Pitch Wars 2017 Team Interview: Alexis Henderson and her mentor, Ashley Hearn

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 1st-7th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2017 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have . . .


Alexis Henderson — Mentee

Website | Twitter


Ashley Hearn – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Alexis, why did you choose to submit to Ashley?

When I saw that Ashley was looking for cult horror and diverse #ownvoices stories I knew I had to submit to her. As I continued reading her bio, I was shocked by how much we had in common, from our shared love of Gilmore Girls and Game of Thrones to the fact that she’s a fellow Gryffindor (these things matter). It all clicked when I read her editorial notes. I knew then Ashley was everything I was looking for in a mentor, someone who understood the soul of my story and knew how to make it better. I’m ridiculously excited and lucky to be working with her.

Ashley, why did you choose Alexis’s manuscript?

Because Alexis is an expert at destroying my emotions! *Sobs*

Seriously though, YEAR OF BONE was exactly the kind of inspired story I had hoped to find in my inbox. Immanuel and Ezra—her MCs—are two of the most complex, layered, and deeply human characters I’ve read in a while. And the way Alexis weaves such vibrant and chilling imagery through her prose is expertly done. Couple that with how she explores themes of faith, race, and feminism through a horror plot and YEAR OF BONE is like nothing I’ve seen on the shelves in YA. As I read her full, my editorial vision clicked into place, and I knew instantly what I could bring to this manuscript to help make it shine!

Alexis, summarize your book in 3 words.

Cults. Curses. Witchcraft.

Ashley, summarize Alexis’s book in 3 words.

Black. Girl. Horror.

Alexis, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

I’m a fresh-out-of-college ESL teacher with an affinity for black cats, ghost stories, and female-centric horror. Growing up, I was homeschooled from first grade to my senior year of high school. In a way, YEAR OF BONE is an expression of my own experiences with religious fundamentalism, as a Black girl coming of age in a very conservative, homeschool Christian community. Many of the story’s central conflicts (faith and doubt, guilt and temptation, fear and sin) were the defining struggles of my own adolescence, with a healthy dose of witchcraft and horror thrown in for good measure.

Ashley, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I’m an Associate YA Editor at Page Street Publishing, which is distributed by Macmillan. I’m open to both agented and un-agented manuscripts, so I’d love to see queries from Pitch Wars folks! Check out my MSWL page to see what I’m interested in.

Fun fact: I once wound up Alexis’s hometown, completely by accident, on a two week backpacking/ book research trip. I got caught outside in a rainstorm and an old man in a golf cart took pity on me. He gave me a free tour.

MSWL: http://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/ashley-hearn/


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And remember, there’s a #PitMad Twitter pitch party on September 7th.

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