Pitch Wars Interview with Nicole Brake and her mentors, Jamie Pacton and M.K. England
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 . . .
Nicole Brake – Mentee
Jamie Pacton – Mentor
M.K. England – Mentor
Nicole: Why did you choose Jamie and M.K.?
I had a feeling they’d be a great fit for me and A BOUNTY OF RUNAWAYS from their mini-interview before the wish lists were released. I could tell they had a keen eye for editing and were passionate about mentoring. I was crossing my fingers that my MS would be a match for their wish list– and it was!
When I got their request for the full MS their enthusiasm for the story matched my own. I kept my fingers crossed for the next 3 weeks that I’d get the opportunity to work with them.
Jamie and M.K.: Why did you choose Nicole?
We love a good rollicking adventure with guns and swords, bawdy humor, and skin-of- the-teeth escapes—and even more so if they’re adventures had by badass ladies. We were drawn in by the voice and the hook of RUNAWAYS, and had immediate ideas for how to make it really shine. (And honestly, one of the characters’ names is Hellion. We knew it would be our kind of book.) Mentor: Summarize your mentee’s
Emmy: Summarize your book in three words.
Badass girls & adventure
Jamie and M.K.: Summarize Nicole’s book in three words.
Fierce female friendships
Emmy: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?
I live in Wales with my fiancé (who fears my TBR pile may crush me in my sleep) and my 2-year- old son (whose energy levels I envy). I’m an insatiable reader and hoarder of more notebooks than I could ever hope to fill. I enjoy reading (and writing) character driven stories. My favourite authors include Victoria Schwab, Leigh Bardugo, Ryan Graudin & Jandy Nelson. If I could live inside any book, it’d be Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.
Random fact: I used to drive a bright green double decker bus for a children’s charity.
I got the idea for A BOUNTY OF RUNAWAYS in the basement of a secondhand book shop. It started with a vague image of three young women: a knight, a ninja and a cowgirl. Since then it has taken on a life of its own and morphed into a story about bounty hunting ladies pursuing the adventure of a lifetime. I craved adventure stories that featured girls growing up so it feels like this story has been percolating for a lifetime!
Jamie and M.K.: Tell us about yourselves. Something we might not already know.
Jamie: I got to interview my favorite musician– the brilliant, inimitable, Amanda Palmer– a few months ago. It was surreal. I just picked up the phone and called her cell phone, and we chatted about motherhood, birth, our kids, making art & music, and much more like it was no big deal. Then when we hung up, and I fangirled hopelessly for 20 minutes and remembered all the other questions I wanted to ask her. I mean, AMFP!!! I still swoon thinking about that call. I write YA and MG fantasy, and I’m repped by the wonderful Stefanie Lieberman. One of my favorite ways to find a story is to stumble across a tidbit in history and just start asking questions. My day job is teaching college English online; I write a lot of freelance articles each week; and, there’s nothing I love more than walking by Lake Michigan on a windy day with a cup of coffee in hand and head full of story problems to solve.
M.K.: Before I was a writer and YA librarian, I was a musician pursuing a Ph.D in experimental music composition. And I HATED it. I’m so grateful for my YA librarian friend who one day said, as I sat on the floor organizing my YA fiction collection and complaining about life: “Why aren’t you a librarian?”. I had no good answer for that. I had all kinds of misconceptions about what being a librarian was like, but now I’m in a career I love that embraces my love of teaching and feeds my writing in the best way.
I write YA SFF and contemp, invariably with LGBTQ+ elements, and I’m repped by the amazing Barbara Poelle. I pretty much always play half-elf clerics in D&D, X-wings give me deep spiritual feelings, and nothing fixes a bad day like a novel-length slow-burn fanfic with all my favorite tropes.