Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


Pitch Wars Team Interview with Wendy Roberts & Alicia Zaloga and their mentor, Michelle Hauck

Wednesday, 14 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 . . .

Wendy Roberts

Wendy Roberts – Co-Mentee


Alicia Zaloga

Alicia Zaloga – Co-Mentee


michelle_h (2)

Michelle Hauck – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Co-Mentees: Why did you choose Michelle?

Alicia: I fell in love with Michelle “at first sight”, or in the case of the internet “at first block of text”. She mentioned some great SFF for starters. Then she quickly got down to business. Straight forward and clear. A little twitter stalking, and I was sold. Helpful advice, encouraging words, and a fun vibe. (If I don’t sound like I’m gushing yet, please insert the appropriate number of *squees* necessary to convey sparkle ponies riding on winged ice cream cones.)

Wendy: We <3 Michelle! When we were researching mentors, I read samples of their work when I could find them. I read the first couple pages of Michelle’s book Grudging and thought “Yes! I like her style.” It was also a fantasy rooted in historical detail, which seemed to mesh well with what we were doing. And when she brought out her katana to scare the other mentors away from our book, we knew she was the right choice.

Michelle: Why did you choose Alicia and Wendy’s manuscript?

First there is the fantastically detailed world building to this gaslight fantasy, the incredible depth of the characters and they both carry through right to the ending. The fact that this is the manuscript I most wanted to read over and over. And to top it off, I think I can help guide a finished story that will be even better. I could easily see Straybound in a bookstore. Plus, the first chapter starts with a grave robbery all in a tone that reminds me of Charles Dickens. It’s a show stopper right there.

Co-Mentees: Summarize your book in three words.

Alicia: Contractual. Bloody. Pining.

Wendy: Always read contracts.

Michelle: Summarize your mentees’ book in three words.

Detailed. Unique. Superfantasyrific

Co-Mentees: Tell us about yourself. What makes you and your MS unique?

Alicia: Our MS was co-authored, so that’s two brains for the price of one. Perfect for when one of your main characters is a resurrectionist. We created a 19th century city at once familiar and wholly original. It’s an Edinburgh/London cousin that sweats and breathes to its own song. We have a few of those, too. Our heroine is the one with the stiff upper lip, while our hero is a manic pixie dream boy. Together they meet a cast of colorful and dreadful characters. Each of which should have their own t-shirt with signature design. Hollowed mollusk is now a favorite catch phrase of ours.

Wendy: I’m currently living in Japan with partner, baby, and border collie. I also have an MFA from Vermont College of fine arts. 

Alicia and I wrote our novel from the alternating points of view of a put-upon princess and her low-class ex-lover, whose snarky correspondence belies their suppressed feelings for one another. We had fun contrasting Roger’s and Sibylla’s environments, while finding patterns in their situations. We also pitted Magic vs. Science–our gaslamp city runs on both–and watched the sparks fly. Finally, we put new spins on tired Victorian tropes, like the 9-year-old waif whom a grown man wouldn’t care to meet in a dark alley.

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

Well, Heather and Brenda, I’m left-handed. I never went to prom. And I’m afraid of roller coasters. I’m currently writing volume three of my trilogy for Harper Voyager called Birth of Saints. The second volume comes out in November. I’m just a big ol’ SFF geek wrapped up in a nerd and hand fed chocolate.

We love geeks, nerds, and chocolate! And we love hearing about you.


Check out Michelle Hauck’s latest release . . .

A world of chivalry and witchcraft…and the invaders who would destroy everything.

The North has invaded, bringing a cruel religion and no mercy. The ciudades-estados who have stood in their way have been razed to nothing, and now the horde is before the gates of Colina Hermosa…demanding blood.

On a mission of desperation, a small group escapes the besieged city in search of the one thing that might stem the tide of Northerners: the witches of the southern swamps.

The Women of the Song.

But when tragedy strikes their negotiations, all that is left is a single untried knight and a witch who has never given voice to her power. And time is running out.

A lyrical tale of honor and magic, Grudging is the opening salvo in the Book of Saints trilogy.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Goodreads


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.

Filed: Interviews

Comments are closed.
We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2021

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.