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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Jennifer Price with mentor Kelly Hopkins and Ciannon Smart with mentors Tomi Adeyemi & Adalyn Grace

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 . . .

Jennifer Price – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Kelly Hopkins – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Jennifer, why did you choose to submit to Kelly?

Last spring I was fortunate to be a member of the #TeenPit Class of 2017, introduced to me by none other than my creative writing teacher and now PitchWars mentor, Kelly Hopkins! TeenPit was a great experience, between getting to know all the awesome teen writers that participated and getting to polish my first chapter with my TeenPit mentor, Leigh Mar. At the end of it all, the TeenPit top five received a slot in PitchWars, and I took first place! I was assigned Mrs. Hopkins as my PitchWars mentor and I’m so excited to work with someone with all the industry experience she has!

Kelly, why did you choose Jennifer?

Jen was the grand prize winner of the inaugural TeenPit contest! Her book won the chance to participate in the PitchWars agent round. Beyond winning the contest, I knew Jen’s book was special the moment I read the first chapter and was suddenly immersed in the chaos and wonder of the Strip. She writes with a maturity well beyond her years, with a terrific grasp of setting and character.

Jennifer, summarize your book in 3 words.

Darkness. Vengeance. Vegas.

Kelly, summarize Jennifer’s book in 3 words.

Vegas on steroids

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

Well, I’ve always been afraid of the dark. When I was little, my mom had to get me a nightlight because I would see frightening shapes in the darkness and run to my parents’ door at three in the morning (much to their chagrin). But in SHADOWS OF SIN CITY, my childhood fear is a reality: there are people waiting for you in the darkness, and not necessarily with the best of intentions.

I’m currently a senior in high school. In addition to a passion for writing, I have a love of all things makeup, vintage, and musical theatre. I enjoy learning about anything, anytime, anywhere, from mechanical physics to French idioms.

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

I’ve been a color guard instructor. (You know, flags, rifles, TOSS!).

And next, we have  . . .

Ciannon Smart – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Tomi Adeyemi – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Adalyn Grace – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Ciannon, why did you choose to submit to Tomi and Adalyn?

Pre Masked Mentor Sneaky Reveals, my mentors’ wish list matched A Witch of Bone and Briars so well, I couldn’t type their names into the form fast enough! Post Masked Mentor Sneaky Reveals, I was surprised/excited to see Adalyn’s name next to Tomi’s. Having had the pleasure of experiencing her critique style pre Pitch Wars Reveal, I was stoked to learn she was part of #TeamSkulls! Besides my mentors’ obvious talents, and the fact that they killed last year’s Pitch Wars, both have expressed their enthusiasm for Own Voices stories, especially fantasies set in non western settings. I KNEW I wanted to be a part of a team with two advocates as passionate as they are about bringing these stories into the world. And did I mention their talents?

Tomi and Adalyn, why did you choose Ciannon?

Tomi and I chose Ciannon’s manuscript because her concept is SO strong, and incredibly interesting! It’s an #ownvoices Caribbean inspired fantasy that explores the unique magic of the Obeah. There was a period where I was watching documentary after documentary about Obeah, and was absolutely fascinated by this practice. I wanted to learn more! So when I saw that Ciannon had a story that explored what is often believed to be incredibly taboo sort of magic, and had formed an entire story where one of the main characters is actually a young girl who practices it herself, I absolutely had to read on and find out what happened!  

Ciannon, summarize your book in 3 words.

 Trust. No. Witch.

Tomi and Adalyn, summarize Ciannon’s book in 3 words.

Magic. Vengeance. Death.

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

I’ve had an interest in witchcraft in Jamaica ever since a family trip there when I was a child. We visited Rose Hall, home of a white witch infamous for her involvement with Obeah magic, and I was hooked. As a HUGE Sabrina the Teenage Witch fan, I loved learning that my heritage had its own branch of magic. It wasn’t until I was older, and hungry for the book with Black Girl Magic inspired by my heritage I would have devoured as a child, that I wrote A Witch of Bone and Briars. 

Tomi and Adalyn, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Adalyn: I have the highly impressive talent of being able to lick both of my elbows. I’m pretty sure this is a very important life skill that all of you should try to master right now 😉


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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