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Pitch Wars Interview with M.L. Brown and her mentors, Brooks Benjamin and Caroline Thompson

Friday, 28 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 . . . 


M.L. Brown – Mentee

Twitter | Website


Brooks Benjamin – Mentor

Twitter | Website


Caroline Thompson – Mentor

Twitter | Website

ML: Why did you choose Brooks and Caroline?

I have long been a big fan of Brooks and his legendary hair. 🙂 His debut, My Seventh Grade Life in Tights, is a book after my own middle-grade heart. I subbed to him in last year’s Pitch Wars with a different book, and his kind, insightful feedback made me want to work with him even more.

I am also a big fan of Caroline’s hair, especially since she reminds me of a character in my manuscript who has purple locks. The character even loves cosplay like Caroline and dresses in a horse costume. In Twitter-stalking Caroline’s feed, I found a Vote For Pedro hashtag, which I interpreted as code for “Sub to me and all of your wildest dreams will come true.”

Mentors: Why did you choose Michelle?

We fell in love with Michelle’s concept as soon as we read it. It had some serious competition, but there was something incredibly special about Marty and his story. It was one we found ourselves chatting about long after we’d read it. The humor, the heart, the nostalgic feelings of some of our favorite classics it conjured up while reading it. It didn’t take us long to realize we had a really special manuscript on our hands. And we can’t wait to share it with the Pitch Wars community!

ML: Summarize your book in three words.

Space. Sitcom. Spewing

Mentors: Summarize ML’s book in three words.

Zombie in training.

ML: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?
I live in a small town in the Midwest where I direct children’s theater, help my husband build custom puppets, and dream of doing roller derby. I write everything from musicals to picture books to middle- grade and am the founding (and only) member of Alliteration Addicts Anonymous.

I once heard Stephen King talk about writing out his fears through his books. The two phobias I face in LIGHTS! CAMERA! BRAINS? are heights (the main character, Marty, wants to be an astronaut) and zombies (he ends up playing one on a sitcom to earn space camp money.) This gets really interesting because Marty is extremely weak-stomached. He’s pretty much me if I were a twelve-year-old boy-except for the astronaut part, because-heights.And I’m the mother of eleven, so I’m not exactly weak-stomached anymore (I’ve cleaned it ALL up), but his self-consciousness and disgust for zombies? Me to a T.

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

Brooks: When I was in high school, the football team was hosting a “Sexiest Legs” contest where the players would stick one of their legs through an opening on a large wall of poster board. The wall was tall enough so that the crowd couldn’t see the contestants’ faces. At the last second, I snuck mine into the mix and ended up winning the title of Football’s Sexiest Legs. I didn’t even play football. It was perhaps my greatest high-school victory.

Caroline: I love to color in my coloring books but can’t draw even a little.


Check out Brooks Benjamin’s latest release . . .

My Seventh-Grade Life in Tights CoverSeventh Grade Life in Tights


All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.


At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?


Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | BAM

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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