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 . . .
Kola Heyward-Rotimi – Mentee
Jason Hine – Mentor
Jason, why did you choose Kola?
THE LIGHTNING SPEAKS FOR US snared me from the opening paragraph. It examines the consequences that arise from oppression, but also the results of unchecked anger. It’s a complex book with a serious and current message that is sure to leave an impact. It also has several major speculative-fiction twists worthy of the best Hollywood blockbuster that made me go “Wow, I should’ve seen that coming!” Mostly, I’m just thrilled that Kola wanted to work with me.
Kola, why did you choose to submit toJason?
When I was looking through Jason’s wishlist I couldn’t help but think “huh… That’s the story I wrote. He wants grumpy people in a non-Western fantasy setting hurling broken magic at each other. That’s kind of my thing.” A lot of blog posts on Jason’s site also added up to what I was looking for, like the openness with which he recounted his own Pitch Wars experience. Jason presented himself with a straightforward, friendly style that I really appreciated – and I could tell that he would be really enthusiastic to get into whatever manuscript he chose. I’m very happy that he is bringing that kind of energy to the table.
Jason, summarize Kola’s book in 3 words.
“The lion wills!”
Kola, summarize your book in 3 words.
Scarred miners rebel.
Jason, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
I cut my writing teeth in high school by producing thousands of pages of description and storylines for a JRR Tolkein text-based MMO RPG that recently closed after a twenty year run.
Kola, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
It’s really simple. I hope to take my manuscript and make it something that I can be even prouder of. I want to make each act, chapter, and page leave an impact on the reader. With Jason’s amazing feedback this is becoming a reality.
Kola, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?
Well I try to put a lot of my experiences into my work, so in The Lightning Speaks for Us I made sure to have my characters flail about a lot and get increasingly angry at the state of their world. My protagonist and his community already had it tough mining hell itself for decades, but even with all of the demons being dead now they can’t seem to catch a break. It’s like, one institutional oppression after the other. The frustration and trauma that comes from that situation, the feeling of always having a boot pressed against your neck, is one of the main themes that I explore in this book.
Also I loved writing characters and a setting that reflected the kind of genre-blending, non-Western speculative fiction that I would love to see more of. I grew up in the States and lived for four years in my Dad’s home country of Nigeria. Nigerian and African-American influences are all over this story – and many other influences too! This book was a great way to preach my love for palm wine, honestly.