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 . . .
Gabrielle Aku – Mentee
Michaela Greer – Mentor
Michaela, why did you choose Gabrielle?
Besides falling in love with the premise of her story, I felt Gabrielle and I had a lot in common. She reminded me a lot of my best friend (They both went to Tisch!) and I knew that she would approach revisions creatively because of it. I wasn’t wrong. Gabrielle has been an absolute dream to work with.
Yay for insta connections! And, Gabrielle, why did you choose to submit to Michaela?
I’m new to writing YA so part of my education in writing my Manuscript was gobbling up every YA Thriller I could get my hands on. And one that I absolutely loved was Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. And on Michaela’s mentor profile I saw, among other exciting things that made me choose her as a mentor, that Tiffany D. Jackson was one of her favorite writers. Yeah, I knew then that I had to submit to her.
Shared reading tastes for the win! Now, Michaela, summarize Gabrielle’s book in 3 words.
Unapologetic Villain Origin
Gabrielle, summarize your book in 3 words.
Black Girl Villain
Ooo love a good bad-girl story. OK, Michaela, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Hi I’m Michaela and I am deathly afraid of mountain lions. Random, I know, but I would argue it’s become part of my personality and one of the largest factors in defining where I decide to travel and live. I own 2 cats and envisioning a 200 pound version stalking me is in the top 5 reasons I lose sleep at night. If Gabrielle’s main character wasn’t fictional, she’d definitely use this fact (weakness) against me.
So, no southwestern travel for you. And, Gabrielle, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
Now that Pitch Wars is coming to an end I can honestly say that it’s been amazing! I’ve learned so much about my book and the story I’m telling, thanks a lot to my mentor. I’ve also grown exponentially as a writer (seriously, I can draft way faster than I used to). But I’ll say the best part of this experience has been the people I’ve met. The other mentees. Whether it’s sprinting for twelve hours straight or laughing over our questionable main characters and the decisions they make, I’m so glad I’ve met a wonderful group of writers that I hope will be with me for the length of my career.
Connecting with fellow writers is definitely one of the big bonuses here. Welcome to the Pitch Wars family, Gabrielle. Now, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
Hi! I’m Gabrielle Aku. I’m a first year MFA student at The New School in Writing for Children and Young Adults, which is cool because one day it’s Goodnight Moon and the next it’s Shadow and Bone! I love it! I’m also an alum of NYU Tisch School of the Arts. So yeah, I write books, screenplays, television episodes–you name it! I’m from Atlanta, Georgia, like my mentor and my main character. What I love most about my manuscript, GANG, is that the reader’s unaware that they’re following the villain of the story. Of course the story has a greater and more formidable villain but because my main character’s largely unassuming, in her stature, age, and the fact that she’s a Black teen girl, and in her world people don’t expect much from her. So, yeah, I really loved crafting a repressed but calculating and controversial character. I think that makes my book deserve a read, for sure.
Thank you both for giving this interview and sharing a bit about yourselves. And 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.