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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Jeanne Becijos and her mentor, Nicole Melleby

Thursday, 29 November 2018  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


Our mentors are editing, 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 6, 2019, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2018 Pitch Wars Teams.

First up, we have . . .

Jeanne Becijos – Mentee


Nicole Melleby – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Nicole, why did you choose Jeanne?

Jeanne’s LGBTQ MG novel had everything I wanted: it was a lovely, lighthearted story that had heart, a main character who happens to be queer, and an incredibly fun voice. Basically, the kind of novel that I wish I had growing up, and the kind I want more of on the shelves now for today’s young readers.

Jeanne, why did you choose to submit to Nicole?

By mistake, I didn’t initially submit to Nicole, although I intended to. My info was passed to her, and luckily it’s a great match with her interest in LGBTQ characters and her connection to art as a focus in a middle grade book.

Nicole, summarize Jeanne’s book in 3 words.

Adrenaline pumping fun!

Jeanne, summarize your book in 3 words.

Adrenaline and Art

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

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but after struggling with school and falling into a depression, I got back into writing thanks to falling in love with daytime soap operas. I actually got my undergrad degree in TV/Film because I wanted to write for soaps.

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

Of course, ultimately getting an agent and placement with a publisher is ideal. However, along the way I’m planning on building my writing skills. (I’ve already realized that patience is a key!) Consulting directly with a mentor has been extremely valuable. Also, I’ve heard for a couple of years how great it is to be part of the Pitch Wars community, which can last beyond the current mentorship. Besides, it’s all quite exciting!

Jeanne, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I’ve been a high school teacher in English/ Reading/Psychology and currently teach ESL at a community college. I’ve written several educational books and have also had plays produced. I’m totally into writing Middle Grade novels at the moment. Uniqueness in my manuscript, I believe, comes from the active, adrenaline-charged main character who is becoming aware of her romantic interest in girls. While Kiki tries to convince her artist father to let her live with him in his houseboat, she is involved in risky adrenaline-charged adventures and is learning the art of glass blowing.

Check out Nicoles’s recent release, HURRICANE SEASON …

Fig, a sixth grader, wants more than anything to see the world as her father does. The once-renowned pianist, who hasn’t composed a song in years and has unpredictable good and bad days, is something of a mystery to Fig. Though she’s a science and math nerd, she tries taking an art class just to be closer to him, to experience life the way an artist does. But then Fig’s dad shows up at school, disoriented and desperately searching for Fig. Not only has the class not brought Fig closer to understanding him, it has brought social services to their door.
Diving into books about Van Gogh to understand the madness of artists, calling on her best friend for advice, and turning to a new neighbor for support, Fig continues to try everything she can think of to understand her father, to save him from himself, and to find space in her life to discover who she is even as the walls are falling down around her.
Nicole Melleby’s Hurricane Season is a stunning debut about a girl struggling to be a kid as pressing adult concerns weigh on her. It’s also about taking risks and facing danger, about love and art, and about coming of age and coming out. And more than anything else, it is a story of the healing power of love—and the limits of that power.
Hurricane Season  will be released May 7, 2019. You can pre-order from IndieBound, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 6 – 11, 2019, and our next #PitMad is December 6, 2018!


Filed: Interviews

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