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Pitch Wars Team Interviews: True Sloan with mentors Jen Ferguson & Gracie West and Tim Tully with mentor Brianna Shrum

Wednesday, 25 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 . . .

Tim Tully  – Mentee


Brianna Shrum – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Tim, why did you choose to submit to Brianna?

Brianna had me sold straight off with her excellent use of the *very Luke Skywalker face* gif and her appreciation of silver fox Jeff Goldblum. After that, was just a matter of ticking off the check on her wishlist and realizing that we loved the exact same tropes and twists in literature.

Brianna, why did you choose Tim?

His query was fantastic and the comp titles grabbed me INSTANTLY. Then I opened the pages and they were so emotionally evocative and quick-witted and had such an amazing voice that I fell in love with the book *right away*. I couldn’t put it down. I’m a total sucker for rapid-fire fantasy that’s also funny and I just remember thinking, “this book is one I NEED to work with.” (Plus Tim was just hilarious and awesome answering any of my questions about the ms over e-mail, and I was positive we would get along, even if he does TRAITOROUSLY ship Kataang.)

Tim, summarize your book in 3 words.

Magework and murder

Brianna, summarize Tim’s book in 3 words.

Sharp. Intense. WITTY.

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

I serve drinks and tutor kids when I’m not writing. I’m a former Irish dancer who lives in Chicago. I have no dogs, cats, fish, plants, or living things of any kind. I am less nurturing than a desert.

I think what makes my story unique is the solid fantasy setting set across the span of a solar system rather than a country or continent. Combine that with an MC who has a heart that yearns to fight for what’s just buried deep beneath a very Darwinian sense of survival. I’ve also strived to put queer characters in many different roles, as both truly good and utterly depraved individuals.

Also, I love my magework (magic) system. It’s very simple: Perform magework, shorten your lifespan a sliver at a time. I’ve had very diverse opinions from my betas on whether they would be willing to use this type of magic!

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

HMMMMM. Oh! I have 2 tattoos, and am scheduled for a third! (A wartorn Star Wars rebel symbol on my wrist, “A smile made for war” over The Raven Cycle leylines on my forearm, and scheduled to get a black and red ink splatter tattoo of sheet music on my ribs ^_^

And next, we have  . . .

True Sloan – Mentee


Jenny Ferguson – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Gracie West – Mentor


True, why did you choose to submit to Jen & Gracie?

I didn’t. I entered in teenpit and won a spot in pitchwars! Both were paired with me. I’m very fortunate to work with such amazing mentors who have the same view for my book as me.

Jenny, why did you and Gracie choose True?

As #TeenPit was coming to a close, I knew the teen writers had worked so hard, and that if Brenda was going to award more than one winner, I wanted to mentor him or her. In the end, I got matched with True–and later invited Gracie West (part of my PW15 family) to join the team as Gracie had been True’s mentor during #TeenPit. That means, in the end True got two mentors for the price of one, and we got a hard-working teen who writes heartbreaking and funny contemporary YA. True’s a delight! Both Gracie and I are super proud of her and can’t wait for the world to meet Gage and Flare!

True, summarize your book in 3 words.

Family. Triggers. Love.

Jenny, summarize True’s book in 3 words.

Teens Find Family

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

I’m an eighteen year old college girl fresh out of high school and I’m writing about teens my own age. My manuscript is the most unique for It’s premise.

Jenny, tell us about you and Gracie. Something we may not already know.

Gracie and I are both Canadians–and have both lived in the same city, but not at the same time. For a while she taught at the high school that’s across from where I went to elementary school way, way back in the day. And we were both crossing guards as kids! Because in Canada, for a while, they let the kids be crossing guards for the other kids! I loved my vest and my stop sign. They made me feel powerful. [laughing-while-crying emoji].


Our mentors’ latest releases…

How to Make Out by Brianna Shrum


Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

BORDER MARKERS by Jenny Ferguson

Amazon  |  GoodreadsBook Depository

After the accidental death of a high school-aged friend, the Lansing family has split along fault lines previously hidden under a patina of suburban banality. Every family’s got secrets, but for the Lansings those secrets end up propelling them away from the border town of Lloydminster to foreign shores, prison, and beyond.

Told via thirty-three flash fiction narratives, fractured like the psyches of its characters, “Border Markers” is a collection with keen edges and tough language. It’s a slice of prairie noir that straddles the line between magic and gritty realism. Recalling Tania Hershman’s “The White Road and Other Stories,” as well as Robert Oren Butler’s “Severance,” Jenny Ferguson’s debut is an essential collection of commonplace tragedies and the ghosts of failures past.                                      

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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