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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Kirk Kraft with mentors Amanda Rawson Hill, Ashley Martin, Kate Foster, and Cindy Baldwin

Monday, 16 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 . . .

Kirk Kraft – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Amanda Rawson Hill – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Cindy Baldwin – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Ashley Martin – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kate Foster – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Kirk, why did you choose to submit to Kate?

I chose Kate because she’s awesome! 🙂 She has a great personality and we’ve connected over the prior two PitchWars. I chose her this year because she was open to any genre and I felt this might be the last gasp attempt for my story. Might as well take a shot with her, right?

Ashley, Cindy, Kate and Amanda all chose ME! I’m over the moon about that. I’ve always enjoyed watching Cindy and Amanda interact with potential mentees on Twitter. Ashley was one of my mentor picks last year and provided loads of (great) advice. I still think this is all a dream and can’t believe they picked me. I admire all four ladies’ desire to help other writers. They’re amazing and are just tremendous people. Really.

Amanda, Cindy, Kate, and Ashley, why did you choose Kirk?

Kate: Kirk’s query stole my heart. Simple. The minute I read it, I couldn’t wait to dive into the pages. Kirk’s been a great support to not only the Pitch Wars community but also the writing community in general for years now, so when he chose me as a suitable mentor I was honoured. And, it was overwhelming just how many other mentors were asking about his submission behind the scenes – most notably Ashley, Amanda, and Cindy. Team Krafty rules!

Amanda & Cindy: Kirk didn’t actually sub to us. But we saw early on in the spreadsheet that he had received several requests and were so happy to hear it. Then when Brenda announced the opportunity to enter the drawing for a wild card, Kate mentioned that she was trying to get one for Kirk. We (along with Ashley) approached Kate about possibly going in on the Wild Card with her to try and improve her chances of winning. She sent us Kirk’s manuscript and the rest is history! Kirk has a great voice and a fun sense of humor. We knew from prior experience that he would be a great mentee, work hard, and be a wonderful part of Pitch Wars. So we were so, so pleased when we got the Wild Card. Keeping it a secret was the hardest part!

Ashley: (Since there are four mentors answering these questions, I’ll keep mine short and sweet.) One word: HEART. Of both the book and the author!

Kirk, summarize your book in 3 words.

Change is inevitable

Amanda, Cindy, Kate, and Ashley, summarize Kirk’s book in 3 words.

Kate: Change, Friendships, Family

Amanda & Cindy: Change is good.

Ashley: Change is hard.

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

As the father of four kids, ages 9-15, potential story fodder runs rampant in my home. I’ve learned the lesson of perseverance through trials by way of our youngest daughter, who was born with a life-threatening liver disease that required a transplant at seven months old. This experience defined a “new” normal and flowed over to my writing life. Living through difficult times has no doubt helped me work harder, learn continually and strive to be a positive force wherever I can.

I actually share a lot in common with my main character, Jared. We were both short kids in 7th grade, have had to deal with, at times, more than our fair share of change in our lives and both learned they had scoliosis at thirteen. We’re also very alike when it comes to our understanding of girls. We are clueless! I had to wear a Milwaukee back brace for the better part of four years, 23 hours a day. By the time I started weaning out of the brace, I had my driver’s license. Jared must learn to navigate his own “new” normal, dropping unnecessary baggage along the way and learn all change doesn’t have to be bad.

Amanda, Cindy, Kate, and Ashley, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Ashley: I didn’t start out writing children’s books. My first three attempts at novels were one YA and two adult, which are now safely locked away on a hard-drive somewhere, never to be seen by anyone ever. 😉

Kate: I used to be a gymnast, incredibly fit and bendy, but one day whilst lying on my back and lifting a leg in the air I tore my abdominal wall muscle. Mysterious.

Amanda and Cindy: Amanda left a dental mold she accidentally stole from her husband in hers and Cindy’s shared hotel room at a conference last spring. Cindy grabbed it and mailed it back to her (after dropping it in the airport and getting some weird looks.) That’s an unbreakable bond right there.


Our mentors’ latest releases…

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.




THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC by Amanda Rawson Hill (releasing from Boyds Mills Press fall 2018)


THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC follows Kate, who is starting to believe in what her grandmother calls “everyday magic”—she just hopes it can bring back her estranged father or her erstwhile best friend.

WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW by Cindy Baldwin (HarperCollins publication planned for July 2018)


Twelve-year-old Della Kelly has lived her whole life in Maryville, North Carolina. She knows how to pick the softest butter beans and sweetest watermelons on her daddy’s farm. She knows ways to keep her spitfire baby sister out of trouble (most of the time). She knows everyone in Maryville, from her best friend Arden to kind newcomer Miss Lorena to the mysterious Bee Lady.

And Della knows what to do when the sickness that landed her mama in the hospital four years ago spirals out of control again, and Mama starts hearing people who aren’t there, scrubbing the kitchen floor until her hands are raw, and waking up at night to cut the black seeds from all the watermelons in the house. With Daddy struggling to save the farm from a record-breaking drought, Della decides it’s up to her to heal Mama for good. And she knows just how she’ll do it: with a jar of the Bee Lady’s magic honey, which has mended the wounds and woes of Maryville for generations.

She doesn’t want to hear the Bee Lady’s truth: that the solution might have less to do with fixing Mama’s brain than with healing Della’s own heart. But as the sweltering summer stretches on, Della must find a way—with the help of her family and friends, plus a finger-ful of watermelon honey—to learn to truly love her mama, sickness and all.


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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