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 . . .
Milo Todd – Mentee
Samantha Rajaram – Mentor
Samantha, why did you choose Milo?
Milo’s book drew me in from the first sentence. Confident, purposeful, and wise, his protagonist Cupid felt so real and believable to me, and introduced me to a world I really didn’t know much about–the trans community in the late 1960s. Milo clearly did so much research into the queer community at that time–down to the slang and idioms of that time period. I’m a sucker for good research, and Milo clearly put in the work to make his book shine. I also really appreciated all the love between his characters. When writing about marginalized characters, things can get dark really quickly, but Milo does an excellent job of showcasing the compassion and loyalty between the primary characters, which makes the reader root for them. Also, and this can’t be overstated, we need more trans historical fiction. Milo is writing literary historical fiction, my favorite genre, and this book is stunning. I’ve not read anything like it. I couldn’t put it down. This is a book I really want out in the world. Milo is such a talent and is truly dedicated to the craft of good writing. Ok, now I’ll stop gushing…
Literary historical fiction? Yes please! OK, Milo, why did you choose to submit to Samantha?
Samantha was my top choice and I was so humbled not only to get accepted into Pitch Wars, but specifically by Samantha. She stood out to me because she had a combo that I rarely see: an interest in marginalized stories, historical fiction, and more depressing or dark stuff outside of the realm of SFF, Romance, YA, and other related categories. (No disrespect to those categories. They’re very important. That being said, authentic trans stories are still largely held back in other categories and it’s frustrating.) She also seemed to have a similar work ethic and approach (hardcore planning, working by deadlines, etc.), and wouldn’t you know it, turns out to have all been true. I’ve been very happy with her so far. I’ve additionally been very comfortable working with her because she understands the importance of such balances as making the story more palatable to the mainstream without compromising its subject matter. Her edits and suggestions so far have been wonderful.
It’s wonderful Samantha was your top choice and you hers. So, Samantha, summarize Milo’s book in 3 words.
Love and self-love
Aww that sounds great. And, Milo, summarize your book in 3 words.
Transgender historical fiction? Will wreck you? Transcestors are badass? Crying is fun?
Samantha, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
During the pandemic, I’ve perfected my Texas chili recipe and learned to draw/sketch various types of trees, thanks to my artsy daughter and Youtube.
That sounds like a delicious and creative combination of pursuits. OK, Milo, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
I hope to make my novel the strongest it can be. I also hope to make it more palatable to mainstream readers without pandering to them. I’m also looking forward to building a community of peers. You can never have too many peers.
Those sound like admirable goals! And, Milo, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I like to uncover as much trans history of a given time and place as possible, fill in any gaps with educated guesses and personal experiences, and then present it all as a story for easier accessibility and absorption for the reader. I also often match a given historical setting to an ongoing oppression within the trans community, providing a reflection of what work still needs to be done and for how many generations said oppression has remained. I hope novels such as these will prompt readers to learn about our history while simultaneously being inspired to action.
Love it! Welcome to the PW family! Thank you both for taking the time to answer our questions and let us all get to know you!
Check out Samantha’s recent release, THE COMPANY DAUGHTERS.
Wanted: Company Daughters. Virtuous young ladies to become the brides of industrious settlers in a foreign land. The Company will pay the cost of the lady’s dowry and travel. Returns not permitted, orphans preferred.
Amsterdam, 1616. Jana Beil has learned that life rarely provides moments of joy. Having run away from a violent father, her days are spent searching for work in an effort to stay out of the city brothels, where desperate women trade their bodies for a mouthful of bread. But when Jana is hired as a servant for the wealthy and kind Master Reynst and his beautiful daughter Sontje, Jana’s future begins to look brighter.
Then Master Reynst loses his fortune on a bad investment, and everything changes. The house is sold to creditors, leaving Jana back on the streets and Sontje without a future.
With no other choice, Jana and Sontje are forced to sign with the East India Company as Company Daughters: sailing to a colonial outpost to become the brides of male settlers they know nothing about. With fear in their hearts, the girls begin their journey – but what awaits them on the other side of the world is nothing like what they’ve been promised…
Based on true history, this is a beautiful and sensual historical novel, perfect for fans of The Girl with the Pearl Earring, The Miniaturist and The Indigo Girl.
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.