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Pitch Wars 2017 Team Interview: Allison Barnard and her mentors, Heather Van Fleet & Jessica Calla

Wednesday, 6 September 2017  |  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 on November 1st-7th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2017 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have . . .


Allison Barnard — Mentee



Heather Van Fleet – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Jessica Calla – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Allison, why did you choose to submit to Heather and Jessica?

When I picked my mentors, I really like the energy and positive, fun vibe I got from your bios but your qualifications also let me know that I’d learn a lot from both of you. I also wanted to try and nab a team of mentors as a two for one kind of deal. More eyes means more ideas and hopefully more improvement 🙂 More than anything, I want to learn as much as I can and having a team of two mentors instead of one gives me that opportunity.

Heather and Jessica, why did you choose Allison’s manuscript?

We chose Ali’s book, MOONSWORN, because we loved her idea for her paranormal heroine and her hot, wolf sex scenes! Ali is a wonderful writer, with a lot of raw talent that we couldn’t wait to work with!

Allison, summarize your book in 3 words.

werwolf veterinarian, sex

Heather and Jessica, summarize Allison’s book in 3 words.

Sexy paranormal romance

Allison, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

I’m a published indie author, mom of two, wife, and horse trainer in my spare time. At one point, I was studying to be a veterinarian but now work in the pharmaceutical industry.

My inspiration for this book came from a few sources. I love both Paranormal romances and Urban Fantasy but all the books I’ve read save for a few authors (like Patricia Briggs and E.A. Copen) have heroines that either immediately let the hero save the day from the start or cave without too much of a fight despite being portrayed as a bad ass in every other aspect of their lives. I got frustrated and decided to write the opposite: a loud, foul mouthed, stubborn, and largely disliked heroine. I gave Kel full rein, no filter. It was a lot of fun writing a character like that. I know werewolves are almost overdone, but I wanted to be a veterinarian at one time, even took some classes for it, so I decided to draw on that knowledge. You don’t see too many supernaturals in the medical field, and writing the scenes with Kel interacting with the animals had me cracking up a lot. Besides, who better to deal with creatures with animalistic features than a veterinarian? It’s not like supernaturals can go to a hospital to get a limb reset.

Heather and Jessica, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Heather Van Fleet is stay-at-home-mom turned book boyfriend connoisseur. She’s a wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom to three little girls, and in her spare time you can find her with her head buried in her Kindle, guzzling down copious amounts of coffee.

Heather graduated from Black Hawk College in 2003 with an associate degree and has been working in the publishing industry for over five years. She’s represented by Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary.

Jessica Calla is a contemporary romance and women’s fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she’s not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you’ll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once).

Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She is a mentor in the PitchWars contest, helping new writers improve their manuscripts. A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.



Releases 11/7


I’m in love with a woman I can’t have, and there’s absolutely nothing I can do to stop myself from falling.
The problem? Her brother’s my best friend.

I shouldn’t want her this much. Not when it goes against the bro code. Not when I’ve never been able to commit to a woman for longer than a night.

But one look into her eyes and I’m a mess for her. She’s my everything. And I have to walk away with nothing.

SHE WANTS IT ALL by Jessica Calla


Happy to sing cover songs with his band and float through New Jersey University with little to no effort, Dave Novak spends the first week of college partying. Then he meets Maggie Patrinski. Performing on stage in front of hundreds is easy for Dave, but the mere thought of Maggie sends his heart racing and turns him into a bumbling idiot. Even so, he can’t get her out of his mind.

Maggie’s not exactly thrilled when her roommate sets her up with Second Floor Dave, the hottie with a reputation. Not only has she just had her heart broken, but she’s vying for a competitive summer internship and studying to become a vet. She doesn’t have time for guys and isn’t interested in falling in love, especially when she may be moving across the country for the summer.

But as Maggie gets to know Dave, his charm wins her over and she falls hard and fast. The problem? Maggie has goals, Dave doesn’t. Maggie studies, Dave doesn’t. Maggie wants it all, Dave only wants her. With their summer plans up in the air and past mistakes creeping back into their lives, their future together is uncertain. The only thing they’re sure of is that when they’re together, they’re better.


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And remember, there’s a #PitMad Twitter pitch party on September 7th.

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