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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Jumata Emil and his mentor, Michaela Greer

Saturday, 26 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 . . .

Jumata Emil – Mentee


Michaela Greer – Mentor

Website | Twitter

(Mentor), why did you choose (Mentee)?

Jumata’s query read like a love letter to my wish list—the mystery, the teenage sleuths, the secrets, the murder. I knew before I got his full that his book was special. It was the book I kept coming back to over and over again. I saw myself in more than one of his characters and knew readers would too. Book aside, I knew Jumata would be the mentee of my dreams. He’s collaborative, hard-working, creative, and inventive. The world’s truly not ready for what he’s cooked up. I have dreams about the places Jumata’s going and I’m just honored to be along for this part of the ride.

(Mentee), why did you choose to submit to (Mentor)?

Michaela’s Wish List just spoke to my manuscript. A lot of the elements she wanted to see in a YA mystery were included in my story: “southern setting, mystery solving friend group, tackles an Issue (A BLM mystery thriller what!? Gimmie)”. When I read that, I literally said out loud, “This is the one!” Her mentoring style and the revision plan she outlined in her Wish List solidified her being my number one pick. I just figured we’d gel and I wasn’t wrong!

(Mentor), summarize (Mentee)’s book in 3 words.

Mysterious, Uncompromising, Necessary

(Mentee), summarize your book in 3 words.

Relevant, haunting and fun.

(Mentor), tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I think I mentioned my D1 athletics days in my Pitch Wars bio but I started running track when I was six-years-old and didn’t stop until I was twenty-two. I ran the 100 meter hurdles in college but I didn’t see much competition time because I had 3 stress fractures in 4 years. I lived in a walking boot I nicknamed “The General,” and glued googly eyes, a mustache, and eyebrows to the front to spice things up. Needless to say the only way you can get me to run now is a sale at Target or 50% off Michael’s coupon.

(Mentee), what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

To become part of a writing community that’s not only encouraging, but challenging as well, and that had already started happening before the 2018 mentee class was announced. The Pitch Wars community truly is pretty awesome. I’m also hoping I walk away from this experience a little bit more confident and resilient for what lies ahead as I try to get a agent and hopefully a book deal to fulfill the publishing dreams I’ve had since I was eight years old.

(Mentee), tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I tend to write the kinds of stories I wanted to read growing up. When I was kid, there were hardly any books for my age group featuring main characters that looked like me, talked like me, or feared the same things I did. I also believe highlighting the black experience in America doesn’t always have to be a tortured story of abject loss and reflection. You can still address social ills in a well-crafted mystery/thriller. And that’s what my manuscript tries to do: start a conversation we need to be having, but in a way that doesn’t come off preachy.


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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