Our favorite part of hosting pitch contests is being a part of a writer’s successes. Today we celebrate Lynn Vroman and her Pitch Wars mentor Judi Lauren! Lynn recently signed with MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Fraser-Bub Literary, and we couldn’t be happier for yer. So please join me in congratulating Lynn and Judi as they share with us their awesome Pitch Wars success story.
Lynn, what made you decide to send a Pitch Wars application to Judi?
Her bio, definitely! Judi was actually my first choice because I felt what she was looking for fit the description of my manuscript. There were issues I was concerned about with my hero, and from her experience, I thought she’d be a perfect match to help me. And no surprise, she was!
Judi, what about Lynn’s application made you choose her?
Lynn became one of my unofficial mentees because she was really *too* ready for Pitch Wars. It really is a thing! Her book was heartfelt and amazing and I fell in love with both the hero and heroine, but I knew she could do the revisions I was thinking of in just a few weeks. I didn’t want to hold her back for roughly two and a half months when she didn’t need all that time. I was actually a little bummed to realize that because I was so drawn to her voice in that book! It was one of the most engaging first chapters I saw in my Pitch Wars inbox.
Lynn, tell us about the revision period for Pitch Wars?
Judi has been so amazing and supportive! She agreed with what I was initially concerned about and gave a quick edit letter with great suggestions on how to fix everything. I worked every spare moment on re-writes and after a couple weeks sent the ms back to Judi, who turned over some line edits a week later. It was a great experience working with her!
Judi, tell us about your experience with mentoring Lynn.
Lynn has been incredible to work with! She was so open to suggestion and ready to work. She went through the big-ish edits in just a handful of weeks! Then I took about a week to do some small scale line edits with her (because she really was almost ready!) And then I sent her back out into the world of querying. I had a gut feeling that she was an awesome person, and working with her over these past couple of months has been so much fun!
Lynn, after Pitch Wars you signed with MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Fraser-Bub Literary, tell us about “The Call.” Can you tell us the details about the offer: How long were you on submission? What did you do to distract yourself? How did MacKenzie contact you? How did you respond? How did you celebrate? Anything! We love knowing it all.
Honestly, I’m still in shock! After so many years and a bunch of books, when this one started to get attention I had no idea how to act. Excited, scared, doubtful, you name it, I felt it. I queried for about five months or so, and I didn’t do a very good job of distracting myself, checking my email a million times a day. I spent most of that time CPing for my writer pals, because I couldn’t concentrate on anything of my own, and hanging out with my husband and kids… while checking my email.
I’m now trained by the sound of my email dinging and automatically click over—like I’m sure many of us are. When THE email came, I was CPing for a friend and watching CNN, as you do. This time it was MacKenzie asking if I had time to chat. What?! I didn’t quite believe it. You get used to the rejections and the kind passes, it comes with the territory. So I sat there for a few seconds staring at it, reading it over and over, and then got up and ran around the house a few times, screaming and scaring my poor dog.
Of course, I had a list of questions in case I ever got The Call, printed out and sitting on my desk, but I forgot to look at it, mainly because I was trying not to say anything completely awkward while MacKenzie and I spoke. Luckily, she answered pretty much all the questions I had during our conversation without me having to ask, and the more we talked, the more comfortable I became. Her vision for my book meshed so well with mine, and she got exactly what I was trying to convey. She mentioned some revisions I agreed with, and toward the end, she offered! All I can say is it took every ounce of willpower not to squeal into her ear.
Then after the longest week of my life, I emailed to accept! Serious writer fairy tale.
How do you feel Pitch Wars helped in your success?
First, there’s no better community than the writer community. Everyone is so supportive and wonderful, and Pitch Wars does such an amazing job bringing so many of us together (Thank you, Brenda!).
Judi really helped by revealing my weak points and working with me to find solutions. She’s an awesome cheerleader too, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten as far as I have without her.
Now for some fun! The following questions are for you both to answer:
What fictional academy/university/school would you most want to attend? (ie Starfleet Academy, Hogwarts, Jedi Academy, Camp Half-Breed, Battle School in Space, Beauxbatons, etc)?
Lynn: If I don’t pick Jedi Academy I do believe my son will refuse to speak to me. We are everything Star Wars in this house.
Judi: Hogwarts all the way. Although I feel like Camp Half-Blood would also be pretty cool.
What fictional character would be your confidante? Enemy? Idol? Kick-butt ally?
Confidante: Louisa Clark from Me Before You
Enemy: Annie Wilkes from Misery because anyone who can call you a cock-a-doodie while hobbling you is someone to watch out for.
Idol: Claire Fraser from Outlander
Kick-butt ally: Hands down, Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy
Confidante: Ponyboy Curtis from The Outsiders
Enemy: Dolores Umbridge (who’s way worse than Voldemort.)
Idol: Harry Potter from….Harry Potter.
Kick-butt ally: I have to break and go with a TV show on this one. Dean Winchester from Supernatural.
What fictional food/beverage would you most want to try?
Lynn: Butter Beer from Harry Potter, though it’s not so fictional. I got to try it at Universal Studios. Delicious!
Judi: Ambrosia from Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
You are faced with your nemesis! You instantly grab your trusty __________. (lightsaber, phaser, wand, mace, girly scream, katana, broadsword, etc)
Lynn: Has to be the lightsaber. I have plenty stashed around my house in case I need one.
Judi: Can I grab Michael Scofield from Prison Break? Because he could get me out of pretty much anything.
What is your work fuel of choice? (food-wise)
Lynn: Coffee then green tea in the afternoon. And if there are sour patch kids or fruit snacks in the house, I’m golden.
Judi: Coffee. I’m not even going to talk about how many times I was Skyping with one of my mentees and jugging coffee.
Whose work inspired you to start writing?
Lynn: So many writers have inspired me, but James Baldwin is unequivocally my favorite author of all time. His prose is music, and he was so far ahead of his time. The first time I read Giovanni’s Room (and the second and third and…), after every beautiful passage I would stop and literally hug the book. Seriously, I want to hug his words. I’ll never write like him—no one can, in my opinion—but his work has always inspired me to work harder, write better.
Judi: There are so many! Harry Potter really fueled it, but then I read books like Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Outsiders, and I Hunt Killers, which made me realize I wanted to write dark, realistic books.
Any last words you’d like to share or tell us that wasn’t covered in the questions above?
Lynn: Entering Pitch Wars has been a great experience! I think what most writers hope for when entering writing contests, besides the obvious, is to get feedback of any kind to help them. I never expected Judi to contact me after the winners were announced because I know how much time and effort it takes to help only one person in a short amount of time. But when I received her email the day after the announcement, I felt like I won. She’s an amazing person, and I’m so happy to have met her!
Judi: I’ve had a blast working with my mentees (official and unofficial) in Pitch Wars. The contest has a proven track record for helping writers get agents, but there are also these amazing friendships that are formed, and I’m so glad I’ve gotten the chance to work with Lynn.
Thank you for sharing your success story. We couldn’t be happier about it – CONGRATULATIONS!
Lynn lives in the Pocono Mountains with her husband, raising the four most incredible human beings on the planet. She writes young adult novels. Represented by MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Fraser-Bub Literary.
Judi’s a copy editor and editorial assistant to Lydia Sharp at Entangled Publishing. She also works as a freelance editor and proofreader, and loves to read any YA, NA, and adult books in her spare time. She has an unnatural obsession with Chicago, Dean Winchester, and Friends (the TV show).