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 Tracy Gold and Rachel Lynn Solomon
Team: Team Ollie/Wally (our dogs’ names — we’re crazy dog moms)
Rachel, tell us a little about yourself.
My number-one favorite thing to read is realistic YA. I love how genuine, raw, and complex the emotions are, and how fragile adolescence can be. To me, contemporary YA explores identity and self-awareness in a way no other genre or category does. Some of my favorite authors are Courtney Summers, E. Lockhart, and Morgan Matson. I love writing that is fearless, sharp, and heart-wrenching. I write a lot about teen girls making bad choices, the high-highs and low-lows of high school relationships, sex positivity, forgiveness, identity, and mental illness.
Some fun facts:
1. I sang in an all-girl punk rock band in high school. At our very last show, everyone in the audience took off their pants and threw them onstage.
2. I broke a Guinness World Record! I was part of the largest gathering of natural redheads!
3. I have a geographic tongue.
Tracy, tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, all! I’m in Pitch Wars with a YA contemporary, which was super fun to write. While, of course, I enjoy reading YA contemporary, I also love to read books across all genre boundaries. Some recent favorites are Jandy Nelson’s I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN, Libba Bray’s BEAUTY QUEENS, and James Dashner’s THE MAZE RUNNER series. All-time favorites include anything by Octavia Butler (Don’t know her? Read PARABLE OF THE SOWER. She was doing dystopia before it was cool), NEVER LET ME GO by Kazuo Ishiguro, and A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN by Betty Smith. I’m also all about epic fantasy classics like LOTR, GoT. Then there’s Harry Potter—I grew up with Harry and midnight release parties! I was in love with Ron. And Fred and George. But I was always more of an Oliver Wood than a Cedric. Now that I’m an adult (kind of), I’m all about Sirius.
Before I wrote my Pitch Wars manuscript, THE ACCIDENTS, I wrote a YA Apocalyptic trunk novel. It was a learning novel, though there was one scene of the main characters driving an ice cream truck through deserted Baltimore City that I have to resurrect sometime, right? I participate in WritingChallenge.org, which has a different hashtag every month (#septwritingchallenge is now). We all try to write 1000 words a day, or spend an hour a day revising, and tweet about it. It’s an incredible community, check it out!
And some fun facts:
1. I have the same name as Tracy Gold the eighties actress, but I was actually named after my parents’ first dog. I consider this an honor!
2. I can touch my nose with my tongue. This is a skill I spent considerable time building as a pre-teen while procrastinating math homework.
3. I am half-Jewish, half-Christian, and I take advantage of this by celebrating all of the fun holidays that involve feasting and none of the sad holidays that involve fasting (Lent, schment).
Rachel, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
I’d always wanted to be a mentor in Pitch Wars! Last year was my first year, and I had the BEST time. Working with a writer to improve their work on a deep level is a wonderful feeling. I was also attracted by the possibility of forging a lasting friendship with another writer, which fortunately did happen to me last year!
Tracy, why did you decide to participate in Pitch Wars?
Ever since my first novel, which I put away after querying for a little, I’ve kept my eyes on Pitch Wars, and other writing contests. One day, I, too, would take part in that collective angst and amazing support. First, though, I had to write a novel that would be worthy of another try.
Olivia, the MC for THE ACCIDENTS, came to me in a short story a few years ago. One of my MFA professors, Jane Delury, worked with me as I wrote and revised the novel. By the end of my independent study with Jane this summer, THE ACCIDENTS was almost ready to query, but needed more eyes. I love working with Jane, and finding another mentor in the writing community really appealed to me. I wanted someone who could bring a fresh set of eyes to my manuscript, and who could also be a guide and a mentor for the publishing world as a whole.
I entered Pitch to Publication earlier this summer, and while I didn’t get in, I got some great feedback. I revised my manuscript yet again, and finished a polish round on the Monday Pitch Wars submissions were due!
Rachel, what are you most excited for?
I’m so excited to see things click into place for Tracy. Right now she’s read my edit letter and comments, and there’s so much up in the air. I think once we figure out what direction to take the ending and how to deepen certain characters, her manuscript is going to be even more amazing! I want her to feel as proud as she possibly can about her manuscript!
Tracy, what are you most excited for?
I can’t pick just one thing! As I write this, I haven’t had a chance to actually have a call or Skype with Rachel. I’m excited to get to know her, and brainstorm some fixes for some issues she pointed out in my manuscript. Of course, it’s also super exciting to imagine how much better my manuscript will be at the end of this process! Getting to know the other hopefuls is also amazing. It was so emotional, when the picks came out—of course I freaked out at my name, and I freaked out when I saw names of folks I’d tweeted with or traded chapters with. Then, there were some names I was sad not to see. I know those people are going to keep pushing and working anyway, and I’m still rooting for everyone! It’s amazing how much of a community surrounds this contest. So, lots of things to get excited about.
Tracy, describe your novel in 3 words.
angst art escape
Rachel, describe your mentee’s novel in 3 words.
art impulsive rivals
Check Us Out…
Tracy Gold, Team Mentee
Tracy Gold’s writing is published or forthcoming in YARN, The Stoneslide Corrective, two feminist anthologies, and several other magazines. Tracy cofounded Sounding Sea Writers’ Workshop and is an M.F.A. candidate in Fiction at The University of Baltimore. When Tracy’s not working or writing, she’s hanging out with her rescue dog and horse.
Rachel Lynn Solomon, Team Mentor
Rachel Lynn Solomon writes contemporary YA, tap dances, and lives in Seattle. She’s represented by Molly Jaffa of Folio Literary Management.