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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Danielle Thurby with mentor Judi Lauren & Diana DeBolt Johnson with mentor Kim Long

Friday, 29 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 . . .

Danielle Thurby  – Mentee



Judi Lauren – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Danielle,why did you choose to submit to Judi?

There were so many reasons why I submitted to Judi. I put two big stars next to her name when narrowing down choices. I really wanted her haha. The big selling point was right in her opening paragraph. She mentioned her love for Supernatural and how she’d like to see a YA book like the show. My book happens to be influenced by the show so it felt like the perfect match already. Beyond that, she was open to the darker side of YA contemporary which was a relief since that’s where my book falls. And I’d read a handful of the books on her favorites list so I thought that was a good sign that we’d have similar tastes. The feedback posted from her previous mentees let me know if I was chosen, I’d be in exceptional hands, and that’s definitely true. She’s been absolutely amazing. When this is all over, I’m going to have to send thank you cards to the creators of Supernatural for bringing us together.

Judi, why did you choose Danielle?

I believe I wrote in her edit letter, that it felt almost like the book was written *for* me. It had everything I said I wanted on my wish list, and is full of characters that I just fell in love with from the first page. Her plot is so intriguing and kept me hooked from the time I started. I actually read it in one sitting (fortunately, school hadn’t started yet!)

Danielle, summarize your book in 3 words.

Killer. Brothers. Angst.

Judi, summarize Danielle’s book in 3 words.

Angsty, sad brothers

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

About me? The Lord of the Rings films are my go-to strategy for comfort, I cosplayed as Xena Warrior Princess at a Xena convention when I was eight years old, I’m a sucker for snarky sociopathic villains, video games are my chosen method of escapism, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is my favorite in the series, and KPOP music, specifically BTS, was the glorious discovery that motivated me to finish writing my Pitch Wars book. If you like any of these things too, please be my friend so we can fangirl together.
As for the book, I started it simply because I wanted to write a sibling story. The best sibling story I know comes from Supernatural so I took away the ghosts and demons and looked at what was left. Plus, counting a Supernatural binge as “research” is pretty nice.

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

I once wrote an 85,000 word book in 11 days. We just won’t talk about what it looks like.


And next, we have  . . .

Diana DeBolt Johnson – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Kim Long – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Diana, why did you choose to submit to Kim?

Kim’s Pitchwars wish list beamed with personality. I loved her voice and energy and knew right away she would be tons of fun to work with, as well as a great match for me and my manuscript. She asked for fairytale retellings even if based on a well known tale like Cinderella. Perfect fit! My main character is Cinderella’s daughter. I almost didn’t sub to her (eeek!) because her wish list said no animal protagonists, something I read on numerous mentor blogs. I had a bunch labeled “no” because of that. BUT I kept returning to Kim’s blog, enticed by the mention of Cinderella and how much I connected to Kim’s voice. Since Penelope Charming, my protagonist, isn’t an animal, I followed my instincts and submit to Kim. And you know what? She fell in LOVE with one of my talking animals.

Kim, why did you choose Diana?

I fell in love with Diana’s story right away. Such a fun and lovable voice, and her characters kept me interested the whole way through. I asked a couple questions about revisions, and Diana was fair game for anything and everything. Although I kept reading and requesting throughout the consideration period, I kept coming back to her manuscript. Even better, I could see a clear path to revisions to make it stronger. I was (and still am!) very excited to work with her!

Diana, summarize your book in 3 words.

Perfectly Imperfect Princess

Kim, summarize Diana’s book in 3 words.

Whimsical fun adventure!

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

The talking frog will steal your heart! I’m serious. Phib schemed himself into almost every scene after starting with only one in the first draft.

What do you get when you combine a spunky princess with annoying glass slippers, a frog with delusions of princely-ness, the great-granddaughter of Red Riding Hood trying to set her story straight, and one giant of a quest? Penelope Charming and the Poisoned Glass Slippers, that’s what. Princess Penelope and her friends whisked me away on a fantastic adventure and I can’t wait to share them with you!

I am an illustrator with a background in children’s apparel and spent twelve years drawing kitties, monkeys, flowers, and sometimes the occasional alien. My husband and I are incredibly lucky to be the adoptive parents of a creative four-year-old girl. Her love for Halloween rivals my own. Which means her love for Halloween rivals everyone’s.

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

I hate wine. (Yes, all wine.)


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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