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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Ashley Winstead and her mentors, Lindsey Frydman and Katie Beers

Saturday, 19 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 . . .

Ashley Winstead – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Lindsey Frydman – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Katie Beers – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Lindsey and Katie, why did you choose Ashley?

Ashley’s writing is absolutely beautiful, and she has a little of all the things we love in her book. There’s romance, a sci-fi element, and a ragtag group of awesome characters thrown together into a magical and action-filled story. It’s the kind of story that feels like you’re binging your latest Netflix addiction. (With none of the regret!) What truly sealed the deal was when we asked her to rewrite chapter one in first person and she knocked it out of the park! It’s the beginning of a long-lasting friendship for sure.

Ashley, why did you choose to submit to Lindsey and Katie?

Right off the bat, I was hooked by The Magicians gifs in their wish list–especially all the Margo gifs. She’s a superficial, hilarious queen bee, and totally matches the vibe of several characters in my MS. I had a feeling if Lindsey and Katie were into her, they might want to hang out with my characters. Then, of course, their tastes and what they were looking for was a perfect fit. Enemies to lovers romance? Check. Dark plot twists and tortured heroes? Yep. Witty banter? I try. And I loved their mentee expectations: “An everlasting writer friendship.” That is my level of commitment. I wrote in my Google Spreadsheet: “The ones?!” So definitely chemistry from the start.

Lindsey and Katie, summarize Ashley’s book in 3 words.

Magical, Beautiful, and Nerdtastic

Ashley, summarize your book in 3 words.

Magic Breakfast Club

Lindsey and Katie, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Lindsey: A long time ago, I wrote Nsync fanfiction – but shhh, it’s a secret. 🙂

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

I’d hit a wall in my writing process, and was eager for outside perspective. Lindsey and Katie have been incredible–the writerly education I’m getting is wonderful. Having brilliant people to talk things through and to help me make hard but important decisions is helping me get past the wall and is making me a better writer. Also, being allowed to occupy the “mentee” subject position–to have an open and trusting relationship with Lindsey and Katie, where I get to say, “I don’t know what’s best here–what do you think? How do you do this?” is really liberating. I hope to get a lot more of that. And if an agent takes at look at the finished product in February and gets jazzed, that would be nice too.

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

The seeds of my MS come from my own experiences as a low-income, first generation student on scholarship at a pricey private school. I remember feeling like running with certain crowds made me powerful, even if the whole reason I was accepted was because I wasn’t being honest with myself or anyone else. I wanted to explore that central misbelief, as Pitch Wars mentor Juliana Brandt calls it, and see what would happen if you gave a character full of that kind of longing and that kind of conflict literal magic. And then flipped the script even more by making her come to terms with a whole new identity. How quick would she go dark, and how delicious would it be to explore class conflict that way?

I am also obsessed with contemporary fantasy that skews super close to the real: visceral, science-based magic systems and questions like, What would boarding school students really do if they discovered magic gifts? They’re going to investigate the murder and go on epic quests, sure, but they’re also going to throw some kickass parties. If that sounds close to The Magicians (see admitted love for that series above), my MS is girl-centric and shaped by my determination to see the Margos of the world take center stage–in other words, main characters who are allowed to be party girls, unapologetically feminine, not always likeable, and high-achieving badasses at the same time. So I guess my MS is unique in that it’s a dark and twisty plunge into a girl’s secret identity and screwed-up magical heritage, all set against the backdrop of juicy campus drama.

Check out Lindsey’s upcoming release, TO WHATEVER END …

Releasing December 3, 2019

Quinn Easterly is cursed. With one touch, she can see the end to someone’s life. Everyday deaths, and ones that haunt her in her daydreams. Ones that have always proven impossible to prevent. She has finally learned to go about life as usual until she meets Griffin.

With one touch, she sees a death she simply cannot ignore. Not this time. Not when, dying in her arms, he whispers three simple words that change everything.

Even if Quinn can’t change the future, can’t save him, she at least has to try. Even if it means taking the bullet meant for him.

Pre-order today!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Indiebound

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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