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 Lisa Schunemann, Lady Lioness, and Laura Heffernan
Lisa Schunemann (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.
Growing up, I moved from state to state due to my father’s job. When you’re not the natural social butterfly, it’s hard to make friends. I found my friends in the characters of books, reading whatever I could get my hands on – literally, my nose was always found in the pages of a book. I’m surprised I don’t have ‘Chapter’ inked permanently on my skin.
Romance is one of my favorite genres. I love reading a story front to back, over and over, and finding new things I may have missed the first go around. I’m attracted to stories that build worlds we want to live in, with characters we see as our friends, family members, and, yes, even enemies.
I wish I started writing earlier in my career, but I also know that my life experiences have shaped my writing passion for the better. I graduated college with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, specializing in health administration. Putting my fingers to the keyboard was a scary moment, because I knew once I started and let my passions flow, I wouldn’t be able to stop. I’m very glad this turned out to be true. My debut novel is just the first in a long line of stories developing in my head.
Laura Heffernan (Co-mentor), thank you for hopping in and helping to get Lisa’s entry ready for the agent round.
I loved Lisa’s story from the moment I read the query she submitted to the NewAgent contest back in July. The first page was even better. After we chose the winners, I sent her a query and first page critique, and we hit it off immediately. (How can you not love someone who calls you Yoda?) During the PitchWars selection round, I loved the full manuscript, but ultimately thought she would be better off with a different mentor.
When I heard her mentor could use help toward the end of the contest, I volunteered so fast, I think I scared people. The changes so far are fantastic, and I can’t wait to see the finished product. I’m awed and humbled to see how hard Lisa is working. Everything about this woman is amazing.
Lisa, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
I entered my contemporary romance, BOOT ME, BLONDIE, in Pitch Wars because of the faith I have in my ability to write a story that people will want to read. That being said, I also entered because I had faith in the manuscript’s potential to evolve and ascend to the next level, with the right help. The quality and professionalism of the mentors make Pitch Wars stand out in the writing community. The mentors also challenge their mentees to really grow and individualize their writing styles. I knew that if I was chosen, I’d be expected to bring my A-game, but would receive the help and support to get me there.
Lisa, what are you most excited for?
I’m so excited for the edits and feedback from my mentors. From the beginning, Lioness came out with the tough love and said while she thought the MS had great potential, we needed to change a lot of things. She’s such a professional and explained her vision in so much detail that when the picks were announced, I just about cried (lie, I totally SOBBED in happiness) when I saw my name under hers. I knew this was when my MS would truly become great, thanks to her. Then when Laura offered to help us, I couldn’t believe how fortunate I was.
As an author, I love my ‘baby’ but I couldn’t see its large and small issues. Using Lioness and Laura’s feedback has made the story stronger and my writing much tighter. Letting someone else take the reins and tell me, point blank, what should be done is a little scary, but crucial and invaluable. Then it’s up to me to take the lead and make the changes.
I’m very excited about the aftermath of Pitch Wars, even though I still have so much work and milestones to accomplish in the meantime. Getting represented by an agent and being published is a dream I know I share with a lot of people, but it’s more than that. With each idea or story I plan to write in the future, I always want to make it a work that other people will enjoy as much as I do. I think that’s the best goal a writer can have, which is to share their insight and creativity and know other people appreciate it as well.
Lisa, describe your novel in 3 words.
Billionaire, Parking Authority, Mob
Laura, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.
Can I use four? Lisa used four. No, okay:
Sassy meter maid.
Check Us Out …
Lisa Schunemann, Mentee
Lisa is an adult and young adult writer, She’s an Ohio State/Cleveland Browns nut. Ravenclaw and Star Trek Red Shirt. Wears real pants when necessary.
Lady Lioness, Mentor
Lady Lioness is a former Bookseller. Library worker. Assistant to a fabulous Literary Agent. Avid romance reader. And so much more.
Laura Heffernan, Co-mentor
Laura is a California-born women’s fiction writer, represented by Michelle Richter at Fuse Literary. One Saturday morning when she was four or five, Laura sat down at the family’s Commodore 64 and typed out her first short story. She’s written both fiction and non-fiction ever since. Laura also works as a freelance editor and interns for a super cool literary agent.