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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Patrick Thornton and his mentor, Shari Schwarz

Monday, 12 September 2016  |  Posted by Heather Cashman

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 . . .


Image result for mystery man gif

Patrick Thornton


Shari Schwarz

Shari Schwarz

Twitter | Website


Patrick: Why did you choose Shari?

I assume that means why did I choose Shari as a mentor? Seems she chose me (and I could not be happier about that :-). For my part, I sent queries and pages to the mentors I thought might like the kind of story I wrote. Shari in particular caught my eye because she has boys. So many books for younger people seem to be targeting girls. I think because Shari is familiar with what boys from her own family and her experience in the school library she can appreciation Nate and the boy-brain things that happen.

Shari: Why did you choose Patrick and STEPPING UP?

I read Patrick’s MG submission, STEPPING UP, fell in love with it right away, requested the full and was even more convinced that it was the one! Then as I read all of the other submissions, I couldn’t help but compare them to STEPPING UP. It has so much heart and humor throughout it’s pages that it literally grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let go. Plus, it has a POV in the war in Afghanistan. And a really strong father-son relationship. And smoke bombs. And zucchini. It has zucchini! What’s not to love?! Plus, I could tell that Patrick was willing to work hard. And he’s pretty funny too which is the icing on the cake!

Patrick: Summarize your book in three words.

I guess that could be called a one-floor elevator pitch. Maybe even the-door-opens-and-closes- before-anyone-can-get-on-or- off elevator pitch. Anyway, that’s a tough one. Hmmm.
Making Dad Proud?
or Filling Dad’s shoes
or Father/Son Heart Connection? (okay, cheated a little on that one.)
or Holding Family Together?
or Stolen Xbox Wars?
or Home Alone VI?
or Laugh Cry Bombs?
or Home Homeless War?
or Missing Dad Xbox?
or Growing up Fast?

or I Give Up. (no good for the question but apropos)

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

I think Patrick cheated (a lot), so I’ll do a mashup of his: Family/War/Homelessness

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

I have a bright young son who has always had a keen interest in my military experience. I know how hard it is on families when a parent deploys. There is bravery and there is worry and there is loneliness and everybody has to step up to to do things they really are not prepared to do. (I wish all families could do it as well as Nate and his family do it.) I’ve played a lot of video games with my son and understand the appeal and how he and I connect there. I also felt there were not enough real life, engaging reads for boys. And ultimately, I wanted to write a book my son would really, really like.

I self published a book a few years ago. Not through a vanity publisher (cringe) but wrote, printed, advertised and distributed it myself. Lots of work for very little money when all was said and done. But it was a worthwhile experience that got me a paid gig writing an article for a trade paper. I have written some short stories. One got an honorable mention from a local competition but little else ever came of that. I wrote and rewrote a novel half a dozen times and queried dozens of agents with iteration after iteration. I have the last of those right over there on a shelf that I may or may not ever pick up again. I may paper my office walls with the pile of form rejection letters. It was my starter book and I learned a great deal from it. The most important thing I learned was that I had a lot to learn. Before Stepping Up I spent a year writing a non-fiction book about our education system. I learned a lot from both teaching for a few years and the research for the book but flat got tired of working on it before it ever came close to being finished.

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

Well, I’m a mom of four boys, thus the connection to Patrick’s story about a boy having to step up to the plate when his dad goes to war. I’m a literary intern and the author of a middle grade survival adventure, TREASURE AT LURE LAKE, which of course could be labeled as a boy book (but I’ve had girls tell me they love it!). Something you may not already know about me is that I used to love playing classical guitar so much that I’d literally fall asleep while playing it. Thus, the reason I never excelled at it. Today, it’s dreaming up and writing adventures that keeps me awake!

Check our Shari Schwarz’s latest release . . .


Treasure at Lure Lake

An epic adventure—that’s all Bryce wants this summer. So when he stumbles upon a treasure map connected to an old family secret, Bryce is determined to follow the map, even if it means risking his life and lying to his grandpa while they’re on their wilderness backpacking trip. Bryce must work together with his difficult big brother, Jack, or they…and the treasure…may never see the light of day again.

Goodreads   |   Amazon






Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! And don’t forget to stop by the Agent Showcase starting November 3rd to see how our teams do in the final round.



One Comment
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