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Pitch Wars Interview with Jessica Bloczynski and her mentor, Samantha Joyce

Friday, 30 October 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews

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

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


Meet Samantha Joyce and Jessica Bloczynski

Team Space Whale

Samantha JoyceSamantha Joyce (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a gal who prides herself on her geekiness. I have a TARDIS for pretty much every surface of my house. I consider Buffy the Vampire Slayer to be the best television show of all time. It was that perfect blend of funny, scary, and dramatic.

I pretty much read any genre. Contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, thriller, romance…I love it all! As long as a book has a great voice and interesting premise, I’m in. I read primarily adult and young adult, though I’ll pick up a great middle grade, too.

I’m a sucker for a good love story, so I usually include one in my books. When I write, I love to make people feel, but I really love to make them laugh. Even when my books get serious, there’s usually a joke to be found in there somewhere. In fact, that’s how I cope in life in genereal. I’m the girl who makes that awkward joke in the direst of circumstances. Hey, what’s life if you can’t laugh through it, right?

Jessica Bloczynski

Jessica Bloczynski (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.

Hey, I’m Jessica. I write things. Also stuff. Yes, quite often stuff is involved. In my past life, I slung organic groceries, but when that chapter of my life came to a close I decided it was high time I did something with my languishing creative writing degree, and now I’m a stay-at-home parent and full time writer. I live in Madison WI with my husband of forever 16 years and our two kids.

As far as writing/reading tastes go, I have a deep and abiding love for YA in general and all things speculative in particular. This should surprise no one seeing as it’s what I write. If I had to pick a favorite genre, I’d have to say horror. I like to tell people I spent my teen years reading Stephen King’s IT on loop. I did actually read other things in high school, I mean, The Stand rocks too.
But seriously, I like a variety of things and sometimes even read contemp though I’m always trying to imagine how I could turn those contemp stories speculative. It’s a sickness. That’s, more or less, how my book came to be. I took an everyday, if terrible, experience and then kept pulling out the what ifs until it wasn’t contemp anymore.

Anyway, as far as writing style goes, I really enjoy writing lyrically. This probably comes from having background in poetry before I delved into fiction. I also really love messing with metaphors by taking them two steps past expectations. I’ll often ask myself when I’m stuck, what’s the weirdest thing you could have happen here, and when I’ve figured that out I’ll go ahead and do something even weirder than that. Surprisingly, that, more often than not, ends up working really, really well. Also, it’s usually funny which is always a plus. Except when it’s highly inappropriate, that is. I also have a great time verbing nouns.

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

I was an alternate in Pitch Wars in 2013, and it was the best experience. Although that book didn’t get me my agent or book deal, I learned so much. And my mentor, Molly Lee, has since become one of my most trusted Critique Partners and friends. She has helped me beyond the scope of the contest, and continues to do so. She is truly one awesome human being, and I can credit Pitch Wars for having met her.

I always knew, after my PW experience, that I wanted to mentor. I wanted to give back to the contest that had helped my writing and my career in so many ways. And I wanted to share what I’d learned with a mentee and cheer them on. I’m so excited I get to cheer Jess on! I love her book, and I can’t wait for others to read it.

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

Great question. So, I heard of Pitch Wars in 2014 when I was just getting my feet wet on the twitters and sending out feelers into the writing community. I’d started following a few writers that were repped by a particular agent I admired and one of them was a mentor. I wasn’t at all sure I was ready, but my book had been through maybe five drafts and probably three CP rounds, so I thought, well, that sounds ready to me.

Let us all observe a moment of silence for my dignity.

It wasn’t ready.

It so wasn’t ready.

But, I entered anyway, threw myself into it, made a ton of great friends and had a pretty much amazing time. It was a great experience. It also got me hooked on contests and I entered a lot of them— getting into some, not getting into others, and learning the whole time. By the time this year’s Pitch Wars came around again I had fully rewritten that green, unpolished book from last year. I told myself if I hadn’t heard back from any of the agents that had my pages by August, I’d enter again. I also told myself, this would be this book’s last contest and after that I’d have to reevaluate. I have to say, I’m super thrilled to table the whole reevaluation thing.

Jessica, what are you most excited for?

I would say I’m most excited about is learning new skills. I mean, the agent round is lovely, and getting potential requests offers of rep is great, too. But that’s also not really why I’m here. I’m here to figure out how I can revise smarter and faster because my last rewrite took six months and that is a very, very, long time. I’m hoping to develop more efficient revision strategies that will carry me not only through this book, but any other book I might write.

I’m also loving all the new writing friends I’ve made and the way the mentee community is circling the wagons and supporting each other through what’s to come in the next two months. That, in and of itself, is so inspiring.
And, lastly, I went into this determined to figure out how to use GIFs. And on that front, I’ve already won.
(inserts Buffy GIF here)
(runs away)

Brenda says, “Didn’t add one? I’ll add one for you…”

Jessica, describe your novel in 3 words.

My cyborg sister.

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

Cyborgs and Siblings.

Check Us Out …

Jessica Bloczynski

Jessica Bloczynski, Mentee

Twitter | Website

Wacky wordslinger weathering the wilds of Wisconsin. Stay at home mom. Consummate chef and silly person.


Samantha Joyce
Samantha Joyce, Mentor

Twitter | Website | Facebook

Samantha has wanted to be an author since she picked up her first book and realized authors get to create new worlds with just a pen and paper (or laptop, if you will). She loves to write about romance because, as someone who married her high school sweetheart, she absolutely believes in true love. She is represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC.
Her debut, FLIRTING WITH FAME, will be published by Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster on February 26 2016.


Elise Jameson is the secret author behind the bestselling, cult hit Viking Moon series. But when a stranger poses as Elise, the painfully shy, deaf nineteen-year-old starts to see how much she’s missing. Can she really hide in the shadows forever? This clever, coming-of-age debut is for anyone who has ever felt unsure in their own skin.

After a freak childhood accident leaves her deaf and physically scarred, nineteen-year-old Elise Jameson retreats into a world of vibrant characters she creates on her laptop. She is shocked when her coping mechanism turns into a career as a phenomenal bestselling novelist. Fans are obsessed with Elise’s Viking Moon series and its author—a striking girl with zero resemblance to Elise who appears on the back covers. Elise sent the randomly Googled photo to her editor following a minor panic attack. Now, horrified to learn she is expected on set of the television pilot based on her novels, Elise tracks down her anonymous stand-in. To Elise’s surprise, Veronica Wilde has been taking credit for Viking Moon for years. She eagerly agrees to keep up the charade if Elise will pose as her assistant.

It’s hard for Elise to watch a stranger take credit for her work and get all the perks she desires, including admiration from the show’s heartthrob star. Edged onto the sidelines of her own life, Elise reconsiders her choice to stay anonymous. Is she ready to come to terms with her true identity—and with the long-buried secrets that could cost her her career, her fans, and the few precious friendships she’s made?

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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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