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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Neena Viel and mentor, Anna Kaling

Tuesday, 25 January 2022  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

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 . . .

Neena Viel – Mentee


Anna Kaling – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Anna, why did you choose Neena?

I read the first page of her manuscript and thought, “This is excellent.”

I read the whole writing sample and thought, “If the rest matches up to the first chapter, this is going to be The One.”

I read the rest and said to the other mentors, “You’re my friends but I will claw out your eyes if it means I get to mentor this MS.”

And by that time I’d exchanged a few emails with Neena and she was funny, intelligent, and insightful.

Plus, she sent me a picture of the CUTEST PUPPY IN THE WORLD.

Neena, why did you choose to submit to Anna?

Anna wrote that horror was her first, enduring love, and I thought, “Same.” She was also down with psychological horror in addition to total carnage, which was key for my MS. I thought I would really flourish under her mentorship style, and I would get to geek out about all things horror…and also pets.

Anna, summarize Neena’s book in 3 words.

Hilarious. Heart-pounding. Smart.

Neena, summarize your book in 3 words.

Hilarious sibling savagery.

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

I once reported my cat to the police on Twitter, for an unprovoked and savage attack on my feet. The police did not respond.

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

I usually crank out drafts and then toddle off to start new stuff. I get totally lost in the revision process –on my own, I’m just moving commas around and not thinking big enough, structurally enough. I’m hoping PW will give me the tools I need to not just transform this MS, but shape my future work too. And I hope to come out of this with at least one new badass writing friend!

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

In a sense, I was a young person who was parenting without being a parent, a mother but not a mother. I channel parts of that experience into IF NOT FOR YOU (newer, spookier title coming soon), with a non-traditional family set-up that is very relatable, especially in communities of color. My novel is a playground of tension and horror and humor, pinned within the context of a deeply Black narrative.

TL:DR: Terrifying and fun Black horror, you get it.

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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