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Pitch Wars Interview with Jennifer Bryson and her mentor, Rebecca Petruck

Monday, 19 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 . . .


Jennifer Bryson- Mentee

Twitter | Website


Rebecca Petruck – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Jennifer: Why did you choose Rebecca?

Rebecca and I have a similar sense of humor, which is rare. I wanted a mentor who would appreciate the weirdness of a squirrel befriending a peanut detective. I knew it would take someone special to think “Yes! That makes perfect sense!” and not “I wonder if she’s on drugs? Should I alert someone?”.
I also was impressed by her authorial/mentoring experience, but mostly it was a gut feeling she wouldn’t report me for child endangerment.

Rebecca: Why did you choose Jennifer?

Jennifer has that rare talent of incorporating genuinely creative, fun, wacky humor with a lot of heart. Her manuscript made me snort laugh and coo, “Aww,” at the same time. The MC is an adorable mess and the sentient peanut…as I told Jennifer, “You had me at Frankenut.”

Jennifer: Summarize your book in three words.

Find your people

Rebecca: Summarize Jennifer’s book in three words.

Squirrel + Frankenut = Buddylove

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

By day I am an over-educated, mini-van driving, stay-at-home mom, but at night I am actually an international operative in a top secret spy ring. My kids think they have to go to bed at eight because I’m just mean—they don’t know it’s really so I can infiltrate foreign powers and prevent them from tampering with the upcoming Presidential election.
Or maybe that was a just a dream I had…
My manuscript makes up for how boring I am in real life. It’s a wacky, fun friendship story geared toward younger Middle Grade readers. The main characters are a down-trodden squirrel and a sentient GMO peanut who thinks he is a genius (but probably isn’t). It’s Leonard and Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory merged with Sherlock and Watson, solving mysteries on Sesame Street. With explosions.

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

My dad loves boiled peanuts, which he discovered when we lived in Louisiana and are not available where he lives now in Minnesota. So when I moved from New York to North Carolina for my MFA program, I had to send Dad care packages with boiled peanuts. But never again! #SaveTheFrankenut


Check out Rebecca Petruck’s latest release . . .

Steering Toward Normal

Eighth grade is set to be a good year for Diggy Lawson: he’s chosen a great calf to compete at the Minnesota State Fair, he’ll see a lot of the girl he secretly likes at 4-H, and he and his dad Pop have big plans for April Fool’s Day. But everything changes when classmate Wayne Graf’s mother dies, which brings to light that Pop is Wayne’s father, too. Suddenly, Diggy has a half-brother who moves in and messes up his life. Wayne threatens Diggy’s chances to win Grand Champion, horns in on his girl, and rattles his easy relationship with Pop.

Despite his high hopes, eighth grade quickly turns into Diggy’s worst year ever, filled with jealousy, fighting, and several incidents involving cow poop. But as the boys care for their calves, pull pranks, and watch too many B movies, they learn what it means to be brothers and how weird the concept of family can be as they slowly steer toward a new kind of normal.

IndieBound | ABRAMS/Amulet | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | !ndigo

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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