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


Pitch Wars Interview with Emmy Neal and her mentor, Brianna Shrum

Thursday, 6 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  . . . 


Emmy Neal – Mentee

Twitter | Website




Brianna Shrum – Mentor



Emmy: Why did you choose Brianna Shrum?

There are So. Many. Reasons. why Brianna was top of my list. The first being–she wanted an anti-heroine! A lot of people prefer their heroes on the side of goodness and light, but my main character lives firmly in the morally grey realm and that was first thing on her wish list!

Bri also writes some brutal romantic tension, something I adore above all else but struggle to execute in my own writing, and her books always have great characters with complex relationships. My book looks a lot about what you’re willing to do for the people you love, and I knew that she could help give that theme more oomph and she wouldn’t shy away from my anti-heroine doing dark things.

Brianna: Why did you choose Emmy Neal and Bonewood?

Emmy’s story was just one I absolutely could not get out of my head. The writing is lyrical and just wickedly atmospheric, plus it put me in the mind of kind of a terrifying ancient Scotland, and being of Scottish and Irish heritage myself, anything Celtic is my kryptonite. Plus, it gave me the excuse to read the whole this in a Scottish accent haha! What it came down to was these gorgeous characters I swooned so hard for and was a little horrified of at the same time. And the book just sank into my bones, and my bones left me with no choice but to pick this story.

Emmy: Summarize your book in three words.

Monsters. Blood. Consequences.

Brianna: Summarize Emmy’s book in three words.

Haunting. Gorgeous. Bone-deep.

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

My novel BONEWOOD is basically if Scorpio Races and Stranger Things had a YA fantasy baby. It’s diverse and lyrical and vicious and romantic, but mostly it’s all about how far we’d go for family and all the consequences that follow those choices.

I teach research and writing in the Undergraduate Library at the University of Illinois and attend their Master’s of Library and Information Science program, where I get to read young adult novels and call it homework. I have excessive love for mythology, my three dogs, and Broadway musicals.

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

Oh man, I’m such an open book on social media that I feel like people are like, “Literally we know what Brianna had for breakfast; there is NOTHING we do not know.” *thinks* Let’s see. OH how about this? I am super musical! I think Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin has the sexiest voice of ALL time, and when I’m not writing or gaming, I’m playing and singing Zeppelin on my mandolin or piano. I also love playing classical, movie soundtracks, and super distorted rock on my electric violin, which is bright cherry red and shaped like a Flying V. No one ever believes me when I say it’s a violin. IT IS.


Check out Brianna Shrum’s latest release . . .

HOW TO MAKE OUT (Sky Pony Press, September 6, 2016)

Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

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.

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.