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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Kathleen Fox with mentor Heidi Stallman and Vernon Hedrick with mentor David Mealing

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 . . .

Kathleen Fox – Mentee



Heidi Stallman – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Kathleen, why did you choose to submit to Heidi?

Heidi’s profile mentioned rescuing animals and fostering kittens. That hooked me. Dogs play a huge part in FIGHT FOR THE DOG. She was also clear about wanting a strong MG voice. My character is from rural Louisiana — he has a very distinct voice. I’m truly fortunate to be working with Heidi. Her sound suggestions have already benefited the manuscript.

Heidi, why did you choose Kathleen?

Kathleen’s story is heartfelt, tender and intense. She captured Southern rural poverty in Emmet’s story and voice — a voice that grabbed me and would not let go. I didn’t want to like this story. I wasn’t sure I could deal with the subject matter. But Kathleen approaches animal cruelty from a place of love, compassion and forgiveness — the exact right blend for MG fiction. FIGHT FOR THE DOG literally haunted me until I said yes, and I’m so glad I did! This is a story that deserves to be out there –for the dogs and for the boys like Emmet who love them. I’m excited to see where Kathleen takes this story and honored she trusted me with her words.

Kathleen, summarize your book in 3 words.

Love fights loyalty.

Heidi, summarize Kathleen’s book in 3 words.

 Loyalty, Dogs, Friendship.

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

I’ve been writing educational material for a decade. Now I’m thrilled to be making a jump to fiction. FIGHT FOR THE DOG is unique in that the plot is loosely based on my experiences working in a make-shift animal shelter after Hurricane Katrina. The characters in the story are a collection of the many students I taught in rural Georgia who lived in extreme poverty. I’m proud the story gives a voice to a culture that is rarely represented in children’s literature.

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

I’m an avid animal rescuer and have fostered over 400 kittens and about 30 puppies/dogs in the past 12 years. This fall I also took my first step into wildlife rehabilitation and am currently caring for two baby squirrels. Katherine sure knew the sucker for an animal rescue story when she found me.

And next, we have  . . .

Vernon Hedrick – Mentee

Website | Twitter


David Mealing – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Vernon, why did you choose to submit to David?

David Mealing was my first choice as a mentor and I was thrilled that he liked my story. I loved that he was open to a wide range of sub-genres and, I’ll be honest, I loved his willingness to consider long manuscripts. I mean, I knew that my books was too long. I was looking for someone who was willing to look at the whole thing and help me see what was necessary and what needed to go. David is that guy. His mastery of pace and big-picture thinking has already paid huge dividends. He really knows how to make every scene count. My book is going to be so much better by November, thanks to David.

David, why did you choose Vernon?

Vernon has such a captivating voice in his writing. I knew he’d be on my short list by the end of his first page. His book had me imagining ‘huh, what if…?’ for days after I’d finished reading it. That sense of wonder and possibility is what I love most in Sci-Fi, and he totally nailed it.

Vernon, summarize your book in 3 words.

Politically realistic “Sliders”.

David, summarize Vernon’s book in 3 words.

Firefly Season Nine (you’ll have to read the book to get it!)

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

I live in Cheyenne Wyoming with my wife Crystal and the least-crazy number of cats (five). I was an army brat and I grew up all over the place. I have a journalism degree from a school many consider to be the most prestigious community college in Wyoming. I’ve had many jobs including pizza delivery guy, bookseller, and photo journalist for a small newspaper. I have tended a bar on a train and I have worked in an electric toothbrush factory. More recently, I worked for a satellite TV provider where I beamed hard-core pornography into deep space for a living. Now I do IT work in a small medical office. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

What would *really* happen if the technology allowing easy travel to other Earths fell into the wrong hands? Business as usual on a much larger scale, that’s what. The Fork Report is a cog-in-the-wheel tour through several alternate Americas and the of the ugly consequences of pan-dimensional oligarchy. It’s also the story of one man running from his old life, looking for a better version of himself.

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

I’m a writer, a gamer, a husband and father, and one of the biggest pen & paper and MMORPG nerds you’re ever likely to meet. (Seriously, like, ‘setting up my own private EverQuest server so my wife and I can each play nine characters and do raids together’ sort of nerd). One of my proudest moments as a father was watching my five- and eight-year olds come to the conclusion that they should team up and kill daddy first in our multiplayer games of Magic: The Gathering.

Our mentors’ latest releases…

SOUL OF THE WORLD by David Mealing


Book one of a trilogy with Orbit books.

Three lines of magic must be conquered and three heroes must rise in the first book of this epic fantasy trilogy.


It is a time of revolution. In the cities, food shortages stir citizens to riots against the crown. In the wilds, new magic threatens the dominance of the tribes. and on the battlefields, even the most brilliant commanders struggle in the shadow of total war. Three lines of magic must be mastered in order to usher in a new age, and three heroes must emerge.


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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