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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Gabi Fleury and Their Mentors, Sarah Nicolas & Leigh Mar

Monday, 9 December 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 . . .

Gabi Fleury – Mentee


Sarah Nicolas – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Leigh Mar – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Sarah & Leigh, why did you choose Gabi?

Sarah: I really enjoyed the heart of this story. It’s a great concept and a lot of fun and Leigh and I both had a strong vision for how to make it even better, which is key for me when choosing a mentee.

Leigh: In addition to what Sarah said, I loved the voice and the characters. It’s a fun project to begin with and the more Sarah and I talked about it the more ideas we had to make it even stronger.

Gabi, why did you choose to submit to Sarah & Leigh?

Sarah and Leigh actually reached out to me during the mentor reading period about The Place Where Clouds Gather through the wonderful PitchWars mentee liaison Pintip Dunn. When Pintip contacted me, I looked Sarah and Leigh up and was really impressed. They are both experienced mentors with a great track record in mentees. Sarah’s been involved in Pitch Wars for a very long time, and Leigh was originally Sarah’s mentee (and also mentored in Pitch Wars before), so had a great perspective on the whole process as well. I was a little intimidated because of their sheer combined awesomeness, but didn’t hesitate to submit to them. Go Team CoffeeDragon!

Sarah & Leigh, summarize Gabi’s book in 3 words.

Sarah: Supernatural African MiB
Leigh: Sarah stole mine 😛

Gabi, summarize your book in 3 words.

(South) Africa, STEM, (Found) Family

Sarah & Leigh, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Sarah: I wasn’t supposed to mentor this year, but a mentor had to step down so Leigh and I decided to step up and take over her submissions. We’re happy to have found such a great story and writer to work with.

Leigh: As Gabi mentioned, I was Sarah’s mentee in 2015, a mentor in 2016 & 2017, and this year I joined the committee and am usually the person behind the @PitchWars Twitter account these days (so, hey!). I wasn’t planning to mentor this year since I figured the social media aspect would keep me busy enough, but the mentor who stepped down’s wishlist was in line with mine and Sarah’s tastes (we mentored together in 2016), and I couldn’t resist the chance to explore the amazing projects that were submitted.

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

I’ve already gotten so much out of it! The community of mentees are amazing and really supportive, and Sarah and Leigh both intuitively knew what aspects of my manuscript needed strengthening and set me on the right path with their edit letter. I’ve only just begun the revision process and can already see the manuscript is getting so much stronger, especially the relationships between the different characters. To be honest, I’m really in this to make this manuscript the best it can be – it’s definitely the book of my heart, and I love it, so I want to get it to the level of polish that it deserves and hopefully find representation for it. I also am excited to apply what I’m learning through Pitch Wars to my future books.

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

I’m a conservation biologist in my day job – my work has always involved in some capacity mitigating human-wildlife conflict (keeping African carnivores like leopards, cheetahs, lions and jackals from eating livestock and farmers from killing said carnivores), and testing out (in some cases developing) new technologies. I also do spatial analyses and capacity building work. I’ve been back in the States for a year working in a Virginia wildlife conservation nonprofit and writing up some scientific papers, but before that, I spent four years in eastern and southern Africa, first full time in grad school, and then in my first series of research jobs/independent projects.

My manuscript vibes as YA Men in Black x Southern African mythological creatures. Living in Cape Town for my Masters, I was really inspired by my surroundings and all the different influences that make the city what it is – European, Asian, and African (from all over the continent). I’m passionate about mythology in general, and lesser known/promoted mythologies, specifically. West Africa’s started to get a lot of focus but Southern Africa isn’t as well represented in fantasy in the States, especially contemporary fantasy. As I have Angolan blood on my Dad’s side via Brazil, and loved my time living and working in South Africa and Namibia, I really wanted to promote the amazing diversity of lore in Southern Africa and share all the positive things about the places I’ve been and the people I’ve met along the way.

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

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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