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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Loretta Chefchaouni and mentor, Lyndsay Ely

Saturday, 26 December 2020  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina


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 . . .

Loretta Chechaouni – Mentee



Lyndsay Ely

Lyndsay Ely – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Lyndsay, why did you choose Loretta?

Loretta’s writing drew me in from the very first chapter. Her main character, Jannat, had such a great voice, and there was a vibrancy to Loretta’s descriptions that pulled me through to the end of her submission and left me wanting more. (It didn’t hurt that the story opened in a graveyard, which I am very fond of.) I got vibes of Labyrinth Lost, Veronica Mars, and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The more I read, the more I loved the blending of mystery and mythology into something that felt unique and cinematic.

Mystery and mythology combined, love it! And Loretta, why did you choose to submit to Lyndsay?

Lyndsay’s wishlist skewed toward things with a darker edge, which made me hopeful she would enjoy my story. It’s probably the darkest one I’ve written (though I think I end up repeating something to this effect with each new book). Her quirky humor was a bonus, and Lyndsay’s was the only wishlist that made me laugh out loud. The clincher was her promise to be in 100% with her mentee. I knew that kind of commitment was priceless. At that time, I hadn’t had a chance to read her book, but I’m doing that now, and her writing style is captivating. I hope it rubs off on me!! (As a side note, both our books have similar characters named Max—another sign our pairing was fated!)

A love of dark stories and quirky humor, yes! Next, Lyndsay, summarize Loretta‘s book in 3 words.

Islamic afterlife adventure

Loretta, summarize your book in 3 words.

Muslim Ghost Whisperer

Now that sounds like a great read. OK, Lyndsay, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Morocco has always been very high on my list of places I wanted to visit, so it was a pleasant surprise to end up mentoring a book with an MC who has been there.

Pics please! And, Loretta, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I hope to get this book in the best shape possible. I think this is my strongest premise yet, and I want to make sure the whole book lives up to that. Lyndsay honed in right away on exactly the feedback I needed, so I’m feeling confident about where things are headed, and she’s so knowledgeable about publishing-related topics. I’m utterly grateful to have her as a mentor and be part of the Pitch Wars family.

Yay for great mentor/mentee matchups and welcome to the family, Loretta. Now, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I live in Florida—where we have just survived our annual one day of winter—with my husband, two young adult sons, and two cats, all of whom I adore although I’m allergic to at least three of them. A former early childhood educator, I now spend my days in a pretzel of anxiety, by which I mean to say: I write books.

I wrote AFTERDEATH because there can never be enough characters who are unapologetic about being Muslim and draw strength from their faith, especially in stories typically told from the perspective of the dominant paradigm. AFTERDEATH also centers on the topic of grief, which is a universal theme, but also personal for me. In fact, the idea of writing about a teen detective who travels to Barzakh, the Islamic realm between death and the Hereafter, to find her mother’s soul, was born in part from the idea of connecting with a lost loved one last time, and asking myself, “How far would someone go to be able to do that?”

What an amazing premise for a story, can’t wait to read it. Thank you both for takign time to do this interview! It’s always great to get to know the teams.

Check out Lyndsay’s latest release, GUNSLINGER GIRL.

James Patterson presents a bold new heroine — a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.
Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great . . .
In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.


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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