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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Madeleine Dresden and mentors, Swati Teerdhala and Roseanne A. Brown

Tuesday, 29 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 . . .

Madeleine Dresden
Madeleine Dresden
Swati Teerdhala
Swati Teerdhala
Website | Twitter
Roseanne A. Brown
Roseanne A. Brown

Swati and Roseanne, why did you choose Madeleine?

AND BREAK THE PRETTY KINGS hit so many checkmarks on our #TeamTigerWraiths list! It was this captivating tale about magic, family and the secrets we hide all wrapped up in a beautifully written, intricate world inspired by Korean mythology. The minute both of us read the beginning pages we knew we had something special. We could also easily see how we could help revise and felt inspired to work with Madeleine to make the manuscript the best it could be!

Madeleine, why did you choose to submit to Swati and Roseanne?

As soon as I saw the words “Team Tiger Wraiths” scrawled across my mentors’ bio page, I wanted to know everything about Rosie and Swati! And when I read that they wanted to be the Shang to their mentee’s Mulan, I was 100% sold on this dynamic duo. Not only were they clearly awesome human beings, but I also needed exactly what they were offering: help with building a non-Western world and with boosting the emotional climax of my story. They are enthusiastic and thorough—everything I could hope for!

Swati and Roseanne, summarize Madeleine’s book in 3 words.

There’s so many amazing things going on in this book, like lake monsters and jaw-dropping magic and a Game of Thrones level epic worldbuilding….but we’re gonna go with “Time-travelling ass-kicking Princess.”

Madeleine, summarize your book in 3 words.

Korean Arthurian Lore

Swati and Roseanne, tell us about yourselves. Something we may not already know.

Swati: I grew up in Dallas, Texas and have a deep love for Dallas sports, despite how determined the teams are to disappoint me. I started writing young but never saw it as something that was for me, mostly because my experience and life were never represented. I’m so excited to see more of those stories being told and to be a part of putting them out into the world.

As for something you may not know… I love action movies, the campier the better! And superhero movies? I’m dead. Marvel is my jam, especially the X-men.

Rosie: I used to play lacrosse in high school! I had never played lacrosse before I saw the flyer a week before try-outs, but I borrowed a stick from my gym teacher, practiced my ass off for a week, and made the team! I wasn’t the best by a long-shot, but it was one of those super cool experiences that opened my eyes to the kinds of things a person can do when they push themselves out of their comfort zones.

I am also a huge, huge, HUGE fan of all things comic books and superheroes. DC, Marvel, indie comics, you name it, I love it. Anyone who wants to debate for five hours which Robin was the best Robin, hit me up. (Jason Todd. The answer is Jason Todd.)

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

I’m hoping that this mentorship will help me to evolve as a storyteller. Nothing compares to working intimately with talented professionals who “get” your book and have your back. This experience has been a huge boost to my confidence and to my understanding of story. One nice bonus I’m getting out of PW is being “forced” to get on the social media scene, where I’m finding that the writing community is so, so nice!

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

As a kid I was an avid reader, and because of that I rejected my Korean heritage. More than anything I wanted those piercing blue eyes and fiery red locks that seemed to define so many of my heroes. I wanted a Halloween costume that wasn’t considered race-bent, but that I could actually pull off because I had the “look” of a hero. I needed to know that Korean dokkaebi were as cool as selkies, and that hanboks were as breathtaking as ball gowns. It took me years to grow into my face and start picturing people who looked like me on book covers—being awesome.

And after getting my fill of European literature in college (which I loved), I discovered the recent push for #diversebooks and #ownvoice authors. These movements have really turned my world-view on its head and made me pumped to write stories that show Asian American teens that their myths and traditions are as epic as anybody else’s. That’s how AND BREAK THE PRETTY KINGS, which started off as a King Arthur retelling, slowly became a fusion of my two worlds, a decision that has been so right and healing. And now my book is a lot like me—we’re both in love with magic, we’re a little twisted, and we fully embrace the fact that we have Korea in our bones.

Check out Swati’s latest release, THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT!

The Tiger at Midnight
Pre-order on Amazon

A broken bond. A dying land. A cat-and-mouse game that can only end in bloodshed.

Esha lost everything in the royal coup—and as the legendary rebel known as the Viper, she’s made the guilty pay. Now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has only been growing more volatile.

When Esha and Kunal’s paths cross one fated night, an impossible chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces.

As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both the soldier and the rebel must decide where their loyalties lie: with the lives they’ve killed to hold on to or with the love that’s made them dream of something more.

Check out Roseanne’s upcoming release, A SONG OF WRAITHS AND RUIN!

A dual-POV YA fantasy steeped in West and North African folklore. A 17-year-old refugee, Malik, encounters a vengeful spirit that demands the death of Crown Princess Karina in exchange for the release of his captive sister. He disguises himself as a nobleman and enters a competition where he will be rewarded with Karina’s hand in marriage. Meanwhile, after the assassination of her mother, Karina uncovers a forbidden resurrection spell, but it has a steep cost.


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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