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 . . .
Nikki Payne – Mentee
Sam Tschida – Mentor
Carly Bloom – Mentor
Sam and Carly, why did you choose Nikki?
Why did we pick Nikki?
First off, we saw her pitch–Pride and Prejudice Meets Black-ish–and immediately orgasmed. It was simultaneous, which everyone knows is the holy grail of orgasms. Then, we read her pages, and it was VOICE! on steroids. Believe us when we say we read a lot of good pages, but every word of Nikki’s manuscript oozed flavor. Like Austen, Nikki makes insightful social commentary with warmth and humor, and you don’t even know it’s happening because there’s kissing. We love Nikiki’s book. And she’s funny!
Social commentary, humor, and kissing? Oh yes! So, Nikki, why did you choose to submit to Sam and Carly?
Carly’s and Sam’s mentor stories were hilarious! I needed a lot of help, and I knew that sense of humor would be essential to ensure my mentors didn’t plot my murder–Orient Express style.
Pretty sure murder is against Pitch Wars policy. OK, Sam and Carly, summarize Nikki’s book in 3 words.
Jane Austen with swagger! And yes, we know that’s four words.
Nikki, summarize your book in 3 words.
Enemies, but Chemistry
OK, I’m swooning. So, Sam and Carly, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Sam: I write romcoms and am super into Nikki. Besides that I run a writing group with a feminist bent, Smut University. It’s not exclusively romance. Anyone who doesn’t mind being called a smut peddler can join. I released my debut novel, SIRI, WHO AM I? this month. As a true writer, I assume I have failed and will never publish again. I’ve never been to therapy so no one has told me I have anxiety, but I’m smart enough to diagnose myself. WebMD yo.
Carly: I write cowboy romcoms and am also super into Nikki. I am absolutely the most popular lecturer at Smut University, where everyone pets me and tells me I’m pretty. Publishers Weekly says I like to take down toxic masculinity. I don’t do it on purpose — the rage just leaks through my fingertips. Basically, I write mad. Like Sam, I also assume I have failed, and that my next book, MUST LOVE COWBOYS (releasing on April 27, 2021!!), will be my last. Unlike Sam, I do have a therapist, and for that, we are all grateful.
And now everyone is taking a break from this interview to check out Smut University. OK Nikki, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
There is so much of the craft that I want to learn from these two ladies. I wanted to incorporate the type of knowledge they, as experienced writers, take for granted. I’ve also increased my community ten-fold. I’m now part of an awesome premiere feminist writing community, Smut U.
Welcome to the Pitch Wars family, Nikki! Now, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
As an anthropologist, I have always been intrigued with the clash and translation of culture. I’ve always wanted to remake Pride and Prejudice, and toying with canon literature speaks to my inner trickster. But I wanted to present my characters with barriers that mimic todays complexities– class of course, but also race, mental health and gender dynamics. This is a comedy I promise.
Thank you all for a delightful interview! It’s always great getting to know the teams. Check out these releases from Sam and Carly.
Available now by Sam Tschida:
A Millennial with amnesia uses her Instagram account to piece together her identity in this hilarious and whip-smart comedy about the ups and downs of influencer culture.
Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in her posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend.
But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover an ugly truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Did Mia have it coming? And if so, is it too late for her to rewrite her story?
In this charming, sexy romance, a bookish beauty needs a fake boyfriend and finds a handsome cowboy who is just the man for the job.
Return to Big Verde, where “Bloom has invented a place we want to hang up our hat and kick up our spurs any time she’s got a story to tell” (Entertainment Weekly). Beau Montgomery is living his best life . . . until he’s left in charge of Rancho Cañada Verde. With his dyslexia, he’d choose a saddle over spreadsheets any day. His best hope is to ask the town librarian for tutoring. Only he’s had a crush on the book-loving beauty since his junior high days—and despite being a smooth talker, he can’t help getting tongue-tied every time they meet.
Alice Martin doesn’t regret putting her career above personal relationships—but when Beau comes to her for help, Alice decides to see what she’s been missing. She’ll improve Beau’s reading skills if the handsome cowboy teaches her how to flirt and agrees to be her date to an upcoming wedding. But when the town’s gossip mill gets going, they’re forced into a fake romance to keep their deal a secret. Soon Alice is seeing Beau in a whole new way . . . can she turn their imaginary story into a real-life happy-ever-after?
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.