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Pitch Wars Interviews with Lisa Maxwell and Pasha Westbrook

Thursday, 10 September 2015  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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Welcome to the Pitch Wars Team Interviews by Marnise Nicole

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

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


Cameron Whitman Photography

  Meet Lisa Maxwell and Pasha Westbrook


Pasha, tell us a little about yourself.                              

I’m a severe chocoholic in love with dark and magical books such as Nova Ren Suma’s Imaginary Girls, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, and the hauntingly beautiful Wuthering Heights, which I strive to read once a year. In genre, I adore writing dark magical realism or gritty contemporary, and I’m definitely more of a pantser than plotter though I’ve learned to divide my time equally between the two. Yay, me!

Lisa, tell us a little about yourself.         

Hi! Most days I wear way too many hats–professor, writer, editor, wrangler of small humans. I write dark and magical YA and MG, usually with some sort of romance involved. I enjoy reading way too many things to name. On my bookshelves you’ll find everything from Toni Morrison to Nora Roberts and Hemingway to Harry Potter. My favorite genre to read (at least this week) is anything with romance. I spent a lot of time studying wonderful, gorgeously written literature with really depressing endings, so now I tend to gravitate toward HEA. Fun fact: I didn’t start writing until I was 30. I was never the English major who wanted to be a writer when she grew up, so no one was more surprised than me when I discovered I loved it, and I was pretty decent at it.

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

When I started writing, I had so many really generous and wonderful authors who helped me. These were women who took the time to look me in the eye and tell me I belonged, that I was almost there, that I could do it. Every step of the way, I’ve been lucky enough to have support from people who were published already, so I am always happy to pay that generosity forward. And I love editing because it blends my teacher-side with my writer-side. When I heard about Pitch Wars, it was a no brainer–I wanted in.

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

My reason for participating in this lovely contest was to reap/absorb the talented souls of all mentors and mentees so that I may achieve world literary domination. Oh, wait, what? 😉 In all seriousness, I decided to enter because it’s an incredible opportunity! How could I possibly pass it by?

 Lisa, what are you most excited for?    

I’m so excited to see this manuscript really shine. I’ve sent my edit letter, and if she does even a few of the things I’m suggesting, it means I get to read even more of the story and characters I fell in love with!

Pasha, what are you most excited for?

I’m so terribly excited to polish my manuscript to gleaming perfection with my amazing mentor Lisa Maxwell.

Pasha, describe your novel in 3 words.     

And I think “ghostly schizophrenic love” are three words that encapsulate my story well.

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

Gorgeously written, haunting.


Check Us Out…


Pasha Westbrook, Team Mentee

By day, I’m a demure homeschooling mama (aka Pasha Westbrook) to three darling boys. By night, I’m a word-wielding warrioress. You can sometimes find me posting pretties on Pinterest, shyly tweeting at Twitter, or frivolously frolicking about on Facebook. I have an Associate of Arts with an emphasis in English Literature and am a member of SCBWI.


Cameron Whitman Photography

Lisa Maxwell, Team Mentor  

Website | Twitter

Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest (Flux, 2014), Gathering Deep (Flux, 2015), and The Stars Turned Away (Simon Pulse, Feb. 2016). She’s worked as a bookseller, editor, and teacher. She has a PhD in English, and when she’s not writing books, she’s a professor at a local college. She lives near DC, where she spends her weekends taking all sorts of adventures with her family. You can find her on Twitter @LisaMaxwellYA or check out her website for more information: www.lisa-maxwell.com

Pre-order Lisa’s upcoming release …

“Maxwell’s mixture of past and present, dreams and reality, speech and telepathy is immersive and delirious…offers psychological melodrama and ghoulish thrills.”–Kirkus

Chloe Sabourin’s world was turned upside down three times over when she learned that the unspeakable murders in her native New Orleans—the ones that nearly claimed the life of her friend Lucy—were committed by Chloe’s own mother, who is in reality the dark witch Thisbe. Moving on from that is the toughest thing she’s ever had to do.

Now, a new series of ritualistic killings suggests that Thisbe is plotting again. Chloe seeks help from the mysterious Mama Legba, even though she’s unsure whether she can trust the Voodoo Queen. But when her boyfriend Piers vanishes, all signs point to Thisbe, and Chloe must quickly learn all she can from Mama Legba to save the one person she has left…even if that means bringing down her own mother.


Filed: Pitch Wars

  • Pasha Westbrook says:

    I must add how thrilled and HUMBLED I am to be a part of this amazing Pitch Wars community. Thank you, Brenda and Lisa, for this beautiful opportunity!

  • Chris Bailey says:

    Good luck with Pitch Wars, Pasha! You have a great mentor–enjoy the process.

    • Pasha Westbrook says:

      Thank you so much, Chris! Yes, Lisa’s the best! Couldn’t have asked for a better mentor. Her edit letter resonates perfectly.

      Meanwhile, I’m still in shock I made it in. =)

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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