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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Anna Read and her mentor, Cole Nagamatsu

Wednesday, 11 December 2019  |  Posted by Rochelle Karina


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 . . .

Anna Reed – Mentee



Cole Nagamatsu – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Cole, why did you choose Anna?

Anna’s book is about a girl who sees how people will die the first time she touches them, which is a great concept. Her manuscript opens with the main character—who understandably avoids other people and the accidental brushes with death that often come with them—bumping into a classmate and having a vision of his death by drowning. The image, though haunting, was beautifully described, and it really stayed with me. The protagonist eventually (reluctantly) befriends this classmate, even though she knows that he will drown soon: he already owns the jacket she sees him wearing when he dies. I had to know what would happen, and whether the circumstances of his death were inevitable. I really came to care about the characters as I read, and I found that my emotional journey as a reader mirrored those of characters, who are asking the same questions about whether they can thwart death, even when they feel powerless. Anna has been a pleasure to work with. She’s enthusiastic, hardworking, and open to feedback. I’m excited to see where she continues to take her revisions.

Anna, why did you choose to submit to Cole?

I chose Cole before the wishlists were announced, based on some of the books she said she’d enjoyed in her mentor bio. Then her wishlist contained many of the things in my book. But it wasn’t until I visited her website that I felt she was the perfect mentor for this book. Her debut and other works have a lot of similar themes to my book. Plus, her writing is stunning and evocative. Anyone would be lucky to get input from someone with her level of talent.

Cole, summarize Anna’s book in 3 words.

Love. Loss. Magic

Anna, summarize your book in 3 words.

Acceptance. Love. Fate.

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

I collect lots of weird knickknacks, so many of my characters do too. I have a lot of vintage squeaky toys, Blythe dolls, and Sonny Angels.

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

I’ve already been surprised by just how much this program entails. I knew it was a mentorship, but I didn’t know how amazing the community was. I’m thrilled to have more writer friends on this journey with me, but probably the biggest hope I have is to grow as a writer. I’ve already seen big improvements in my book from implementing Cole’s suggestions. I feel like PitchWars and Cole specifically have infused my whole writing life with a lot more hope and excitement in this industry that includes a lot of rejection. I’m still pinching myself, so excited to be here!

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

I love travel and I lived in several countries over the last decade. Probably the most memorable was the time I came home from a few years in England with a husband and our first baby (we now have 3 girls).

This book has a lot of pieces of myself. I always related to the character in stories who saw themselves as fatally different from others and abandoned all hope of being accepted. Often these characters are the villains in their stories, but in my book she’s the protagonist. And spoiler warning, she does learn to love herself, differences and all.

I started writing this book last year, soon after a personal loss. There are references to a lot of endings in this book, big and small, as I processed a number of different related losses. Dozens of wonderful critique partners and a couple great critique groups helped me refine all those feels into a more coherent story (especially Kate, Lidija, Nema, Ryen, and the Heh Coven). I’m thrilled to be taking the book to the another level now with Cole.

Check out Cole’s upcoming release, WE WERE RESTLESS THINGS.

Coming Fall 2020 from Sourcebooks Fire.

When a boy drowns in a forest, miles away from any body of water, a group of friends attempts to unravel the truth behind his death, only to discover the woods are awake and watching.

Cole Nagamatsu

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 March 5, 2020! Want to know more about #PitMad? Go here


Filed: Interviews

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