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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Linda Kao and her mentors, Heather Ezell and Rachel Griffin

Wednesday, 30 January 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 . . .

Linda Kao – Mentee


Heather Ezell – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Rachel Griffin – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Heather and Rachel, why did you choose Linda?

We knew we’d found something special as soon as we landed on Linda’s submission—the concept of A CROOKED MARK is so fresh and engaging with a slice of paranormal that tugged on our nostalgia. It’s fun and exciting, while also tackling some tough subjects and exploring moral ambiguity. And the first chapter? It’s wonderfully gruesome and gripping with a stellar hook. But moreover, when we reached out to Linda about how open she’d be to a massive revision, she was both game to rise to the occasion while also extremely thoughtful about it; it was clear she wasn’t jumping to please us but had really chewed on our suggestions. We’re so excited to be working with her!

Linda, why did you choose to submit to Heather and Rachel?

Heather and Rachel’s wish list fit my manuscript so well, and their enthusiasm for Pitch Wars basically jumped off the page! They listed several different strengths in areas where I need help, such as worldbuilding and keeping the tension high, and I could see how they would be a fantastic team. I loved what they said about their mentoring style, especially their promise to really push their mentee on the revision process (with lots of cheering and support, of course!). Finally, they just seemed like nice people. And they are!!

Heather and Rachel, summarize Linda’s book in 3 words.

Fire; Identity; Choice

Linda, summarize your book in 3 words.

Discovery, Deception, Fire

Heather and Rachel, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Heather: My debut, Nothing Left to Burn, released this past March and I’m STILL in thrilled disbelief. I often eat chocolate before 9 a.m. and I prefer -20 degrees over 80.

Rachel: Last year I was on the local news talking about my experience flying down to Oregon and watching the total solar eclipse from 17,000 feet. It was fun being on the news, but I still regret not slipping a well-timed TWILIGHT reference into the interview!

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

I am hoping for someone to help me move forward on a manuscript that I love but know needs more. When Rachel and Heather first emailed me about a major possible revision, it just clicked. They GOT my story. I already feel I’m growing as a writer through their suggestions, edit letter, book recommendations, and answers to the questions I ask. My biggest hope for this experience is to emerge as a better writer, and with their help, I’m convinced I will!

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

At its heart, A CROOKED MARK is about choosing your own path, regardless of your past or expectations. In a way, it’s reflective of my writing journey thus far. I’ve written a few short stories that are sweet and gentle, and I love them. Still, I wondered what else I might write if I really just let go. You know that feeling like something else is there if only you were brave enough to peel back the layers? I finally started peeling, and I wound up somewhere dark and gritty with a little bit of Lucifer and a lot of lies.

And fire. Don’t forget the fire.

There are definitely days when sweet and gentle still rule, but I’m enjoying finding my path and making it mine.  

Check out Heather’s latest release, NOTHING LEFT TO BURN…

The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate. 

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey–and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels–both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.
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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