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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Page Powars and mentors, Amelia Diane Coombs and Sophie Gonzales

Tuesday, 15 December 2020  |  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 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 . . .

Page Powars – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Amelia Diane Coombs – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Sophie Gonzales – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Amelia and Sophie, why did you choose Page?

Amelia: When Sophie and I put together our wishlist, we had a video chat and talked about our ideal submission. I told Sophie that I’d love a manuscript that would make me laugh (the world is dark enough in 2020, thanks!), and she agreed. But we also wanted a manuscript that had heart and tackled an important or timely topic. Like fluff with meaning! The second I read the sample of ERNEST BYRD: TYPICAL BOY, I was hooked. I couldn’t send the request email fast enough! The writing was voice-y and witty. The characters were endearing. The humor was spot on. (It even made me laugh out loud!) The book is such a joy, and I’m so excited to see where Page takes it over these next few months.

Sophie: The entries were so, so strong, and unique, fun plots and impressive writing abounded. Page’s book was truly outstanding, though! The premise was incredible (I jumped straight into Amelia’s DMs the moment I saw it when I was meant to be filling out a spreadsheet . . . then she dropped her spreadsheet to take a look too. Oops!), and the writing matched. Page’s sense of humour is perfectly in line with mine—I love to laugh but not every book can make me do it. Finally, I think we *knew* when we kept on getting distracted by other tasks by discussing our ideas for possible revisions, hastily adding the caveat “if we choose this book, of course”. Our ideas were totally in-sync! We both had the same, clear vision for this manuscript, and, luckily, when we emailed Page with questions, he was open to them!

You can’t beat a good laugh! So, Page, why did you choose to submit to Amelia and Sophie?

As a trans, queer writer, I was excited about the potential opportunity to have an #ownvoices author as a mentor. Sophie and Amelia’s #ownvoices YA debuts, ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED and KEEP MY HEART IN SAN FRANCISCO, blew me away earlier in the year, and they quickly became two new favorite authors of mine. So when I saw they were mentoring for Pitch Wars, I knew I had to give it my best shot and submit my trans YA romcom to them!

Yay for #ownvoices authors! Now, Amelia and Sophie, summarize Page’s book in 3 words.

Amelia: heartwarming hate-to-love hijinks

Sophie: Irreverent, theatrical, hilarious

Page, summarize your book in 3 words.

Exclusive fake-dating club!

That sounds like a truly fun read. And, Amelia and Sophie, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Amelia: I must’ve been destined to write romance because, when I was twelve, I came up with an elaborate plan to spend time with my crush, who was a drama nerd. I joined our drama club (I have severe social anxiety and stage fright, so this was a Big Deal) but we were never paired together for a scene. The following year, I decided to stay in the club, even though I’d moved onto a new crush. That spring, we were partnered together and I had to kiss him on stage! (The kiss was awful and in rehearsals, I broke out in nervous laughter every single time. Sorry, Chris!) Ironic, right?

Sophie: A little-known fact about me is that I started my writing journey with a popular Harry Potter fanfic story when I was eleven—I had fan sites dedicated to me and ran competitions during my one-hour of internet time per night. I’ve been chasing that sense of thrill and celebrity ever since.

Theatre kids are the best, and that’s quite an accomplishment at 11! OK, Page, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I entered Pitch Wars mainly for the learning experience and the community. As a writer, I’m aware that I still have a lot to learn. My favorite thing about the writing process is hearing and giving feedback since it’s always so fun to make stories shine brighter. As for community, one of the most rewarding aspect I got out of my time as an Author Mentor Match mentee was getting to know my fellow mentees. I’m looking forward to feeling that same sense of community with my Pitch Wars mentees.

Aw, welcome to the PW family, Page! Now tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

Right now I’m currently shifting away from the music industry and doing NYU’s MS in Publishing graduate program. It’s been a blast so far! In my free time, I watch The Untamed a little too often and play Fire Emblem: Three Houses a little too aggressively.

The concept of a trans boy trying to join the Borrow a Boyfriend club at his high school is what I think really makes this book unique. On top of that, this is the first time I feel like I’m writing authentically. For a long time, I assumed trans voices wouldn’t sell, so I had always been writing from a cis boy’s point of view up until this book. Since now I’ve finally found my voice and the stories I wish to share with teens, I’m especially thrilled this book was chosen by Sophie and Amelia.

And we need stories like this, thank you! And thank you all for participating in this interview.

Check out Amelia and Sophie’s upcoming releases, BETWEEN YOU, ME, AND THE HONEYBEES and PERFECT ON PAPER.

Perfect for fans of Jenn Bennett and Sarah Dessen, this swoon-worthy novel follows a teen girl during her California summer of beekeeping, secrets, and stolen kisses.
Josie Hazeldine has just graduated from high school, and she’s ready for a summer full of sunshine, beekeeping, and…lying to her mom.
Josie’s mom couldn’t be more proud of her daughter going to college, something she never got to do. But Josie wants to stay in her California hometown and take over the family business, Hazeldine Honey. So that college acceptance her mom is thrilled about? Yeah, Josie turned it down. But she’s going to come clean—just not yet.
The neighbor’s artsy, adorable grandson who’s in town for the summer makes Josie’s web of lies even more tangled. He’s into Josie and the feeling is very mutual, but he’s a Blumstein—the sworn enemy of the Hazeldines and their number one competition in the annual Honey Show at the end of July. As their secret fling goes on, Josie knows she’s getting in way too deep to leave him behind when summer’s over.
Can Josie keep the boy she can’t stop thinking about without the secrets she’s juggling crashing down around her?

From Simon & Schuster in 2021

In Sophie Gonzales’ Perfect on PaperLeah on the Offbeat meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before: a bisexual girl who gives anonymous love advice to her classmates is hired by the hot guy to help him get his ex back
Her advice, spot on. Her love life, way off.
Darcy Phillips:
• Can give you the solution to any of your relationship woes—for a fee.
• Uses her power for good. Most of the time.
• Really cannot stand Alexander Brougham.
• Has maybe not the best judgement when it comes to her best friend, Brooke…who is in love with someone else.
• Does not appreciate being blackmailed.
However, when Brougham catches her in the act of collecting letters from locker 89—out of which she’s been running her questionably legal, anonymous relationship advice service—that’s exactly what happens. In exchange for keeping her secret, Darcy begrudgingly agrees to become his personal dating coach—at a generous hourly rate, at least. The goal? To help him win his ex-girlfriend back.
Darcy has a good reason to keep her identity secret. If word gets out that she’s behind the locker, some things she’s not proud of will come to light, and there’s a good chance Brooke will never speak to her again.
Okay, so all she has to do is help an entitled, bratty, (annoyingly hot) guy win over a girl who’s already fallen for him once? What could go wrong?

From MacMillan in 2021

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. 


Filed: Interviews

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