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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Kara Allen and mentor, Kalyn Josephson

Friday, 11 December 2020  |  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 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 . . .

Kara Allen – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Kalyn Josephson – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kalyn, why did you choose Kara?

The strength of Kara’s writing really drew me in. A writer’s prose are one of the first things I notice, and after that it was one thing after another: her fun, fresh magic system, her fierce, lovable characters, her unique world, oh, and ALSO THERE’S A HEIST. Really, there was so much to love about the story!

Oh, I love stories with heists! Kara, why did you choose to submit to Kalyn?

Kalyn asked for complicated characters with dubious morals, which definitely describes my protagonist! Her wish list also mentioned unusual magic and unique gods, both of which form the core foundation of my secondary fantasy world. Kalyn also wanted disastrous romances, especially with a villain, and my book explores what the aftermath of such a relationship might look like. On a related note, she said that she loved romance tropes, and I have rivals-to-friends-to-lovers happening inside a sapphic love triangle with a dash of forced proximity on top. (And that’s just the romance subplot tropes. I also have Wild West tropes and heist tropes and fantasy tropes, and subversions and inversions of all of them. Really it’s just tropes all the way down.)

Ohh, dubious morals? I’m sold! And Kalyn, can you summarize Kara’s book in 3 words.

Badass sapphic witches.

Kara, summarize your book in 3 words.

Fantasy western heist.

There’s so much to love about this manuscript! So Kalyn, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

When I’m not writing or reading, I’m huge into baking, especially bread! Kara recently introduced me to the term ‘pastry witch’ and I have never felt so seen.

Ha! I’ve been baking a lot lately too. I think we need to make a teacher with that saying. Kara, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I’ve never queried a book before, so I’m really excited to work with my mentor to get my book ready for querying and to learn more about the process of (hopefully!) getting an agent. As for the book itself, Kalyn is working closely with me to improve the worldbuilding and tighten up the pacing in the middle of the story. I knew that both of these areas needed work when I applied to Pitch Wars, so I’m really grateful to have her help in making them better! Finally, I look forward to getting to know all of my fellow mentees and making new writing friendships. I’m so excited to gain a new cohort of writing friends who are all at a similar spot in their writing journeys and who are also working towards the same publishing goals as me.

The community you gain is the best part of Pitch Wars in my opinion. And Kara, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I finally caught up on the TV show Westworld in fall 2019 — yes, I know I was late to the party. Even though I had never really been interested in westerns before, something about the combination of western tropes with SFF stories really stuck in my brain. I began working on a fantasy western idea that I originally intended to be a short story of around 5K or 6K words. While some shorts take me forever to write, I wrote more than 10K words on this concept in just a few days and wanted to keep going.

My critique partners agreed that there was much more to the characters and world I simply couldn’t cover in a short story format, so I began planning out a novel, using the 10K short fiction as the backstory for the book. I really wanted to tell a story that turned Wild West clichés on their head and explored what a fantasy western might look like without the sexism, racism, and queerphobia that’s traditionally rampant in the genre. It turns out that a pseudo-western heist populated almost entirely with badass sapphic witches is exactly my jam, and hopefully other people will agree.

Thank you, Kalyn and Kara, for the wonderful interview. Good luck revising!

Add Kalyn’s upcoming release, THIS DARK DESCENT to Goodreads HERE


THE SCORPIO RACES meets PEAKY BLINDERS in THIS DARK DESCENT, a YA fantasy duology set in a world of enchanted animals inspired by Jewish folklore focusing on a cutthroat horse race and a cast of characters forced together to win it.




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.


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