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Pitch Wars 2017 Team Interview: Greg Pattridge and mentor, Gabrielle Byrne & Jason Robbins and mentors Sharon M. Johnston and Stacey Nash

Monday, 11 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 . . .

Greg Pattridge – Mentee



Gabrielle Byrne – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Greg, why did you choose to submit to Gabrielle?

I didn’t. Gabrielle Byrne was chosen for me and I couldn’t be happier. The juggling of possible mentees must be like the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. My original mentor choices bounced by name over to Gabrielle and she latched onto my story. For me it was like finding a gift I never expected.

Gabrielle, why did you choose Greg’s manuscript?

Greg’s book is a historical–one of the things on my wish list. It’s a coming-of-age story about two best friends during the Kennedy Presidency (and assassination) who are trying to break out of Catholic school. In the tradition of WEDNESDAY WARS, and HOLES, it has incredible voice, a wonderfully unique and rich setting, and great internal and external stakes, with tension in every chapter. On top of all that, it has tons of fall-over-laughing moments, that make the characters engaging and sympathetic. I couldn’t put it down.

Greg, summarize your book in 3 words.

Humorous. Historical. Hopeful.

Gabrielle, summarize Greg’s book in 3 words.

Historical. Hysterical. Friendship.

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

I believe some of my writing skills were inherited from my journalist dad. He wrote many human-interest stories in his career, but I took a different route. Despite not having any children myself I’ve more than made up with that by teaching and mentoring the middle grade age group—20 years in the classroom and 19 years mentoring kids in the Big Brothers-Big Sister’s program. This meant sharing my love of middle grade books with every young person I’ve gotten to know and reviewing MG books on my blog, ALWAYS in the MIDDLE.

Story ideas come easy for me and I continue to learn the craft of writing from published books, conferences, and critique groups. One can never stop learning and getting better. BAD HABITS is my attempt to bring a time period to life (The week in late November, 1963 when our nation lost a President). The tough part was balancing that tragedy with humor as two boys implement a crazy plan to convince their parents to pull them out of a private Catholic school and enroll in what they perceive as heaven—public school. Humor pulls young readers in and if they happen to learn a few things about the past then that’s a plus.

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

My debut, RISE OF THE DRAGON MOON, just got picked up by the Macmillan imprint, Imprint.


Next up is . . .

Jason Robbins – Mentee



Sharon M. Johnston – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Stacey Nash – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Jason, why did you choose to submit to Sharon and Stacey?

Not only where they looking for #ownvoices, but also a lot of the geeky/nerdy elements my MS has.

Stacey, why did you and Sharon choose Jason’s manuscript?

We connected with the main character, fell in love with the voice/humour, and were gripped by the plot.

Jason, summarize your book in 3 words.

Nerdy Autistic Friendship

Stacey, summarize Jason’s book in 3 words.

Autistic gamer girl

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

I’m a nerd who was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) a few years ago. I love gaming and nerd/geek culture and am thrilled to be able to include those elements into my MS. Not only does my MS give another authentic autistic voice to the community, but it does so with humor and a focus on friendship. So many books do a great job explaining what it’s like to be on the spectrum, but mine attempts this with comedy at the forefront. Thanks for asking. 😀

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

I’m incredibly shy, even online when I can hide behind a keyboard.


Our mentors’ latest releases…

Pretend… (Oxley College Saga) by Stacey Nash

iBooksAmazonBarnes & Noble

Savannah West had it all: popularity, good grades and a family who loved her, but how quickly things can change. Living half a state away doesn’t stop the painful memories of her past ripping her heart in two. And sometimes lies are easier than coping with the truth.

The thing she didn’t bank on was Dane Beaumont. A blast from her horrendous past, he’s the last person she expected to run into at college … and it’s not just because he knows the truth. Hot as sin, he’s more off limits than generic brand clothing, but staying away isn’t easy when he insists on looking out for her. Dealing with the reality of idea of her place in the world, Savvy must face the guy who tears down all her carefully placed walls and pull herself together. It’s time to grow up.


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is November 1-7, and our next #PitMad is December 1st!

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