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Pitch Wars Interview with Olivia Hinebaugh and her mentor, Karen McManus

Monday, 17 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 #TeamMaze, for our twisty, turn-y books!. . . 



Olivia Hinebaugh – Mentee

Twitter | Website



Karen McManus – Mentor

Twitter | Website


Olivia: Why did you choose Karen?

Right away, her wish list jumped out of the post. She wanted so many things my twisty story had, and I was looking for someone who got “edgy.” But also, her journey to publication is so inspirational. She was where I am today just a year ago. That, and her book sounds awesome!

Karen: Why did you choose Olivia/DOWN WITH MO?

I read Olivia’s submission late at night when I was tired, and my eyes flew open at her voice. Her first chapter grabbed my attention and made me laugh out loud more than once. The three main characters were crystal clear in my mind days later, and I tore through the full MS when I got it to find out what happened to them. I was fortunate to get a lot of great submissions for PitchWars, but Olivia’s was the one I couldn’t stop thinking about.

Olivia: Summarize your book in three words.

Backstabbing, theatre, jealousy

Karen: Summarize Olivia’s book in three words.

Lovable unlikeable narrator

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

I wrote this book for myself and my high school self. I love theatre, and would have geeked out about a book that referenced all my favorite plays. I studied playwriting in college, so it was fun to incorporate all of that. But also, it’s really frank about sex and darker parts of our brain. And, well, dark and sexual thoughts happen, why hide them? I’m actually a really sunshiny person, but maybe that’s why I’m drawn to darker subjects. It feels a little dangerous, a little taboo. My ultimate writing goal is to be able to have my work described maybe as a cross between the Coen Brothers and Melina Marchetta. That’s doable, right?

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

I wrote my first book in second grade, about a witch who couldn’t cast spells. That character arc might be the most satisfying I’ve ever created.

Check out Karen McManus’s upcoming release . . .

one-of-usOne of Us is Lying

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this:
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom alive. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. He died on a Monday. But that Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates. Now, all four of them are suspects in his murder. Are they guilty? Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

They all have a motive. They all have something to hide. They all have a history with Simon. And one of them is definitely lying.


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.

One Comment
We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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