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 . . .
Rachel Brown – Mentee
Stephen Morgan – Mentor
Stephen, why did you choose Rachel?
I got so many great submissions this year, but I had to go with the one that made me shout “WTF?!?!?!” with every new twist.
Yeah, that would get me as well. OK, Rachel, why did you choose to submit to Stephen?
Stephen’s profile immediately stood out to me because he mentioned a lot of books I a) love and b) would like to think my book has at least some smidgeon of overlap with. Examples: Big Little Lies, And Then There Were None, Gone Girl, My Lovely Wife. Plus he’s been in the editing business quite a while, so I figured he would offer some lucky person amazing feedback (I was correct!). Then I stalk-watched a video on the PW site from last year in which Stephen was on a panel answering questions, and I thought he seemed both thoughtful and approachable.
But I’ll be honest, I did hesitate at first – he was asking for genre mashups and my book isn’t really that, at least not in an obvious way. Then I read his in-depth analysis of Big Little Lies, and it hooked me. I feel like I shouldn’t really like that book so much—a lot of the characters aren’t too sympathetic. He explained why we like it—tragically flawed characters but a hopeful ending and some humor, all with a big dose of dark suspense. I’m not sure this book gets there, but that’s the kind of story I most enjoy and most want to write, so I knew I had to submit to him!
Sounds like a great team match. Now, Stephen, summarize Rachel’s book in 3 words.
Truth from lies.
Rachel, summarize your book in 3 words.
Dark, twisty, compelling.
Dark and twisty are always a good combo. And, Stephen, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
I have to hold my nose when I go underwater. I’ve heard rumors of some ancient technique to hold your breath hands free, but I think it must be an urban legend.
Noseclips? So, Rachel, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
A rockstar agent, haha! No, obviously that would be amazing, but I entered Pitch Wars for two main reasons. I was hoping for some feedback from somebody in the trenches, hopefully in the trenches of the sort of genre I’m writing – domestic thriller. I have a writer friend (who, incidentally, now has a 2-book deal with Penguin!) who entered in 2018 and didn’t get picked, but who really benefitted from the exercise of honing her materials and getting a little bonus feedback on her query. I would gratefully accept any nuggets of feedback. And second, I wanted to start finding more of an online writing community, particularly in my genre. Pitch Wars seemed like a fantastic segue into that! Getting picked and all the rest was really just gravy.
Welcome to the Pitch Wars family, Rachel! Now, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I grew up in Wales before relocating to the states in the 90’s for grad school, and semi-accidentally never leaving. I’ve also raced bikes of some sort for most of the last 20 years or so, and I’m an ex-philosophy professor turned lawyer. So most of my writing has some part of all this – a philosophical angle on something, the odd bike or courtroom scene, and at least one British character because I need an outlet to “write British,” which still comes more naturally to me than “writing American”!
Thank you both for this little peek into your work and yourselves! It’s so great getting to know the teams.
If you want to learn more about Stephen’s editing services go to his website: stephenedits.com.
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.