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Pitch Wars Interview with Kimberly Gabriel and her mentor, Dawn Ius

Thursday, 20 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 . . . 

Kimberly Gabriel

Kimberly Gabriel – Mentee

Twitter | Website


Dawn Ius – Mentor

Twitter | Website


Kimberly: Why did you choose Dawn?

I had a hard time choosing which mentors to sub to—except for Dawn Ius. I read her bio and immediately put her at the top of my list. She was the equivalent of that dream agent—the one you query knowing he or she will probably reject you, but you have to give it a shot anyway. From her self-professed fascination with Adam Levine to her promise to be tough but encouraging, everything she wrote felt like a perfect match for me. Then after I submitted to her, I read her book Anne & Henry, and that’s when I turned into a bit of a Dawn Ius fangirl. She’s a brilliant writer. She writes the way I want to, and I feel so incredibly lucky that I have the chance to learn from her.

Dawn: Why did you choose Kimberly’s manuscript?

As a first time mentor, I was blown away by the talent in my in-box, but Kimberley’s story stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my head—the characters, the suspense, the setting (it takes place in Chicago, which just this year became my favorite city). Not to mention, the raw talent oozing from the pages. A couple of email conversations later and I knew Kim and I would be a perfect match. (We share a love of wine, comfy PJs and Adam Levine…how could it not be perfect?) I’m thrilled to be working with Kim, but even more than that, I am desperate for the world to read her book. Seriously. It’s THAT good.

Kimberly: Summarize your book in three words.

Conspiracy, vigilante, relentless

Dawn: Summarize Kimberly’s book in three words.

Suspenseful, edgy, CHICAGO!

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

For the past twelve years, I’ve lived in Chicago or its suburbs where I teach middle school literacy. I absolutely love the city so writing a book based there was a no brainer. In 2011, after I had my first of three children, Flash Mob attacks were all over the news in Chicago. I read story after story where dozens of teenage kids would appear out of nowhere to mug and attack mostly tourists. The stories terrified me. So naturally I took the concept, made it worse, added elements of mystery and romance, and turned it into my manuscript, FLASH MOB MURDERS.



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

I name almost all of our pets—even the fish (we used to have six tanks)—after fictional characters. My English Mastiff is named after Roarke from JD Robb’s “In Death” series, and my St. Bernard is named Charley because Charlie & the Chocolate Factory is one of my favorite books. But it was my adoration of George R.R. Martin’s Daenerys Targaryen character that prompted the adoption of our three (already named) bearded dragons—why yes, yes I will happily respond to the name Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons.


Check out Dawn Ius’s YA novel . . .

22453734ANNE & HENRY


Wild, brazen, mischievous, bewitching

Driven, haunted, charming, magnetic

Apart, they are destined to destroy themselves. Together, they are destined to destroy each other.

Henry Tudor’s life has been mapped out since the day he was born: student president, valedictorian, Harvard Law School, and a stunning political career just like his father’s. But ever since the death of Henry’s brother—perfect, high-achieving Arthur—his family has been twice as demanding. And now Henry’s trapped: forbidden from pursuing a life as an artist or dating any girl who’s not Tudor approved.

Then Anne Boleyn crashes into his life.

Anne is wild, brash and outspoken. She is everything Henry is not allowed to be—or to want. But soon Anne is all he can think about. His mother, his friends, and even his girlfriend warn him away, yet his desire for Anne consumes him. Henry is willing to do anything to be with her. But once he has her, their romance could destroy them both.

Inspired by the true story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII, Anne & Henry reimagines the intensity, love, and betrayal between one of the most infamous couples of all time.


“Ius’ creative interpretations of the facts are seductive, and she weaves an intriguing web around the doomed lovers. Her prose evokes both the intoxication of teen lust and the treacherous social landscape of adolescence.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“Ius’s steamy modern version of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s tragic love affair creatively translates the wealth, power, and court intrigue of 16th-century England to the affluent Seattle suburb of Medina, WA.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly

Add it to Goodreads.

Order it from Amazon here!


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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