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Pitch Wars Interview with Wendy Parris and her mentor, Jenna Lehne

Saturday, 17 October 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole

Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their project.

Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.


Meet Wendy Parris and Jenna Lehne

Team Tamarack

Jenna Lehne

Jenna Lehne (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! I’m Jenna. I’m a giant fan of horror in general, so if I’m not reading or writing it, i”m thinking about it. My writing style has been described as bare bones, but I like to think of that as a compliment. I’m allergic to dialogue tags and am physically incapable of writing in third person. I met R.L Stine once and I almost cried. If I met Stephen King, I’d die on the spot.

Wendy ParrisWendy Parris (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

I was a bookworm as a kid and actually wrote twelve chapters of a Nancy Drew-type mystery in fifth grade. Fast forward many years and I still love to read mysteries, ghost stories, contemporary and historical fiction. A few years ago I decided to go back to my first passion, middle grade novels, and started writing the kind of books I would’ve devoured as a kid. Because I’ve studied screenwriting and acting, I have a feel for dialogue and pacing. For some reason, my stories usually start from a very specific setting – places inspire me!

Jenna, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

When I was in the query trenches, contests were such a reprieve to the *seemingly* unending slough of rejections. I got to meet fantastic writers, some of which turned into the CPs and treasured pals I have today. Though I didn’t find my agent through a contest, my query and first pages were surely stronger thanks to a couple of them. I joined Pitch Wars to give back to the community that has supported me for so long.

Wendy, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?

In January 2014 I was a Pitch Wars alternate with my first novel and had a fantastic experience. I got a little attention and some agent interest from querying but ultimately no deal, so I decided to shelf that book and write another. However, I kept all the wonderful friends I made through Pitch Wars (many of whom are now agented and/or have book deals!) and got some amazing CPs. I’ve had such positive experiences and learned so much through writing contests that entering my second book in Pitch Wars 2015 was a no-brainer. So happy I did!

Jenna, what are you most excited for?

I can’t wait for the excitement of the agent round. I can’t wait to hear about Wendy’s further query adventures. I can’t wait until she gets her first offer, and I can’t wait to be a sounding board when all the other offers come in. I can’t wait until she gets her first book deal. I can’t wait to pick her book up off a shelf and brag to my friends that “I knew her when.” I am so excited that I have a new friend…one that is going to do most excellent things.

Wendy, what are you most excited for?

Working with Jenna has been wonderful. She is so supportive and has great suggestions on what to add to my story. Plus, she’s funny and down-to-earth. Having her on my side has been a confidence-booster—writing can be isolating and self-doubt can creep in. I’ve met so many new, interesting writers this Pitch Wars and I really can’t wait to cheer each one of them through the agent round!

Jenna, describe your novel in 3 words.

Spooky, Spirited,Surprising

Wendy, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.

Adventurous. Heartwarming. Creepy.

Check Us Out …

Wendy Parris

Wendy Parris, Mentee


Wendy lives near Chicago with her husband and two kids in a 110-year-old house that creaks a little too much. She has a degree in radio/TV/film from Northwestern University and has been an actor, improviser, and p/r consultant specializing in media relations. Now she writes middle grade fiction, particularly mysteries and ghost stories. Find her on Twitter @wlparri.

Jenna Lehne

Jenna Lehne, Mentor


Jenna is a YA/MG writer from Calgary, Alberta (That’s in Canada). She lives with her husband, tiny human, and two dogs in a house with a creepy crawl space. She’s represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She can be found lurking on twitter, occasionally updating her blog The Printing Princess, and posting on The Midnight Society Tales.

Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Good luck to both of these talented members of the writing community. Brenda, I think my favorite part of your Pitch Wars interviews is reading the mentor’s and mentee’s different takes on three-words that describe the novel.

  • Wendy Parris says:

    Thanks for your comments, Eve! In case anyone’s wondering, my novel is a middle grade paranormal mystery THE LOST TREASURE OF FULL MOON LAKE.

  • Laura Shovan says:

    Wendy: best 3 word bio ever.

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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