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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Emily Deibert and mentor, Rebecca Petruck

Wednesday, 19 January 2022  |  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 . . .

Emily Deibert – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Rebecca Petruck – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Rebecca, why did you choose Emily?

Emily’s story, BEA MULLINS TAKES A SHOT, made me cheer and swoon and simply feel incredibly happy. It has girls in sports, an underdog team, first crush, and queer awakening—I couldn’t have asked for more. But she gave it! It’s also got ice hockey, a sport typically considered hyper-masculine, so I especially love seeing girls on the ice. And the Voice is just so fun and generous and kind. I can’t wait until middle grade girls AND BOYS get to read this thoughtful, inspiring, and swoony novel.

Emily, why did you choose to submit to Rebecca?

To start, Rebecca writes incredible middle grade books that are the perfect balance of humor and heart. This was something I really wanted to work on in my own manuscript, so I was excited at the possibility of learning from her—especially because I think we have similar senses of humor in our writing!

Rebecca’s wish list also included own voices LGBTQ stories and girls in sports: two topics that featured prominently in my own manuscript. After seeing this and reading through all the wonderful (and much deserved!) things her previous mentees had to say about her, I knew that she was someone I really wanted to work with.

Rebecca, summarize Emily’s book in 3 words.

Girl + Hockey = Falling (for)

Emily, summarize your book in 3 words.

Queer hockey crush!

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

Instead, let me tell you about some great organizations to support girls and women in hockey. Follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and donate/shop if you can! <3

National Girls Hockey League, https://nghlhockey.com/ Find a local team to support!

Black Girl Hockey Club, https://blackgirlhockeyclub.org/ Donate to disrupt racism on and off the ice.

Women’s Hockey Life, https://womenshockeylife.com/ Learn, shop, cheer, write, work, and play!

Gay Sports Network, https://www.usgsn.com/hockey

And, finally, this story just because: Team USA and Team Canada Women’s Hockey Players Keep Marrying Each Other https://www.them.us/story/usa-canada-womens-hockey-weddings SWOON!

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

I knew before I applied to Pitch Wars that my plot needed some developmental work, so I was hoping to connect with a mentor who could help me work through these large-scale, development revisions. From the very first emails I exchanged with Rebecca, and all the thoughtful questions she asked me about my manuscript, I knew that she was the perfect person to teach me more about this process! I’ve also always admired the Pitch Wars community, so a big part of the experience for me has been connecting with other writers (especially my MG crew and sprinting buddies!).

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

I got back into reading middle grade fiction over the past couple years, and I was really inspired by all the incredible queer stories that are being published right now. I would’ve loved to have had books like these readily available when I was that age, and I hope to contribute to that with my Pitch Wars manuscript BEA MULLINS TAKES A SHOT.

Another fun fact about me is that—like the characters in my novel—I play ice hockey! I started playing in high school, and although I’ve never gotten very good, I really enjoy playing. Many of my characters’ misadventures on the ice are inspired by my own experiences with the various teams I’ve played on over the years.

Check out Rebecca’s latest release, BOY BITES BUG …

Boy Bites Bug book cover

Will didn’t plan to eat a stink bug. But when his friend Darryl called new kid Eloy Herrera a racial slur, Will did it as a diversion. Now Will is Bug Boy, and everyone is cracking up inventing insect meals for him like French flies, bee-ritos, and maggot-aroni and fleas.

Turns out eating bugs for food is a real thing, called entomophagy. Deciding that means he can use a class project to feed everyone grasshoppers, Will bargains for Eloy’s help in exchange for helping him with wrestling, but their growing friendship only ticks off Darryl more.

Will may have bitten off more than he can chew as crickets, earthworm jerky—even a scorpion—end up on his plate, but insects are the least of his problems. When things with Darryl and Eloy heat up, Will wrestles with questions of loyalty, honor—and that maybe not all friendships are worth fighting for.

Praise for BOY BITES BUG:

STARRED Review from Booklist! “…a tale that is funny, perceptive, and timely in more ways than one.”

Kirkus Reviews says, “…successfully weaves together such important themes as bias, solidarity, and coming to recognize one’s own privilege and prejudice, delivering them in a plot that is so very middle school (bugs! sports!)… An admirable feat that entertains even as it instructs.”

School Library Journal says, “…the straightforward and uncluttered style will please lovers of the ‘Wimpy Kid’ series. VERDICT A sure bet for reluctant readers.”

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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