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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Andy Winder and His Mentor, Mary Ann Marlowe

Tuesday, 19 November 2019  |  Posted by Annette Christie

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 starting on February 5, 2020, we hope you’ll take a moment during your writing breaks and get to know our 2019 Pitch Wars Mentor and Mentee Teams.

Next up, we have . . .

Andy Winder – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Mary Ann Marlowe – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Mary Ann, why did you choose Andy?

I’m always hoping to find a queer romance with great writing, strong emotional depth, and commercial appeal. Andy’s story about a young transgender man winning a spot on a televised baking contest has the familiar feel of mainstream contemporary romances, but with a fresh angle. Blaise is a character you can really root for as he grows in confidence and falls in love. I was hooked by the premise, but Andy has a fantastic voice with a tone that’s as cozy as a warm kitchen and a mug of cocoa.

As I talked with Andy about the book, he made it clear that this is a project he’s willing put the work into, and I knew I could bring my experience with contemporary romance to bear to help reshape this into an even more spectacular book. Also, he’s one hoopty frood (tm Hitchhiker’s Guide).

Andy, why did you choose to submit to Mary Ann?

When I read Mary Ann’s wishlist and her experience, I was super excited about submitting my project to her–especially since she was looking for #OwnVoices romances. Because she noted that this is her fifth year as a Pitch Wars mentor, it was clear that she knew how to work with a mentee to make their manuscript the best it could be. Her mentoring style also matched what I was hoping to learn, particularly her expertise in structure and plotting.

Also, I noticed on her wishlist that she was a fan of Douglas Adams. Douglas Adams was one of my favorite writers growing up so I immediately knew that this is a mentor who knows where her towel’s at.

Mary Ann, summarize Andy’s book in 3 words.

Sweet cinnamon roll

Andy, summarize your book in 3 words.

Soft queer bakers

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

In the spirit of the contest in this book, I’ll confess that I cannot cook but I can bake. Do not trust me with a lasagna, but if you want eclairs? I’m your girl. These two skills should be equivalent, and yet cooking regular dinner food totally eludes me. I will burn pasta. To be totally honest, my baked goods might look like hot garbage, but they will be delicious. Andy’s book made me want to get out the sugar, butter, and flour.

Andy, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?

I’d love to learn techniques that will help me pinpoint what this and future manuscripts are missing and shape them into something beautiful, as well as tips for pitching and querying a novel. Already, I appreciate the new strategies I’ve learned for approaching the revision process over the past week and a half. I’m also super excited to work with Mary Ann because I want to learn as much as I can about writing compelling romances.

Additionally, I’m hoping to make lasting friends and critique partners with fellow mentees. There are so many projects shared by this year’s mentees that have made me go, “Man, I’d love to read that someday because it sounds incredible.” It would be wonderful to keep in touch after Pitch Wars and continue supporting each other through our individual journeys.

Andy, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?

My manuscript is an #OwnVoices romance about a transgender man who enters a televised baking competition. I came out and transitioned to male in college around three years ago, and I can’t believe how much has changed since then. My life is much happier and fuller. I’m grateful for the friends I made in the queer community who helped me find the courage to be myself–as well as family who took time to understand but always loved me unconditionally.

One of the bigger things that held me back from transitioning as a teenager is that, because of the way trans people were portrayed in the media, I thought I would be condemning myself to a lifetime of sadness. In the books and movies I read (thanks for making me cry twice, The Danish Girl), their friends and family left them and they were outcast from society. Once I actually met other trans people, I realized that this wasn’t the case. Transitioning can lead people to living joyful and fulfilling lives, not hinder them from it. That’s what I was hoping to reflect in this manuscript. It’s a story about a trans character who finds his happy ending, with supportive friends and family members to help him along the way.

Check out Mary Ann’s latest release, DATING BY THE BOOK.

Six months ago, writer and bookstore owner Maddie Hanson was left at the altar. Since then, she’s had zero interest in romance—despite the fact that she runs a book club full of sexy eligible bachelors. But when her latest novel is panned by an anonymous blogger who goes by the name Silver Fox—and who accuses her of knowing nothing about passion—she decides to prove her nemesis wrong by seeking a romance hero in real life . . .

There’s the smoldering rock musician, the bookish college professor, and her competitive childhood friend who may want to steal her bookstore more than her heart. Even Silver Fox is getting in on the action, sending Maddie alarmingly—and intoxicatingly—flirtatious emails. And that’s not all. Her ex wants her back.

Now Maddie is about to discover that like any good story, life has twists and turns, and love can happen when you least expect it—with the person you least expect . . .


Thank you for supporting our Pitch Wars Teams! The Agent Showcase is February 5 – 10, 2020, and our next Twitter Pitch Party on #PitMad is December 5, 2019! Want to know more about #PitMad? Go here

Filed: Interviews

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We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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