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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Brendan Maghran and His Mentor, Amanda Panitch

Friday, 10 January 2020  |  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 . . .

Brendan Maghran – Mentee


Amanda Panitch – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Amanda, why did you choose Brendan?

I was grabbed immediately by the voice in Brendan’s first few pages – the book opens with the main character trying and failing to dissect a dead frog in science class, and the scene was so vivid and the voice so strong I couldn’t pull myself away. I was so excited when the rest of the book lived up to that first fantastic scene. As someone whose hometown has been hit hard by the heroin epidemic, I also think that the topic of addiction is so important to address in middle grade – there are so many kids out there struggling with addiction in their family and there aren’t enough books about those experiences out there. And it didn’t hurt that, when during the decision period I emailed Brendan with my thoughts on a heavy revision, he was excited to get to work and had so many thoughtful ideas for the next draft.

Brendan, why did you choose to submit to Amanda?

Amanda topped my shortlist of mentors right from the start. I found her wealth of experience from both the author and publishing side of things invaluable, especially from a revision perspective. I wanted to submit to mentors I thought would be tough on my manuscript, and in one of our first exchanges, Amanda was very encouraging about the manuscript, but also noted she would be asking for some heavy revisions. After a discussion on where the story had the potential to go, I knew we were a great fit. It also didn’t hurt that she is someone who enjoys reading about animals and food, and I am someone who enjoys including them into my stories!

Amanda, summarize Brendan’s book in 3 words.

What is strength?

Brendan, summarize your book in 3 words.

Family. Empathy. Addiction.

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

My current favorite word is palimpsest.

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

To come out of Pitch Wars a stronger writer. In addition to strengthening this specific story, experience working with a publishing professional like Amanda will be invaluable for every future project. Also, the Pitch Wars community is fantastic.

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

My world has always revolved around stories, although the medium through which they are told has evolved over the years. I grew up wanting to be a movie director, but something about the medium just wasn’t clicking after working in the industry for nearly a decade, although I still work in post-production to this day. I was a devout reader growing up, and thankfully found my way back to the stories I loved as a kid.

As for this particular story, it all started with the image of a boy afraid to dissect a dead frog. This novel weaves themes of addiction, toxic masculinity, trust, shame, sibling relationships, compassion, and vulnerability all into one (I hope!) cohesive adventure. Middle Grade writers are crucial in tackling difficult subjects for young readers, and I wanted to be a part of that wonderful world.

Check out Amanda’s release, THE TROUBLE WITH GOOD IDEAS, on Goodreads.

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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