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Pitch Wars Interview with Jenn Brisendine and her mentor, Rebecca Wells

Thursday, 29 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 Jenn Brisendine and Rebecca Wells

Team Secrets!

Rebecca WellsRebecca Wells (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

Oh, man. Well, I enjoy reading pretty much everything! (This is only a slight exaggeration.) From picture books all the way through adult, I will read almost anything if it can hook me in. Right now the most surprising book on my nightstand is probably Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton (yes, the one that became the musical!). I started it on a friend’s recommendation and it’s surprisingly engrossing. It keeps me up at night! I do have to confess I’m particularly partial to anything and everything to do with fairy tales, though. I grew up on books like Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY and Shannon Hale’s THE GOOSE GIRL, so it’s not that surprising that when I started writing seriously, I wound up squarely in that lyrical fairy tale niche. I love books that twist the original tales and show familiar characters through unexpected, different lenses, and that’s what I aim for in my own writing. I’ve probably got fifteen different Rapunzel retellings buried somewhere in my computer…

Fun facts? Well – I got my nose broken in a soccer game, but I didn’t realize it was broken until I got black eyes the next morning! In middle school I memorized 125 digits of pi for a recitation competition. Also, I once cried in front of Sharon Creech.

Jenn BrisendineJenn Brisendine (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up on Stephen King. I read pretty much every one of his books throughout middle and high school, and I reflected a lot on the fiction lessons inherent in his books (POV, pacing, parallel plotting…) throughout my college education, even as my love of Romantic poets, classic writers, and Shakespeare deepened. Stephen King’s books taught me that no matter your content, a story can be told with class, panache, and plenty of literary devices. I love women’s fiction too; favorites there are Barbara Kingsolver and Anna Quindlen for their ability to weave literary flavor into a sweep-you-up kind of story.

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

I entered one of Brenda’s other contests earlier this year (Pitch Madness). Being chosen to compete was a huge kick in the pants that helped me finally finish revising my novel and start querying. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my participation in Pitch Madness was instrumental in signing with my excellent agent (even though I didn’t end up signing directly through the contest), and I knew immediately that I wanted to pay it forward somehow. I was thrilled when Brenda invited me to join Pitch Wars as a mentor!

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

I decided to try for Pitch Wars because I needed a big deadline to kick me into action. I’d let my writing and attempts to become published completely slide for almost three years (!) since I went back to teaching, and when I read about Pitch Wars, I knew it was the motivation to make me finish my latest ms and get it out there.

Rebecca, what are you most excited for?

The Pitch Wars community, hands down. It’s a wild publishing world out there, and I’m so thrilled to have met so many writers who understand what it’s like – both the frustrations and the triumphs. Secondly, I’m really excited to be working with Jenn on her project. Her manuscript is beautifully written and has so much potential, and I feel privileged to be able to help her make this story shine.

Jenn, what are you most excited for?

I’m so excited that my ms will be in excellent shape, thanks to Rebecca’s expertise—I feel like I finally know what revision really means! Her enthusiasm and investment in this story have already given me the confidence to continue to work on it and eventually query, no matter the results in November. And like everyone else, I am thrilled to be a part of a writing community again – people who understand this unquiet need to get a new story out into the world. Because really, the world can never have enough good stories.

Jenn, describe your novel in 3 words.

Betrayal, belonging, believing.

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

Haunting, longing, atmospheric.


Check Us Out …

Jenn Brisendine

Jenn Brisendine, Mentee

Twitter | Blog | Facebook

Jenn is a mom, wife, and middle school language arts/literature teacher in Southwestern PA. She writes MG and creative non-fiction. She blogs about great MG reads and helpful books on writing at Of Paper and Magic.


Rebecca Wells

Rebecca Wells, Mentor

Twitter | Website

Rebecca is a writer and bookseller represented by Rebecca Podos at the Rees Agency. When not writing, reading, or talking about writing and reading, she’s usually found on the soccer field, drinking tea, or singing along to musicals. (She also spends far too much time online. Come say hi!)


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