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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Lisa Allen and mentors, Farah Heron and Namrata Patel

Tuesday, 25 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 . . .

Lisa Allen – Mentee



Farah Heron – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Namrata Patel – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Farah and Namrata, why did you choose Lisa?

Farah: I’ve always loved the rock star romance trope, so the book sucked me in right away. I thought the pairing of a former boyband member and his tour doctor was so unique, and it was important to me that both leads were people of color. But really, it was the writing that grabbed. Lisa has such a fresh voice and modern way of writing. Voice is the hardest thing to work with a mentee on, so it’s better if it’s already there. And as I was reading the book, the edits I would suggest were clear, so I knew this was a book I could help with. I was so relieved that Namrata loved it as much as I did.

Namrata: Voice. Voice. Voice. From the first page, the book was grounded in a strong voice. Unlike Farah, this trope was not something I read frequently so in a way I came into it with hesitation. But the characters were really compelling and the premise was unique. Like Farah, I knew where we could help with tightening up the plot, layering on the internal motivations and amping up the stakes. The other consideration for me was is this something romance readers would clamor for, and yes, it hit all the right notes for a satisfying read.

Lisa, why did you choose to submit to Farah and Namrata?

I knew immediately that Farah and Namrata were in my mentor selections, and of my picks, I felt like they were the perfect team for my book. So I definitely had fingers crossed they would see something in my book. Their wishlist was one that just lovingly spoke about romance, and romantic-comedy especially, that I knew I could learn from them. Then so many of the details they were interested in mentoring I thought matched my book. But I also liked that they said they would be tough on their mentee and not mince words. I really wanted a mentor that would help me fix issues I knew were in my book and give me advice. And I couldn’t be more pleased to say that’s exactly what I got from Farah and Namrata. They are so wonderful and kind. All the time they’ve given towards helping my books is incredible.

Farah and Namrata, summarize Lisa’s book in 3 words.

Farah: Sexy, found family, and emotional.

Namrata: Emotional, found family, and, fresh

Lisa, summarize your book in 3 words.

Boybands! Food! Family!

Farah and Namrata, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Farah: I am a Canadian of Indian heritage, and I write rom-coms for adults and teens. My recent releases are Accidentally Engaged, which was listed as a best book of the year by USA Today, NPR, CBC books, Entertainment Weekly, and more. My YA debut was Tahira in Bloom, which was on best of lists at USA Today and Pop Sugar. I live in Toronto with my husband and teenagers, as well as two cats and a rabbit, and I am addicted to YouTube cooking videos and Instagram cake decorating videos.

Namrata: I’m Indian American and have lived in quite a few places from London to Spokane to New York City to Boston. I’ve spent a lot of my life traveling and immersing myself in experiences from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to hiking through the Scottish highlands. My debut women’s fiction, The Candid Life of Meena Dave will be out in June 2022 and is a story about a nomad who finally finds home.

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

After being selected, my mentor Namrata suggested that I write down three goals for what I wanted to get out of this experience. One, I want to gain a better understanding of the revision process. Where I am now I’ve learned so much from my mentors’ edits and comments. I don’t think I really knew how to revise until they helped me. Alongside that, I gained a better ability to accept a higher level of criticism. Everything I learned about beat sheets, reverse outlines, and character motivation from my mentors has been invaluable. Second, I want to connect with my mentors and mentees. Any time I need someone to cheer me on I know I can reach out to my mentors and they help me work through my fears. And just hearing from all the mentees helps too. Everyone has their own path, but we are also walking similar paths at the same time. It’s a very unique experience. Last, before PitchWars, I had not submitted to agents at all, so I want to learn more about the query process and how to pick an agent.

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

I’ve been writing since high school, and though my skill has (hopefully) improved with time, my core vibe to what I like to write hasn’t really changed that much. I like to write romantic-comedy and have fun telling a feel-good story. I write what makes me feel good! What made this manuscript unique is that I was at a place where I’d failed to finish other books and decided that I needed to write something that I wanted to read. I’ve always loved celebrity romances, and it was also important to me to write a book with representation for stories not always on shelves. Especially a queer rom-com with two BIPOC leads. This story let me put lots of elements that I love and find interesting – social media, fandoms, and public image vs. truth. I just dressed it all up with some romance and food.

Check out Farah’s upcoming book releasing March 8, 2022, KAMILA KNOWS BEST …

Jane Austen’s Emma goes Bollywoood in this delightful retelling from the highly acclaimed author of Accidentally Engaged, perfect for fans of Abby Jimenez and Jasmine Guillory.Kamila Hussain’s life might not be perfect, but, whew, it’s close. She lives a life of comfort, filled with her elaborate Bollywood movie parties, a dog with more Instagram followers than most reality stars, a job she loves, and an endless array of friends who clearly need her help finding love. In fact, Kamila is so busy with her friends’ love lives, she’s hardly given any thought to her own . . .

Fortunately, Kamila has Rohan Nasser. A longtime friend of the family, he’s hugely successful, with the deliciously lean, firm body of a rock climber. Only lately, Kamila’s “harmless flirting” with Rohan is making her insides do a little bhangra dance.

But between planning the local shelter’s puppy prom, throwing a huge work event, and proving to everyone that she’s got it all figured out, Kamila isn’t letting herself get distracted—until her secret nemesis returns to town with an eye for Rohan. Suddenly, it seems like the more Kamila tries to plan, the more things are starting to unravel—and her perfectly ordered life is about to be turned upside down.

  • Bookpage’s Most Anticipated Romance Novels of 2022




Check out Namrata’s upcoming book releasing June 1, 2022, THE CANDID LIFE OF Meena Dave …

A woman embarks on an unexpected journey into her past in an engrossing novel about identity, family secrets, and rediscovering the need to belong.

Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.

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. 

Support Namrata’s local bookstores

“I’m grateful to all the Boston area bookstores that have helped fill my bookshelves over the years. Please consider supporting one of these shops when it’s time to pre-order my novel.” ~ Namrata

Brookline Booksmith (Brookline, MA)

Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA)

All She Wrote Books (Somerville, MA)

Trident Booksellers (Boston, MA)

Frugal Bookstore (Roxbury, MA)


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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