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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Katy Lapierre and mentors, Hoda Agharazi and Lyssa Mia Smith

Tuesday, 18 January 2022  |  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 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 . . .

Katy Lapierre – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Hoda Agharazi – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Lyssa Mia Smith

Lyssa Mia Smith – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Hoda and Lyssa, why did you choose Katy?

Lyssa: Katy’s query struck me as super high concept: a novice witch who foresees her bff’s death, can’t stop it (and maybe even causes it), then turns to dark magic to resurrect her? It gave me ALL the chills. Then Katy’s first chapter absolutely blew me away. Her voice is fantastic & perfect for YA. Her summery Cape Cod setting was so rich and immersive, I felt myself carried away. But what sealed the deal for me was that she made me cry. SEVERAL times. I couldn’t get this book out of my mind, and I was so excited when Hoda felt the same!

Hoda: Katy’s story had me hooked from the beginning. I absolutely love friendship stories, and INK BECOMES HER is, at its heart, a story about friendship. Throw in loss, magic. romance, and a spiraling protagonist – what’s not to love?!

Katy, why did you choose to submit to Hoda and Lyssa?

Hoda and Lyssa checked off a lot of boxes on my mentor spreadsheet, including looking for contemporary fantasy, strong platonic friendships, and family relationships. We also shared an interest in many of the same books, and when I read that they’d “love a good witchy story this fall” my pulse sped up a few beats.

On a more personal level, I submitted previous manuscripts to Hoda in past rounds of Pitch Wars, thinking we’d work well together—and, uh, I guess I’m stubborn. Lyssa and I have been mutuals for a while now and I enjoyed following her through her own Pitch Wars journey. After scrolling their blog hop sites, I was drawn to the excitement and energy they both would undoubtedly bring. From the very beginning, I thought we would be a great fit!

Hoda and Lyssa, summarize Katy’s book in 3 words.

Lyssa: Tragic, broken-hearted witch

Hoda: Friendship. Grief. Magic.

Katy, summarize your book in 3 words.

Friendship, loss, ink magic (yeah, I’m pretending that’s one word)

Hoda and Lyssa, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Lyssa: I reached my current height of 5’10” when I was twelve years old, which made middle school SO very fun and not at all awkward.

Hoda: Last year for this question, I said I was starting to learn the piano. That was a lie. But this year I mean it!! I will learn the piano (hopefully – check in next year).

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

The Pitch Wars community is a huge draw for me. Having a group of people to laugh and scream with in this hectic, rollercoaster of an industry is necessary—shoutout to my #LlamaSquad and all my talented writing friends. I’m looking forward to connecting with more people who are in this same stage of the journey.

And of course, I love the idea of having mentors to help me through revisions, people who will read my book more than once! Hoda and Lyssa have already identified ways to strengthen this book and make it sparkle. They’ve heaped praise and ideas upon me, suggested comps and craft books, and worked with me to make it rain during brainstorming sessions. It’s been wonderful to have people in my corner who get me, my story, and my characters. The agent showcase is a draw, as every boost is a great thing. But it’s not the goal. It would simply be icing on a delicious cake.

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

I’m a mom of three with a full-time job, so I’m always doing my best to attain that work-life-writing balance. I grew up in Massachusetts and now live in New Hampshire with my husband and little monster children, aka noise covered in dirt—stole that last bit from Pinterest but it totally fits.

This story is close to my heart not because I am a witch or even because I have a lot of tattoos (shhh I don’t have any, but I did my research, I swear). But I did spend nearly every summer of my youth on Cape Cod, both with family and friends. We’d wander the dunes, get hopelessly lost exploring before cell phones and Google Maps were a thing, dive into every ocean wave, go out to breakfast and make up fake names for each other, and argue about which stand had the best ice cream and which town had the best fudge—it’s Hyannis, by the way. This setting, these experiences, and the ink/tattoo magic system that popped into my head are what make this story my story. And I hope you get to read it some day!

Check out Lyssa’s upcoming release, REVELLE …

Lyssa’s debut novel, REVELLE, was a Pitch Wars book and is coming out in early 2023 from HarperCollins/Balzer+Bray. If you like YA romantic fantasy with magical Moulin Rouge vibes, add it on GoodReads here! Link: https://tinyurl.com/RR2023







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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