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Pitch Wars Team Interview with Sarah Underwood and mentors, Grace Li and Rebecca Mix

Monday, 8 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 . . .

Sarah Underwood – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Grace Li – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Rebecca Mix – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Grace and Rebecca, why did you choose Sarah?

From the first chapter, we knew this was the one for us. We were so immediately invested in Sarah’s world and the tragedy of these characters, and it felt like the intersection of so many of our interests (a beautiful f/f love story! girls afraid of–and coming to terms with–their monstrosity! myths that feel real and close and alive! a prince with the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders!). We were texting each other late into the night with how excited we were about this submission.  

Oh, that sounds like a wonderfully complex mix! And, Sarah, why did you choose to submit to Grace and Rebecca?

I remember going through Grace and Becca’s mentor intro and thinking, ‘Wow, this is really weird.’ (This, of course, was the part that Becca wrote, which explains a lot). Once I got to the wishlist, though, I knew that I had to sub to them; of the fourteen things they said they were looking for, my manuscript had eleven. I was really drawn to their description of their mentoring style and the fact that they were very experienced in big revisions (which I knew that my manuscript would need), plus their books sounded incredible (having read them now, can confirm that they absolutely are, and the world is NOT READY) as well as being similar in both setting and theme to mine. Without getting too wet-blankety, Grace and Becca are the most wonderful mentors I could have ever imagined and I’m so grateful for them for the care and the love they’ve shown towards me and my manuscript.  

That is the opposite of a wet blanket! Happy teams! OK, Grace and Rebecca, summarize Sarah’s book in 3 words.

Gorgeous, heartbreaking, incisive. 

Sarah, summarize your book in 3 words.

Lyrical, melancholy, sapphic.  

Can’t wait to read it! Now, Grace and Rebecca, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

We’ve been CPs for years! During the start of quarantine, we both needed someone to keep us accountable as we drafted, and so we started swapping chapters as fast as we could write them. Both our current projects (Grace: a heist book about reclaiming looted art, Becca: a MG fantasy about the granddaughter of a chosen one in her collapsing, mold-filled world) came from there.

Quarantine accountability teams for the win! So, Sarah, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I’m so lucky to have already made so many good friends in my Pitch Wars class and to have formed such a close relationship with my mentors (we’re even friends on the Fitbit app). I know I’m going to come out the other side with a much stronger manuscript, and critique partners that I admire and trust to bring out the best in my writing. I’m also beyond excited to watch the success everyone involved in Pitch Wars this year, and to force all of them to sign their books for me one day.

So long as you also sign yours! Now, Sarah, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

I’m 21, English/Australian, and a final year master’s student at Imperial College, London, where I study Computational Bioengineering (don’t ask me what it is, I’ve been doing it for four years and I’ve still got no idea). After graduation, I’ll be starting a second master’s in Epidemiology. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was incredibly young (before that, I wanted to be a felt tip pen, which is a dream that has yet to be realised) and my Pitch Wars manuscript is the first I’ve completed. My WIPs are all sapphic fantasies so I’m incredibly excited by the recent uptick in sapphic books being published! My Pitch Wars manuscript, tentatively (re)titled Lies We Sing to the Sea, is a queer retelling of The Odyssey, which explores the fate of Penelope’s hanged maids, and of the kingdom of Ithaca after Odysseus’ return. Featuring murderous monster girls and a grieving prince destined to die, Lies We Sing to the Sea is a tale of legacy, forgiveness, and healing from trauma.

You had me at “murderous monster girls”. Thank you all for taking time for this interview!

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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