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 . . .
Suzy Darlington – Mentee
Mary Ann Marlowe – Mentor
Mary Ann, why did you choose Suzy?
This was honestly the most competitive year I’ve ever experienced as a mentor. I had so many amazing subs that in any other year I might have easily picked. But as soon as I dove into Suzy’s pages, I fell in love with everything about it—from her witty, engaging writing voice to her incredible cast of characters. Her novel combines the effortless humor of Carry On (which we both share as a favorite) with the angsty swoony sexy romance of A Court of Mist and Fury. She has worldbuilding reminiscent of Fantastic Beasts and The Dark Elf Trilogy plus a touch of Boyfriend Material romcom. Bonus, it’s chock full of imaginative (and adorable) magic pets. This is the kind of book I search for – not just to mentor – but to buy, to inhale, to re-read. There’s never enough queer fantasy romance on the shelves, so I’m always hoping to find something exactly like this in my subs.
When I started to email with Suzy and hinted at some possible changes, she struck me as not just open but eager to do the work. I got a great vibe off her and could tell our personalities would mesh well. She’d be someone I’d want to be friends with even outside of this contest – she’s just that much fun. Since we’ve started working together, she’s done everything I’ve thrown at her like Neo fighting Morpheus, always popping back up for more. This book has such incredible potential, and I’m thrilled to have the chance to help shape it. We’ve come up with a solid revision plan that I know Suzy can tackle. I can’t wait until she can share this amazing book with the whole world.
I can never get enough of adorable magic pets! And Suzy, why did you choose to submit to Mary Ann?
As soon as I opened Mary Ann’s wishlist, I knew she was the one! She listed so many books that I love and expressed a soft spot for queer fantasy romance, which is totally my jam. I knew she’d “get” me immediately. She’s all about that kissing and that romantic tension. And her gif game is strong, so I knew she’d be up for the memes and tolerate my abuse of emojis with grace and good humour. I feel so incredibly lucky Mary Ann picked me and my little story, and so grateful to be on this wild ride under her guidance. Like, is “love” too strong a word to use here? Because I LOVE her.
Her gif game is something to be admired! Now, Mary Ann, summarize Suzy’s book in 3 words.
Magic-packed swoontastical cute-fest
That’s kind of five words, but I’ll allow it as it sounds so great! So, Suzy, summarize your book in 3 words.
Emo boys kissing
Sounds awesome. Mary Ann, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
I feel like I’ve gone into suspended animation this year and both forgotten everything I ever knew while learning lots of new random stuff, so I’ll tell you something *I might not have already known about myself*. At the start of the pandemic, I dragged out my much neglected sewing machine to make my own masks. Surprise! I can sew! I’ve created a whole workout routine that can be done in 3 minutes while waiting for coffee to reheat. Isolation, mother of invention! I’ve learned how to “group watch” The Mandalorian. Old dogs, new trick! But I still don’t know how to cook. Oh, well.
I also didn’t know these things you didn’t know about yourself. Back to Suzy! What do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
Coming into Pitch Wars I hoped to learn new techniques to tighten my manuscript, and really the nuts and bolts of writing and story structure. And that’s exactly what I’m learning! More importantly, I get to work with someone as awesome as Mary Ann who has so much experience with the whole process of writing (from start to published finish) and fangirls over all the same things I do! She makes it so easy and I love the drive I have to dive right into the work because her energy is contagious. I would also love to be able to keep in contact with my fellow mentees as it has been wonderful to share in this experience with them. We’re all going through the same highs and lows right now, which is pretty cool?
Welcome to the family! Suzy, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?
Matthew McConaughey frequents my dreams for some reason, but I’ve also had Chris Evans pop in from time to time (and since Mary Ann keeps sending me Witcher pics, I’d welcome a visit from Henry Cavill at this point, too). I spend all the free minutes I don’t have consuming as much manga as my eyes can handle or playing video games. The rest of the time is divided between navigating parenthood, running my own dog-grooming business, and not sleeping. Oh, and writing. Lots of writing.
I am constantly searching for high-angst, LGBTQ romantic tension in a fantasy setting, which is what led me to write this story. I want to see more of it published! Too much isn’t enough. I’m drawn to writing LGBTQ characters because what’s better than reading about one man in love? Reading about two!
Thank you Mary Ann and Suzy for the interview, it’s always great to get to know the teams!
A June Goodreads Must Read Romance
“Relatable, funny, and charming.”
—Elly Blake, New York Times bestselling author of Frostblood
In life, as in gaming, there’s a way around every obstacle . . .
To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar’s diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?
Until the moderator says, “Next up, Tristan Spencer . . .”
Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it’s not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she’s been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player’s motivations.
Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .
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.