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Pitch Wars Interview with J.K. Smejkal and mentor Jessie Devine

Wednesday, 21 September 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 . . .


J.K. Smejkal – Mentee



Jessie Devine – Mentor


J.K: Why did you choose Jessie?

This is only easy question of the bunch! Jessie wanted YA with atmospheric world-building, dark themes, LGBTQIA+ representation, and romance, so I thought DEVIL’S CARAVAN would be a great fit.

Plus, as a mentor, his candor appealed to me. I wanted someone who’d be tough on my work, tear it apart, and hold me accountable. I expect to shed many tears during this revision, but it’ll be worth it!

Jessie: Why did you choose J.K.?

I chose Jeannette’s book because it is dark and atmospheric, and I was in love with the characters from page one. It also has queer rep. Basically, she delivered everything I asked for.

J.K.: Summarize your book in three words.

Jessie used adjectives, so I’ll add some nouns!

masks, delirium, loopholes

Jessie: Summarize J.K.’s book in three words.

dark, whimsical, powerful

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

Let’s see. I’m a first generation Canadian living in beautiful BC with my two kids (an aspiring unicorn and a magician-in-training) and my ever-patient husband. He’s the only realist in this family, bless him. Besides the cliched writer-staples like books, coffee, and solitude, I also love big trees, Lebanese food, and hoodies.

My background is diverse and includes social and environmental work (if I listed everything, this bio would be obnoxiously long). I’m marvelously liberal and nothing raises my hackles more than intolerance. It’s a complicated thing: people are my favorite, except when they’re not. 😛

So I write to try to make sense of the world, both the beautiful and the ugly. DEVIL’S CARAVAN is either a dark story deceptively dressed in glittering costumes, vibrant color, courage, and romance, or a hopeful one swathed in black magic, lies, and despair. It all depends on how you tilt your head. 😉

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

Ah, jeez. After the hamster incident, I don’t know if there’s anything left to tell. Let’s see, a fun fact. I have a fighting national championship title!

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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