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Another Pitch Wars Success Interview with K. Kazul Wolf and Evelyn Skye!

Monday, 15 December 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Pitch Wars 2014

The best part of the contests for us around here is when we hear about successes. Today we are so happy to have K. Kazul Wolf and her Pitch Wars mentor, Evelyn Skye, here for a little Q and A. Kazul recently signed with Fleetwood Robbins of Waxman Leavell. So as to not make this post a novel, we’ll jump right into the interview.

Kazul, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Evelyn?

The day the mentor blog hop was posted I took about ten or fifteen minutes to compile a list of all the mentors that were looking for my genre and category before heading to work, and sent it to one of my best friends so she could help me decide later. By the time I got home, my friend pretty much said, “Choose whoever else you want, but you HAVE to submit to this one!” And (after totally agreeing) Evelyn never left my list.

Evelyn, what about Kazul’s application made you choose her?

From the very first lines, I was hooked. Kazul’s writing is breath-taking, and the world she’s created is beautiful and original. There are dragons with stained-glass wings! But within this gossamer beauty, she also has a lot of humor, and I think it’s quite a feat to pull those things off simultaneously.

Dianna_i_love_you_obviously
Kazul, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars?

It was nuts! But at the same time, so much fun. Evelyn had an amazing grasp on what my story really is at its core, and with her help it became better than I could have imagined. I’d re-written/worked the last three-quarters of the book in August, then got as much feedback as I could through October.
Evelyn, tell us about your experience with mentoring Kazul. How was mentoring your other team members?

Evelyn, tell us about your experience with mentoring Kazul. How was mentoring your other team members?

Oh, I knew she’d be wonderful to work with even before I made my official decisions on whom to mentor this year. I exchanged emails with a number of the PitchWars applicants, including Kazul, as I read through their manuscripts during the submission period. I am an intense editor, and I needed to know if these writers were game for what I had in mind. With Kazul and SUMMER THUNDER, it meant tearing up big chunks of her plot and rewriting some of her characters. But Kazul never flinched and instead was full of enthusiasm (and hope at being part of my PitchWars team). Actually working with her turned out, of course, to be a dream.

Kazul, after Pitch Wars you signed with Fleetwood Robbins of Waxman Leavell, tell us about “The Call.” How long were you on submission? What did you do to distract yourself? How did Fleetwood contact you? How did you respond? How did you celebrate? Anything! We love knowing it all.

jimmy-fallon-elmo-happy-dance-saturday-night-live

It was possibly even more nuts! I hadn’t queried this book at all before PitchWars, and then it was about two weeks later when I got an e-mail from Fleetwood to talk more about SUMMER THUNDER on the phone. But the day before he wrote me, we had to make the call to put one of my dogs down. I was such a mess that morning that I could barely stop crying long enough to tell my boss what was wrong, and then I came home to the have the explosion of polar opposite emotions in my head. Needless to say, there was much chocolate involved.

I’d gotten the e-mail too late to have the call the same day, so we scheduled for the next day. And, obviously, it went amazing. He really seemed to have a grasp on the story, and was really excited to get working on it with me. It was so hard not to say yes right then and there! Afterwards I went and got a celebratory pomegranate — which sounds lame, but you should have seen the size of this bugger — and bit my nails while I notified other agents and waited. Then I was finally able to accept, and here I am!

How do you feel Pitch Wars helped in your success?

Honestly, I probably wouldn’t have an agent without Pitch Wars. Fleetwood requested my full manuscript in the alternate showcase, and it was only with Evelyn’s help that I felt confident in sending it off. I’d probably still be doubting myself into a corner, and wouldn’t have even sent out a query, yet.

Now for some fun! The following questions are for you both to answer:

You’re outnumbered by the bad guys, what mode of escape would you take? (ie a Tardis, a flying car, a flying carpet, etc.)? And why?

dragon_flight

Kazul: Can I say dragon? ‘Cause totally a dragon. It can fly, and typically breathes fire. What more could a girl ask for?

Evelyn: A Griffin! It would help me escape while also terrifying the evil-doers.

What fictional character would you like to spend the day with, and what would you do with him/her/it?

Kazul: No, I have to choose? Okay, okay, I’ll go with Zuzana from DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. And I would totally go to the Poison Kitchen in Prague, and then on a tour of Eretz on the back of Mik’s giant stormhunters.

Evelyn: Meda from CRACKED (and its sequel, CRUSHED) by Eliza Crewe. Meda is a soul-eating monster girl with a hell of a sense of humor. There’s no way I could keep up with her (the girl can scale a wall in, like, half a second), but it’d be fun to tag along on a motorcycle with her and listen to her wise-cracks with her friends. The fact that a hot, bad boy half-demon likes to hang out with her doesn’t hurt, either.

What fictional character(s) best describes your personality?

Sophie

Kazul: Sophie from HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE by Diana Wynne Jones. One of my friends actually calls me Sophie as a nickname, because I’m — apparently — a sassy old lady at heart.

Evelyn: My friends say I’m a lot like Gansey from THE RAVEN BOYS, which I guess means they’d follow me on implausible quests to reawaken dead Welsh kings if I asked them to. 🙂

In all seriousness, you’d have to ask them what about me is so Gansey-esque. Fellow PitchWars mentor Stacey Lee would be a good one; she got me a ring inscribed with: “To our Gansey.” I wear it on a chain around my neck every day.

You just won an entry into a game show and you may only bring one fictional character with you to beat the clock. What show is it and who would you choose to join you?

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Kazul: Would it be possible to cheat on the one character rule and go on Family Feud with the Bennet family from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (or THE LIZZIE BENNET DIARIES, I’m down with either)? Because that would be amazing. If I had to choose one of the Bennets, I’d have to go with Lizzie for her snark alone.

Evelyn: My first thought was Hermione, because she has a time-turner, but that’s cheating. So if I’m playing it straight, it would be either Cricket from LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR or Colin from AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES. Those guys are real-deal geniuses. 

You only have two hours to finish edits, what do you grab–coffee, tea, wine, hard liquor, or some fictional drink–to fuel you through the time crunch?

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Kazul: I’m a tea sort of person for general fuel, but to pump out a ton of edits? Hot cocoa. Hands down.

Evelyn: COOKIES. So many cookies. Oh, wait, the question was about a drink. Er, can we liquefy cookies in a way that isn’t gross? Otherwise, Coke Zero is my caffeinated vice of choice. In fact, I’m going to grab one right now.

Who is your biggest supporter of your writing? What fictional character would best describe this person?

Kazul: Oh man, I’ve had so many amazing people support me on my journey so far. I guess I’d have to say my screenwriter/director friend, Joy Smith. She taught me so, so much about plot structure. And her fictional counterpart would be Maes Hughes from FULL METAL ALCHEMIST — minus the horrible death, knock on wood. Totally loyal to the ones she loves, even if she does ramble about her boyfriend a lot. 😉

Evelyn: My six-year-old! She’s always telling me she’s proud that I’ve worked so hard and that when she’s old enough, she’s going to buy my books and read them.

As for a fictional character, none come to mind. I like to think my daughter is one of a kind!

maes hughes

Any last words you’d like to share or tell us that wasn’t covered in the questions above?

Kazul: Oh gosh, just thank you! I probably I sound like a broken record at this point, but I’m just so grateful for the amazing community, and all these wonderful opportunities (and ugly celebratory dances) that came my way.

Evelyn: A HUGE thank you to you, Brenda, for giving so much of yourself to PitchWars. It’s a wonderful community of writers, from mentors to mentees to every single applicant. We are lucky to have you!

And to Kazul—I cannot wait to see your book on shelves! I’ll be the first in line at my local indie.

Thank you for sharing your success story. We couldn’t be happier about it – CONGRATULATIONS! Everyone, go and say hello and follow them or something …

 

Kazul

K. Kazul Wolf

Website | Twitter

 

Evelyn Skye

Evelyn Skye

Website | Twitter

 

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