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 . . .
N.J. Corsini – Mentee
K.C. Held – Mentor
Shana Targosz – Mentor
K.C. And Shana, why did you choose N.J.?
Shana: NJ’s query ticked so many boxes off our wishlist—a main character you can’t help but root for, ghosts, curses, a mystery, complex family dynamics, a deeply immersive (and often creepy) setting, and a voice that grips tight and doesn’t let go! From the very first pages I immediately fell for the main character, Avabella. This was a girl I related to and felt young readers would bond with immediately. She is quiet, thoughtful, and feels invisible in her community and within her own family. She secretly wants to be a poet, but lacks the confidence to make herself heard. But when she learns what caused the curse plaguing the local woods, she must uncover the truth for all to see, while discovering for herself how important it is to use your voice to right a wrong. As I read I could see how I could help make it stronger. All of this on top of being a lushly-written historical fantasy in-verse featuring a ghostly mystery, new-found friendship, and themes of loss and the ghosts it leaves behind, made me fall in love with the story even more!
KC: Shana and I both fell in love with NJ’s story pretty much immediately. AVABELLA is such an atmospheric read with so many of the elements we’re both drawn to, it left us with a major book hangover that had us craving apples for days!
Wow! Sounds like a must read. And, N.J., why did you choose to submit to K.C. And Shana?
I felt Team SparkleMode’s Mentor Wishlist perfectly matched my submission! They wanted stories full of hope and magic, PLUS they were open to verse novels! KC had previously mentored a novel-in-verse, and both KC and Shana had such a wealth of writing experience. Their mentoring style, with an emphasis on open communication, encouragement, and excitement, was exactly what I needed as a writer. Oh, and both mentors had a background in historical costumes—pretty spectacular, as my submission is set in 1933.
What a great match-up of interests. So, K.C. And Shana, summarize N.J.’s book in 3 words.
Shana: Ghosts, apples, friendship.
KC: Haunted apple-lover overcomes.
OK, N.J., summarize your book in 3 words.
Orchard. Curse. Ghosts.
The apple craving makes sense! Now, K.C. And Shana, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Shana: I really love figuring out how things work/are constructed. Whether that be a garment crafted from individual, differently-shaped pieces (I’ve worked to become a master cutter/draper in the costuming world) to simple machinery made of gears and seemingly random parts (small robots, LEGO Mindstorm devices, anything that ‘moves’), learning how multiple pieces fit together to create something new has always intrigued me. This is why I love writing so much, because a novel is a complex machine of its own—with key components that need to fit together in a way that, when all assembled and working together, they bring the story to life.
KC: In grad school I studied historic costume and collection management with the intention of working as a curator in a museum someday. Then one of my professors introduced me to couture construction methods and I fell in love with creating garments. Costuming plays a part in my novel HOLDING COURT, and I gave one of the characters a version of my dream job: recreating historic gowns fit for a queen.
The perfect pair of mentors for a historic fantasy. OK, N.J., what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
This PitchWars experience has already been life changing and enlightening! My mentors have such an amazing eye for detail—I’ve already created two village maps, an outline, a revised outline, and I’m well into revisions. The personal feedback, suggestions, guidance, knowledge, and creative inspiration they’ve given me has been phenomenal and I couldn’t be more grateful. My fellow MG mentees are an awesome group, too. It’s been a constant flow of encouragement!
Welcome to the Pitch Wars family, N.J. Now, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
My middle grade novel-in-verse mixes the Depression era and Italian-American folklore with speculative and STEM elements. The MC is a budding orchardist/poet who can see ghosts. I’ve served on several Rhode Island and New England historical societies and commissions, and you’ll often find me researching my Italian culture, shopping, and eating (too much) in the Italian West End of Providence or apple picking (we know apples) along the historic Apple Blossom Trail of Greenville, Rhode Island, where my novel-in-verse is set.
Historic speculative fiction with STEM elements? Yes, please! Thank you all for the interview and sharing a bit more about yourselves!
Check out K.C.’s release, HOLDING COURT.
When a sixteen-year-old girl with an embarrassing psychic gift she can’t control takes a job at a castle-turned-dinner theater, all she wants is the chance to wear a fancy gown and ogle her crush from afar, but when she stumbles over a dead body that promptly disappears, she must prove she didn’t hallucinate a dead girl before the killer strikes again.
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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.