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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Kacey Vanderkarr with her mentor Katherine Fleet and Alexandria Bellefleur with her mentors Layla Reyne & Victoria De La O

Tuesday, 10 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 . . .

Kacey Vanderkarr – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Katherine Fleet – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kacey, why did you choose to submit to Katherine?

Katherine’s Pitch Wars bio was like reading a casting call for my manuscript – so much so that I got excited/nervous butterflies while reading it. Emotional contemporary YA? Check. Complicated relationships? Check. Will make you cry? Check. Set over summer in a small town/mental health issues/family drama? Big ol’ CHECK. Aside from all that, Katherine and I seem to have similar writing styles and I appreciate that she doesn’t sugarcoat her critiques. We’re a match made in mentor/mentee heaven and I’m so glad she picked me!

Katherine, why did you choose Kacey?

When I read LIFE EXPECTANCY MAY VARY the first time, I stayed up until one in the morning and ugly cried at the end. I fell in love with Hudson Trent, a beautiful, lost boy struggling to find a reason to live in the face of a very painful future. But I was worried that I wouldn’t know how to mentor it. I thought it was already brilliant and wasn’t sure how much more I could add. There was also a lot of interest in this manuscript from other mentors. But when I sent some questions to Kacey and learned that she’d written this book while taking the Story Genius class by Lisa Cron, I knew we were meant to work together! When I finally learned that LIFE EXPECTANCY MAY VARY was mine to mentor, I was over the moon.

Kacey, summarize your book in 3 words.

Living while dying.

Katherine, summarize Kacey ’s book in 3 words.

One tragic, beautiful, hopeful night. (Yes, I know that’s five words!)

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

I think it’s important for teens to find characters they can relate to, especially those with disabilities, mental health issues, and less than perfect pasts. LIFE EXPECTANCY MAY VARY explores one teen’s experience with the fatal genetic illness Huntington’s Disease. It also takes on suicidal ideation from four different perspectives, anxiety, and PTSD. It’s really a story about living in the moment and forgiving yourself for things you cannot change. The most unique thing about Hiding Hudson is that 99% of the story takes place in one night. I think this highlights how one person, one event, one moment can forever alter someone’s life. As for me, I’m a Michigander who hates snow, loves cats, and dreams of one day owning a houseboat in Key West. Most people I meet really look up to me, but only because I’m 6’1″.

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

I’m a YA author living in Curacao, but originally from Canada. I have a hubby and three kids (two of them are teenagers), and I love to travel and post my pics on Instagram. I’m represented by Carrie Pestritto from Prospect Agency, and my YA debut was released by Entangled Teen in 2016. Also, something you may not know is that I received my glider pilot’s and private pilot’s licences before I learned to drive a car! I felt the need to mention this, as the first time I spoke to Kacey on the phone, I learned that she’s always wanted to fly. The last time I flew was this summer, when I went flying with my dad, who is 80 years old and built his own floatplane:)

And next, we have  . . .

Alexandria Bellefleur – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Layla Reyne – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Victoria De La O – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Alexandria, why did you choose to submit to Layla and Victoria?

As soon as I read Victoria and Layla’s wishlist, I was sold! Who wouldn’t be enticed by the name #TeamDonut? They asked for compelling voices and fresh tropes in contemporary romance, and I felt like my manuscript checked those boxes. Another huge selling point for me was their belief that there are still New Adult stories that need to be told, especially LGBTQ+ stories which mine is. Combining that with their knowledge and expertise both in the New Adult and M/M romance spheres, I felt really confident that if chosen, I would be in amazing hands.


Layla, why did Victoria and you choose Alexandria?

Layla: I fell in love with Alexandria’s manuscript from line one, and I was charmed from beginning to end. I really can’t wait for more people to read this wonderful story!

Victoria: I loved her heartfelt characters and the humorous tone of her writing.

Alexandria, summarize your book in 3 words.

Roommates. Longing. Hope.

Layla and Victoria, summarize Alexandria ’s book in 3 words.

Layla: Charming, Humorous, Sexy

Victoria: M/M New Adult

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

As a recent college graduate and devourer of New Adult books, I set out to write a story that authentically captures the confusion, intense emotions, and beautiful messiness of figuring out what you want to do with your life while also falling in love. I wish there were more stories that capture the wide range of New Adult experiences, especially LGBTQ+ stories, so I wrote what I wanted to read. I also enjoy reading new takes on well-loved tropes in contemporary romance, so another aim of mine was to put a fresh spin on several- enemies to lovers, roommate/forced proximity, and friends with benefits.

As for me, I recently graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. in Human Physiology. When I’m not working, reading, or writing I’m usually drinking too much coffee, flipping out over college football, and getting far too invested in my favorite fandom ships.

Layla and Victoria, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Layla: I prefer tequila over whiskey (Shh, don’t tell my characters!)

Victoria: I write in multiple genres, I do a mean Wonder Woman spin, and I own a banjo that I cannot play (yet).


Check out our mentors’ latest releases . . .



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iTunes

One summer can change everything…

Haunted with guilt after his girlfriend’s death, Daniel Hudson has no interest in committing to anyone. At the end of the summer, he’ll be leaving Florida for a new start in college. If only he could avoid the mysterious new girl in town, who seems every bit as naive and eccentric as she looks. Trouble is, she’s hard to ignore, with her beautiful piercing eyes, pitiful-looking dog, and unsettling tendency of finding trouble.

Clover Scott lived her whole life off the grid and arrives on the Gulf coast in search of her grandparents. She never expected to nearly drown, or get caught in a hurricane, or fall in love with the boy who rescues her. Now, she has a chance to rewrite her life’s story, to finally fit in somewhere, but Daniel wants answers about her past. When the police start asking questions about the disappearance of her parents, she must make a choice: go to jail or confess her secrets—even if they might destroy her chance at a happily-ever-after.

BARREL PROOF by Layla Reyne

(Agents Irish and Whiskey #3) – M/M Romantic Suspense

CarinaUniversal E-BookAudio

FBI agents Aidan “”Irish”” Talley and Jameson “”Whiskey”” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take.

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him.

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

TELL ME THAT YOU’RE MINE (Book 3) by Victoria De La O

Amazon iBooks ~ Nook Kobo Google

Ryan McCallister is ready to come home and put the heartbreak of his first love behind him. But when he returns after teaching abroad, the home he once knew isn’t quite ready for him. The woman Ryan used to love is living with his brother; his friends have moved on; and his new landlady, Eva Romero, seems determined not to like him.

But Ryan likes Eva. A lot.

It doesn’t matter that Eva has a six-year-old son and a troubled ex-husband; when Ryan’s with her, everything makes sense. Eva isn’t convinced she’s ready to take another chance on love, but Ryan’s determined to show her he’s worth the risk.


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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