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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: Sarah Vilain with mentor Rebecca Denton and Sarah White with mentors Heather Ezell & Rachel Griffin

Monday, 23 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 . . .

Sarah White – Mentee


Heather Ezell – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Rachel Griffin – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sarah, why did you choose to submit to Heather and Rachel?

When I saw Heather and Rachel’s wish list, I knew they’d be an absolutely perfect match for my manuscript. I adore the both of them and was beyond thrilled when I saw they’d picked me as their mentee.

Heather and Rachel, why did you choose Sarah?

We were initially hooked by Sarah’s VOICE. It’s so strong, and simply put, we loved reading it. And the premise! It’s a mystery with so many twists and turns, and we adored going on this journey with all the characters. We had so many ideas for how to make the manuscript shine while reading, and we kept texting back and forth because we were so excited. We felt like we knew what it needed and how we could help.

Aside from the manuscript, Sarah is so eager and very hardworking, and we knew she would tackle anything and everything we sent her way.

Sarah, summarize your book in 3 words.

Scotland. Family. Lies.

Heather and Rachel, summarize Sarah’s book in 3 words.

Atmospheric. Memories. Unreliable.

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

I live in Tasmania, the island state of Australia. I spend far too much of my life reading, writing, or plotting new story ideas. When I’m not writing, or complaining about the weather, I’m likely lost in the archives.

IN WITH THE VIOLETS came to be after a series of ‘what if’ questions turned a simple Country House Mystery plot into something quite… twisted. It was the novel I never thought I’d be able to write, but I refused to let fear stop me from trying.

Heather and Rachel, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Heather: I’m simply a disaster at speaking with an indoor voice. I am known for writing on the floor but I, in fact, also write standing up and in bed and often even ~sitting~ at my desk. My black lab’s favorite food is pumpkin. I am utterly terrified of natural disasters. Some may know that fear, surely, but others may simply think I’m obsessed. Oh, I’m naturally blond and, as a kid, I was able to rock a deep tan. I have fond memories of sitting by a pool with lemon juice in my hair. I have been wearing the same hoodie since 2009.

Rachel: I’m an eternal optimist. I play the flute and have been obsessed with the game of chess recently (lol). I have a twin sister who is my best friend. I love hiking and being outdoors. I’m madly in love with my husband. I have a schnoodle named Doppler. My degree is in diagnostic ultrasound and I was a sonographer for five years before leaving the field due to a shoulder injury. I write full-time now and am quite literally living my dreams. I am so very thankful for it all.

And next, we have  . . .

Sarah Vilain – Mentee


Rebecca Denton – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sarah,why did you choose to submit to Rebecca?

The first thing that caught my attention was that Rebecca is an author and a TV Producer, and there is no way that’s not impressive. What really hooked me though was her wishlist for a comedy with:
– A contemporary setting that’s original and surprising? YES!
– Light and bubbly dialogue? YES!
– Straddles the fine line between ridiculous and hilarious? YES!!!

And, to top it off, she ended her post with a link to her hilarious YA Novel Idea Generator. Obviously, we share a similar sense of humor, so I HAD to choose her.

Rebecca, why did you choose Sarah?

Her earnest humour

Sarah, summarize your book in 3 words.

Caribbean. Teenage. Shenanigans.

Rebecca, summarize Sarah’s book in 3 words.

Tabanca, Laughter & Dreams

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

My name is Sarah, which isn’t very unique, but it does mean ‘Princess’ – which I am. Don’t question it. I have an MSc in Crime and Forensic Science but haven’t done a thing with it besides yell at cop shows when they mess up a basic procedure. I live in Tobago and IXORA DRIVE is loosely based on my high school years, but with Plot. There aren’t a lot of books set in the Caribbean, and even less that are light, romantic YA contemporaries about teenagers having fun and trying to survive high school. There’s also an emphasis on family and female friendships, which is always fun to read and write about.

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

I’m a high school drop out.


Our mentors’ latest releases…

This Beats Perfect by Rebecca Denton


Amelie Ayres has impeccable taste in music. Bowie. Bush. Bob. So when she finds herself backstage at The Keep’s only UK gig she expects to hate it; after all they are the world’s most tragic band. In fact she feels a grudging respect – not (obviously) for their music, but for the work that goes in to making them megastars. And when lead singer, ‘Maxx’, is not dressed up as a cross between Elvis and a My Little Pony, he is actually rather normal, talented and has creative struggles not too dissimilar to her own.

But the next morning she wakes up and rolls over to discover a million new @’s on social media. Overnight, a photo of her at the gig has made her a subject of global speculation. Suddenly the world needs to know #Who’sThatGirl? – but for all the wrong reasons.

All Amelie wants is to play her music. She’s got the guitar, the songs, the soul and, in the safety of her bedroom, she’s got the voice. But when it comes to getting up on stage, she struggles with self-doubt.

Immaculate’s a concept. Flawless is fake. But just sometimes music – and hearts – can rock a perfect beat.


NOTHING LEFT TO BURN by Heather Ezell (Razorbill-Penguin on March 13, 2017)

Amazon | Goodreads

The autumn morning after sixteen-year-old Audrey Harper loses her virginity, she wakes to a loud, persistent knocking at her front door. Waiting for her are two firemen, there to let her know that the moment she’s been dreading has arrived: the enormous wildfire sweeping through Orange County, California, is now dangerously close to her idyllic gated community of Coto de Caza, and it’s time to evacuate.

Over the course of the next twenty-four hours, as Audrey wrestles with the possibility of losing her family home, she also recalls her early, easy summer days with Brooks, the charming, passionate, but troubled volunteer firefighter who enchants Audrey–and who is just as enthralled by her. But as secrets from Brooks’s dark past come to light, Audrey can’t help but wonder if there’s danger in the pull she feels–both toward this boy, and toward the fire burning in the distance.


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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