Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


Pitch Wars Interview with Cory Leonardo and her mentors, Amanda Hill & Cindy Baldwin

Monday, 17 October 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

PW Interviews

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 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have #TeamMascaraTracks! . . . 


Cory Leonardo – Mentee




Amanda Hill – Mentor

Twitter | Website



Cindy Baldwin – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Cory: Why did you choose to submit to Amanda and Cindy?

My gut said to. (Truth!) From the very beginning, Amanda and Cindy were my first choice. When I read their PW wish list I knew what I had wasn’t exactly what they were looking for genre-wise. However, everything else they’d written pointed to a possible match made in heaven, and I could tell we all loved a book that would make your heart crack open. #TeamMascaraTracks wanted big issues, emotional resonance, and hope, and I really felt like the stories of Alastair, Fritz, and Bertie afforded it. And if that didn’t happen to work, I took a chance on them falling in love with this crazy little cast of characters. I sure did. (By the way, the gut was right, as guts often are. Amanda and Cindy are THE BEST!)

Mentors: Why did you choose Cory?

Amanda: Cory’s poetry is beautiful and her knack for voice and funny asides with a big helping of heart reminded us of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN. We were hooked from the first pages.

Cindy: When we got Cory’s query, I was pretty sure it would be a quick pass—it just didn’t seem like my cup of tea. As soon as I opened the pages, though, I fell head-over-heels in love. Cory’s prose is crisp and witty while still being totally accessible to a middle grade audience, and her poetry is fantastic. When Amanda and I requested her synopsis and just reading THAT had us tearing up, we knew it was a keeper.

Cory: Summarize your book in three words.

Peevishness, Poetry, Pits

Mentors: Summarize Cory’s book in three words.

Amanda: Poetry, Parrots, and Pits

Cindy: Beauty through failure.

Cory: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?

I never took a creative writing class. (I have a degree in English.) Never even considered it. Writing was a bit too scary, a little too wild. I’d stick with the literature, thank you very much. Years later, knee-deep in diapers and soggy Cheerios, I spent a good deal of time soul-searching, and what followed was an epic struggle—one which left me with just a few minor flesh wounds, but also a freshly-realized writing dream tattooed on my heart. That was seven years ago, and I haven’t looked back since. Oh yes, and I like *short* walks on the beach (it gets hot), any sort of food really, and glass-blowing (I made up that part).

As for CALL ME ALASTAIR, I think what makes it unique—aside from the Humor/Literary mash-up and an interesting mix of narration, poetry, letters, and log entries—is its characters. Add one curmudgeon, one hypochondriac, and one slightly flighty but stubborn old bird and you’re in for a bumpy ride. Also, anytime you have a parrot eating poetry and subsequently reworking the likes of Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Wallace Stevens, and others, you know you’ve got something, well, different.

Mentors: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know.

Amanda: Ummmm, I can’t wink. Or fold my tongue. I pretty much fail at life.

Cindy: I kissed a dolphin in high school!


Check out some of Cindy Baldwin’s publications . . .


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And don’t forget to stop by the Agent Showcase starting November 3rd to see how our teams do in the final round.

Comments are closed.
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.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2021

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.