We’re so excited whenever one of our mentees gets an agent offer or a publishing deal. Celebrating these successes is one of our favorite parts of the Pitch Wars process. We hope you can join us in congratulating Jeffrey Bishop and his mentor, Alicia Clancy. Jeff signed with Christopher Schelling of Selectric Artists, and we couldn’t be happier for them!
Jeff, what was it about Alicia that made you choose to send her a Pitch Wars application?
It’s crazy how much overlap there was between my book and Alicia’s checklist. Twins, pirates, mythology-based fantasy: my manuscript has it all. Just seemed like the perfect fit. Plus she made it very clear she wanted nothing to do with stories featuring ghosts, and I would never write something weird like that.
Alicia, what was it about Jeff’s A HEAVY DOSE OF ALLISON TANDY that hooked you?
Jeff’s novel checked the only box of things I did NOT want to be sent: ghosts. But, his voice was so fresh and engaging, that I requested the full MS, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head. In a day when fantasy is ruling the bestseller lists, I made the choice to hedge a bet on a contemporary.
Jeff, tell us about the revision process for Pitch Wars?
Who knew sentences needed so many commas? That was the first thing we addressed. After that, it was smooth sailing, except for this one teeny, tiny book-altering change she suggested a week out from the agent round. I bristled a lil bit, but she was right (once again), and the book is better for it.
Alicia, tell us about your experience mentoring Jeff.
Jeff was a dream to mentor. I did a couple of light rounds with him, mostly polishing. And then had a sudden realization for a major edit about a week before the agent round, which he somehow managed to turn around in time. What a champ!
Jeff, after Pitch Wars, you signed with Christopher Schelling of Selectric Artists. Please, tell us about “The Call.” We love all the details about the offer, how they contacted you, how you responded, celebrations, emotions . . . How long did you have to wait and how did you distract yourself? Anything! We love hearing about all of it.
Christopher wasn’t part of the agent round, but we made contact because Alicia Clancy hustles harder than any Mentor out there. We had a couple productive phone calls where we addressed the manuscript’s flaws/potential corrections. Full disclosure: I was a bit intimidated at first. But Christopher is attentive, articulate, and super friggin’ smart. He even laughed at some of the dumb stuff I said, though I’m pretty sure he was just schmoozing me by that point.
After I received the offer I texted Alicia, called my mom, then blasted Bodak Yellow for, like, 15 minutes.
Jeff, how do you feel Pitch Wars helped with your success?
Pitch Wars is the sole reason for my success. If Pitch Wars doesn’t exist, then Alicia Clancy fills her Fall 2017 ranting on Tennessee Football message boards. If Alicia Clancy doesn’t sign up for Pitch Wars, then she never takes a look my manuscript. And if Alicia Clancy doesn’t take a flyer on a strange, bloated manuscript full of nipple jokes, then I’m still stuck floating in the void, promising my mom I’ll update my resume.
So I’ve got Pitch Wars to thank for hooking me up with the best goshdarn mentor in the game.
You have one day to finish the last pages of your next bestselling novel. What food/drinks do you get and where do you go hide out to meet the deadline?
Jeff: Red Bull & sunflower seeds. Grandma’s apartment.
Alicia: My Tennessee is about to show through, BUT–monster slim jim (original, of course) and mountain dew, and ideally on a beach!
You’re outnumbered by the bad guys, what mode of escape would you take? (ie a Tardis, a flying car, a flying carpet, something from your favorite food, etc.)? And why?
Jeff: I don’t. I surrender and submit.
Alicia: A wand so I can apparate. Why? Because if it’s good enough for Hermoine Granger, it’s good enough for me.
You and your favorite character from your favorite book are meeting at your favorite restaurant. Which character are you with, what restaurant did you choose, and what’s on the menu?
Jeff: The shark from Peter Benchley’s Jaws and I meet for seafood at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp. Twist: I eat him.
What fictional character would best describe your mentor?
Jeff: Reese Witherspoon
Alicia: Mrs. Doubtfire
Whose work inspired you to start writing?
Jeff: Laurie Halse Anderson, Rainbow, Rowell, Carrie Mesrobian