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 . . .
Laura Lashley – Mentee
J.C. Davis – Mentor
Addie Thorley – Mentor
Laura, why did you choose J.C. Davis and Addie Thorley?
Jenn and Addie were the very first mentors I added to my Absolutely-YES! list. Between their requests for whimsy and Nepalese sherpas, I felt like my weird little manuscript might have a home with them. Their thorough editing styles, favorite books, and hilarious, fun-loving personalities all sang (okay, rapped) to me that these were my people. Their own books sound amazing, too. A heartwarming Jesus-cheese story and sexy French poison mongers being all conniving and French and attractive? Yes, please!
J.C. and Addie, why did you choose Laura Lashley/ IN THE NARROWS?
J.C.: I fell in love with Laura’s main character, Riley, from the first page of IN THE NARROWS! Riley’s unique perspective on the world, her humor and determination really stuck with me. Laura writes so beautifully I get lost in the story. Another reason I chose IN THE NARROWS is because it really stood out. There have been a fair number of books featuring characters with neuro-differences lately, especially in children’s lit, but most of the books focus solely on those neuro-differences and the challenges associated with them. Riley has Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD, and while that is an integral part of the book, it’s not the main story. I adore the fact that Riley gets to have adventures, travel to a parallel world and overcome bad-guys. She isn’t confined to one type of story because she has ASD.
Addie: The moment I began reading Laura’s pages, I knew I was in the hands of an amazing storyteller. Her writing is gorgeous and her main character, Riley, sucked me in right away with her completely charming “Rules for being Normal.” I’m also a huge sucker for sister stories, and I loved Riley and Quinn’s complicated and dynamic relationship. Add all of that to an insanely creative fantasy world, and I knew I had to have this manuscript. Plus, Laura is super fun—she sent as a hilarious lip sync video, which pretty much sealed the deal.
Laura, summarize your book in 3 words.
Sisters squabbling inter-dimensionally
J.C. and Addie, summarize your mentee’s book in 3 words.
J.C.: Sisters. Parallel Dimensions. Shape-shifting.
Addie: Sisters. Science. Self-discovery.
Laura, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?
I’m an attorney by day, night, and often weekends, so naturally I have plenty of time for a life-dominating aspiration to become a published author. Even with my day job’s long hours, I realized that I needed to find time to create things in order to balance my life and be happy. That creative outlet has taken many forms over the years–I had my own Etsy business selling my illustrations, watercolors, and stationery. I wrote an angsty space rock opera rife with angsty lasers. I sing, I dance, I make elaborate costumes with secret booze compartments. I watch all the TV, and I read all the books. Now, I write, too, and I’ve finally found the all encompassing brain buster of a life pursuit I guess I was always searching for. When I started writing IN THE NARROWS three years ago, my first try at writing fiction since high school, my friends thought it was just another attempt to avoid paying work, and that it’d pass. But, the more I wrote about my neurodiverse tween scientist Riley and her hilarious, overprotective little sister Quinn, the more hooked I became. Their story is near to my heart. While I have not been thrust into Earth’s lost twin evolved by magic, and I certainly haven’t embarked on any scientific quests to save my family and the worlds at large, I have been in that tricky situation when someone loved me so much that she didn’t want to let me change and become my own person. I think a lot of sisters can relate to that.
I decided to write this book for me, and that’s where its unique qualities come from. For example, I’ve always loved portal fantasy, but growing up it drove me crazy that no one ever brought a scientist along. I wanted those Narnia so-and-so’s to dive into the WHY/HOW/HOLY-CRAP elements of the other world the way I would have if I were there, and they just never did. So, I sent a tween scientist to investigate my bodacious version of Earth for me, and snippets from her field journal with notes and illustrations are sprinkled throughout for maximum nerdy delight. It’s been an absolute pleasure to write it, and I’m so grateful for Pitch Wars and my mentors’ help in making it shine.
J.C. and Addie, tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know.
J.C.: I once flew in an airplane so tiny I had to wear an oxygen mask for most of the three hour trip. Sadly, the plane didn’t take me to a parallel world. Although the ride was bumpy enough I was certain we’d fall out of the sky at any moment.
Addie: I used to be a hardcore athlete before I traded in my cleats for books. I had a dual soccer/track scholarship to the University of Utah where I played defense and ran hurdles. The days of double practices definitely took a toll, though. I’ve had FIVE knee surgeries and am now “retired” to the elliptical by order of my doctor. I’m also a vegetarian!
Check out J.C. Davis’s upcoming release . . .
Cheesus Was Here
April 2017 from Sky Pony Press
Sixteen-year-old Delaney Delgado knows miracles aren’t real—if they were, her kid sister wouldn’t be dead. So when the image of baby Jesus appears on a Babybel cheese wheel, she’s not buying the idea that God’s got a dairy obsession. Soon, religious signs begin turning up all over Del’s hometown, tiny Clemency, Texas. Overnight, news vans fill the streets and religious pilgrims start searching for God in the discount aisle of the grocery store.
Hell-bent on proving the so-called miracles are fake, Del convinces her best friend, Gabe, to help her find the truth. While Gabe’s willing to play detective, as a preacher’s son he’s more interested in finding evidence that supports the miracles. But when the whole town becomes caught up in religious fervor and even the late-night talk show hosts have stopped laughing and started to believe, finding the truth might cause more trouble than Del can handle. This novel is neither pro nor anti-religion, and will appeal to fans of contemporary YA novels that explore deep themes with an element of humor. The voice and characters are funny, strong, and full of heart. This is a book for anyone who loved Saved!