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 . . .
Miranda Sun – Mentee
Shannon Thompson – Mentor
Sandra Proudman – Mentor
Shannon and Sandra, why did you choose Miranda?
Sandra Proudman: Miranda’s manuscript had everything I had been keeping an eye out for. A diverse main character, a magical and unique setting, so much heart, romance (oh the romance!), all told in beautiful prose. You can just tell how much Miranda loves this story and its characters and how passionate of a storyteller she is. It’s been a dream to mentor Miranda and I can’t wait to see what amazing things await her in traditional publishing!
Shannon Thompson: Seconding everything Sandra said! We’re so lucky to get to work with Miranda. From page one, her voice leapt out at me. Her characters felt like real people, not to mention the chemistry between the love interests (even though they start out as enemies). I’m a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope, and these two are exactly what you want to see in a contemporary fantasy. As I kept reading, Miranda’s voice also became so beautiful! The magical descriptions are something you are going to want to sink into. Trust me.
Romance and magic and diversity and enemies to lovers? Yeah, irresistible! Miranda, why did you choose to submit to Shannon and Sandra?
I’m sure my mentors will be familiar with my answer already (as I detailed in my lengthy mini-essays to their mentee questions, haha), but several elements of their wishlist matched up with my book: diverse characters being written by diverse writers as the stars of the story; ghosts; girls who are fierce in their own ways; and romance, especially in “a speculative setting with a unique take”! I hoped they’d like the slow-burn hate-to-love romance between Cara, a girl who can see ghosts but finds it more trouble than it’s worth, and Zach, an arrogant jock who ends up dying, becoming a ghost, and needing her help, despite not wanting it.
In addition, I liked Sandra and Shannon’s communication style, and I believed I fit their description of what they were looking for in a mentee. Overall, I got a good vibe from them–friendly, approachable, and encouraging, with an unspoken motto of “Work hard, play hard.” Also, I was charmed by the sound of #TeamSnickersnee and their explanation behind it (from Shannon’s website: “A snickersnee is a large knife used in combat. The word also makes us giggle a lot, so it felt like the perfect fit”). If I was learning something new just from reading their wishlist, then that was a good sign for how much I’d learn from working with them!
To this day, I still feel so lucky that they saw something in my book and chose me to be their mentee.
Compatible communication and overall fit are so important. OK, Shannon and Sandra, summarize Miranda’s book in 3 words.
Sandra Proudman: Swooning, Magical, Feels
Shannon Thompson: Ethereal, Romantic, Brave
Miranda, summarize your book in 3 words.
Humorous, romantic, angsty
Sounds awesome! Now, Shannon and Sandra, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Sandra Proudman: My background is actually in photography! Before I decided to devote all my extra time to writing, I sold photography prints worldwide, included in sites like One Kings Lane and to hotels.
Shannon Thompson: I lived in a haunted house while growing up! (Probably one of the reasons I love ghost stories.) But seriously, it was some poltergeist-like activity! I had friends that wouldn’t come inside. A quick short: We had an opaque front door, and my brother came home from work. He unlocked the front door and, as he was pushing it open, saw a silhouette on the other side rush it. The force hit the door so hard, it slammed into my brother and knocked him down the stairs. When he got up and went inside, no one was home. Stuff like that happened all the time! Especially when we first moved in.
Photography is really cool, but I’ve gotta say WHOA to Shannon’s story! OK, Miranda, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
Going into Pitch Wars, I was champing at the bit to really take my book to the next level, so I could make it the best possible version of itself and give my characters what they deserve. I wanted to improve my craft and fill my writer toolbox with skills I could apply going forward. I also wanted to broaden my knowledge of the publishing industry, form connections, and make more writing friends.
I think I can safely say that, with the help of my awesome mentors and having recently finished my first round of revisions, I’m well on my way to achieving my goals! I have a lot of fun sprinting with the other mentees and playing Among Us.
And sure, if it’s not too much to ask, getting an agent would also be pretty cool (hey, a girl can dream, right?).
Keeping the dream alive is always a wonderful thing! And, Miranda, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I’m a senior in undergrad majoring in Integrative Biology and minoring in Creative Writing, which means I don’t get any sleep. While not bingeing Netflix on my friend’s account (love you Morgan!), I write short stories and poetry in addition to novels, and I’ve worked as an editorial assistant for the online edition of Ninth Letter. I am fascinated with genetics, natural history, and marine biology, the last of which has led me to go whale-watching in Massachusetts, California, and Hawaii (including kayaking with whales in Maui!).
I started writing as young as six years old, and reading Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl were formative for the heart, humor, and magic I hope to wield in my own work. And yet, the books I read growing up rarely centered characters who looked like me, either shuffling them into the background or failing to include them entirely. Even now, I can count on my fingers the number of YA contemporary fantasy books with Asian protagonists that I’m able to name off the top of my head. So with this story of a Chinese American girl who can talk to the dead, I aim to fill an important niche and add to the kind of books I’d love to see more of: Asian characters starring as the heroes, who get to go on adventures, fight monsters, and fall in love. Who have their own kind of magic.
Thank you for bringing your story to Pitch Wars, and welcome to the family! Thank you all for taking the time to complete this interview!
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.