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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Karah Sutton and mentor K.C. Held & Keli Vice and mentor Laura Brown

Wednesday, 11 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 . . .

Karah Sutton – Mentee



K.C. Held – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Karah, why did you choose to submit to KC?

I first submitted BIG BAD to KC for PitchWars2016. I loved her wishlist: she specified things like “twisty plots,” “fairytale retellings,” “high stakes adventures,” and “historical settings,” which are all aspects of my very favorite middle grade books and things I tried to channel into my writing of BIG BAD. The rest of her wishlist and her list of favorite books hinted to me that she and I have similar tastes. For example, she asked for “rambling old Victorian houses that may or may not be haunted,” which made me laugh out loud because I have another WIP that’s exactly this! I found this very comforting… it gave me confidence that, even if she suggested major changes, her vision would likely be aligned with the type of book I want to create.

KC requested a full from me last year, and she offered feedback that gave a lot of clarity and direction to my revisions in the 11 months that followed before this year’s submission deadline. I was worried she’d be hesitant to receive a submission for the same MS, so I asked if it was okay, as the revisions were fairly significant. KC confirmed that she’d be happy to review it again. I’m so glad I checked, because I almost just assumed we weren’t supposed to submit to the same people again!

Her advice to me last year was exactly what my MS needed, so I’m very grateful for the opportunity to continue on this journey with her.

KC, why did you choose Karah?

I fell in love with Karah’s fairy tale world from the very first page. It had so many of the things I’m drawn to in a story—magic, witches, castles, and a heroine who’s willing to do anything to protect her family—but felt fresh and unique. I also knew from exchanging emails with Karah during Pitch Wars last year that she would be lovely to work with, and had mad revision skills!

Karah, summarize your book in 3 words.

Wolves. Hunters. Witches.

KC, summarize Karah’s book in 3 words.

Russian folklore-inspired fantasy.

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

I’ll start with my MS! BIG BAD is about a wolf who has to navigate the dangers of hunters and witches in a fairytale world, where we’re used to seeing wolves as untrustworthy. It’s not a retelling exactly, but it’s inspired by the Russian fairy tales that I grew up reading, and it does lean on the story “Tsarevich Ivan, the Firebird, and the Gray Wolf” a bit! I think it’s unique because it combines animal POV stories like Warriors with magical fairy tale tropes. As much as I love depictions of the Big Bad Wolf in a tailcoat and hat like in The 10th Kingdom or Into the Woods, I liked exploring how the threat of hunters and conniving witches would affect wolves who more closely resemble the real wolves of our world.

As for me, I’m from Kentucky originally, but for the past seven years I’ve lived in New Zealand with my partner. In my day job I work for a magical place called Weta Workshop, which designs and builds props and costumes for films (most famously the Lord of the Rings trilogy), so I’m surrounded every day by incredibly talented people and memorabilia from my favorite movies. I’ve done a number of odd jobs at the workshop, including project managing an art book for one of the films we worked on, helping to launch a board game, and other secret movie projects. Besides working, writing, and reading, you’ll usually find me at the cinema, playing board games, or exploring some of New Zealand’s amazing forests or beaches.

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

I’m a total foodie! When I was in college I was one of the youngest contestants to compete in the Pillsbury Bake-Off. Alas, my Toffee Mocha Pie was defeated by Fudgy BonBons, but I did get to meet Poppin’ Fresh, aka the Pillsbury Doughboy!

And next, we have  . . .

Keli Vice – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Laura brown – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Keli, why did you choose to submit to Laura?

Writing style & genre experience.

Laura, why did you choose Keli?

I chose Keli because I loved her voice and got roped right into her story. I’m not much of a wine drinker, but I found it fascinating to learn about life on a winery, and the yummy romance sealed the deal!

Keli, summarize your book in 3 words.

Winemaker Finds Love.

Laura, summarize your Keli’s book in 3 words.

Yummy winery takeover.

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

I wrote the “meet/cute” scene for Behind Cellar Doors years ago – before I even started working in the wine industry. Since then, I’ve spent seventeen years working in the Sonoma County wine industry, in PR, marketing and now as a consultant specializing in copywriting, web management and digital marketing programs.

One of the things I loved about writing Behind Cellar Doors was describing the earthy/fabulous sights, smells and experience of being in a winery and out in the vineyards – all with a strong romantic element that makes the wine taste even better. I also enjoyed weaving the wine-inspired descriptions with the romance – “sniff, swirl and sip” takes on an entirely new meaning when applied to falling in love.

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

As stated above, I’m not much of a wine drinker. The last one I drank would be white zinfandel (hangs head). Don’t worry, Keli’s promised to make me over!

Check out our mentors’ latest releases . . .


Amazon | Books-A-Million | B&N | Indibound | Powells

When a sixteen-year-old girl with an embarrassing psychic gift she can’t control takes a job at a castle-turned-dinner theater, all she wants is the chance to wear a fancy gown and ogle her crush from afar, but when she stumbles over a dead body that promptly disappears, she must prove she didn’t hallucinate a dead girl before the killer strikes again.






Amazon | B&N | iTunes

I’m ridiculously attracted to my best friend. Today is a bad day. The worst actually. After dealing with the constant manhandling that comes with being a cocktail waitress at a dive bar and surviving a date from hell, I see an eviction notice slapped on the door of my sketchy basement apartment. Great. When my best friend Devon shows up at my door and uses his stubborn charm (emphasis on stubborn) to get me to move in with him, I give in. We’ve had about a million sleepovers since we met in the kindergarten Deaf program, but this time it’s different because I can’t stop thinking about his hard body covering mine, every single night. I know Devon would do anything for me, but I’m afraid what I want to happen will ruin our friendship forever. And the more time we spend together in close quarters, the harder it’ll be to resist the spark of attraction I’ve always felt. But maybe it’s possible to have the best of both worlds: keep the one relationship I can’t live without and indulge in an attraction I can’t deny. I guess the only thing we can do is try…

Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is November 1st-7th, and our next #PitMad is December 7, 2017!


We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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