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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Remy Lai with mentors Amanda Rawson Hill & Cindy Baldwin and Stacey Goldstein with mentor Caela Carter

Thursday, 26 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 . . .

Remy Lai – Mentee



Amanda Rawson Hill – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Cindy Baldwin – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Remy, why did you choose to submit to Amanda and Cindy?

1) Their PW wishlist is an almost perfect match for my manuscript. And I wanted to learn how to write better character arcs, emotions and all that inner goodness, and Amanda and Cindy sound perfect for that.
2) Their previous mentees’ “”testimonials”” say that Amanda and Cindy are very involved, which is what I want.
3) I get two for one. Double the things I can learn.
4) They like the same books I do.

Amanda and Cindy, why did you choose Remy?

Amanda: When we read Remy’s first ten pages, we knew we wanted to request right away. She had this really beautiful, quiet voice and we fell in love with these two brothers instantly as the boarded a plane and headed to a new country. When we requested to read more, we asked Remy a few questions and she mentioned that the book had started out as a graphic novel. But that format hadn’t really worked so she had rewritten it to an illustrated novel. We were so impressed, but also totally intrigued by the graphic novel form of the book. So we asked if she could send us some pages of that format. She did and we were hooked. As we read the rest of the book, we found we couldn’t help picturing it as a graphic novel. A huge part of the book are these two boys baking these fancy bakery cakes, which we thought would just play so well in graphic format. When we asked Remy her thoughts on trying it again as a graphic novel and told her we had ideas to make it work, she responded enthusiastically and that basically sealed the deal. We both love EL DEAFO and Remy’s book felt like EL DEAFO meets the immigrant experience. It’s the kind of book the world needs right now and we both just felt (and feel) so passionately about this kind of story being told.

Cindy: From first reading Remy’s query, I was captivated by her charming and heartstring-tugging concept. Her main characters are the kind you wish you could hug—their emotions and struggles are so realistic. Once Amanda and I learned that Diana had originally conceptualized this book as a graphic novel, we were even more excited. It’s PERFECT for the format, and Diana’s illustration style is just as sweet as the text itself!

Remy, summarize your book in 3 words.

Cakes. Brothers. Cakes.

Amanda and Cindy, summarize Remy’s book in 3 words.

Amanda: Salty and Sweet.

Cindy: Secret cake club.

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

I originally wrote Rules For Making Cakes as a graphic novel, but felt that the graphics couldn’t bring out the emotions I wanted, so I wrote a prose version. I submitted the prose version to PW, and after talking to Amanda and Cindy, they suggested it would do well as a graphic novel, especially if we incorporate the prose from the prose version. I’m so excited to do this.
Also, the research for the ms has been a very, very delicious experience.

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

Amanda: I am an “oral learner” which means that I learn things by speaking them. It’s usually an overlooked learning style. But it means that I’m that person who talks through their math problems and I (like my daughter) enjoy “tasting” my words and saying sentences over and over again because I like the way they feel to speak them.

Cindy: I’m the third of four Cynthias in a row in my family! (My daughter is the fourth, but she doesn’t go by Cindy.)

And next, we have  . . .

Stacey Goldstein – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Caela Carter – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Stacey, why did you choose to submit to Caela?

At first, I just liked that Caela’s website said she was, “Very, very happy.” I like to surround myself with happy people. I think it breeds more happiness and optimism, and that just creates better writing. Then I read Caela’s debut middle grade, MY LIFE WITH THE LIARS, and realized I was right. It does create better writing. I was blown away by her main character and how brainwashed and hopeful and hopeless everything was in her life. I loved the journey I went on in reading this novel and couldn’t believe this author chose ME. That she saw something in my manuscript worth spending all this time on. I’m so excited to see where my novel, GOLEM SCIENCE, goes with Caela’s help.

Caela, why did you choose Stacey?

I loved that Stacey had such an original concept in Golum Science. I loved that it was fantasy plus STEM without being science fiction. How original. Also, I’m a sucker for books for kids that address religion without being preachy one way or another. GOLUM SCIENCE is a book I would have wanted to read as a kid.

Stacey, summarize your book in 3 words.

Frogs. Boogers. Golem.

Caela , summarize Stacey’s book in 3 words.

Science, Magic, Judaism

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

As a kid, I would sneak novels into text books, pretending to do homework while I was really traveling to Narnia and Lilliput. My studies were important and writing was equivalent to traveling to the moon. You know some people have done it, but it’s not what you spend time on. You grow up and leave the stories behind. I used to *think* about writing a book, but it never occurred to me to actually do it. To realize that giving up the stories isn’t required to grown up. (For the record, I will never try traveling to the moon. I get the worst case of car sickness ever and nobody wants to take a puker to space.) About three years ago, I had a moment of clarity where it dawned on me to sit down and write. So I did. I wrote a whole, entire book. It was beautiful and awesome and totally mine. And it was all sorts of telling and info dumps and plot holes, but it was my beautiful book baby and I did it. So I wrote another and another and went to conferences and learned through the SCBWI. And it finally paved the way for me to write about something I loved: science and religion. GOLEM SCIENCE is a combination of the grossest scientific experiments and Jewish folklore. I’m in the middle of edits and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

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

My favorite color is purple but not because of the way it looks. It changed to purple my senior year of high school when I read The Color Purple.

Our mentors’ latest releases…

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


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.




Readers who loved A Snicker of Magic and the Thing About Jellyfish will be swept away by Cindy Baldwin’s debut middle grade novel. Twelve-year-old Della Kelly would do anything to heal Mama’s schizophrenia, but the town’s magic bees have other plans—healing Della’s heart. Available in summer of 2018.







Amazon | Goodreads

An achingly beautiful and endearing story about two foster children who want desperately to believe that they’ve found their forever home. Flora and her brother, Julian, don’t believe they were born. They’ve lived in so many foster homes, they can’t remember where they came from. And even now that they’ve been adopted, Flora still struggles to believe in forever. So along with their new mother, Flora and Julian begin a journey to go back and discover their past—for only then can they really begin to build their future.


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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