetry, Pits Mentors: Summarize Cory’s book in three words. Amanda: Poetry, Parrots, and Pits Cindy: Beauty through failure. Cory: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I never took a creative writing class. (I have a degree in English.) Never even considered it. Writing was a bit too scary, a little too wild. I’d stick with the literature, thank you very much. Years later, knee-deep in diapers and soggy Cheerios, I spent a good deal of time soul-searching, and what followed was an epic struggle—one which left me with just a few minor flesh wounds, but also a freshly-realized writing dream tattooed on my heart. That was...

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