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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Emily Varga and her mentor, Lyndsay Ely

Wednesday, 15 January 2020  |  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 . . .

Emily Varga – Mentee



Lyndsay Ely – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Lyndsay, why did you choose Emily?

Emily’s first chapter immediately dropped me into a vibrant world with a fierce, but flawed, heroine—elements that I always fall for. I was also drawn in by her lush, smooth prose, and a voluptuous heroine determined to live her life on her own terms. Add an unusual magic system, some enemies that become frenemies that become friends (or do they?) and basically I was entirely sold! It’s been such a pleasure to have the chance to work on this book with Emily!

Emily, why did you choose to submit to Lyndsay?

I was one of those Pitch Wars hopefuls who made a huge spreadsheet of all the mentors, ranking them with how best they seemed to fit with me and my manuscript. Lyndsay was always on top, and every time I went back and read her wishlist I was newly inspired and excited. She was so enthusiastic about fantasy, about killing your darlings (or “dragging them kicking and screaming to the underworld” as she put it) and said she was deadline focused. I needed all of that. But the real kicker was I read Lyndsay’s book, Gunslinger Girl. It. Was. Fantastic. I knew I needed to submit to her because I needed someone with that kind of genius to look at my MS and tear it apart!

Lyndsay, summarize Emily’s book in 3 words.

Fierce. Magic. Sisters.

Emily, summarize your book in 3 words.

Displacement. Belonging. Redemption.

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

I am an amateur Scotch whisky enthusiast. Just another step in my evolution into a reclusive, eccentric writer who lives in a creepy old house filled with books. (And scotch, obviously.)

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

I’d been hard at work on this MS for a year while I was on maternity leave and I knew that something wasn’t right with it. My critique partners and beta readers loved it, but something still wasn’t ringing true. I’d heard about Pitch Wars and what really hooked me was the fact that a mentor works with you to revise your story and try and get it to the best it can possibly be. I knew I needed that and needed someone to help me figure out how to make everything click together more seamlessly. Thank God Lyndsay picked me because she’s made me see things more clearly than I ever have before!

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

I started writing this manuscript after my father had passed away and my partner and I had just lost a pregnancy. Amidst the grief I was inspired to work on a story that had been simmering in my mind for a while, as it was the only one of my books I had told my dad about before he died. My dad was a passionate fantasy reader, and though I didn’t write fantasy at the time, it began as a way to honor him. Then, it morphed into a way I could connect more with my own background. As a biracial person, and someone who struggled with that identity, I always felt as if I didn’t truly fit in anywhere. But I think the need to belong is a universal feeling for everyone, and especially young adults. My book, The Stone Queen is a South Asian inspired YA fantasy about a young girl who struggles with her identity, feels disconnected from her culture and is trying to figure out where she belongs. When a choice she makes to find her father results in disastrous consequences for the rest of her family, she has to work with her enemies to save her sister, the only family she has left. I hope that this story connects with readers who are struggling with belonging and long for a sense of community and this book will give them the hope that they can find that, or even create it for themselves.

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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