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Pitch Wars Interview with Faith Hough and her mentor Joy McCullough

Monday, 3 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 . . .


Faith Hough – Mentee

Twitter | Website

Joy McCullough

Joy McCullough – Mentor

Twitter Website

Faith: Why did you choose Joy?

I’d heard people talk about Pitch Wars before, but on the day I finally decided to click over to Brenda’s site, the first thing I saw was the links to mentors’ wish lists. Joy was the first MG mentor listed, so I clicked her name…and decided, “I NEED to enter this contest because I want this writer to help me with my book!” Even in that one post, it was clear that Joy and I had a lot in common and very similar tastes in books. My story is about a homeschooling family, and I’d been feeling nervous that no one would ever want to read about that very under-represented group of children. So when I saw that Joy was hoping to see books about homeschoolers, that settled it. As it turns out, we have much more in common than that, so working with her has been an incredible pleasure.

Joy: Why did you choose Faith?

I had lots of fantastic subs, but from the very first pages of Faith’s marvelous book, I was head over heels for the voice. I don’t want to overuse the Penderwicks comp, because Faith’s book stands on its own. But Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks books are some of my all time favorite books of any category, and their timeless feel and family-focused, relationship-driven stories are SO deceptively difficult to nail. Faith’s book nailed that feel while making it her own, and sustained it throughout a manuscript I couldn’t put down. (It was a bonus when I did a bit of stalking and found Faith and I have a lot in common!)

Faith: Summarize your book in three words.

Old-fashioned Newfangled Girls!

Joy: Summarize Faith‘s book in three words.

Voice, Heart, Sisters!

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

My manuscript and my life have a lot in common! Both are very centered around family, particularly the life of a large, homeschooling family. Like one of my story’s main characters, I love old-fashioned things, so I spend a lot of time knitting, gardening, baking bread, handwriting letters, and trying to live life artfully. I have four daughters and a baby boy, and I hope to raise them all to be creative and loving and aware that they are capable of changing the world for the better.

As a kid, I always wished there were more books about girls like me; that is, girls growing up in large families (I wish I’d had The Penderwicks then!), or books about homeschoolers. There are more than twice as many homeschoolers now as when I was a kid (around 2 million children), and they need books that represent their lifestyle accurately and not like a problem to be fixed. That said, OLD-FASHIONED NEWFANGLED GIRLS is not a book about homeschooling–it’s about family and growing up in a quickly-changing world, and that’s something every middle grade child can identify with!

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

In OLD-FASHIONED NEWFANGLED GIRLS, one of the sisters is very technology-averse. I feel like Georgie would approve of the fact that I got my very first cell phone less than a year ago. (Or maybe she’d disapprove that I finally caved…)

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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