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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Jennifer Kiefer and mentor, Cynthia Pelayo

Friday, 21 January 2022  |  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 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 . . .

Jennifer Kiefer – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Cynthia Pelayo – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Cynthia, why did you choose Jennifer?

Jennifer’s first few lines drew me in right away. As soon as I started reading, I think I started just saying ‘Yes!’ to myself right away. This was exactly what I was looking for, horror that challenges our perceptions and understanding of the physical world, and that distorts our reality.

Jennifer’s manuscript includes all of the elements I look for in horror – folklore, an environment that is a character itself and characters trying to understand and survive through a horrific situation.

Jennifer, why did you choose to submit to Cynthia?

The first thing that caught my eye was that my manuscript seemed to fit perfectly into her wish list: a story with mythos that feels like a true crime (but really isn’t). Her mentoring style seemed perfect for me as well – regular check-ins with flexibility, with the understanding that life finds a way to interfere in your plans. Most of all, I loved that she believes in positivity, something that is much needed in publishing.

Cynthia, summarize Jennifer’s book in 3 words.

Rock climbing. Ghosts. Kentucky.

Jennifer, summarize your book in 3 words.

Hungry Kentucky woods.

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

I’m absolutely terrified of heights (I cry at the thought of roller coasters), and so just reading Jennifer’s manuscript that includes rock climbing had my anxiety on edge the entire time.

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

I am a huge plotter and do a lot of pre-writing and outlining. However, when I get to the point of revising, sometimes it’s hard to look past all of that pre-writing work to diagnose what revisions will make the story stronger. I’m hoping my Pitch Wars experience with Cina can help me learn more about the revision process and give me tools to revise future books and writings.

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

I’ve been a horror fiction fan for about as long as I could read, going from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark to Goosebumps to Ritchie Tankersley Cusick and on and on. My Pitch Wars manuscript is full of creepiness that’s quiet until it gets suddenly loud, and it also has an unusual structure and an ensemble cast. The story was inspired by the Dyatlov Pass incident and my own experiences as a rock climber (which I miss dearly). Just like me, it’s set in Kentucky, a wild place that somehow does not have many credits as a horror novel setting.

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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