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A Pitch Wars interview with Brian Palmer and his mentor, Holly Faur

Wednesday, 30 September 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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

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Meet Holly Faur and Brian Palmer

Team DumbledoreShrugged

Holly Faur (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

Hello! Let’s see…some of my favorite books growing up were Anne of Green Gables (I still wish I could find some of that cherry cordial), and Adventures in the Northwoods. I walked around saying “Yeah, sure, you betcha'” like the MC’s stepbrother did until my mom told me I could not, as “Yeah” was not a real word. Then I moved on to classics, and that’s were I fell in love with F. Scott and Lewis Carroll. I love most genres, and now that my oldest son is reading YA, he’s cool and let’s me read the same books. Do not get us started on The Maze Runner. My writing style is out line, out line, out line. Write, then panic when things don’t go as planned. And then just pants the heck out of it while drinking insane amounts of tea (Mad Tea Party Blend, because we’re all mad here). I live in a tiny town with two traffic lights that really do more harm than good. I buy planners and don’t use them. I probably should since I have four children. I buy sticky notes too, and they are everywhere.

Brian Palmer (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

I’ve loved reading for as long as I can remember. When I ran out of things to do at school during class, I would read. My school had book reading contests each year, and I got so into it that I not only won in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, but I was CRUSHED when I did not win in 5th and 6th grades (curse you, Gavin Kwong, and your equally insatiable love of reading!). One of the biggest mistakes of my life was borrowing The Lord of the Rings from the library somewhere around age ten, and then not reading it (God knows why); knowing what I know now, I wonder how different my reading/writing tastes might be today if I had read it then.

When it comes to reading, I think of my tastes as being like Michael Chabon’s library of work–all over the place. I love an epic fantasy like LotR as much as Goodnight Moon (parent!), modern classic dramas like Ha Jin’s Waiting as easily as Marie Lu’s YA dystopian Legend Trilogy, and a sci-fi like Ender’s Game (I have never, ever had such a strong response to a climax as with this book…I had to chew on that ending for days before I could accept it!) as readily as a sweeping drama like Ian McEwan’s Atonement. I’ve just finished reading William Shakespeare’s The Jedi Doth Return (yep, Return of the Jedi written in iambic pentameter, and it’s as brilliant a mash-up as it sounds!) by Ian Doescher, and am now rereading One Day by David Nicholls, so I like to keep myself on my toes when it comes to reading. My favorite genre to read, recently, is YA dystopian, if my love The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner series, and the Legend trilogy are any indication, though I’m still a sucker for a good under-the-radar drama like Travis Thrasher’s Sky Blue, or weighty, introspective affairs like Chris DeVore’s The Literary Detective.

My writing isn’t quite as eclectic, though. Most of what I have written has been contemporary dramatic fiction, with some of it wandering into lit fic territory and, as is the case with SILENCE WORTH BREAKING, even women’s fiction.

For years, I was a pantser through and through, but I’ve begun to come around to the idea of plotting over the last few years, or at the very least mixing plotting with pantsing until the desired result is achieved! I’m starting to realize I should have done this a long time ago, but better later than never!

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

I’ve been on the other side of Brenda’s contests (she picked me for Agent treat, no agent requests), and saw how amazing and supportive the people are. I really wanted to be a part of that, and I’m so happy to have this opportunity. I never drank so much (coffee, people!) than when I was going through my queries. There was so much good stuff in there.

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

Back in July, I was starting to look at agents, as I thought my novel would be ready for querying soon, and as I checked through agent’s Twitter feeds I noticed they had been hashtagging the same thing: #PitMad, or something to that effect. I had no idea what this referred to, but I checked it out and soon discovered Brenda’s site, Pitch Wars, etc., and I was hooked on the idea. None of my previous efforts had succeeded in landing me an agent, so something was missing, obviously. I figured submitting to Pitch Wars would give me the chance to have seasoned industry professionals look at my work and let me know if I was on the right track or not. Truthfully, I didn’t expect to have my novel get selected for this stage of Pitch Wars; I thought it would be neat, but I was not planning on that happening, especially with so many entrants involved. I was hoping to immerse myself in a community more than anything, and hopefully get some great insight into what worked or didn’t work in my novel, and then go from there. I have gotten this and so much more!

Holly, what are you most excited for?

This. All of it. The brainstorming and the back and forth. The thinking about scenes that are not your own–ones that keep you up at night. Helping someone look at their manuscript and know: they did it.

Brian, what are you most excited for?

I’m looking forward to working my butt off with the incomparable Holly Faur, and turning this novel into the best one I’ve ever written! She’s already given me a number of suggestions which are going to make this story so much stronger and more concise, and I love this!

Brian, describe your novel in 3 words.

Love saves lives.

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

I think Brian nailed it: Love saves lives. Or love always listens.

Check Us Out …

Brian Palmer, Mentee

Twitter | Website

Novelist, former freelance writer, sports lover, and Editorial Administrative Assistant at Wipf and Stock Publishers.


Holly Faur, Mentor

Twitter | Website

Writer of historical fiction. Believer in second breakfasts and rabbit holes. Represented by Maria Vicente with P.S. Literary.


Filed: Pitch Wars

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