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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Allison Carvalho and mentor, Shakirah Bourne

Tuesday, 9 February 2021  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina


Our mentors are mentoring, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase starting on February 10, 2021, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2020 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Allison Carvalho – Mentee



Shakirah Bourne – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Shakirah, why did you choose Allison?

I was immediately interested in the spooky concept of two young mediums having to protect the ghosts at their funeral home & cemetery. It’s rare to see a middle grade story explore such a positive, unique spin on death. It only took me a few pages to fall in love with Allison’s voice, unconventional narrative style and emotive writing.

Love the idea of ghosts needing protection!And, Allison, why did you choose to submit to Shakirah?

Shakirah is such an exciting and lovely person. I was so intrigued by her wishlist blog, especially her wide range of specialties! As a burlesque performer and actress, I love that she understands how storytelling can transcend so many forms of expression, including writing kid lit! Also, as a fellow Caribbean, I was excited to connect with her!

It’s all about personal connection. So, Shakirah, summarize Allison’s book in 3 words.

Ghostly death-positive mystery

Allison, summarize your book in 3 words.

Spooky Family Vibes

Yes! Sounds great! Now, Shakirah, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Most people know I was born and raised in Barbados, a tiny island in the Caribbean, but they may not know that when I was sixteen, I developed an allergy to saltwater–a mild version of a water allergy called aquagenic urticaria. As a beach baby I was devastated, but at least it doesn’t stop me from enjoying the sound and smell of the ocean from the sand.

Island life and a salt water allergy don’t mix! Allison, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

A connection to more writers, especially other middle grade writers, a deeper understanding of my writing pitfalls, and a more nuanced and beautiful manuscript!

And that’s what PW is all about. So, Allison, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I’m a hairstylist, burlesque dancer, and visual artist, and have always loved finding unique ways to tell stories. My manuscript is epistolary, written in a journal format, shared between two cousins as they try to save the ghosts of their haunted funeral home from an evil medium. The book includes drawings, research, and handwritten notes in the margins.

Welcome to the Pitch Wars family! And thank you both for sharing a bit about yourselves and your work.

Check out Shakirah’s upcoming release, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA.

Meet Josephine, the most loveable mischief-maker in Barbados, in a magical, heartfelt adventure inspired by Caribbean mythology.

Eleven-year-old Josephine knows that no one is good enough for her daddy. That’s why she’s desperate to make it onto her school’s cricket team. She’ll get to play her favorite sport AND make sure her fisherman daddy is too busy attending her matches to date.
But when tryouts go badly, the frustrated Josephine cuts into a powerful silk cotton tree and accidentally summons a bigger problem into her life . . .
The next day, Daddy brings home a new catch, a beautiful woman named Mariss. And unlike the other girlfriends, she doesn’t scare easily. Josephine knows there’s something fishy about Mariss–she sings in a strange language, eats weird food, and seems to exert mysterious control over everyone she meets.
Josephine knows that Mariss isn’t what she seems … she might not be human! But who’s going to believe her? Can Josephine convince her friends to help her and use her cricket skills to save Daddy from Mariss’s clutches before it’s too late?

Coming July 2021 from Scholastic.

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 10-15, 2021. Make sure to stop by then and check out all our mentees’ entries when it opens. 


Filed: Interviews

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