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A Pitch Wars Team Interview with T. James Belich and his mentor, G. Z. Schmidt

Thursday, 10 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 . . .

T. James Belich

T. James Belich – Mentee


G.Z. Schmidt

G.Z. Schmidt – Mentor

Website | Twitter


G.Z., why did you choose James?

His manuscript caught my attention right away. Animals trying to solve a murder mystery? Sign me up! I was immediately drawn in by the witty protagonist and the strong supporting characters, as well as the plot and pacing.

James, why did you choose to submit to G.Z.?

I was looking for a mentor with an interest in mysteries (anyone who mentioned THE WESTING GAME went to the top of my list!). When I read Gail’s wish list, she also said how much she loved animal narrators and so I knew right away I wanted to submit to her.

G.Z., summarize T. James’s book in 3 words.

Snake unravels mystery.

James, summarize your book in 3 words.

Winding way home

G.Z., tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I am what my husband calls an “indiscriminate foodie.” I absolutely love eating food… whether it’s a two-dollar hamburger from In-N-Out, or a seventy-dollar dish from a French restaurant. As long as it’s tasty, I’m down. One of the best parts of my day is deciding what to eat for lunch at work.

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

Fresh eyes! Especially with a mystery, it’s helpful to know which elements aren’t coming across clearly. I did several revisions prior to Pitch Wars, and l wanted help making the final push as I get my manuscript query-ready. I also love the community around Pitch Wars, and I look forward to reading some of the other amazing MG entries!

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

My manuscript is a middle grade mystery set in a zoo, featuring a snake as the detective character. Writing from her perspective is definitely different. I never realized before how many expressions have to do with arms and legs. My background is in the sciences, which has helped me make my MC more cool and calculating. I’ve been writing plays for many years (I also act), and so I have lots of practice with dialogue. Description, not so much. (Guess what one of Gail’s notes was? 🙂 )


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

We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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