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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Peter Lopez and mentor, Sofiya Pasternack

Wednesday, 3 February 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 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 . . .

Peter Lopez – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Sofiya Pasternack

Sofiya Pasternack – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sofiya, why did you choose Peter?

One of the things on my wishlist was a portal fantasy, and Peter’s was so fun and unique! He’s pitching it as “Percy Jackson meets Coco” and that’s absolutely spot-on. The book’s focus on family togetherness was apparent from the beginning, and when I asked him if there was anything he absolutely wouldn’t be willing to change, he explained that he was open to most changes except removing the family focus. After reading the entire book, I definitely understand and agree that the family aspect of the book is essential, and it was great to have him not only know that he didn’t want to change it, but be able to articulate why.
I also kept hearing from everyone who knew him that he was extremely easy to work with, and already approached writing with a kind of professionalism you tend to see in authors who have a couple publishing credits under their belts. And yep! He was wonderful to work with and discuss ideas with, and he’s a genuinely delightful person.

What amazing comps! So, Peter, why did you choose to submit to Sofiya?

Once I saw Sofiya’s wishlist I knew that we would work together very well. She was looking for a fantastical world and I had written a portal fantasy that transported us to two different Aztec worlds that combined my imagination with ancient mythology. I also noticed that we seemed to like similar things (like dragons!) and that we would probably get along based on her funny personality online. Most importantly, I needed someone I thought I could work well with, and Sofiya had listed on her site that she likes to collaborate on story ideas and that was important to me.
When looking for a potential mentor, I knew I wanted someone that I could potentially be friends with, because I had seen past mentor-mentee friendships from previous Pitch Wars years. I wanted that too, and I could just tell that Sofiya would be the kind of person who could guide my book in the right direction, but that I could also know beyond just the Pitch Wars showcase. So far I was right! I really enjoy the friendship I have built with Sofiya and I’m proud of the work we’ve done on my book.

Aztec mythologies sound great. Now, Sofiya, summarize Peter’s book in 3 words.

Magical! Mezoamerican! Adventure!

Peter, summarize your book in 3 words.

Family. Adventure. Duality.

This book sounds exciting! Next, Sofiya, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I really love teaching and mentoring, and I have a whole YouTube channel dedicated to instruction on using psychotherapeutic techniques to write better characters!

Excuse me while I go look at this channel. OK, Peter, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I hope to walk away from Pitch Wars as a better writer and editor. It has never been easy for me to revise on a deadline, but it is a skill that I will need going forward when I get an agent and when I sell my book (because I will not stop trying until I do). Working through my manuscript with Sofiya and having to implement her edits and my own, knowing that the showcase was just a few months away wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for my growth.

Love that never-quit attitude! And, Peter, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

My name is Peter Lopez and I am a writer and a dreamer! I write middle grade fantasy books with Latino protagonists so that someone who looks like me can ride the dragon, defeat the monsters, and save the kingdom. I’m very proud of the work that I’ve done so far and I hope that I’m able to publish my books and share these adventures with kids who might really need them. If I were to get published, I would be among the first, if not the first, author with El Salvadoran ancestry to traditionally publish a MG fantasy book in the United States. This is not something I’m happy about, but it’s something that is important for me to remember whenever I feel defeated in this industry.
My book, ALAN & DANIEL VS. THE AZTEC WORLDS is a story that only I could have written with my worldview as an American and with parents who immigrated from El Salvador, mixed with all the fantastical tropes I love. I wrote a book about demigods in a way that only I could have, using the half-god + half-human concept as an analogy for first generation immigrants and their struggles while living between two worlds in which they are never fully accepted. I am very excited for the future of this story and hope I can share it sooner than later.

So excited for you, and welcome to the Pitch Wars family! Thank you both for taking the time to complete this interview.

Check out Sofiya’s latest release, ANYA AND THE DRAGON.

Anya and the NightingaleThe adventure continues in this exciting sequel to Anya and the Dragon; a dangerous monster lurks beneath the city and only Anya can keep him from taking her friends’ magic—and their lives. Perfect for fans of The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
It’s been a year since a violent Viking terrorized the small village of Zmeyreka and Anya and her foolish friend Ivan saved a friendly dragon from being sacrificed for his magic.
But things still aren’t safe in the kingdom of Kievan Rus’.
After embarking on a journey to bring her papa home from war, Anya discovers a powerful forest creature terrorizing travelers. But she soon learns that he’s not the monster the kingdom should fear. There’s an even greater evil that lurks under the city.
Can Anya stop the monster, save her papa, and find her way home? Or will the secrets of Kiev leave Anya and her friends trapped beneath the city forever?
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor for Middle Grade 2020, and a Finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Middle Grade 2020.

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. 


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