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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Margie Fuston and her mentors, Kimberly Gabriel and Dawn Ius

Friday, 14 December 2018  |  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 . . .

Margie Fuston – Mentee


Kimberly Gabriel – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Dawn Ius – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Kimberly and Dawn, why did you choose Margie?

Margie’s high-concept hook snagged us immediately. A girl who’s so desperate to save her dying father that she heads to New Orleans in search of a vampire to save him? The second we read her premise, we were texting about her entry. Then once we read Margie’s emotionally gripping first chapter, we simply had to read the rest of the story. Margie is a brilliant writer, and as we quickly discovered, a lovely person. Her story had us laughing and crying at different parts. But it’s Margie’s characters that pulled us in from that first page and never really let us go.

Margie, why did you choose to submit to Kimberly and Dawn?

Even though my Pitch Wars book is contemporary, the first thing that attracted me to Dawn and Kimberly’s wishlist was their love of thrillers. Everything they mentioned wanting were things I definitely loved to read so I knew we had similar taste. Plus they wanted non-sparkly vampires. Oh, and they mentioned loving wine and Adam Levine gifs—can’t go wrong there. They seemed like my kind of people, and I’m happy to report they’re as awesome as I suspected.

Kimberly and Dawn, summarize Margie’s book in 3 words.

love, desperation, vampires

Margie, summarize your book in 3 words.

Do vampires exist?

Kimberly and Dawn, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Kimberly: I’ve wanted to publish my own book since fourth grade, when I gave the same holiday gift to everyone I knew: a collection of my poems hand-bound by those sliding bar report covers that were really big in the eighties. Titled It’s Nice to Be Free, my mini-anthology featured a poem about vampire babies and included the kind of laughable poetry only my mom could be proud of.

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

I want my story to be the best I can make it, and I know my mentors will help me get it there. Of course there are other things I hope to get: new writer friends, improved revision skills, an agent. I’m hopeful many good things will come from this!

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

I’m lucky enough to teach creative writing part-time at a university, but I’ve also been working in construction and flipping houses since I was sixteen. When I’m not doing one of those things, I’m probably writing with one of my five cats acting as supervisor.

In my Pitch Wars book, my main character’s dad has pancreatic cancer and there are no more treatment options. Her mom believes in statistics. Her dad believes in God. Both want her to accept the inevitable. But she turns to the one thing she’s always secretly hoped was real: vampires. Armed with research and hope, she travels to New Orleans in search of a vampire to save her dad.

I lost one of the most important people in my life to pancreatic cancer when I was close to my main character’s age, and while I never went vampire hunting, the way the character deals with her grief and fights to believe in even the most improbable cures is based on my own experience. It is one of the most personal books I’ve ever written, which also made it the hardest book I’ve ever written. I cried during the process more than I care to admit, but I hope it helps anyone else who’s experienced the same desperate grief.

Check out Kimberly’s upcoming release, EVERY STOLEN BREATH …

Sara Bierling at Blink has bought Every Stolen Breath, a YA thriller by debut author Kimberly Gabriel. In suburban Chicago, a rotating cast of teenagers has been attacking their victims in packs. No one knows why the swarm attacks or where they come from; all 16-year-old Lia knows is that the next target is her. The story is inspired by the real-life “flash mob” violence that has been taking place in Chicago since 2011. Publication is planned for fall 2019; Jennifer Herrera at the David Black Agency brokered the deal for world rights.

Add it to Goodreads!

Check out Dawn Ius’s recent release, LIZZIE …

From acclaimed author Dawn Ius comes an edge-of-your-seat reimagining of one of the most chilling mysteries in modern history—Lizzie Borden.

Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Borden has never been kissed. Polite but painfully shy, Lizzie prefers to stay in the kitchen, where she can dream of becoming a chef and escape her reality. With tyrannical parents who force her to work at the family’s B&B and her blackout episodes—a medical condition that has plagued her since her first menstrual cycle—Lizzie longs for a life of freedom, the time and space to just figure out who she is and what she wants.

Enter the effervescent, unpredictable Bridget Sullivan. Bridget has joined the B&B’s staff as the new maid, and Lizzie is instantly drawn to her artistic style and free spirit—even her Star Wars obsession is kind of cute. The two of them forge bonds that quickly turn into something that’s maybe more than friendship.

But when her parents try to restrain Lizzie from living the life she wants, it sparks something in her that she can’t quite figure out. Her blackout episodes start getting worse, her instincts less and less reliable. Lizzie is angry, certainly, but she also feels like she’s going mad…

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lizzie-Dawn-Ius/dp/1481490761
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29543148-lizzie


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 6 – 11, 2019. We hope you’ll join us to support our teams on the Twitter hashtag #PitchWars.


Filed: Interviews

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