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Pitch Wars Interview With Hilary Harwell and her mentor, Elly Blake

Friday, 2 October 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole

Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project.

Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.


Meet Elly Blake and Hilary Harwell

Team: #TeamEllyB

Elly BlakeElly Blake (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

I was lucky to have a mom who loved all things fantasy and I picked up that passion early. I still wish Narnia were real, along with Middle Earth, Prydain and now Mim from my mentee’s book, THE TRINKET GUARDIAN. (I would love to be friends with Oliver, Esme and Wilder.) I read a wide range of genres, but fantasy and romance are always my staples. I try to blend both in my writing, which is currently YA fantasy.

Hilary HarwellHilary Harwell (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a stay-at-home mom to three kiddos. In my previous life I was an anthropology major, sterling and mixed metal jewelry artist, and Cash Management Analyst at a major Swiss investment bank for eight years. I grew up in Connecticut, have lived in Jacksonville and Atlanta, and now call Colorado home.

I read just about everything – my twenties were spent reading non-fiction, primarily philosophy, but I gave that up when I decided I wanted to write kidlit. My thirties have been focused on fiction for obvious reasons—both for kids and adults. I love reading middle grade, YA, and am not afraid of dark, gritty subject matter, but my heart belongs to the fantasy classics I read as a kid (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis). Oh, and Stephen King’s IT. I still have issues with storm drains and clowns.

I write primarily middle grade fantasy – dark and whimsical – and atmospheric horror. Creeping kids out is fun!

Elly, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

The Pitch Wars community is one of the most vibrant, supportive writing communities out there and I feel so fortunate to be part of it. I’m forever thankful to Brenda Drake for the way Pitch Wars changed my life. I was thrilled to be asked to participate as a mentor.

Hilary, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

I chose to participate in Pitch Wars because it’s such an amazing opportunity to not only improve a manuscript, but to connect with other writers and hone my craft. Not to mention how well-recognized it’s become in the industry! Shout out to Brenda for that!

Elly, what are you most excited for?

I’m excited to help Hilary polish her already fantastic book, and to give other people the opportunity to meet her wonderful characters and visit her enchanting world. Pitch Wars is a high adrenaline ride, but it’s also a place to meet like-minded souls. I hope that everyone who entered, whether they were chosen as a mentee or not, makes some positive connections and stays plugged into a community that really wants them to succeed.

Hilary, what are you most excited for?

I’m most excited to dive into my manuscript and work with Elly’s incredible, insightful advice to tighten and sharpen and make it a really enjoyable story for my readers!

Hilary, describe your novel in 3 words.

Trinkets. Magic. Courage.

Elly, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.

Friendship saves worlds

Check Us Out …

Hilary Harwell

Hilary Harwell, Mentee

Twitter | Blog

Hilary is a thirty-something mother of three, wife, children’s writer and keeper of the universe’s most closely guarded secrets (sorta).  Generally optimistic and most-often smiling, she’s following her dream of being a published author (She’s already accomplished one of the other goals on the list of creative freedom – jewelry artist – you can see her work at My Etsy Site).

Elly Blake

Elly Blake, Mentor

Twitter | Website

Elly loves fairy tales, old houses, and owls. After earning a BA in English literature, she held a series of seemingly random jobs, including project manager, customs clerk, graphic designer, reporter for a local business magazine, and library assistant. She lives in Southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky mix who definitely shows Frostblood tendencies. Her work is represented by Suzie Townsend (with Jackie Lindert & Jaida Temperly) of New Leaf Literary & Media.


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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.

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