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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Leslie Gail and mentor, Susan Bishop Crispell

Sunday, 27 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 . . .

Leslie Gail
Leslie Gail
Website | Twitter
Susan Bishop Crispell
Susan Bishop Crispell
Website | Twitter

Susan, why did you choose Leslie?

I fell in love with the amazing voice and small-town charm of FRIED PIES AND SWEET LIES. It’s an adorable rom-com with depth and so much heart. And Leslie seemed like someone who could handle the intense revision of Pitch Wars with a positive attitude and tenacity. I could immediately see how to help make this book even stronger, and am so thrilled to see what Leslie can do with it over the next few months.

Leslie, why did you choose to submit to Susan?

Susan wanted someone who was open to a whole book makeover which is definitely what I needed. My manuscript also fit several of the things in her wish list; small towns, family drama, layered friendships, and of course food! I put her on my shortlist rather quickly, but what shot her to the very top was our interaction on the PW forums. I posted my first 250 words and she responded with just a couple of small changes that made my paragraph pop. If we could do that with only a few lines, I could only imagine the amazing things we could do with my manuscript. It also didn’t hurt that we geek out over some of the same fandoms. Oy with the poodles already!

I read and fell in love with her second book, Dreaming in Chocolate. (Go read it now!) It drew me in from the first line and didn’t let me go until the last page. It had been quite awhile since I’d been able to get lost in a book in that way and the possibility that I might get a chance to work with the person who created it, made me absolutely giddy!

Susan, summarize Leslie’s book in 3 words.

Sweet. Charming. Hopeful.

Leslie, summarize your book in 3 words.

Family Food Forgiveness

Susan, tell us about yourselves. Something we may not already know.

I am the author of the magical women’s fiction novels THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES (Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press, 2016), and DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2018). Since my books are chock full of delicious food, most of my research involves finding and making recipes on Pinterest.

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

To make this book the best it can be. This is revision number eleventy billion, but with my mentor’s help, I feel I am finally getting to the heart of my story and telling Charlie and Grace’s story as it is meant to be told.

Also, just being a member of this amazing community of writers has been an experience in itself. I feel a lot of life-long friendships are being forged already.

And if I got an agent at the end of it, that would be the cherry on top!

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

I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t been writing. My mother’s coworkers got a kick out of the stories I wrote as a kid so they “published” them on the office photocopier and sold them in the break room for fifty cents each.

In junior high, we had to write an original skit as a group project. Once we—cough—they were satisfied with the conclusion, I was supposed to make copies of it. Instead I took it home and rewrote the whole thing. My classmates weren’t happy with my takeover but we got an A on the project so they forgave me. Eventually.

As for the uniqueness of my manuscript… Many wonderful books have been set in the South and an equal amount set in Texas. Most people, perhaps, think of sweet tea and peaches with the former and rodeos and Tex-mex with the latter, but there are parts of Texas where the residents consider themselves both Texan and Southern. I grew up in such a town and there we drink sweet tea WITH our Tex-mex, then have a peach fried pie at the rodeo. Fried Pies and Sweet Lies is set in such a town and is centered around the town’s annual Fried Pie Contest.

Check out Susan’s latest release, DREAMING IN CHOCOLATE!

Dreaming in Chocolate book cover
Buy on Amazon

With an endless supply of magical gifts and recipes from the hot chocolate café Penelope Dalton runs alongside her mother, she is able to give her daughter almost everything she wants. The one sticking point is Ella’s latest request: get a dad. And not just any dad. Ella has her sights set on Noah Gregory, her biological father who’s back in town for a few months – and as charming as ever.

Noah broke Penelope’s heart years ago, but now part of her wonders if she made the right decision to keep the truth of their daughter from him. The other, more practical part, is determined to protect Ella from the same heartbreak. Now Penelope must give in to her fate or face a future of regrets.

Dreaming in Chocolate by Susan Bishop Crispell is a heartwarming story of love, hot chocolate, and one little girl’s wish for her mother.

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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