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Pitch Wars Interview with Julie Clark and her mentors, Karma Brown & Susan Bishop Crispell

Saturday, 29 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 . . . 

Julie Clark

Julie Clark – Mentee


Karma Brown

Karma Brown – Mentor


Susan Crispell

Susan Bishop Crispell – Co-Mentor


Julie: Why did you choose Karma & Susan?

Karma and Susan jumped out at me from the very beginning as an almost perfect match for my manuscript and what I hoped to do with it. They both write women’s fiction, so I knew they’d understand the specific rhythm and pacing I was hoping to accomplish with THE ONES WE CHOOSE.

I was also very drawn to their commitment to their mentee. They warned potential mentees of “the most thorough critique of your life”, and that appealed to me. I needed people who write within my genre to take a close look at my manuscript and tell me what was still not working.

Finally, like me, they are both avid readers who read across genres and age groups in order to inform their own writing – and they listed several of my favorite books and authors.

But it wasn’t until I read their books – Karma’s COME AWAY WITH ME and THE CHOICES WE MAKE as well as Susan’s debut THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES that I knew they would see exactly what I wanted my manuscript to be, and what I needed to do to get it there. I have not been disappointed!

Karma & Susan: Why did you choose Julie and The Ones We Choose?

We loved the premise of THE ONES WE CHOOSE—it’s bang on for an emotional women’s fiction story–and were impressed by how polished the novel was when it landed in our Pitch Wars inbox. It was clear Julie had done a lot of work to the manuscript already, and our instincts told us she was ready and willing for more hard work ahead (we were right).

Julie: : Summarize your book in three words.

Genetics. Motherhood. Forgiveness.

Mentors: Summarize Julie’s book in three words.

Motherhood. Forgiveness. Transformation.

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

I’m a fifth grade teacher, so I had to do a lot of research on genetics in order to make the science work. But I know about motherhood – specifically single motherhood – as I have two young sons and know what it’s like to be the sole parent at home, ping-ponging between one child in the bathroom, the other one in the backyard, and dinner on the stove. THE ONES WE CHOOSE is the story of a single mother, Paige, who is trying to pull all of the threads of her life together and give her son the family she never had growing up. But THE ONES WE CHOOSE is unique because there aren’t a lot of stories about women who choose to conceive a child on their own using an anonymous donor. I wanted to explore the emotional complications that come along with that choice – for Paige and for her son. And when Paige’s donor lands in their lives with a secret of his own, she must reconcile the family she wants to build with the man she loves against the biological pull her son feels toward a man they were never supposed to know.

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

Karma: I’m an award-winning journalist and bestselling author of two novels (the third, EVERY MOMENT, on the way May 2017!), a 13-year cancer survivor, and a mom who gets up too early and drinks too much coffee. But the thing that always surprises people are my three (small) tattoos – I’m a fairly buttoned-up sort of gal, despite my name and somewhat hippie upbringing, so the tattoo thing tends to throw people off. However, I would love to get one more tattoo, but my 8-year-old thinks I might be a bit old now…ah, nothing like your kid keeping it real!

Susan: I’m the author of THE SECRET INGREDIENT OF WISHES (Sep 2016) and THE PROBABILITY OF FATE (Fall 2017). When I’m not writing, I obsess over swoony fictional boys and baked goods (non-magical peach-raspberry pie is my current favorite), drive all over the Southeast to see my favorite hard rock bands play live (close to a dozen concerts/festivals in the past year), and watch quirky and cult TV shows, most of which get canceled way before their time (I even have a Wonderfalls wax lion to prove it).


Check out Karma Brown’s latest release . . .

The Choices We Make


Following her bestselling debut novel Come Away with Me, Karma Brown returns with an unforgettable story that explores the intricate dynamics between friends and mothers.  

Hannah and Kate became friends in the fifth grade, when Hannah hit a boy for looking up Kate’s skirt with a mirror. While they’ve been close as sisters ever since, Hannah can’t help but feel envious of the little family Kate and her husband, David, have created—complete with two perfect little girls.

She and Ben have been trying for years to have a baby, so when they receive the news that she will likely never get pregnant, Hannah’s heartbreak is overwhelming. But just as they begin to tentatively explore the other options, it’s Kate’s turn to do the rescuing. Not only does she offer to be Hannah’s surrogate, but Kate is willing to use her own eggs to do so.

Full of renewed hope, excitement and gratitude, these two families embark on an incredible journey toward parenthood…until a devastating tragedy puts everything these women have worked toward at risk of falling apart. Poignant and refreshingly honest, The Choices We Make is a powerful tale of two mothers, one incredible friendship and the risks we take to make our dreams come true.

Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Indiebound


Susan Bishop Crispell’s book is available now . . .

 The Secret Ingredient of Wishes

Rachel Monroe, 26, can make wishes come true just by thinking about them. But it’s a gift that has caused more harm than good. And after her mother’s death, which Rachel blames herself for, she decides it’s time to leave her hometown—and her past—behind.

But when Rachel gets stranded in small-town Nowhere, NC—also known as the town of “Lost and Found”—she realizes she can’t escape her past, or her gift. In Nowhere Rachel is taken in by a spit-fire old woman, Catch, who binds the townspeople’s secrets by baking them into pies, and who has an uncanny ability to see exactly what Rachel is trying to hide. She also meets Ashe, Catch’s neighbor with southern charm and a complicated past, who makes her want to believe in happily-ever-after.

As she settles into the small town, she hopes her own secrets will stay hidden—especially the one about how she wished her little brother out of existence when they were kids. But starting over is harder than she thought, and when her wish-granting secret is revealed, the town people’s wishes begin popping out of thin air everywhere she goes. Scared the wishes will go wrong like in the past, she tries to ignore them, which only makes the wishes more determined to get her attention. Then when Rachel is forced to confront the truth about her brother, she must accept her magical ability or risk losing those she has come to love—and a chance at happiness—all over again.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

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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