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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Kerry Reardon and mentor Melissa West & Kimberly Fernando and mentor Kate Foster

Thursday, 12 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 . . .

Kerry Reardon – Mentee



Melissa West – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Kerry, why did you choose to submit to Melissa?

I read Melissa’s wish list and saw that she was looking for stories that combined women’s fiction and romance, particularly ones set in a small town. She also expressed interest in stories about family, strong women, and female friendships, and I hoped my manuscript would be a good fit. I also loved the way she came across—as someone who loved Hart of Dixie (me, too!) and would give her mentee encouragement, support, and tough love when needed. Plus, she has written 15 books and is a USA Today best-selling author, so I was totally in awe of her and her wealth of experience.

Melissa, why did you choose Kerry?

I chose Kerry and her amazing manuscript because I connected with the characters, loved her voice, and the manuscript’s theme spoke to me.

Kerry, summarize your book in 3 words.

Fun. Friendship. Self-acceptance.

Melissa, summarize Kerry’s book in 3 words.

Empowering. Funny. Unique.

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

The Smith City Ladies’ Pageant is about a physician who inherits the rights to direct the same pageant she auditioned for—disastrously—when she was nine. I went to medical school before writing it. I love the idea of telling a story about a group of women who come together to challenge the notion of what womanhood is supposed to be. My manuscript is unique in that it explores important themes like friendship, sisterhood, and feminism, but never skimps on humor. Plus, one of the most comical scenes is loosely based on a (very embarrassing!) experience from my own life.

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

I’m obsessed with coffee. And ice cream. Coffee-flavored ice cream is my happy place.

And next, we have  . . .

Kimberly Fernando – Mentee



Kate Foster – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Kimberly, why did you choose to submit to Kate?

I was drawn to Kate right away. From her bio and Twitter, she seemed very warm and friendly and cared a lot about helping others, especially writers – and she is definitely all of these things! I also loved that she was an experienced mentor, not to mention an editor, and when her bio said she liked stories that were a little dark, I knew I had to submit to her (even though I wasn’t sure whether my MS was too dark or not dark enough for MG).

Kate, why did you choose Kimberly?

It was instalove, to be honest. Both with Kimberly and her manuscript. The query letter gave me all the chills—two kids locked up in cages in a dungeon for their own safety, knitted together with some Sri Lankan culture and a bunch of secrets and shocks twists? Yes please! Then on to these alluring pages which just sucked me into a dark vacuum-like place; I absolutely needed more. Smooth writing, clear voice, ominous tone. And this persistent niggling that something’s off, someone’s hiding something, but who? What? I NEED TO KNOW!

What made it easy to pick Kimberly as a mentee was her immediate, tangible enthusiasm and buzz to do whatever it would to make her book perfect. Plus, I was actually in awe of her talent. And boy, did we brainstorm after announcements. It was So. Much. Fun! I cannot contain my excitement about where revisions are taking this story. *accidently mentions RETELLING and SRI LANKAN LEGEND while taking a breath* Watch out for this, MG agents!

Kimberly, summarize your book in 3 words.

Demons Curse Children

Kate, summarize Kimberly’s book(s) in 3 words.

Retelling. Sri Lanka. Legend.

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

Oh gosh, I don’t like to talk about myself and I always freeze up if someone asks me this question in person. I’m married with two amazing kids and a hilarious dog. I did get to take what I consider the trip of a lifetime to Sri Lanka in January of this year and it was an incredible experience. I was blown away by all the monkeys (so many monkeys!) hanging around on the side of the road or in the parks (I think one was planning to steal my purse!) and the beautiful and majestic elephants, not to mention the amazing family members I met there that I hadn’t yet met, and of course so much more – I loved it. My husband immigrated from Sri Lanka to the U.S. with his family when he was five so a lot of my manuscripts have Sri Lankan MCs, including my PitchWars MS which is a Middle Grade South Asian inspired fantasy/retelling set in Sri Lanka

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

I think everyone knows everything about me already, to be honest. I’m not a particularly closed book! I’m writing a series of standalone MG horrors with my excruciatingly talented 15-year-old son. My dogs often urinate on each other’s heads. I’m scared of the dark. And, erm, I haven’t owned an iron or an ironing board for about 20 years. 🙂

Check out our mentors’ latest releases . . .

CHASING LOVE by Melissa West

Amazon | B&N| iBooks | Kobo

There aren’t many things Charlie Littleton values more than his lifelong friendship with his buddy Lucas, currently home from a tour in Iraq. But when he discovers that Lucas’s younger sister, Lila, is back to assist the town’s overburdened veterinarian, Charlie is torn. She’s no longer the skinny, awkward kid he remembers, but a gorgeous woman—one Lucas would never approve of him dating. When Lucas asks him to watch out for Lila when he’s called to duty again, Charlie can’t say no—but he can’t pretend it’s easy to ignore his feelings either. As a teen, Lila crushed on Charlie—hard—and the man he’s grown up to be is even more wonderful than she dreamed. Relationships are a tricky business, though, and too much history is at stake to risk one now. But every moment they’re together is heated by their simmering attraction—and one day an impulsive kiss leads to much more. What’s tangled in a matter of loyalty soon becomes a question of the kind of love worth chasing . . .


WINELL ROAD by Kate Foster

Amazon | Goodreads

Living on Winell Road is hardly fun, not when your neighbors are weirder than your own parents. But the road has a secret that few people know. And Jack’s about to uncover it. Mystery, action and adventure. This award-winning sci-fi series is “highly recommended” for middle grade readers. For fans of Men in Black and Zac Power, Winell Road is jam-packed with “loads of twists and turns” that will keep you guessing to the end.





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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