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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Amanda Coppedge and mentor Kara Seal & Alyssa Carlier and mentor Leigh Mar

Wednesday, 20 September 2017  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Our mentors are editing, our mentees are revising, and we hope you’re making progress on your own manuscript! While we’re all working toward the Agent Showcase on November 1st-7th, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2017 Pitch Wars Teams.

And now, we have . . .


Alyssa Carlier – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Leigh Mar – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Alyssa, why did you choose to submit to Leigh?

I didn’t actually submit to Leigh! It was such a surprise when I received her congratulatory tweet. But when I looked up her wishlist and saw that she loved retellings & complex, realistic characters, I knew my ms was in great hands.

It’s so lovely to wake up to gif-filled emails from Leigh, so I’m glad this is how things worked out in the end!

Leigh, why did you want to work with Alyssa?

I’m a big fan of retellings and reimaginings and THIS MOTH WILL NOT BURN touches on both MULAN and SWAN LAKE. MOTH is the type of fantasy world I’ve been waiting for, while it fueled by politics and magic, it’s set against a more modern backdrop, which I don’t often see. I also love the dual-POV from both the cursed criminal protagonist, and the witch she killed to bring about the curse in the first place. It’s fresh and fun and I knew it was a project and a world I wanted to dive deep, deep, into.

Alyssa, summarize your book in 3 words.

Witches, demons, stabbing.

Leigh, summarize your Alyssa’s book in 3 words.

Magic. Curses. Swans.

Alyssa, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

I’m Alyssa! I live in Hong Kong and just turned 18 without overthrowing a dystopian government or fulfilling a Chosen One prophecy. There go my dreams of being a YA character.

My ms started when I tweeted on a whim about mashing Mulan and Swan Lake together in a retelling. This is the first ms I wrote with such amazing support from the community — I regularly share snippets on Twitter and to a dedicated mailing list, and the responses are so motivational.

As for the actual ms … one main character decided this was her villain origin story, the other one decided to go on a melodramatic spiral of self-destruction, and the antagonist became my favourite character. I feed them all with magical food and regularly fight Google’s auto-translate when researching folklore in Chinese.

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

I recently moved from Northern Virginia (just across the river from DC) to Richmond, VA and am excited to explore a new city!


And next, we have . . .


Amanda Coppedge – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Kara Seal – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Amanda, why did you choose to submit to Kara?

I submitted to Kara because she was actively seeking MG horror that is “dark, creepy or strange.” She was also looking for stories revolving around family and she listed THE JUMBIES by Tracey Baptiste as a favorite scary MG–one of my favorites as well. I was also impressed that she is still in contact with her previous mentees. She struck me as very passionate, dedicated and professional. Plus, we’re both librarians!

Kara, why did you want to work with Amanda?

I loved the spooky premise and engaging voice of Amanda’s manuscript. When I read it, I knew just what the story needed to really make it shine, and I knew I could be the one to help get it there.

Amanda, summarize your book in 3 words

Trapped. Haunted. Secrets.

Kara, summarize Amanda’s book in 3 words.

Secrets, ghosts, family.

Amanda, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?

I am a youth services librarian and a huge horror movie fan. I am also inspired by the spooky authors I grew up reading: Mary Downing Hahn, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Betty Ren Wright, John Bellairs, and more. For THE CABIN, I challenged myself to write a MG story based on one of my favorite horror movie tropes: the isolated cabin in the woods.

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

I’m doubled jointed and can bend my thumbs backwards. Seriously, it’s gross.


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is November 1st-7th, and our next #PitMad is December 7, 2017!

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