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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Elizabeth Runnoe with mentor Cat Scully and Jade Hemming, also with mentor Cat Scully

Friday, 27 October 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 . . .

Elizabeth Runnoe – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Cat Scully – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Elizabeth, why did you choose to submit to Cat?

I chose Cat because she knows horror and primarily writes horror, a genre not everyone prefers, so I knew she wouldn’t be squeamish if my story veered a little dark. She even listed one of my favorite YA horror books (and comp titles) on her wishlist so I knew we’d make a great match! I could also tell from her blog and twitter posts that she’s a fun, easygoing, and flat-out cool person. (Did I mention she makes literary maps?) And on top of all this, this is her fourth year mentoring so I knew I would be in good hands.  

Cat, why did you choose Elizabeth?

I fell in love with her voice. Absolutely, head over heels, crazy in love. I was hooked in the query because one of my favorite movies from last year was the Hateful Eight. I really wanted to find a great horror voice this year and I found an undiscovered talent in Liz. She has all the qualities of Amy Lukavics and Daughters Unto Devils, with a slow burn gothic western. This book is incredible and so thoughfully researched and sensitive to its themes and representation. It’s an incredible work.

Elizabeth, summarize your book in 3 words.

Outlaw. Haunted. Revenge. 

Cat, summarize Elizabeth’s book in 3 words.

Atmospheric, Lovely, Haunting. 

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

I’m a recent transplant to Minnesota where I spend most of my time with my dogs and my computer. Lately, I’ve been drawn to reading and writing all things dark and creepy, which is funny considering how I avoided horror when I was younger. It seems I have some catching up to do! I’ve also always been drawn to history–all kinds! This story started out as a YA Gothic Horror, but for some reason it wasn’t working. Then I was struck with this idea to make it a Western, a genre I’ve always loved. After that, things just fell into place. But for this Western, I wanted the setting to be a brutal, snowy mountain, not somewhere out on the dusty plains. I wanted to create a story about survival and how far one might go for revenge. 

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

I am terrified of zombies, no joke. I’m known as this big horror person, but I can’t do zombies. Not even the Walking Dead. Next map release: The Serpant’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

And next, we have  . . .

Jade Hemming – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Cat Scully – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Jade, why did you choose to submit to Cat?

I’d spoken to Cat briefly before the subject of PitchWars even crossed my mind and she was absolutely lovely. When I saw she was a mentor I scoured her bio – particularly about helping refining magical systems as well as her wealth of editing experience – and I was sold. We love a lot of the same things, and I knew I had to sub to her. I’m so glad I did! She’s practically Wonder Woman with the amount of things she does and her maps are gorgeous!  

Cat, why did you choose Jade?

I chose Jade because I saw so much potential in her work and her story. The premise immediately hooked me, as did her voice, which reminded me so much of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo! I fell for her characters immediately. I wanted to journey with Anzel, Drew, and Shanna. I felt like I was with them from the first page and I’ve been with them ever since. I loved the diversity of the cast and wanted to see more bisexual representation in fantasy. It was a perfect fit. 

Jade, summarize your book in 3 words.

Magic, dreamers, power.  

Cat, summarize Jade’s book in 3 words.

Captivating, courageous, thrilling. 

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

I’ve been the biggest fantasy lover since I was young, and I’ve never gone a day without writing or thinking about stories. When I was seven my teacher asked me to always keep writing no matter what, and I’ve kept that promise ever since. I’m also a huge LOTR nerd. I shunned playtime in order to read the books before the movies came out and I even lived in New Zealand for 6 months because of it. I love to bake, I read the tarot, and I work as academic support for university students with disabilities.

In a nutshell, DRAGONFLY centres around two heirs of enemy kingdoms who unite to restore order and prevent another war. I grew up in a house with four generations of women, an experience which inspired the magical system in DRAGONFLY – with women passing down the mantle of magic to their children in an earnest way. I’ve also harboured a fascination with history, particularly fish-out-of-water royals like King Ludvig II of Bavaria, who was a wonderful dreamer in a time where he couldn’t afford to dream – not when wars and duties were banging at his door and the rule of Kings was slowly coming to an end. I wanted to capture the romance of history, whilst exploring the darker side of it; unexpected allies, finding strength in dark places, and how a sensitive soul might grow through that.

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

I didn’t start watching any tv shows until recently. I didn’t watch any at all. So shows like Supernatural and Buffy are totally new to me. Next Map Release: The Serpant’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta


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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