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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Abigail Rayner and her mentor, K.C. Held

Saturday, 12 January 2019  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


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 starting on February 6, 2019, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2018 Pitch Wars Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Abigail Rayner
Website | Twitter

K.C. Held
K.C. Held
Website | Twitter

K.C., why did you choose Abigail?

You know those rare moments when you discover a book you feel like the author wrote just for you? THAT. I opened the manuscript and I couldn’t put it down, Abigail’s writing is gorgeous and Daisy’s voice is so spot on. I totally fell in love with DAISY FROM SCRATCH for its honesty, humor, and heart. Abigail had me laughing and crying, and wanting to share this book with everyone I know. I couldn’t NOT choose her as my mentee!

Abigail, what makes you excited to work with K.C.?

More than anything, K.C’s enthusiasm for DAISY FROM SCRATCH. K.C. has a personal connection to my manuscript, and she really “gets” it. I think it’s always a thrill when someone connects to your writing. That wouldn’t mean much however, if K.C. wasn’t such an astute editor with great instincts for story. She is also experienced (this is her third year mentoring for Pitch Wars), and she is warm and encouraging. I also love her sense of humor (i.e. she laughs at my jokes!)

K.C., summarize Abigail’s book in 3 words.

Daisy’s dream, interrupted.

Abigail, summarize your book in 3 words.

Baker. Celiac. Frenemies.

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

I’m a huge fan of The Great British Baking show, and I like to challenge myself by recreating gluten free versions of their baking challenges. Some are much easier than others! My current goal is to master the perfect GF baguette!

Abigail, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

Over the years, I’ve had many critiques with editors and agents, usually at conferences. While I learned a lot, I’d go home and find I was on my own again. I wanted an experience that allowed for more back and forth. If a set of suggested edits didn’t seem to be working, I could get help figuring out why. Revision is so important, it’s what writers spend most of their time doing, but if we do it in a vacuum, we can find ourselves taking wrong turns, or going in circles. I feel my manuscript is very close to being submission ready. I’m hoping to learn revision techniques that will help get this, and future manuscripts over that final hurdle

Abigail, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

My manuscript was inspired by my daughter’s experiences with Celiac, and the heartache I felt watching her go through them.

When she was almost eight, she was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. At first, I thought: what’s the big deal? But the lifestyle changes were huge for the entire family, and my daughter really struggled.

I think DAISY FROM SCRATCH is unique because it is a friendship story, that also explores the isolation and complications of having a food intolerance. I don’t know of any novels about kids with Celiac, or even allergies, but these kids go through so much every day. It really impacts their social development, which is already torture at 11/12 years old—the age of my character. A few months after my daughter was diagnosed, she went on hunger strike. That inspired the storyline in my MS, where the MC develops an eating disorder.

As the mother of a child with Celiac, I have learned so much about my kid’s disease, but also the special needs and differences of many of her peers. It has taught me to be more tolerant, and to go out of my way to be inclusive. I think I am in a unique position to share a very special story.

Check out K.C. Held’s recent release, HOLDING COURT.

Sixteen-year-old Jules Verity knows exactly what’s in store at her new job at castle-turned-dinner-theater Tudor Times. Some extra cash, wearing a fancy-pants dress, and plenty of time to secretly drool over the ever-so-tasty-and completely unavailable-Grayson Chandler. Except that it’s not quite what she imagined.

For one, the costume Jules has to wear is awful. Then there’s the dead body she finds that just kind of…well, disappears. Oh, and there’s the small issue of Jules and her episodes of what her best friend calls “Psychic Tourette’s Syndrome”-spontaneous and uncontrollable outbursts of seemingly absurd prophecies.

The only bright side? This whole dead body thing seems to have gotten Grayson’s attention. Except that the more Jules investigates, the more she discovers that Grayson’s interest might not be as courtly as she thought. In fact, it’s starting to look suspicious…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 6 – 11, 2019. If you’re an agent and would like to participate, you must register here: https://pitchwars.org/info-for-agents/.

We hope you’ll join us to support our teams on the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars.

Filed: Interviews

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