Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole
Bringing you a closer look at each Pitch War Team and their projects.
Be sure to comment with support, comments, and questions.
Meet Jami Nord, David Gillon, and May B. B.
Jami Nord (Mentor), tell us a little about yourself.
*Waves* Hi all! I’m Jami. Mostly, I read Adult/YA Scifi/Fantasy, and romance. I do read some thrillers and the occasional horror, but less often right now. I’m a sucker for stories with complex characters, strong voices, and concepts that twist different elements together. When I (rarely) get the time to write, instead of just editing, I tend towards fantasy with GLBT romances elements. Someday, maybe I’ll have time to see about getting published myself, but don’t hold your breath. Editing and interning are my priorities right now.
May B. B. (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.
I’m May (sometimes). Who am I the rest of the time? I’d tell you but…the whole I’d have to kill you thing. I write contemporary romance, along with some upmarket, and women’s fiction. I usually aim for a noir vibe in my writing and love a good dose of sarcastic humor and plenty of grit. I was a late bloomer into the world of books. As a kid I hated reading. I have dyslexia and it was really hard for me. Reading finally clicked somewhere in high school but I still wasn’t doing it for fun. No way. Sitting at home after having my wisdom teeth pulled, and with nothing else to do, I picked up an Arthurian book I had collecting dust. I was hooked. My first reading loves were Arthurian and Fantasy. I gravitated toward the romantic subplots in them and easily made the move to contemporary romance. I’ve been devouring books of many genres ever since.
David Gillon (Mentee), tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a Geordie, born North of Hadrian’s Wall, but still in England (yes, this is possible), and exiled to the South East where I spent 20 years working for Evil Aerospace (they aren’t really called that, but I’m under a gagging order not to name them), where I worked on the development of fly-by-wire systems for a variety of civil and military aircraft.
I’m disabled, both a wheelchair user due to Hypermobility Syndrome and neurodiverse in some currently undefined way (Me: Are you trying to work out if I have Aspergers? Pain Management Psych: Yes). Despite that I’m just back from a sailing holiday in the Med, where I broke the yacht and the Greek pavements nearly broke me. When not sailing, flying gliders or otherwise destroying people’s preconceptions of what being disabled means, I spend much of my time campaigning for disability rights, and being a general pain in the backside to the current government.
I’ve been an SF/F fan for as long as I can remember, I grew up on my local library’s copies of A C Clarke and Andre Norton, and as my tastes matured and developed found Lois McMaster Bujold and C J Cherryh as particular favourites. I’ve been writing since my early 20s, but creativity and chronic pain aren’t happy bedfellows. I’ve finally gotten a decent level of pain control – better living through opiates for the win – and significant writing is now a possibility. I knuckled down last year to complete my urban fantasy novel Graveyard Shift, and a couple of drafts later here I am.
I’m technically unpublished, but did sell one short story in the ’90s, unfortunately that anthology was promptly totalled by the Northridge Earthquake. Friends and colleagues will tell you this is fairly typical of my life. I’ve done slightly better with fact-based writing, having written for the UK broadsheet The Guardian, and guest-blogged for the campaigning group 38 Degrees. I write regularly on disability and related issues in both my own blog and in various other venues and often have journalists chasing me for quotes. Given my disability and activism it’s no surprise I’m a supporter of diversity initiatives such as We Need Diverse Books, all too often the handling of disability in SpecFic suggests the author has never talked to an actual disabled person – do the research, dammit!
Jami, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
It was a no brainer. Brenda’s one of my critique partners, and it sounds gushing to say, but she does so much to help. I can say with absolute certainty that I wouldn’t be where I am now without her belief in me. I had too much fun last year with it, I couldn’t resist doing it again!
David, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
By the time I finished the latest draft of Graveyard Shift I was pretty certain I had a marketable manuscript, but, being neurodiverse, the whole talking to people to sell myself and my story is a nightmare; Pitchwars offered me both a way to dip my toe into the marketing mayhem, and a way to access professional level editorial support, which can only make my story, and my pitch, stronger.
May, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
While tidying up my query letter to start submitting to agents, I saw a post about #pitchwars. I had entered a different MS in a prior year. I didn’t make it in, but had received good feedback on my MS. Wanting more of the same before I jumped into the querying trenches, I entered KILLING JUNE.
Jami, what are you most excited for?
I can’t wait to see these books in readers’ hands! Both May and David have such great concepts, and they’re both working so hard on them. Since KT and I were lucky enough to snag one of the wild card spots, I get to have my cake and eat it too, and work on both May’s fantastic dark romance and David’s terrific dark urban fantasy. I love taking stories that are already fantastic and kicking them up that extra notch to make them stellar.
May, what are you most excited for?
I am excited for the whole journey. I’ve already made some great writterly friends and look forward to sharing future projects with them. I cannot wait to see where Jami can help me take this story.
David, what are you most excited for?
Seeing the reaction of other people to my story.
May, describe your novel in 3 words.
Dark. Riveting. Delicious.
David, describe your novel in 3 words.
Protect. Serve. Survive.
Jami, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.
May’s: Steamy, Brutal, Thrilling.
David’s: Gritty, Innovative, Twisty
Check Us Out…
May B. B., Team Mentee
Writing things you don’t tell your mama you read. Dedicated to writers helping writers. She promotes and shares news from other authors, gossip about all things romance, and bookish.
David Gillon, Team Mentee
Disability rights activist, campaigning against the scapegoating of disabled people by all three major UK political parties.
Jami Nord, Team Mentor
Jami is frequently accused of having a TARDIS, because she gets so much done. Between a day job as a phone monkey, her internship, and the rest of life, she’s really just an expert at time management, hyper organized, and a very fast reader. She grew up reading mountains of scifi and fantasy, cut her professional chops on romance novels, and has a weak spot for GLBT*, disabled, and racially/ethnically diverse characters told with enrapturing style, where their identities are part of who they are, not just a plot thread. Someday, she’ll become an agent, or an editor, and help make dreams come true. In the meantime, she’ll settle for trying to make the industry just a bit more transparent, or at least her tiny corner of it.