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Pitch Wars Interview with Ellie Luken and her mentors, Sarah Nicolas & Leigh Mar

Friday, 21 October 2016  |  Posted by Nikki Roberti

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 . . . 


Ellie Luken – Mentee



Sarah Nicolas – Mentor

Twitter | Website


Leigh Mar – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Ellie: Why did you choose Sarah and Leigh?

Honestly, my first time through the blog hop, I skipped their wish list because I had submitted to Sarah last year. Even though I was entering a completely different book this year, I thought it’d be safer to apply to mentors who’d never seen my writing before. But then Sarah tweeted that anyone with a YA lesbian fantasy had better submit to her (yeah, I’m paraphrasing) and also tweeted that people who’d subbed to her in the past shouldn’t assume she hated their writing. There were many reasons I’d submitted to her the year before like the fact that she’s one of the most experienced mentors, has a great track record with mentees, and has editing experience, and I was excited that she’d teamed up with a former mentee who’d be able to provide a different perspective (and Leigh interns for an agent, as well as being agented, so she’s pretty experienced as well!). So I slunk over to their wish list and reconsidered because their combined experience was so strong I knew I would’ve killed to work with them. They went on my list even though I thought it was a risky choice–but I guess it paid off!

Mentors: Why did you choose Ellie?

Sarah: Funny story: I get a tweet from Leigh that she’s marked a submission with the “Sarah interested” tag in our inbox. I’m like, really? I’m picky and hard to please, so I’m not sure, but I trust Leigh. So I open up the inbox and get actual chills reading the submission. I basically attacked Leigh via Twitter DMs asking why the full wasn’t in our inbox yet. When we get it, I start reading and am totally sucked in. I forget I’m supposed to be looking for things to edit because I’m just reading like I do for pleasure. There were others that were great, too, but VENDETTA OF MONSTERS stole my heart.

Leigh: I love love. I love revenge. I love stories with both and Ellie’s story has plenty of each. VENDETTA OF MONSTERS stood out in our inbox, it was fantastic from start to finish and we’re so excited to work with Ellie to take it from great to omg-you-won’t-be-able-to-set-it-down levels of greatness.

Ellie: Summarize your book in three words.

Love versus revenge

Mentors: Summarize Ellie’s book in three words.

Sarah: Magic Kickass Ladies

Leigh: ❤️worth fighting for (emojis don’t count as words! Loophole!)

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

When I’m not hiding away reading or writing, I love being active and traveling and living my own adventures and am honestly a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Just a little bit. My newest favorite non-book hobby is rock climbing because it combines an incredible physical challenge with a little bit of danger and sometimes beautiful locations outdoors. My ideal day would involve hiking and maybe throwing myself from cliffs and swimming in rivers and then curling up all alone at night to read because that’s just me.

When it comes to reading, I read a huge variety of genres, though I tend to prefer at least a slight speculative element. My favorite novels tend to be the ones that are a little on the darker side, that make me shiver or cry or feel like I’ve been punched in the gut. If a book rips out my heart and stomps on it, and then shoves it back in my chest still damaged, I’ll probably love it.

As for the ms, it’s really just a blend of things I love and is a book written for teenage me because I think she would’ve loved it (and also kind of needed it). It’s a little dark (see above, my reading preferences), a little violent, set in a country that has torn itself apart with monsters roaming the spaces between the cities. It’s about two girls who are pretty badass, but also trying and failing to live up to others’ expectations and feeling they aren’t good enough. Also, they’re secretly in love with each other.

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

Sarah: I have a degree in mechanical engineering. My move to college at 17yo was my 19th. I play wallyball (volleyball played in a racquetball court with a rubber ball) several nights a week. A picture of three-year-old me is on a Hallmark card.

Leigh: It is possible to be in two places at once. I’ve done it. I’d tell you how, but then…. 😉 Okay, fine, I’ll tell you. It was college, I convinced both of my majors to let me enroll in capstone classes that occurred at the exact same time and use my own discretion as to when I needed to show up to which. I actually did pretty well in both of them, despite never being a “school person” (I have 0 Ravenclaw chill).

Check out Sarah Nicolas’s latest release . . .

keepinghersecretKeeping Her Secret

The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.

Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.

Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.


GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble


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.


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