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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Amanda M. Pierce and mentor, Erin Teagan

Friday, 17 December 2021  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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 9, 2021, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2021 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Amanda M. Pierce – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Erin Teagan – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Erin, why did you choose Amanda?

Amanda’s writing stood out to me immediately. Not only does her book have a great hook – a junior archeologist who picks up an ancient curse from a tomb – she also has a strong and hilarious middle grade voice that makes her writing feel effortless. Add in a cast of characters who are likable and perfectly flawed in the most middle-school ways, and I knew I wanted to work with Amanda on her amazing book!

Amanda, why did you choose to submit to Erin?

The first clue that I should submit to Erin was the background on her Mentor Wish List website. I saw graph paper and beakers and knew we would have some common interests. The second clue was her list of publications, which all focused on middle graders with a flair for science. As an English major working in plant sciences, I wanted to find a mentor who would share my passion for representing girls in STEM, and Erin’s books inspired me to submit my little story about a girl driven to become an archaeologist at all costs.

Her mentoring style has truly helped me look at my story as a whole, and draw a thread through every scene to make them stronger and more cohesive. She has already guided me through a number of meaningful breakthroughs on this manuscript, and I can’t wait to watch it transform.

Erin, summarize Amanda’s book in 3 words.

Cursed junior archeologist.

Amanda, summarize your book in 3 words.

Friends trump fame.

Erin, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

To research for my American Girl, Kira Bailey, books, I went to Australia and worked as a ranger for the day at a wildlife park, feeding the koalas, wallaby joeys, and echidnas, raking poo out of enclosures, and avoiding Cupcake the trapdoor spider. I also spent a day off-roading in the bush with a local named Wolf to learn more about Australian plants and animals. Hands down the most fun I’ve ever had researching for a book!

Amanda, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I’ve been slogging through the query trenches for three years now. I had some encouraging feedback on past manuscripts, but there was always something holding me back from the next step. I applied to Pitch Wars hoping to meet a mentor and community who could translate the secret language of publishing and help me learn how to keep growing as a writer.

Amanda, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

During my day job, I work in plant sciences at a research University. It’s like working in a science fiction novel, where a bunch of scientists discuss the constant battle against diseases threatening to wipe out our food sources. I come home with a lot of writing inspiration every day. I will talk your ear off about it, so don’t get stuck with me at a party.

I was raised in a proud, Polish community in Massachusetts, where my aunts taught us to make traditional dishes and scolded us in a language we barely understood. It was on a visit to my great-grandparents’ hometown of Gdansk that the idea for Savannah Indiana struck me. Now that I’ve gotten the chance to travel, I wanted to write a story that would take readers on a trip across the world to an exciting city with deep historical roots.

Savannah Indiana and the Curse of the Silver Knight is the story of a girl who dives into an ancient tomb hoping to prove herself as a junior archaeologist. Instead, she unlocks a curse that can only be broken when she restores the stolen treasure to its rightful owner. It’s my hope to someday write more books with these characters and develop a series that travels the globe.

Check out Erin’s latest release, KIRA DOWN UNDER (Girl of the Year) …

In this first book of her series, Kira Bailey is living her dream: Cuddling koalas and bottle-feeding baby kangaroos. Kira and her mom are spending the summer at a wildlife sanctuary in Australia helping her aunt Mamie, a veterinarian, care for the animals. When Kira falls in love with an orphaned koala joey, her joy is complete—until a health emergency pulls Aunt Mamie away. Suddenly Kira can’t seem to do anything right. She’s put the wombats and her beloved koala joey in danger, and now her new friend Alexis won’t talk to her. Can Kira find a way to catch a roving predator—along with a few wayward wombats—and earn back everyone’s trust?
Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 9-14, 2022. Make sure to stop by then and check out all our mentees’ entries when it opens. 


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