Pitch Wars Interview with Deborah Graff and her mentor Kim Long

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Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews

Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project.

Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.

Meet Deborah Graff and Kim Long

Team RIDDLEmethis!

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 7.09.48 PMKim Long (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

I read across genres–everything from fantasy to light sci-fi to contemporary in MG, YA, and Adult, though lately I’m on a fantasy kick. Reading contemporary MG really helps me get an MG voice down though, so anytime I’m about to start a new MG, I overload on the MG conemp! I admit I’m a plotter. I find that if I don’t have at least an idea how I want the book to end and where the chapter should end, I am very inefficient with my writing time. I usually write between 10:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. during the week, but I’m always plotting. If you’re in the Chicago ‘burbs and see a woman drinking a diet coke in a McDonald’s while writing in a composition book, chances are it’s me furiously finding ways to make my characters suffer!

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 7.14.52 PMDeborah Graff (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

I’m honored to be a part of Pitch Wars and partnered with Kim! I’m an omnivore when it comes to books; I’ll read pretty much any genre or age category if the writing is beautiful and the story is compelling. My summer reading list included THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir, THE INVENTION OF WINGS by Sue Monk Kidd, THE WITCH HUNTER by Virginia Boecker, and GOODBYE STRANGER by Rebecca Stead…among many others. Despite reading anything/everything, my heart dwells in middle grade fiction, which is what I write. I try to meld a page-turning story full of action (swords! murderous trolls! magic gems!) with character growth (self-awareness, friendship, hard decisions). I have three middle grade daughters as my muses, and I also volunteer as a reading coach and Girl Scout troop leader. All the kids in my life are endless sources of inspiration.

Kim, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

I entered Pitch Wars two years ago with a now-trunked YA fantasy. At the time, I had no betas, no CPs, and no one had read my manuscript. One of the mentors made a partial request, and that simple act really was a confidence booster. From there, I entered a few other contests, where I found betas and CPs and fellow writers. The path to publication can be long and takes a lot of twist and turns. It’s great to know people going through the same thing I am. I wanted to be a mentor to hopefully be a confidence booster to someone else and help a mentee on that path to publication.

Deborah, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

I was drawn to Pitch Wars because of the incredible prize: a mentorship with an agented author. Getting Kim’s help with my book is a gift I never expected, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity to work with her.

Kim, what are you most excited for?

I love, love, love Deborah’s manuscript, THE RIDDLE OF THE TEN KINGDOMS! It’s an adventure fantasy with a non-princess/royalty female MC, and at the MG level that’s so hard to find. It’s also filled with unique ideas and is SO well written. I really think Deborah has something special here, and I’m honored for the chance to help whip this manuscript into shape!

Deborah, what are you most excited for?

The secret-amazing-platinum-bonus-prize of Pitch Wars is the fellowship of mentees. We have an online clubhouse brimming with ideas, advice, commiseration, support, and hilarity. So honestly, what I’m most excited for is meeting these writers at this stage, knowing that many of them will go on to become publishing success stories. I can’t wait to buy their books and cheer them on.

Deborah, describe your novel in 3 words.

Adventure. Swords. Magic!

Kim, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.


Check Us Out …

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Deborah Graff (Mentee)

Twitter | Website

Deborah Graff grew up on books and started writing stories before she really knew how to write (think pictographs and lots of hand gestures). She continued to love reading and writing so much that she got a Master’s degree in literature and became a marketing copywriter. And she kept writing stories. Today, she writes middle grade fantasy starring strong girls who aren’t afraid to swing a sword. Deborah lives in Southern California with her husband, three daughters, very few swords, but plenty of magic.


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Kim Long (Mentor) 

Twitter | Blog

Kim Long is an attorney in the Chicagoland area, where she spends her days expressing her clients’ (always true) stories to judges and juries. She writes MG and YA contemporary fantasy that contain a sprinkle of science and is represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger. When not managing her fantasy baseball and football teams, she can be found biking, watching Star Wars for the zillionth time, or teaching her nieces about the importance of choosing the correct racer (Toad) and vehicle (standard bike) to win in Mario Kart.


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