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A Pitch Wars 2016 Success Interview with Carrie Ann DiRisio and her mentor, Rebecca Yarros

Tuesday, 1 August 2017  |  Posted by Heather Cashman



Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests around here is hearing about successes. Today we celebrate Carrie Ann DiRisio and her Pitch Wars mentor Rebecca Yarros! Carrie Ann recently signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency, and she already landed a book deal with Sky Pony Press. So please join me in congratulating Carrie Ann and Rebecca as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story.

Carrie Ann, what was it about Rebecca that made you choose to send them a Pitch Wars application?

Rebecca’s honesty, sincerity, and dedication to her craft really impressed me. Plus, not only does she write swoonworthy heroes, she has great taste in music!

Rebecca, what was it about Carrie Ann’s BROODING YA HERO that hooked you?

Carrie’s voice hooked me from the start. Within the first page, I knew she was going to be my pick. The concept was great, of course, and I really felt that in just those few pages, Carrie gave her heroine the feel and depth of such a real person, a girl I’d love to be friends with.

Carrie Ann, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars?

It was awesome and intense. I worked harder and faster in those edits than ever before. Rebecca helped me hone my voice and taught me a ton about plot structure. I’m still learning when I re-read her notes or recall those late night talks!

Rebecca, tell us about your experience mentoring Carrie Ann.

Carrie definitely had a vision for how she wanted her manuscript. It was fun to see her passion and commitment to her work! We had tons of late night skype calls (with wine of course), and she never ceased to amaze me with her dedication to her story and craft.

Carrie Ann, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it.

After Pitch Wars, I queried Melissa Edwards of Stonesong Literary Agency. I knew we were going to be a great fit, because she has an honesty and a focus to her that, I, as someone who works in business in my day job, really appreciated. Also, I will always consider san pellegrino limonata to be my lucky drink, cause that was what I was nervously sipping when she called! I celebrated by going out to my favorite diner with friends, where we ate mac&cheese and I babbled incoherently.


After her agent experience, Carrie Ann got a book deal with Sky Pony! We’re so excited for her!

You can check out Broody and the things he whispers to Carrie at the Twitter link below. And you can pre-order from Carrie’s website.


Carrie Ann, how do you feel Pitch Wars helped with your success?

It helped me learn that I am not the sole overlord of my creative process–that sometimes it’s good to listen to outside advice. It also taught me to push myself even harder.

Now for some fun! The following questions are for you both to answer.

If you could live in any fictional world and take everything you love with you, where would you choose to live? What would you do there? And why this world?

Carrie Ann: Ellen Kushner’s Riverside, but only if I could live with the nobles on the Hill. They drink chocolate, have amazing gowns, throw great parties with duels… I would have SO much fun getting into trouble.

Rebecca: I would jump right into the world of Harry Potter. Then I’d beg Mrs. Weasley to help me out with one of those clocks so I could keep tabs on my kids! I love magic, and would definitely get a kick out of apparating everywhere!

Somewhere in the (known or unknown) universe, you’re in a high-speed chase and have to escape the bad guys. Who are you running from and what fictional character is your side-kick?

Carrie Ann: I’m running from a very messy kitchen (because who has time for dishes) and Han Solo is my side kick (I think I’m a great upgrade for him from Chewie)

Rebecca: Hmmm… I’m running from Damien Darhk and have Oliver Queen at my side. Because Arrow is life. 😉

What do you think is the most fascinating invention from fiction and what book is it from?

Carrie Ann: Sirius Black’s flying motorcycle, because it somehow made motorcycles even more badass.

Rebecca: The Deluminator from Harry Potter. Mostly because I really hate when I forget to turn off the light and I’m already snuggled into the couch for a binge-fest!

Share with us your writing process. Do you write everyday, in sprints, early in the morning, in the bath, pen and paper? What works for you?

Carrie Ann: Every morning, from 6am on, with coffee and a piece of chocolate to bribe myself out of bed. I also squeeze in time at lunch and in the evening. What works for me is drafting in the morning and revising what I wrote later in the day.

Rebecca: I typically write every night (when my kids are asleep), in sprints with a partner so I can be accountable. I can’t seem to do it properly without a cup of coffee and a glass of ice water, lol!

You have one day to finish the last pages of your next bestselling novel. What food/drinks do you get and where do you go hide out to meet the deadline?

Carrie Ann: A bed and breakfast on the isle of Skye, which is the most serenely remote location I’ve ever been. But, because I’m secretly 12, I will need Pepsi and gummi worms.

Rebecca: I wrote about 26K words of Rebel in a hotel over three days, surviving on Starbucks and room service, so I’ll say that!

What or who keeps you motivated, inspired, or is your biggest support to keep writing?

Carrie Ann: Myself! I’m incredibly driven, and set goals for myself to achieve every minute, every day. I don’t feel like myself when I’m not writing.

Rebecca: My husband. He’s my biggest supporter, the one who always picks up the slack when I’m lost to deadineville, and always pushes me to be better and be happy.

Please, share any last words you would like to add.

Carrie Ann: Pitch Wars was an incredible, unforgettable experience. If you get picked, enter with an open mind and a kind heart! If you don’t get picked, don’t give up!

Thank you for sharing your Pitch Wars Success Story with us! CONGRATULATIONS!


carrie ann

Carrie Ann DiRisio

Website: CreativelyCarrie.com
Twitter: @broodingYAhero |@writer_carrie
Carrie Ann DiRisio is a YA writer and creator of @BroodingYAHero. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA with one large fluffy cat, and is currently pursuing her masters in Digital Marketing, although her true dream is to become a Disney Villainess, complete with a really snazzy gown.
In addition to writing and plans for world domination, she also enjoys running, coffee, Krav Maga, and knitting.

rebecca yarros

Rebecca Yarros

Twitter | Website

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and a lover of all things coffee, chocolate, and Paleo. She is the author of the Flight & Glory series, including Full Measures, the award-winning Eyes Turned Skyward, Beyond What is Given, and Hallowed Ground. Her new Renegade Series features Wilder and the upcoming Nova, and is sure to keep your heart pounding. She loves military heroes, and has been blissfully married to hers for fourteen years.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying hockey skates for her four sons, sneaking in some guitar time, or watching brat-pack movies with her two daughters. She lives in Colorado with the hottest Apache pilot ever, their rambunctious gaggle of kids, an English bulldog who is more stubborn than sweet, and a bunny named General Fluffy Pants who torments the aforementioned bulldog. They recently adopted their youngest daughter from the foster system, and Rebecca is passionate about helping others do the same.


One Comment
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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