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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Julia Miller with her mentors Kelly Siskind & J.R. Yates and Neicole Crepeau with her mentor Erin Foster Hartley

Friday, 6 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 . . .

Julia Miller – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Kelly Siskind – Mentor

Website | Twitter

J.R. Yates – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Julia, why did you choose to submit to Kelly and J.R.?

I can be super analytical, but sometimes I go with my gut. And my gut was saying to pick J.R. Yates and Kelly Siskind long before I had researched all the choices. Yes, my gut also tells me to binge on dark chocolate and potato chips, but in this case it was 100% on point! Many agents say they’re looking for voice, voice, voice in those first pages and I get it because that’s what I was looking for too–in a mentor bio! Because I needed mentors that could mesh with my style. They are both super talented and have an awesome sense of humor and are already helping me level up! Plus, many wish list items lined up with my MS: enemies to lovers, hot nerd, a little sass? Check, check, check. Kelly and J.R. are both in Canada and I’m proud to be apart of this maple leaf sandwich!

Kelly and J.R., why did you choose  Julia?

Her voice captured us from the first page!

Julia, summarize your book in 3 words.

Panties, Pancakes & Problems

Kelly and J.R., summarize ’s book(s) in 3 words.

Saucy, quirky, shenanigans

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

When Cyndi Lauper sang Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, she was totes talking about me. I spent the majority of my teens and 20s brooding and reading a lot of Shakespeare tragedies. And I didn’t just read Emily Dickinson. I wanted to be her. I still have poems stuffed drawers waiting to be discovered post mortem. But as fabulous and enlightening as all that was, now I just wanna have fun. So I’m getting back to my roots. Back when I was 4 years old, I liked to “write” a lot of Care Bear/Star Wars mashup fan fiction. Yes, my mom recorded it. And I did the voices of the villains. I wasn’t setting out to get published then of course, but I knew what I wanted in a story and went for it. Now I want to read a romantic comedy à la His Girl Friday. And I want to laugh. So that’s what I’m doing.

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

JR: I’m quite short. When I was a speech therapist in a middle school, I was once mistaken for a student and asked if I had a hall pass. :/

Kelly: Mike Mammay thinks I’m a robot.

And next, we have . . .

 Neicole M. Crepeau – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Erin Foster Hartley – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Neicole,why did you choose to submit to Erin?

Erin seemed to be looking for everything that my manuscript had. She was interested in YA contemporary with an unexpected genre twist, open to spec-fic or light sci-fi, and she mentioned that one of her favorite books was We Were Liars—which is one of my comps.

Most of all, she said she was interested in stories that challenged rape culture in an insightful way. It was clear she’d “get” my novel. I also liked how explicit she was about what she would do for her mentee and the fact that she had a film history/analysis background, as I thought she’d be able to help me with pacing.

Erin, why did you choose Neicole?

Neicole pitched her book as WESTWORLD meets WE WERE LIARS, which hooked me right away. The first chapter was gorgeous, and I requested the full immediately. It was more out of curiosity than anything else, as I feared I wouldn’t be of much help to it since sci-fi isn’t exactly in my comfort zone. But when I read the synopsis and saw what it really was: a twisty, genre-subverting take on overcoming trauma, that’s when I knew she was the one I wanted to work with.

Neicole, summarize your book in 3 words.

Geeky. Cyborg. Mystery.

Erin, summarize ’s book(s) in 3 words.

Truth Is Inside.

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

I work in tech and am kind of a jack-of-all trades. I work on websites, do a lot of writing, and some digital marketing. I’m embarrassingly geeky—like in middle school, in the San Diego heat, I always wore a heavy coat festooned with NASA badges because I wanted to be an astronaut. Yeah, embarrassing.

I came up with my book, Decoding Emma, by starting with a unique premise and a theme. What I enjoy most about writing is the challenge of delivering a powerful theme through characters and a story that captivates readers and keeps them enthralled.

Decoding Emma focuses on a cyborg, named Delta who is trying to pass the Turing test (which means strangers have to believe she’s human) with the help of a seventeen-year old dead girl’s memories. You get to see the communication between the Emma Program, built from this girl’s memories, and Delta’s cyborg mind as Emma helps the cyborg learn to behave like a human so she can avoid being sent to the scrap heap. I think Delta’s struggles to fit in as a “normal” human are struggles that every teen can relate to.

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

I may get my YA card revoked for this, but I’ve never read a single Harry Potter book. I’ve seen the first movie, and Facebook tells me I’m a Hufflepuff, and I’ve eaten those nasty, nasty jelly beans, but all that makes me feel like a total fraud. I swear the series has been at the top of my TBR list like forever, but there’s always been something more pressing (and less daunting) that I pick up first. Please don’t hate me.

Our mentors’ latest releases…

LEGS (One Wild Wish, Book #1) by Kelly Siskind
“The chemistry between the main characters is off-the-charts hot…with the playful, witty banter and steamy sexual tension, there’s not a dull moment to be had in Siskind’s latest.” ~ RT Book Reviews

Running into your one-night stand is a special kind of awkward. Competing against him in a wine tasting contest is delicious torment…

On Rachel’s twenty-seventh birthday, she wishes to finally find a rewarding job. What she doesn’t wish is to drink a boatload of wine, sleep with a tattooed bad boy, and drunk email her boss in one glorious, career-ending move. But the fiasco pushes her to pursue a career inspired by her late father’s love of wine: sommelier.

Unfortunately, she’s competing against her infuriating one-night stand, a man as intoxicating as a Pinot Noir.

Two years ago, Jimmy was set to inherit his family winery. Then it got ripped from his grasp. To close that dark chapter of his life, he plans to win a local sommelier contest and use the press to expose his family’s tainted wines.

Jimmy loves studying the streaks of alcohol that cling to a wineglass, known as the wine’s “legs,” but other shapely legs are stealing his focus. Tantalizing legs. Legs that had wrapped around his waist for one wild night. Jimmy, sadly, has a weakness for legs.

He also hates to lose.

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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