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Pitch Wars Interview with Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo and her mentors, Laura Shovan and Tricia Clasen

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 TEAM TLC . . .

J Zulick Ferruolo

Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo – Mentee

Twitter | Website


Laura Shovan1

Laura Shovan – Mentor

Twitter | Website



Tricia Clasen – Co-Mentor

Twitter | Website


Jeanne: Why did you choose Laura and Tricia?

Laura and Tricia had me at woohoo! (I am totally a Spartan fan!) Seriously, I am so honored (and still in disbelief) that Team TLC chose my manuscript, Ruby in the Sky to mentor. Laura and Tricia have so much talent and experience independently — together they are a Force! I was so impressed with their editing and writing experience and passion for storytelling that came across in their bio’s and their respective novels: Tricia’s: The Haunted House Project and Laura’s The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. From their wishlist, I could tell they would do such a thorough, thoughtful and in-depth critique. But most of all I felt a strong connection between the kind of writing they sought and the story I was trying to tell. When I read, “…the heart of a story is first in our hearts,” I knew Tricia and Laura were the perfect fit for Ruby and me. Standing on the cusp of two months of serious revision and hard work, I’d be lying to say I’m not a little terrified. But, with Team TLC by my side, I am fully confident that Ruby’s story will sing – pure and strong.

Laura & Tricia: Why did you choose (Mentee/MS)?

We asked for a quiet, heart-centered protagonist who struggles with real-life problems. That’s exactly what we found in Ruby Moon Hayes. Jeanne’s writing is rich, descriptive, and true-to-life. We connected with the characters from their first moments on the page. Ruby is definitely a character worth cheering for!

Jeanne: Summarize your book in three words.

Silent becomes brave.

Laura & Tricia: Summarize Jeanne’s book in three words.

Voice yields truth.

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

What makes Ruby in the Sky unique to me is that every character is drawn from personal experience — from painfully shy Ruby to reclusive Abigail to optimistic Ahmed. Even the magic and mystery of hand-feeding chickadees at an abandoned house each afternoon is something I did with my brother when we were kids.

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

Laura: I grew up with two teenage brothers from Bangkok. They lived with us until I was five years old. My parents are from the Bronx (Dad) and the U.K. (Mom), so having honorary older brothers from Thailand in our household made my early childhood culturally rich.

Tricia: Well, I actually was a cheerleader in high school, though not a very good one.  I’m probably especially attracted to this story because as a college professor of communication my teaching philosophy centers around the discovery and development of student voices.


Check out Laura Shovan’s latest release . . .


The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Laura Shovan’s engaging, big-hearted debut is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.


Published by Random House Children’s Books

IndieBound | Powell’s | BAM | Amazon | B&N



Tricia Clausen’s novel releases this month . . .


The Haunted House Project

With no food in the house and a dad who’s rarely around, twelve-year-old Andie fears what will happen if people find out just how bad things are since her mom died.
Inspired by a science project on paranormal behavior, she’s sure pretending to be her mother’s ghost is her only hope to remind her dad and sister how to live again.

Clasen offers a heartrending portrait of a family coping with sudden and enormous loss…[She] steers clear of melodrama, anchoring the story with authentic characters and emotions.

Publishers Weekly

  Add to GoodReads or pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and CBOMC for October 2016 release.

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.

  • I can’t wait to read all three of these books! (Actually, Laura’s is already on hold at the library for me!!) Best of luck!

    • Laura says:

      Thanks, Faith. My copy of Tricia’s book just arrived. So excited! We’re both impressed with the work that Jeanne has put into revisions. We can’t wait for someone to grab her book up and get it into kids’ hands.

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