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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Ellen Stonaker and her mentors, Sarah Cannon and JC Davis

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 . . .

Ellen Stonaker – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Sarah Cannon – Mentor

Website | Twitter

JC Davis – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sarah and JC, why did you choose Ellen?

We were completely blown away by the amazing MG voice in Ellen’s manuscript and couldn’t help falling in love with Lacy and her Butterbees. This story is so fun, fresh, and imaginative, it’s impossible not to love it.

Ellen, why did you choose to submit to Sarah and JC?

The first item on Sarah and JC’s wish list described LACY AND THE BUTTERBEES perfectly: Fantasy with a new twist. They wanted wild and weird new worlds, so I introduced them to the world of The Winding Narrow.

Their passion for books and middle grade stories seeped through their posts. That’s exactly what I wanted in mentors. Their expertise in world-building and clear passion for Pitch Wars drew me in from the start. When I received my edit letter and laughed out loud multiple times at their sly humor, I knew we were a perfect match.

Sarah and JC, summarize Ellen’s book in 3 words.

Scrumptious Magical Adventures

Ellen, summarize your book in 3 words.

Buttery, Sugary, and Twisty

Sarah and JC, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Sarah: I am a turbo-introvert whose life just keeps getting busier. I think if I insisted on staying home, my house would turn itself inside-out in response. I coffeeshop-hop relentlessly in search of fuel and workspace. I can name my favorites in every town I’ve lived in, and I thank an inordinate number of coffeeshops in my acknowledgements. I homeschool three kids (graduating my first one this year…he just got his first college acceptance, and I’m thrilled!) and I teach ESL to kids in China. There is no spare time, but I sneak-knit when I can, and I always have a garden (veggies, fruit, native flowers, and herbs.)

JC: I’m a kidlit author with serious craft ADD and can’t help writing in all areas of kidlit from picture books to middle grade to young adult. I go wherever the stories pull me. When I’m not writing, I’m usually wrangling hedgehogs or one of our nine other pets. I would happily live in a zoo! When my daughter was eight she went on a Make-A-Wish trip and we got to pet a wombat and feed a baby panda. It was one of the best things ever.

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

I like to be a part of things—big, stupendous, amazing things. Pitchwars is exactly that. I’ve already made connections with many talented writers, and I plan to be an active part of the community for a long time.

As I have a deep desire to produce excellent stories for years to come, I want to learn everything I can about writing middle grade fantasy. I want to share my stories with the world. Pitchwars is helping me get there, and I’ll always be proud to have been a mentee.

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

I live in New Orleans with my husband and two dogs, but home is wherever the wind takes us. I work in finance, but I write from my inner child.

Made-up words, quirky concepts, and a whistle of weirdness are my flavors… and my manuscript is dripping with them.

Check out Sarah’s latest release, ODDITY…

Join a tough eleven-year-old as she faces down zombie rabbits, alien mobs, and Puppet Cartels while trying to find her missing twin in Sarah Cannon’s imaginative middle-grade debut, Oddity.

Welcome to Oddity, New Mexico, where normal is odd and odd is normal.

Ada Roundtree is no stranger to dodging carnivorous dumpsters, distracting zombie rabbits with marshmallows, and instigating games of alien punkball. But things haven’t been the same since her twin sister, Pearl, won the town’s yearly Sweepstakes and disappeared . . .

Along with her best friend, Raymond, and new-kid-from-Chicago Cayden (whose inability to accept being locked in the gym with live leopards is honestly quite laughable), Ada leads a self-given quest to discover Oddity’s secrets, even evading the invisible Blurmonster terrorizing the outskirts of town.

But one of their missions goes sideways, revealing something hinky with the Sweepstakes . . . and Ada can’t let it go. Because, if the Sweepstakes is bad, then what happened to Pearl?


Check out JC’s latest release, CHEESUS WAS HERE…

Sixteen-year-old Delaney Delgado knows miracles aren’t real—if they were, her kid sister wouldn’t be dead. So when the image of baby Jesus appears on a Babybel cheese wheel, she’s not buying the idea that God’s got a dairy obsession. Soon, religious signs begin turning up all over Del’s hometown, tiny Clemency, Texas. Overnight, news vans fill the streets and religious pilgrims start searching for God in the discount aisle of the grocery store.

Hell-bent on proving the so-called miracles are fake, Del convinces her best friend, Gabe, to help her find the truth. While Gabe’s willing to play detective, as a preacher’s son he’s more interested in finding evidence that supports the miracles. But when the whole town becomes caught up in religious fervor and even the late-night talk show hosts have stopped laughing and started to believe, finding the truth might cause more trouble than Del can handle. This novel is neither pro nor anti-religion, and will appeal to fans of contemporary YA novels that explore deep themes with an element of humor. The voice and characters are funny, strong, and full of heart. This is a book for anyone who loved Saved!



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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