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 . . .
KT Hoffman – Mentee
Rosie Danan – Mentor
Ruby Barrett – Mentor
Rosie and Ruby, why did you choose KT?
Rosie: I think part of it is that Kendall’s Goodness—that is my woo-woo way of trying to summarize his inner light and spirit and kindness and humor and power—shines through everything he writes. Keystone Combination is the most hopeful book I’ve ever read and I am someone who deeply craves and gravitates to hopeful narratives. Kendall’s writing spoke to so many pieces of my plucky, underdog-loving, acceptance craving, hopeless romantic heart. Ruby and I both knew from a very early point that Kendall is an incredibly special writer and also someone we wanted to know and support. Working with him is already an honor and joy and I’m so glad to have him in our lives.
Ruby: From the very first pages I just felt hope, hope, hope. Literally, after reading the first page of the sample I busted into Rosie’s DMs to scream. I just knew immediately this was the voice we were looking for and this was the story we could help. To me, Keystone Combination is very much about the profound sense of joy we find in being ourselves, in being enough, and it’s about hope. It felt like Kendall had written this book for me, us. I just felt very called to be a part of it. And once we got to know Kendall he really cemented it for us. He is the embodiment of joy and hope that I felt when I read the pages. I think Rosie and I feel very lucky to be a small part of his writing journey.
KT, why did you choose to submit to Rosie and Ruby?
I made a whole spreadsheet the night mentor wishlists were posted, where I listed names, requested genres, special notes, things I thought certain mentors might like about my manuscript, and things I thought they might not like as much. I also had a column that I just called “vibe check” and in Rosie & Ruby’s row, I wrote, “Something about them just completely clicks to me.” They seemed so kind and so sure of the books they were looking for. My book wasn’t a perfect fit, but so much of their wishlist applied to what I had tried to write that I knew I had to submit to them. Plus, they were experienced in honing chemistry, intimacy, and pacing, which my book was going to need.
Then, before I submitted, I read the first chapters of each of their debut novels and literally had to put them down because I knew if I kept going, I would get too intimidated to submit to them! Ruby & Rosie are both incredible, thoughtful, nuanced writers—I finished their books over the reading period and was so, so blown away. Even if I hadn’t gotten to work with them for PW, reading their books has made me a better writer.
Rosie and Ruby, summarize KT’s book in 3 words.
Rosie: Queer baseball yearning
Ruby: Queer hopeful baseball
KT, summarize your book in 3 words.
Optimistic gay baseball!
Rosie and Ruby, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Rosie: I am inordinately good at laser tag, much to the consternation of bros the world over.
Ruby: I can deadlift 220 pounds.
KT, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
It sounds cliché, I know, but I have met such lovely people through this process, particularly my mentors. I’m very fortunate to be working with Rosie & Ruby. They have made me feel so much more comfortable in who I am as a writer and person already, and they are a bright spot in literally every single day now. I look forward to yelling about every project they write, forever, for the rest of my life, as well as every one of their non-writing successes.
And, of course, I hope to make my manuscript better. Pitch Wars has been such a supportive environment in which to learn more about what makes a romance novel work.
KT, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I am originally from the Pacific Northwest (specifically Beaverton, Oregon, which is where my book takes place), though I currently live in Brooklyn. I am a huge fan of the Seattle Mariners.
With KEYSTONE COMBINATION, I wanted to write about trans hope, the slightly quieter cousin of trans joy. It’s a book about how baseball is a sport that often demands optimism in the face of steep odds, and the ways in which that can be in conversation with transness and queer love.
Check out Rosie’s latest release, THE INTIMACY EXPERIMENT …
They’ve built the syllabus for love’s latest experiment, but neither of them expected they’d be the ones putting it to the test.
Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won’t hire her.
Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city’s hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they’ll close the doors of his synagogue for good.
When Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, it seems like the perfect solution to their problems—until they discover a new one—their growing attraction to each other.
A MUST READ ROMANCE —Buzzfeed, Oprah Magazine, Frolic, Popsugar
ONE OF VULTURE MAGAZINE’S BEST ROMANCES OF 2021
LibraryReads TOP PICK for April 2021
Check out Ruby’s latest release, HOT COPY …
Corinne Blunt knows what people think of her – she’s an icy, unapproachable executive. It’s the price she’s had to pay to get to the top. But there’s knowing you have a reputation in the office, and there’s hearing your new intern laugh when someone calls you “Blunt the C–t” in the elevator on his first day.
She’d hoped to finally find an ally in Wesley Chambers, but she’s not about to let him off the hook for joining the office boys’ club. Taking refuge in the professional boundaries between them, she relegates Wes to assistant work – which would do the trick, if he weren’t so eager to prove he’s a decent human being.
Wes is sincerely apologetic, insisting it was a misunderstanding, and to her surprise, Corinne believes him. Being forced to work together was one thing, but long hours at the office with what turns out to be a kind, thoughtful man soon has their business relationship turning personal, and things get complicated – fast. Could this be something more serious than either of them dared to hope for? Or is their relationship just playing into the harmful power dynamics Corinne’s had to endure her entire career?
A note on content warnings:
Hot Copy deals with themes of workplace sexual harassment, cancer, parental death, and grief. There is explicit sex and migraine rep in this book.
“A delightful office romance for the #MeToo era…this is a winner.” – Publisher’s Weekly
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.