Pitch Wars Interview with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl
Oct25

Pitch Wars Interview with Annette Christie and her mentor, Sonia Hartl

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 . . .  Annette Christie – Mentee Twitter | Website   Sonia Hartl – Mentor Twitter | Website Annette: Why did you choose Sonia? Sonia commented on my #pimpmybio and was very complimentary. I hadn’t crossed paths with her in the Twitterverse before that point, but once I started stalking–er, researching her, I got really excited. She’s smart, kind, funny, edgy, and so approachable. The day the mentor wish lists were revealed and I gained even more insight, I knew it was Pitch Wars love. At least on my end 😉 Sonia: Why did you choose Annette’s manuscript? I fell in love with Annette’s premise the moment I read her #pimpmybio, and I had all fingers and toes crossed she would sub to me. The writing totally held up, she’s got such an authentic YA voice. I was so excited when I had the opportunity to pick another mentee and instantly made a grab for Annette’s amazing story. I knew from interacting with her on Twitter she’d be a hard worker and she’s taken critique like a champ. I can’t wait to see where she goes from here! Annette: Summarize your book in three words. I’m going to use my MC’s M.O. as inspiration for this one: FLEE, FLY, FALL. Sonia: Summarize Annette’s book in three words. Unique. Swoony. Incredible. Annette: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I started out in theatre as an actor, playwright, and administrator. Once I started popping out babies I knew I needed a creative outlet and career more conducive to my new life. I started writing books, blogging more, and writing articles for online magazines and now I can’t stop. Even if I wanted to. Which I never, ever do.  I have the unique ability to marry the weird with the commercial and turn that relationship into a story. (I actually very much want this to be true about myself and my writing. I think I’ll just keep saying it until people believe it and/or it proves itself to be true.)  This manuscript is about a very unique sort of hobby that revolves around leveraging airline points systems in order to perpetually fly for free. Hobbyists are out there and, while there have been articles written about their lifestyle and knack for turning airline points into a flying career,...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Kelsey Rodkey and her mentor, Sonia Hartl
Oct25

Pitch Wars Interview with Kelsey Rodkey and her mentor, Sonia Hartl

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 #TeamBossBitches . . .  Kelsey Rodkey – Mentee Twitter | Website Sonia Hartl – Mentor Twitter | Website Kelsey: Why did you choose Sonia? There were a lot of reasons I chose Sonia. For starters, she was very active on the hashtag, always answering questions. While reading her wishlist, I felt that she was looking for *my* manuscript, though. THE BUSINESS OF BLACKMAIL hit so many things on her wishlist that she quickly became my number one choice. She mentioned wanting a 10 Things I Hate About You retelling, which is what my story started as; wanting strong female relationships; and she specifically said she loves blackmail and scandals. It felt like destiny already, but then I read through her favorite YA books of the last few years and not only did she mention both of my comp titles, including THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU by Lily Anderson, which inspired me to write this story, but she also mentioned my back-up comp title and other books I absolutely adored. Sonia: Why did you choose Kelsey’s manuscript? From chapter one I knew Kelsey’s ms had to be mine. Her voice is INCREDIBLE! It’s so smart and funny. Her MC is flawed in all the best ways, and strongly reminded me of me at that age. Her ms hit everything on my wishlist I wanted most, but her characters are everything. They are all complex and real, they breathed off the page for me. Mostly I loved the fearlessness in Kelsey’s writing, her MC made big mistakes without apology and owned the consequences. She’s the definition of badass. Basically it was love at first page and I protected her ms from other mentors for WEEKS like a fire-breathing mama dragon. Kelsey: Summarize your book in three words.  Blackmail. Revenge. Snark. Sonia: Summarize Kelsey’s book in three words. Smart. Hilarious. Amazing. Mentee: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’ve been writing on and off since I was 10, but BLACKMAIL is my first completed manuscript. I have a ton of incomplete stories, but this one spoke to me so strongly that I completed the first draft within a week (and then proceeded to change the plot, but semantics). My manuscript features blackmail, which is unique in YA right now, and realistic, flawed characters that fight and joke and love...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Jenny Howe and her mentor, Phil Stamper
Oct25

Pitch Wars Interview with Jenny Howe and her mentor, Phil Stamper

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 . . .  Jenny Howe – Mentee Twitter | Website Phil Stamper – Mentor Twitter | Website Jenny: Why did you choose Phil? I knew from following Phil on Twitter that he was awesome, and he mentioned video games in his Pitch Wars wish list, so I was really excited to submit CLOSER TO TOMORROW to him. I loved the idea of working with a mentor who had some knowledge about gaming, since it is so important to my story, and the other elements of my MS seemed to match his wish list as well, so I thought it might be a good fit for him. His description of his mentoring style also resonated with the way I revise, which made me think we could work well together. Phil: Why did you choose Jenny’s manuscript? There are plenty of reasons that factored into my decision, but the most important was simply that I fell in love with the book. I knew it was something special in the first fifty words, and it didn’t disappoint the rest of the way through. And more importantly, I had a clear vision for the manuscript. I knew there was a ton of potential in this (already great) story, and was very excited to see that Jenny was completely on board with my suggestions. Jenny: Summarize your book in three words. Anxiety. Gaming. Kissing. Phil: Summarize Jenny’s book in three words. What Jenny said. Jenny: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique? I’m an English professor. I have an amazing husband who sews his own bowties and cooks fantastic meals. We have an 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier who has the energy of a puppy. I knit (but only in straight lines) and crochet (but only in triangles) and I am trying (poorly so far) to teach myself to play guitar. I started CTT because I wanted to write a book about gaming. I played MMOs for a long time and really wanted to explore the communities created by those types of online, immersive games. But the story ended up being about more than gaming, too, and I love it for that: it’s got flawed friendships and a pretty messy love triangle, and a main character who is trying to figure out how she finds her own voice while struggling with anxiety. Phil:...

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Pitch Wars Interview with Laura Lashley and her mentors, J.C. Davis and Addie Thorley
Oct25

Pitch Wars Interview with Laura Lashley and her mentors, J.C. Davis and Addie Thorley

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 . . .  Laura Lashley – Mentee Twitter | Website J.C. Davis – Mentor Twitter | Website Addie Thorley – Mentor Twitter | Website     Laura, why did you choose J.C. Davis and Addie Thorley? Jenn and Addie were the very first mentors I added to my Absolutely-YES! list. Between their requests for whimsy and Nepalese sherpas, I felt like my weird little manuscript might have a home with them. Their thorough editing styles, favorite books, and hilarious, fun-loving personalities all sang (okay, rapped) to me that these were my people. Their own books sound amazing, too. A heartwarming Jesus-cheese story and sexy French poison mongers being all conniving and French and attractive? Yes, please! J.C. and Addie, why did you choose Laura Lashley/ IN THE NARROWS? J.C.: I fell in love with Laura’s main character, Riley, from the first page of IN THE NARROWS! Riley’s unique perspective on the world, her humor and determination really stuck with me. Laura writes so beautifully I get lost in the story. Another reason I chose IN THE NARROWS is because it really stood out. There have been a fair number of books featuring characters with neuro-differences lately, especially in children’s lit, but most of the books focus solely on those neuro-differences and the challenges associated with them. Riley has Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, and while that is an integral part of the book, it’s not the main story. I adore the fact that Riley gets to have adventures, travel to a parallel world and overcome bad-guys. She isn’t confined to one type of story because she has ASD. Addie: The moment I began reading Laura’s pages, I knew I was in the hands of an amazing storyteller. Her writing is gorgeous and her main character, Riley, sucked me in right away with her completely charming “Rules for being Normal.” I’m also a huge sucker for sister stories, and I loved Riley and Quinn’s complicated and dynamic relationship. Add all of that to an insanely creative fantasy world, and I knew I had to have this manuscript. Plus, Laura is super fun—she sent as a hilarious lip sync video, which pretty much sealed the deal.  Laura, summarize your book in 3 words. Sisters squabbling inter-dimensionally J.C. and Addie, summarize your mentee’s book in 3 words. J.C.: Sisters. Parallel Dimensions....

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