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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Emily Marano and mentor, Laurie Dennison

Thursday, 3 December 2020  |  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 . . .

Emily Marano – Mentee



Laurie Dennison

Laurie Dennison – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Laurie, why did you choose Emily?

Emily’s amazing story was the perfect fit for my wish list this year. I fell in love with the complicated family and friends, the sweet love story, and the exploration of how teens determine their roles and identities as young adults. The plotting and the con artist hook kept me engaged from page one through the ending, and I felt like my editorial strengths would really complement this story’s revision. And did I mention the story has a pet goat AND a pet vulture?

Wait, a pet vulture? That’s cool. And Emily, why did you choose to submit to Laurie?

I wanted to find a mentor who would connect with my story and who would be a collaborative and supportive guide throughout the Pitch Wars process. Laurie expressed an interest in contemporary novels with complicated families and a romantic element, and she shared that her mentorship style was one of open communication and honest feedback to help her mentee reach her vision. Check and check! Plus, there’s a pet goat who plays a prominent role in my story, and when I saw that Laurie’s Instagram featured a photo of her pet goats, it seemed like the universe was trying to tell me something.

Doubling down on the pet goats for the win! OK, Laurie, summarize Emily’s book in 3 words.

Family, Choices, Truth

Emily, summarize your book in 3 words.

Cons, Connections, Cult

Sounds like a great story! So, Laurie, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

When I’m not writing or editing, I’m currently in a grad school program for online instructional design. I couldn’t have imagined how relevant this field would become when I started it in 2019! It’s really solidified my belief that critical thinking will be one of the most important skills for the coming generations, along with empathy—and I think a strong foundation in both starts with reading and engaging with stories, especially ones like Emily’s that explore the importance of our connections with other people.

Sounds really exciting! Now, Emily, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I hope to use Pitch Wars to take my writing and editing skills to the next level. Up until now, the only feedback I’ve gotten on my writing has come from two close critique partners and encouraging looks from my dog Sydney. Having an experienced mentor offer personalized feedback and editing on the structured Pitch Wars schedule will help me grow as a writer in new ways. I’m also so excited to connect with a whole new community of writer friends! Laurie and entire Pitch Wars class could not have been more welcoming, and I hope we continue to cheer one another on and support one another’s writing for a long time to come.

The PW community really is the most awesome! And, Emily, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

When there is not a global pandemic, I live in NYC and love to travel, go to the theater, and attend book events. My brain is happiest when both its creative and analytical sides are firing. So I love finding inventive, yet logical, ways to weave plot threads together. Clover, the main character in my Pitch Wars manuscript, has similar traits. She loves math, thinks largely in black and white terms, and attacks problems in a practical and strategic way. She also adapts on the fly, and, in some ways, is ruled by her emotions.

Clover’s story is unique because it’s about a high school girl who dreams of a normal life, but instead, starts a cult for teenage misfits with her con artist parents. But it also tells a more universal story about how each of us has the power to forge our own path, which becomes easier as we open ourselves up to other people in an honest way.

Welcome to the PW family! And thank you both for sharing a little about yourselves and your work.

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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