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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Briana Johnson and Her Mentor, Laurie Dennison

Saturday, 23 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 . . .

Briana Johnson – Mentee


Laurie Dennison

Laurie Dennison – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Laurie, why did you choose Briana?

I was immediately intrigued by the premise in Briana’s query. The Hate U Give meets Black Mirror? Yes, please! I also connected with the voice in the opening chapter right away. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the full manuscript, and it had so many of the elements I wanted this year—a main character with passion and ambition, near-future speculative elements, a swoon-worthy love story, an atmospheric setting, complicated families—I just couldn’t stop reading. As soon as I started making notes, I knew I wanted to work with Briana.

Briana, why did you choose to submit to Laurie?

I picked Laurie for so many reasons. Her love of music was the first thing that caught my eye because it’s a big part of my life as well. But a lot of things on her wishlist fit my novel. It’s #ownvoices and has a romantic element, along with an extremely complicated family dynamic. There was no doubt in my mind that she was a perfect fit, and I knew I had to submit to her!

Laurie, summarize Briana’s book in 3 words.

Determined. Watched. Wanted.

Briana, summarize your book in 3 words.

Hardship. Love. Healing.

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

These days I mostly only listen to music, so people might be surprised to know I once played five instruments, was the drum major of my high school marching band, and sang in multiple choruses and musical theater productions.

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

Like everyone, I want to improve this book and my writing in general. But I think the best part about Pitch Wars is the community. Everyone is so kind and supportive, and I feel so fortunate to be apart of it all. I think that’s a major plus of this experience. The support you have from all the other mentees.

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

I’m a rock climber who doesn’t climb as much she should. I love dairy even though I’m lactose intolerant, and I was born and raised in Chicago. I dip into so many of the experiences I had living in/around Chicago to make my book come alive. And I’m using those same experiences to touch on important subjects that I feel need to be discussed. Poverty and the effect it has on people. All the confusion that surrounds growing up in a city like Chicago and trying to navigate that. And the most significant thing in my life and my character’s life—family and friends and the effect those relationships have on a person. Whether it’s positive or negative.

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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