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 Kara Seal and Ashley Martin
Team: Team Wonderland
Hi, I’m Kara and I thank my Mom for getting me addicted to fantasy by reading it to me before I could read myself. I am obsessed with the Harry Potter series, and my reading generally skews speculative. Some of my all time favorite authors include: J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, George R.R. Martin and Cat Hellisen. I describe my writing style as heading out for adventure armed only with a partial map and a flashlight. Once I’ve explored my story in a first draft, the subsequent drafts are a process of ripping it to pieces and sewing it back together. The insatiable curiosity and desire for adventure is why I chose to write for children!
Hi, I’m Ashley, dedicated night owl and tea enthusiast (still waiting for my invitation to the Mad Hatter’s tea party). I firmly believe you’re never too old to read a children’s book – which is probably why I enjoy writing them so much. I read a pretty broad range of books (give me ALL THE WORDS) but I have a soft spot for fantasy and tear-jerking/snort-inducing contemporary. If you can make me laugh AND cry all in one book, I’ll be your loyal fan forever. (If you’re a fan of this too, look no further than THE MEANING OF MAGGIE by Megan Jean Sovern.)
Despite being someone who likes to have everything planned and scheduled WAY in advance, I subscribe to what I like to call the “massive pile of random notes” method of outlining. I am, however, very strict about each of my novels having their own notebook(s) for said notes. Forget the shoe clearance – let me know when the Moleskins go on sale. When I’m not writing, you’ll usually find me on the couch watching TV with my husband while being interrupted every five minutes by two children who don’t understand the meaning of bedtime.
Kara, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
Along my writing journey, many writers have helped me, provided encouragement, supported me and given me hope when I thought I’d lost mine. I decided to be a Pitch Wars mentor because I am forever grateful to those writers who bestowed their kindness and generous gift of time on me so I wanted to pay it forward and help another writer. Writing is tough, but it’s also the most supportive community I’ve ever witnessed. Support others and in return, they will support you.
Ashley, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
I submitted to Pitch Wars last year and while I wasn’t chosen as a mentee, I received valuable feedback from some of the mentors I submitted to, so I knew that no matter what, my manuscript would benefit. I’ve been actively querying over the last couple years, and Pitch Wars offers a huge opportunity to get to that next step in my writing career. Plus having a deadline in front of me while I finished and edited my novel was great motivation!
Kara, what are you most excited for?
I love connecting with new writers so building lasting relationships is what excites me most about Pitch Wars. I want to share my knowledge and provide support to another writer, but for me it’s the relationships that mean the most. Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but forging lasting friendships with people who truly understand the highs and lows of this business is what will get you through.
Ashley, what are you most excited for?
Sitting at Kara’s feet and absorbing all her knowledge! I know I’m going to learn SO MUCH that will help me not only with this novel, but with future projects. And building a relationship with someone who can continue to be a source of insight and encouragement…well, not even a gif can properly show how excited I am about that.
Ashley, describe your novel in 3 words.
Rabbit hole rescue.
Kara, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.
Return to Wonderland.
Check Us Out …
Ashley Martin (Team Mentee)
When all the other kids still wanted to be zookeepers and astronauts, Ashley dreamed of being a writer. Stories make her fantastically happy, whether it’s through the pages of a book, the scenes of a film, or the words of a song. When she’s not engrossed in the world of her next middle grade novel, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband, two kids, and their aggressively affectionate cats, Mya and Millie.
Kara Seal (Team Mentor)
Kara Seal has been penning fantastical tales since her crayon wielding days. Along the journey to writing middle grade fiction, she stumbled into a public library job working with youth, which further fueled her passion to write for kids and teens. She lives in Colorado with her husband and two dogs where her head is filled with stories and her house is full of books.