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 . . .
Carly A. Davis – Mentee
Carlyn Greenwald – Mentor
Carlyn, why did you choose Carly?
I’ve always been a huge fan of college YA and exploring coming of age in the time beyond high school, particularly from a queer lens (because god knows a lot of us do that work after high school). But really, Carly’s story just had that plus so many other tropes and elements I actually love — f/f starting from being roommates, anxious bi girl, a fresh take on vampires, sex positivity — that just got me so excited to read. Then, from the first line, her protagonist’s voice just jumped off the page and I was laughing out loud. I knew I’d follow Violet into anything and had to keep reading.
It ended up being the first manuscript I read in full within the first few days and I just could not stop thinking about it — why I loved it and how I could help guide Carly to new levels. We exchanged questions and answers and once she said she wanted help with the mystery element (something I LOVE to do), I knew we’d be perfect for each other. It also helps we both love dogs and MCR.
Carly, why did you choose to submit to Carlyn?
I feel like I have to write a full essay to answer this question. From the moment I looked through her wishlist, I knew we would jive well. We both like dogs, true crime, emo music, being bad at video games, theme park history videos, and above all… emo music.
She was also looking for dark YA, and mentioned that she’d be a good fit for contemporary style fantasy with a mystery or thriller element. Hopeless Hearts has a mystery at the center of all the romance and vampires, but I wanted help strengthening that aspect of the book, so that shot her high up on my list. Plus, she’s Carlyn, I’m Carly. I’m kind of a sucker for the similar-names vibe.
Carlyn, summarize Carly’s book in 3 words.
Vampire Girl’s Dream
Carly, summarize your book in 3 words.
They were roommates.
Carlyn, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
I am a very eclectic writer who mostly works in the contemporary space (YA Contemporary and Thriller, Adult Romance and Thriller) as well as some dabbling into fantasy. My books are represented by Janine Kamouh at WME and I am a former Pitch Wars ’16 mentee as well as AMM mentee and this is my second year mentoring Pitch Wars.
When not writing, I tend to be going deep down theme park/cryptid/true crime YouTube rabbit holes, hanging with my family pets, and (as Carly mentioned) badly playing video games. Something you may not know about me is I started a podcast (with two husbands of former Pitch Wars mentors! the community is vast!) about Netflix’s the Crown called Crowning Around. My main purpose is to develop weekly out of left field gay fanfic pairings for all the stuffy royals on the show.
Carly, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
Lots of things! Truly, I think the biggest boon of Pitch Wars is the community. I applied in 2020 and didn’t even get a request, but I joined a writing group of other hopefuls. Over the past year, they’ve become some of my best friends. I never would have gotten to this point without each and every one of them pushing me to be better and cheering me on. Right now, I’m having a lot of fun getting to know Carlyn. She’s such a cool person!
On the technical side, I want to push myself to become a better writer. I’ve been writing pretty much my whole life, but there’s always things I can improve upon. There were pieces in this book that I knew just weren’t working, but I couldn’t exactly put my finger on what they were, and how to fix them. It nearly blew my mind when I got my edit letter! It was a big “Why didn’t I think of that?” moment. I’m really hoping to be able to take the things I learn from this journey to apply to my future writing.
Carly, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I’m Carly, a native Connecticutlet who’s been stuck in Alabama for the last ten years. I love dogs, emo music, and anything that goes bump in the night. My ideal aesthetic is Three Cheers Gerard Way’s hair and makeup, but with Black Parade’s styling. No, I won’t take constructive criticism on that at this time.
As for what makes my manuscript unique… So much of the YA vampire canon is high-school centric, hetero, and involves a way older vampire with an underage girl. Hopeless Hearts takes that canon and flips it on its head, setting the story at a university, making the vampire pretty new to the whole bloodsucking thing, and making it as bi as possible. At its heart, when you peel away the fangs and things, it’s a coming of age story. A lot of us members of the queer community didn’t really get to experience the things that our cishet counterparts did during high school, so for us it’s all brand new. While I never got into vampire shenanigans like Violet does, I did share a lot of the same ups and downs while I was in college.
What I really want is for this book is for people to see themselves in it and think that maybe at the end of the day, it’ll all be okay.
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.