Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!

Meet the Pitch Wars Committee

Brenda Drake
Founding Director, Advisor

Brenda Drake
Brenda Drake is the New York Times bestselling author of THIEF OF LIES, GUARDIAN OF SECRETS, and ASSASSIN OF TRUTHS of the Library Jumpers series, the Fated series, and THUNDERSTRUCK. Look for her upcoming release, ANALIESE RISING, coming January 8, 2019. She grew up the youngest of three children, an Air Force brat, and the continual new kid at school. She’s the founder of Pitch Wars and #PitMad. When she’s not writing or hanging out with her family, she haunts libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops, or reads someplace quiet and not at all exotic (much to her disappointment).

Brenda is represented by Peter Knapp at The Park Literary Group.

FUN FACT: She came up with the idea for Pitch Wars while watching Cupcake Wars on T.V. in 2012.

You can find Brenda online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Sonia Hartl
Managing Director

Sonia Hartl
Sonia Hartl is the author of THE LOST GIRLS, NOT YOUR #LOVESTORY, and HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME (Page Street), which received a starred review in BookPage and earned nominations for the Georgia Peach Book Award, YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and ALA’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. Sonia has been a Pitch Wars mentor since 2015.


You can find Sonia online:
Website  |  Twitter

Gail D. Villanueva
Technology Director

Gail D. Villanueva
Gail D. Villanueva is a Filipino author and web designer born and based in the Philippines. She has 25+ years of web design and development experience under her belt, and runs a home-based creative agency with her husband in the outskirts of Manila. Her writing is represented by Alyssa Eisner Henkin of Trident Media Group. MY FATE ACCORDING TO THE BUTTERFLY (Scholastic), Gail’s debut novel, was a 2019 Kirkus Best Book of the Year, an Amazon Best Book of the Month Editor’s Pick, and an NCSS-CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People. Her next middle grade novel, SUGAR AND SPITE (Scholastic), will be published on April 20, 2021. Gail was selected as a Pitch Madness participant in 2015, and was a Pitch Wars mentor in 2017.


You can find Gail online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Sarah Nicolas
Agent Liaison

Sarah Nicolas
Sarah Nicolas is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and author. They are the author of KEEPING HER SECRET. Sarah has published both traditionally and independently, and has also worked in the publishing industry in multiple roles. Sarah’s been a Pitch Wars mentor since 2012. They also write for Book Riot and are represented by Rebecca Podos.


You can find Sarah online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Kellye Garrett
Mentor Liaison

Kellye Garrett
Kellye Garrett is a Pitch Wars mentee-turned-mentor. She also served as its Managing Director in 2018. After being selected as a mentee in 2014, she sold her Pitch Wars novel HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE (then called IOU) to Midnight Ink. The story about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who investigates a hit-and-run she witnessed won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novels. The second, HOLLYWOOD ENDING, was featured on the TODAY show’s Best Summer Reads of 2019 and was nominated for both Anthony and Lefty awards. Prior to writing novels, Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. She now works for a leading media company, serves on the Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color along with Walter Mosley and Gigi Pandian.


You can find Kellye online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Susan Lee
Mentor Liaison

Susan lee
Susan was a 2018 PitchWars mentee and 2019 mentor, as well as the 2019 Golden Heart Winner for YA Romance. She begrudgingly left NY to move to Los Angeles, where she works as a HR executive and is a pet-mom to two misbehaved chihuahuas.


You can find Susan online:
Twitter  |  Instagram

Ernie Chiara
Communications Director

Ernie Chiara
Ernie Chiara is a writer and artist from the Boston area. He loves to write about people with complex lives and hardened exteriors, people we’d pass on the streets without a second glance. When he isn’t writing or doing freelance graphic design, Ernie enjoys playing with his kids, binge-watching Netflix shows, and boosting other writers every chance he gets. Aside from being Pitch Wars Communications Director, he is also an Adult mentor and former mentee. Ernie is represented by Michelle Richter of Fuse Literary and is Assistant to Agent Trisha Skinner.


You can find Ernie online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Leigh Mar
Social Media Director

Leigh Mar
Leigh Mar is a marketing and communications professional and a young adult author represented by Elana Roth Parker at Laura Dail Literary Agency. She loves to travel (both in reality and through fiction), has an excellent sense of direction, and only ever gets lost on the internet. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2015 before becoming a mentor in 2016 and 2017.


You can find Leigh online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Laura Lashley
Pro Bono Counsel

Laura Lashley
Laura Lashley writes speculative fiction for kids, adults, and kids masquerading as adults, her personal demographic. Laura is represented by Carrie Pestritto, literary agent and professional hype-person, of the Laura Dail Literary Agency. She was selected as a mentee for Pitch Wars 2016 and Pitch Wars 2017, and learned so much from this amazing community of writers, she served as a mentor in Pitch Wars 2018. Laura’s current contributions to Pitch Wars are through serving as the organization’s trusty guide and pro bono legal counsel on its hero’s journey to gaining official non-profit status.


You can find Laura online:
Website  |  Twitter

Advisors:

Roselle Lim
Advisor

Roselle Lim
Roselle Lim is a Filipino-Chinese writer living on the north shore of Lake Erie. She loves to write about food and magic. When she isn’t writing, she is sewing, sketching, or pursuing the next craft project. Roselle was a Pitch Wars Adult mentor in 2015. Her book, NATALIE TAN’S BOOK OF LUCK AND FORTUNE, is being released in the summer of 2019 from Penguin/Berkley.


You can find Roselle online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Luke Hupton
Advisor

Luke Hupton
Luke Hupton is a YA author represented by Lauren MacLeod at The Strothman Agency. Beginning his career in the British film and television industry, Luke now lives and works in beautiful British Columbia with his husband, their guinea pigs and cheeky miniature dachshund, Tilly.


You can find Luke online:
Website  |  Instagram

Rajani LaRocca
Advisor

“Rajani
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. Her middle grade debut, MIDSUMMER’S MAYHEM (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee Books), an Indian-American mashup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and competitive baking, was an Indies Introduce selection, an Indie Next pick, and a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2019. Her debut picture book, SEVEN GOLDEN RINGS: A TALE OF MUSIC AND MATH (Lee & Low, 2020) is set in ancient India and introduces the basics of binary numbers. She is represented by Brent Taylor of Triada US. She was a Pitch Wars 2017 mentee and has been a Middle Grade mentor since 2018.


You can find Rajani online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Rachel Lynn Solomon
Advisor

Rachel Lynn Solomon
Rachel Lynn Solomon writes, tap dances, and collects red lipstick in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the contemporary YA novels YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE, OUR YEAR OF MAYBE, and TODAY TONIGHT TOMORROW (summer 2020), all from Simon & Schuster/Simon Pulse. Once she helped set a Guinness World Record for the most natural redheads in one place. She has been a Pitch Wars mentor since 2014.

– 2019 Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner: YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE
– Winter 2018 Indies Introduce Selection: YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE
– Winter 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List Top Ten: YOU’LL MISS ME WHEN I’M GONE
– Winter 2019 Kids’ Indie Next List: OUR YEAR OF MAYBE

You can find Rachel online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Pintip Dunn
Advisor

Pintip Dunn
Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of young adult fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B., and received her J.D. at Yale Law School.

Pintip’s novel FORGET TOMORROW won the 2016 RWA RITA® for Best First Book, and SEIZE TODAY won the 2018 RITA for Best Young Adult Romance. Her books have been translated into four languages, and they have been nominated for the following awards: the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire; the Japanese Sakura Medal; the MASL Truman Award; the Tome Society It list; and the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other titles include REMEMBER YESTERDAY, THE DARKEST LIE, GIRL ON THE VERGE, STAR-CROSSED, and the upcoming MALICE.

You can find Pintip online:
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Goodreads

Juliana Brandt
Advisor

Juliana Brandt
Juliana is a Middle Grade fantasy author represented by Natalie Lakosil of the Bradford Literary Agency. When not writing about strange and dreamy magic, she teaches Kindergarten and lives in anticipation of adventure. She freelance edits and has mentored other writers through Pitch Wars since 2014.


You can find Juliana online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Remy Lai
Advisor

Remy Lai
Remy Lai writes and draws for kids. She is the creator of the critically acclaimed PIE IN THE SKY. She lives in Australia with her two dogs. Her second book, FLY ON THE WALL, releases in September 2020.


You can find Remy online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

Ayana Gray
Advisor

Ayana Gray
Ayana Gray is a young adult fantasy author with a passion for stories steeped in #blackgirlmagic in all its forms. An Atlanta native now living in the Sunshine State, when she’s not reading or writing, you can probably find her portrait sketching, watching a documentary about something dark, or traveling the world with her husband! She is currently represented by Pete Knapp of Park & Fine Literary and Media.


You can find Ayana online:
Website  |  Twitter  |  Instagram