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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Mae McCall and mentor, Sarvenaz Tash

Tuesday, 14 December 2021  |  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 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 . . .

Mae McCall – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Sarvenaz Tash – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sarvenaz, why did you choose Mae?

Mae’s book swept me away from the first page when Juliet wakes up to find that Romeo has completely messed up their plans and gone ahead and died when they were supposed to be enjoying a marriage of convenience instead. From there, it’s a laugh a minute as Juliet sets out on her her quest to become a master botanist..and if she happens to poison a few villains along the way, so be it. I really loved this whimsical, irreverent, sapphic Shakespearean retelling that has one of the best voices I’ve read in a long time.

Mae, why did you choose to submit to Sarvenaz?

We love a lot of the same books and movies, which to me is a solid foundation for any relationship. And she requested humor, which is a challenge I’ll never turn down. Honestly, when I was researching all of the mentors in my category, her website was the first that I bookmarked, and the one I visited again and again. I couldn’t be happier with how this turned out.

Sarvenaz, summarize Mae’s book in 3 words.

Riotous Juliet Retelling

Mae, summarize your book in 3 words.

Sapphic Shakespearean Adventure

Sarvenaz, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

In 9th grade, when we read ROMEO AND JULIET in English, I created a whole Verona Enquirer tabloid for extra credit.There was scandal, intrigue…maybe an alien baby?

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

Sarv has done a great job reminding me that just because something makes perfect sense in my head, that doesn’t mean that the reader will interpret or understand it the same way. A lot of my revisions include adding, rather than cutting. And I’m learning a lot about the publishing industry from my mentor and the other mentors/mentees. It also means a lot that there are people out there (looking at you, Sarv) who get and appreciate my sense of humor. As I told my mentor at the beginning, I live for the LOLs.

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

I’m a college science teacher by trade and a writer in secret. To borrow a term from Sarv, I’ll say that I’m a bit of a genre floozy, and I write what I want to read. I’m a Pantser who would rather disassemble a car with my bare hands than write an outline or make a spreadsheet (and I know absolutely NOTHING about cars, mind you). My process is linear—just start on page one and write the book straight to the end. This manuscript comes from years of resentment about having to read Romeo and Juliet in high school, because I always thought that Juliet got a raw deal. (I mean, WHY are Romeo and Juliet the gold standard of romance? Things turn out TERRIBLY for them.) In my head, Juliet is independent and snarky and has bigger dreams than the world of Shakespeare allows. I see her as one of those badass women that we rarely hear about in history class, but who have always been there between the lines, getting sh*t done. And I like the idea of being able to really figure out who you are, even if it doesn’t fit with society’s standards, and define love in your own way.

Check out Sarvenaz’ latest release, HOLLYWOOD ENDING …

One perfect friendship—abruptly canceled.

All through college, Nina and Sebastian were sentence-finishing, secret-sharing BFFs, and absolute super fans of Castles of Rust and Bone. It was the kind of show—and the kind of friendship—that demands you’re all in, for the plot twists, the unresolved sexual tension, the weekly coup d’etat—and ultimately, the heartbreak.

At least until the big cliffhanger…

But when Castles’ season finale turned into the unceremoniously axed show’s awkward farewell, Nina and Sebastian’s friendship ended just as suddenly—and just as awkwardly. And Sebastian’s longed-for chance to woo Nina into something more than friendship was written out of their story.

In Hollywood, there’s always a comeback.

Five years later, Nina and Sebastian are living their best lives in L.A.—and Castles is being rebooted. Nina’s a social media coordinator for the streaming service that will air the show, and Sebastian is a PA for the production company. What could be more perfect? How about running into each other on set…?

Fingers crossed for a happy ending…

Turns out even the most dedicated fans are due for a wake-up call when they get to peek behind-the-scenes. And suddenly Nina and Sebastian are remembering when they were super fans of each other instead. Will flipping the script from buddy comedy to real romance ruin everything—or deliver the happily-ever-after they both crave?

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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