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Pitch Wars Interview with Sarah Allen and her mentor, Ellie Terry

Saturday, 29 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 . . .

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen – Mentee

Twitter | Website


Ellie Terry – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Sarah: Why did you choose Ellie?

All the mentors were so fabulous! Ultimately though, only a few mentors were accepting contemporary middle grade and were also not averse to some magical realism or fantastical elements mixed in with the contemporary. Ellie was one of those. Not just that, but she was willing to take on middle grade that dealt with some heavier issues. Her comments and responses on Twitter made me think she would be a perfect reader and editor for my book, and be able to really dig into how to make it work. In the video chats she seemed very kind and unassuming and someone with whom I could work well. Also she had The Wednesday Wars on her favorites list and that made her an automatic yes in my book.

Ellie: Why did you choose Sarah and BREATHING UNDERWATER?

I had read Kate Messner’s THE SEVENTH WISH about a month before the Pitch Wars submission window opened. I loved everything about it. I loved that it dealt with a difficult issue, but handled that difficult issue in a gently, understanding manner that is appropriate for the middle-grade crowd. One of my biggest struggles in life (at the moment) is depression, so when Sarah’s BREATHING UNDERWATER fell into my inbox (a story akin to THE SEVENTH WISH, but deals with depression, instead of drug use) I was quite interested and knew I’d be a good mentor for the story.

Sarah: Summarize your book in three words.

Long. Road. Sister.

Ellie: Summarize Sarah’s book in three words.

Help. Family. Issues.

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

I am currently getting my MFA at Brigham Young University, and having a great time doing it. I’ve had a couple short stories published, and I’m working on more. I know every Broadway musical and every Billy Joel song ever written. I was born with a rare genetic disorder called Turner Syndrome. I’m the oldest of eight kids, and I am obsessed with Pixar, leather jackets, and Colin Firth.

There have been so many incredible and beautiful books about teens dealing with depression, anxiety, suicide, mental illness, and other really difficult things. We need these books. However I wanted to write about those kinds of experiences from the perspective of the little sister. The enthusiastic sister who doesn’t really know how to help. I wanted to take a realistic look at these issues, while at the same time maintaining a sense of optimism and hope. Then I added some weirdness (i.e. a motorcyclist only the main character can see) to give myself some structure, momentum, and hopefully to add just a hint of magic.

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

I am the SECOND oldest of eight kids (as opposed to Sarah, who is the OLDEST of eight kids.)


Check out Ellie Terry’s upcoming release . . .

Add on Goodreads!

Forget Me Not–Coming 3.14.17 from Feiwel & Friends/Macmillan

It would be nice

to stay in one place

long enough to make a best friend . . .

Astronomy-loving Calliope June has Tourette syndrome, so she sometimes makes faces or noises that she doesn’t mean to make. When she and her mother move yet again, she tries to hide her TS. But it isn’t long before the kids at her new school realize she’s different. Only Calli’s neighbor, who is also the popular student body president, sees her as she truly is—an interesting person and a good friend. But is he brave enough to take their friendship public? As Calli navigates school, she must also face her mother’s new relationship and the fact that they might be moving—again—just as she starts to make friends and finally accept her differences. Told in both lyrical verse (Calli) and prose (Jinsong), this story of being true to yourself will speak to a wide audience.

Pre-Order . . .    

Amazon | Powell’s Books | Books-a-Million | Barnes & Noble | Your Local Indie Bookstore


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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