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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with Stacy Nockowitz and her mentors, Cindy Baldwin and Amanda Rawson Hill

Tuesday, 15 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 . . .

Stacy Nockowitz
Stacy Nockowitz
Cindy Baldwin
Cindy Baldwin
Website | Twitter
Amanda Rawson Hill
Amanda Rawson Hill
Website | Twitter

Cindy and Amanda, why did you choose Stacy?

Stacy’s pitch and opening chapter stood out to us right away as we were reading through our submissions. Her voice is one of the strongest, most engaging middle grade voices we’ve ever heard, and her book fills a gaping hole in the market—it’s a historical fiction about a Jewish boy that has nothing to do with the Holocaust. It’s hilarious and heartwarming, and has a big-family cast and family-business setting we adore. Plus, what isn’t to love about a good mobster story?

Stacy, why did you choose to submit to Cindy and Amanda?

Cindy and Amanda were the first mentors I was absolutely sure I wanted to submit to. I couldn’t decide on the other three. I kept saying to myself, “Okay, it’s Team Mascara Tracks and…?” My manuscript checked some of their wishlist boxes, and I loved that they were such genuinely kind, caring people. Plus, they’re fabulous writers. I felt certain that they wouldn’t just give me editing advice but would really teach me about the writing process in depth. And they have!

Cindy and Amanda, summarize Stacy’s book in 3 words.

Accidentally mafia-employed!

Stacy, summarize your book in 3 words.

Accidental Jewish gangster!

Cindy and Amanda, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Cindy: I’m the oldest of six kids, and the youngest three are triplets who are 12 years younger than I am! Being a big sister, and old enough to help raise so many of my siblings, has a huge influence on who I am as a writer. My heroines tend to take on, or be given, a lot of responsibility, because that’s the kind of upbringing I had.

Amanda: I grew up in Wyoming but I’ve never been skiing or snowboarding.

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

I’m truly learning about the craft of writing, which is what I hoped for more than anything. Of course, I’d love for my manuscript to catch the eye of the perfect agent, but I hope that the Pitch Wars experience changes the way I approach writing. I hope it helps me grow. I also like becoming part of a community of writers who offer honest advice, support, and encouragement.

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

I wanted to write a book that has an honest representation of American Jewish culture and also speaks to the issues that middle grade kids wrestle with every day. I’m a middle school librarian and teacher, and I just love this age group. I have a ton of respect for the bravery it takes adolescents to deal with issues like personal identity and finding their place in the world.

My grandparents owned a kosher hotel on the Atlantic City Boardwalk when I was a little girl. It was like a second home to me. With The Prince of Steel Pier, I want to use that unique setting to show a Jewish kid who, with the help of his family, finds his inner strength and his faith. Plus, having grown up in New Jersey, I know that throwing gangsters into the mix keeps the story lively!

Check out Cindy Baldwins’s recent release, WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW:

Fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and A Snicker of Magic will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade about a girl coming to terms with her mother’s mental illness.

When twelve-year-old Della Kelly finds her mother furiously digging black seeds from a watermelon in the middle of the night and talking to people who aren’t there, Della worries that it’s happening again—that the sickness that put her mama in the hospital four years ago is back. That her mama is going to be hospitalized for months like she was last time.

With her daddy struggling to save the farm and her mama in denial about what’s happening, it’s up to Della to heal her mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville, North Carolina, for generations.

But when the Bee Lady says that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain and more to do with healing her own heart, Della must learn that love means accepting her mama just as she is.

Check out Amanda Rawson Hill’s recent release, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC:

Magic doesn’t work the way you think it will, but it’s what Kate needs as she confronts friendship trouble, her parents’ divorce, and Grammy’s dementia in this lyrical middle-grade coming-of-age novel for fans of Half a Chance and The Same Stuff as Stars.

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic–believe, give, and trust–Kate can’t resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy’s advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving–of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don’t see them happen–will change Kate and her family forever.

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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