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Pitch Wars Team Interview with The Mancaruso Sisters and mentor, Melissa Colasanti

Friday, 3 December 2021  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


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 9, 2021, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2021 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Kelly Mancaruso and Kristina Mancaruso
aka The Mancaruso Sisters – Mentees

Instagram | Twitter


Melissa Colasanti

Melissa Colasanti – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Melissa, why did you choose Kelly and Kristina?

First, I loved I’M SURE SHE’S FINE. The voice, writing, and suspenseful plot grabbed me from the first page and wouldn’t let go. As I read, editorial ideas popped in my head and I was genuinely EXCITED about this manuscript. Then, I spoke with Kelly and Kristina, and I was so impressed with their vision for the book, and their enthusiasm for revisions.

Kelly and Kristina, why did you choose to submit to Melissa?

After reading all the mentors’ wishlists separately, we both had Melissa at the top of our submission lists. Firstly, she specifically mentioned various things in her wishlist that made us super excited to submit to her: female-driven psych thrillers, juicy domestic suspense/family drama, stories that explore relationships between mothers and daughters – all things that feature prominently in our manuscript. We also checked out Melissa’s book, CALL ME ELIZABETH LARK, and fell in love with the premise and the writing. It is SO good. The thought of getting to work with someone as talented as her felt like a far-fetched dream. Moreover, we just got a great vibe from her; we thought we’d get along well and most importantly, would work well together… and we were right (she’s even more amazing than we could have ever imagined though!).

Melissa, summarize Kelly and Kristina’s book in 3 words.

Voicey, suspenseful, character-driven

Kelly and Kristina, summarize your book in 3 words.

Kelly: Personal, unnerving, quirky

Kristina: Dark, humorous, unexpected

Melissa, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

I’m a great kick boxer.

Kelly and Kristina, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

The reason we applied to Pitch Wars was to hopefully get the opportunity to learn from an experienced author and in turn, make our manuscript as strong as possible. We queried too soon in the past and wanted to make sure we did everything we could with this one. We also heard so many great things about the Pitch Wars community and the event connecting people with trusted CPs and even life-long friends, so we were also excited about the prospect of that. We’ve already made so many friends and both feel like we’ve really found our people – especially in the other thriller writers here. It’s nice to know we’re not the only ones plotting fictional murders or googling oddly specific ways to kill someone before heading off to our normal day jobs…

Kelly and Kristina, tell us about yourself. What makes you and your manuscript unique?

Kelly: I‘m a typical Pisces with big dreams and ADHD. I moved to the U.K. nine years ago to pursue a Masters degree, but fell in love and decided to stay. I live in a little village in Nottinghamshire with my firefighter husband (he’s my rock and has a heart of gold) and our beloved puppy, Dany. I also have an awesome day job working as a creative copywriter for an app company (shoutout to Affinity apps!). Oh, and I love the Korean musical group BTS and will use every opportunity I get to share this information.

Kristina: I’m the calm one. I work as an HR Program Manager for a Manhattan-based firm and spend my free time playing with my two German Shepherds, Adonis and Bella, talking home design with my fiancé (who happens to be a really talented designer and builder), and also editing the British grammar out of Kelly’s writing. I was formerly valedictorian of my business school, but Kelly didn’t record my speech, so no one remembers if it was actually good or not…

We were both born and raised in New York State and are only 14 months apart. We’ve always been best friends and have been writingstories/putting on shows for our parents since we were little. We wrote two manuscripts before this one, but this was the story we always wanted to tell, as aspects of it are quite personal and unique to us (although we’d be much more concerned if our own mother went missing than our main character was – love you Mom!). After we had no luck querying our first two manuscripts, we decided to finally have a go at writing this one – it was time! And it all kind of fell into place (however, there were times we wanted to scream in frustration and one of us may have cried into the carpet of her home office as she considered burning the first draft of the manuscript… Us, dramatic? Never!). ANYWAY, we put our hearts and souls into this manuscript and are so thankful to Melissa for helping us improve it.

Check out Melissa’s latest release, CALL ME Elizabeth Lark …

Purchase: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/671358/call-me-elizabeth-lark-by-melissa-colasanti/

Your daughter went missing twenty years ago. Now, she’s finally back. You thought she had returned a few times in the past, and your husband tells you she’s not the one, but you feel it in your bones.

Now, what will you do to keep her home?

Twenty years ago, Myra Barkley’s daughter disappeared from the rocky beach across from the family inn, off the Oregon coast. Ever since, Myra has waited at the front desk for her child to come home. One rainy afternoon, the miracle happens–her missing daughter, now twenty-eight years old with a child of her own, walks in the door.

Elizabeth Lark is on the run with her son. She’s just killed her abusive husband and needs a place to hide. Against her better judgment, she heads to her hometown and stops at the Barkley Inn. When the innkeeper insists that Elizabeth is her long lost daughter, the opportunity for a new life, and more importantly, the safety of her child, is too much for Elizabeth to pass up. But she knows that she isn’t the Barkleys’s daughter, and the more deeply intertwined she becomes with the family, the harder it becomes to confess the truth.

Except the Barkley girl didn’t just disappear on her own. As the news spreads across the small town that the Barkley girl has returned, Elizabeth suddenly comes into the limelight in a dangerous way, and the culprit behind the disappearance those twenty years ago is back to finish the job.

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 9-14, 2022. Make sure to stop by then and check out all our mentees’ entries when it opens. 


One Comment
  • Melissa Miles says:

    I love that you guys are working on the novel together! It could be the making of its own novel plot.
    Best of luck!

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