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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Noel Stark and mentor, Kelly Siskind

Tuesday, 14 December 2021  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina


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 . . .

Noel Stark – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Kelly Siskind – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kelly, why did you choose Noel?

I fell in love instantly with Noel’s words. Her characters pop with tons of voice, and I loved the setting of a chaotic TV set. As someone entrenched in the field, Noel brings depth and vividness to the cast of characters and locations. Not only is her humor spot on, but she touches on ingrained gender issues in the TV world with incredible insight.

Noel, why did you choose to submit to Kelly?

I chose Kelly for so, so many reasons. First, her writing is great—it’s fun, smart and unexpected. Her style is a natural fit for what I’m trying to accomplish, so I knew I could learn a lot from her.

Second, she had editing experience. There are lots of great writers who aren’t necessarily good editors. Her approach to editing covers everything from big picture notes to line edits to grammar issues, all with a tough love attitude. I knew my manuscript needed a firm hand and I have no problem with tough love. I might even like it. Not sure what that says about me, but I knew that’s what was best for my story.

Third, she has experience in both traditional and self-publishing. As a newbie to the industry, I need all the info I can get to help my manuscript succeed.

Fourth (and maybe most important?), the woman can pick a mean gif.

Kelly, summarize Noel’s book in 3 words.

Smart Sexy Funny

Noel, summarize your book in 3 words.

Girl baffles boy

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

As a kid, I dreamed of being a hip-hop dancer on the MTV video circuit. I think we can all be thankful that never happened.

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

I want to learn how to write the best story possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I also want to get an agent who gets me a book series that gets me a film deal.

But none of that is possible without a strong story that connects with people. I submitted to Pitch Wars because I wanted a collaborative and supportive relationship with a mentor who was generous enough to give me and my story their time and experience. And I’m so happy to have found that in Kelly.

I also hope to gain a community of writers. Contrary to popular opinion, writing doesn’t happen alone. Sharing triumphs and tribulations, ideas and idiosyncrasies, is what builds stories that are better than what one person could do on their own. I want to be a part of that.

Above all, I hope Pitch Wars will help me write a manuscript I can be proud of.

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

Although I’m Canadian, I live in LA with my eight-year-old son and work in Reality TV under my non-authorly name, Debra Felstead. I have three amazing step-kids in their 20s who not only tell me what’s going on in the real world but also explain how the youngins speak to each other. It’s very helpful, I recommend it.

I’m unique because my mom tells me I’m a precious snowflake, so naturally that would carry over into my writing. But if I could be bold enough to say my manuscript is unique, it’s because it gives an insider perspective on how a TV show gets made, and, although a comedy, it doesn’t shy away from the deeply ingrained, toxic gender issues in TV and Film production. All while two people fall in love.

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. 


Filed: Interviews

One Comment
  • Karen Kinley says:

    Noel, I cannot WAIT until your book is published! I love the idea of reading about romance and conflict on a TV set from someone who has lived that life. It sounds so interesting! Good luck with the mentor process. I will keep tabs on you and buy one of the first copies!

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