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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Rachel Griffin and her mentor, Heather Ezell

Friday, 2 September 2016  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

PW Interviews

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 3rd-9th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2016 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have . . .

Rachel Griffin

Rachel Griffin – Mentee

Twitter | Website


Heather Ezell – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Rachel: Why did you choose Heather?

My manuscript matched up well with Heather’s wishlist, and she seemed so AWESOME in her bio. I kept thinking this was someone I wanted to be friends with, which made me even more excited to submit to her. (Spoiler: she’s just as awesome as she seems in her bio.)

Heather: Why did you choose Rachel?

SHADOWS CAST BY DREAM’S premise is what initially hooked me–it makes for a heartbreaking, mind-bending, and straight up compelling novel. Rain, the protagonist, shoulders tremendous trauma in such a realistic yet (eventually) empowering way that is both difficult and inspiring to experience. But, simply put, it’s a fantastic manuscript that excited me, which was key.

What sealed the deal though was Rachel’s willingness to WORK. I suspected early on that changing the POV would deepen the emotional beats, taking the manuscript to next level. During the reading period, I asked Rachel to rewrite the first chapter from this new POV (an intimidating request!) along with some tightening, and–my gosh–she DELIVERED. When I read her revised chapter I squealed (seriously), danced around my apartment, and was, well, inspired. An inspiring, hard-working mentee? Yes, please.

Rachel: Summarize your book in three words.

Unreliable; Dreams; Art

Heather: Summarize your mentee’s book in three words.

Dreams. Collisions. Art.

Rachel: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?

I’m a 31-year old Seattle girl who loves hiking, fashion, and reading. I’m ridiculously in love with my husband. I’m a twin. And I love Michael Jackson. As for my manuscript, I tried to weave a lot of themes together in a way that feels uncertain and urgent. I’ve always been fascinated with dreams, and I loved the idea of dreams so real they bleed into your daily life—I wanted to know what it would be like to have a very sterile, cold life coupled with exceptionally vivid dreams.

Heather: Tell us about yourself. Something we might not already know.

Gah, I’m too forthcoming on Twitter and my blog! I’m 25 and recently sold my debut, NOTHING LEFT TO BURN, after 11 years of querying. I read Absalom, Absalom! out loud in Faulkner’s living room in Oxford, Mississippi–sitting on a chair he supposedly sat on too. I dropped out of high school and grad school, but I LOVE teaching college composition. I don’t have a spleen. My favorite part about living in Interior Alaska were the dark frozen winters.

Check out Heather Ezell’s upcoming book …

Nothing Left to Burn

add to goodreads

Coming from Razorbill / Penguin Spring 2018!

The Sunday morning after she loses her virginity, 16-year-old Audrey Harper is evacuated from the path of the deadly wildfire sweeping Orange County. As the encroaching flames propel her to try and salvage her family’s home, Audrey recalls her early summer days with Brooks – the charismatic volunteer firefighter who has become the all-consuming passion in her life. Charming, mercurial, and scarred in equal measures, Brooks is haunted by his older brother’s suicide as he goes in to face his first blaze. Attempting to make sense of their relationship’s descent into  potential arson, Audrey must return to Brooks’s very first lie.


However, Brooks and the fire aren’t all that’s demanding Audrey’s attention. Her 13-year-old sister, a cancer survivor, fainted during her ballet audition – an audition Audrey walked out on three years ago – and Audrey must not only reconcile Brooks’ facades, but her own.


It’s in the burning foothills above her school that Audrey must not only shatter Brooks’ fictions, but also finally acknowledge her own truths – whatever the cost, regardless of the waiting red and blue flashing lights.

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And remember, there’s a #PitMad Twitter pitch party on September 8th.

One Comment
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