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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Katie Tunning and her mentor, Alice Stephens

Sunday, 20 January 2019  |  Posted by Lisa Leoni

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 . . .

Katie Tunning – Mentee

Alice Stephens – Mentor

Alice Stephens


Alice, why did you choose Katie?

Her writing is beautiful, she has an exquisite knack for getting inside her characters’ heads, she paints a rich portrait of Vienna in the 17th century, and her manuscript was enough of a mess that it needed some help.

Katie, why did you choose to submit to Alice?

In her PW blog hop post Alice said she was interested in literary fiction, was a blunt critic with high standards, and was allergic to GIFs. That is all pretty much how I roll, too, so I thought we might work well together. Also the picture of her dog, who appears to be a beleaguered wizard, was very persuasive.

Alice, summarize Katie’s book in 3 words.

Austrian Empire bromance

Katie, summarize your book in 3 words.

…Austrian naturalist frenemies?

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

My voice is terrible but I love to sing karaoke.

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

Well, a better, truer, more cohesive manuscript, of course. Publishable might be nice, but I’ll take things one step at a time. And I hope also skills that will carry over to future projects — especially the vision to see what really matters in the story and the confidence to carve away the rest.

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

The story is set in 19th century Vienna, leading up to the Springtime of the Peoples in 1848. I haven’t found many other stories taking place in that time period, so I guess that is something novel (oho) about it. Of course as I did more and more research I realized the reason there aren’t many other stories in a similar setting might be because the political context is complex and knotty and the revolution doesn’t exactly end in an inspiring way. But that’s kind of an interesting challenge. Somewhere in there is a story, and I hope I can dig it out.

Check out Alice’s latest release, FAMOUS ADOPTED PEOPLE …

Lisa Pearl is an American teaching English in Japan and the situation there―thanks mostly to her spontaneous, hard-partying ways―has become problematic. Now she’s in Seoul, South Korea, with her childhood best-friend Mindy. The young women share a special bond: they are both Korean-born adoptees into white American families. Mindy is in Seoul to track down her birth mom, and wants Lisa to do the same. Trouble is, Lisa isn’t convinced she needs to know about her past, much less meet her biological mother.

She’d much rather spend time with Harrison, an almost supernaturally handsome local who works for the MotherFinder’s agency. When Lisa wakes up inside a palatial mountain compound, the captive of a glamorous, surgically-enhanced blonde named Honey, she soon realizes she is going to learn about her past whether she likes it or not. What happens next only could in one place: North Korea.


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.

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