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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Ann Fraistat and her mentors, Laura Lashley and Ian Barnes

Monday, 4 February 2019  |  Posted by Gwynne Jackson

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 . . .

Ann Fraistat

Website | Twitter

Laura Lashley

Website | Twitter

Ian Barnes

Website | Twitter


Laura and Ian, why did you choose Ann?

Ann’s voicey, spoopy demon-comedy immediately grabbed us and wouldn’t let go. The mystery at the heart of the book is full of twists and turns that are equal parts hilarious and skin crawling. We sent one another frantic messages as we read because we kept finding more and more things to love. Possessed cats! Ghosts who only communicate via netspeak! Sexy love hexagons! And of course, snarky demons hellbent on ruining Olive McKnight’s first job out of college. We wanted something fun, funny, with a plot that didn’t let up, and we found all of that and more in OLIVE MCKNIGHT: PROFESSIONAL EXORCIST. 15/10, would possess again.

Ann, why did you choose to submit to Laura and Ian?

Well, first of all, they tagged their mentor wish list with a gif of a T. Rex patting a rose-covered bed, so… check. Second, I liked how they described their team dynamic. Complementary styles, feedback galore, engaged and enthusiastic? Yes, please. I also thought my MS fit what they were looking for: urban fantasy, magical shenanigans in a contemporary world, and irreverent with heart. Some of their personal faves included comps I’d used, HEROINE COMPLEX and GHOSTBUSTERS, so I felt an immediate click.

Laura and Ian, summarize Ann’s book in 3 words.

Laura: Incompetent Millennial Demon-hunter

Ian: Dating is Hell

Ann, summarize your book in 3 words.

Rookie Demonbuster strugs

Laura and Ian, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Laura: Laura’s first book, which she wrote, edited, and bound for publication herself in third grade, was about demonic possessions, too. It featured a truly unlikable female protagonist who put razor blades in popcorn because that’s not creepy at all. POSSESSION! by Laura is still featured prominently in her strangely accepting mother’s china cabinet.

Ian: All of my books begin life out of the desire to tell one truly terrible joke.

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

Frankly, even if it stopped now, a few weeks in, I’d already have gotten a ton out of it. Laura and Ian have given me a ton of tips that will not only vastly improve this book, but my entire process as a writer. Outside of my beta readers and critique partners, my day-to-day writing buddies are pretty much my cats, who are great at being cute, and less great at being helpful. To suddenly have mentors volunteering their time to engage with my work, and to connect with the other mentees… I feel like I have an instant community. Of course, I can’t help crossing fingers about the agent round, but if I don’t get bites, I think I’ll leave this process much better prepared to query this book and future ones.

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

My background is in theatre as a playwright, director, and actor. Out of college, I thought I was going to pursue theatre full-time. Then I crashed into reality—and the recession. OLIVE MCKNIGHT: PROFESSIONAL EXORCIST was inspired as a bit of a parody of my experience wading into the real world after college, winding up in one job after another I never thought I’d have. Not to say they were all bad! Among other interesting gigs, I wound up writing alternate reality games and co-running a dog walking business for several years. Fortunately, at least so far, I have not personally had to resort to demonic exorcism as a career path. I’d say things have gone better for me than they do for Olive, who faces down possessed cats and literal personal demons.


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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