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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with George Jreije and His Mentors, Adrianna Cuevas & Sarah Kapit

Tuesday, 21 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 . . .

George Jreije – Mentee

Website | Twitter

Adrianna Cuevas

Adrianna Cuevas – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Sarah Kapit – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Adrianna & Sarah, why did you choose George?

We knew going into Pitch Wars that we wanted to mentor something fun. When we saw George’s entry, we were delighted. His voice is funny and feels authentic for the audience. While the book overall is fun, it also has beautiful moments involving Shad (the main character) and his grandmother. We loved the way Lebanese culture was integrated into the book and we were especially taken by an enemies-to-friends storyline that figures prominently. Magic schools in middle grade are so much fun, but George’s book is the first one we’ve seen that asks the question of what happens when nobody will teach magic and magic school.

When we talked to George about our ideas for revision he was really receptive and immediately started brainstorming with us. So we knew he would be great to work with.

George, why did you choose to submit to Adrianna & Sarah?

I chose Adrianna and Sarah because they embody inclusivity. Adrianna incorporated her Cuban-American heritage into her novel, The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez, while Sarah’s involvement with disability-rights shines through in her writing an autistic main character. Being involved with two writers creating representation was something I hoped for, and I knew they’d understand my novel on a deeper level, as its about finding community where you may not think you belong.

Two non-related yet funny coincidences I noted when checking them out: Adrianna had listed Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, my personal favorite novel of 2019, as one of her favorites, too. Also, I grew up playing baseball, so Sarah’s incorporation of the sport in Get A Grip Vivy Cohen! was something that really excited me. How could I not chase after their mentorship?

Adrianna & Sarah, summarize George’s book in 3 words.

Boy alchemist shenanigans

George, summarize your book in 3 words.

Arabic Sweets & Alchemy

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

Sarah: As a child I was obsessed with the Animorphs series, and that inspired my love for middle grade.

Adrianna: I’ve always had an overactive imagination and am easily distracted by creating stories in my head. Once I had a middle grade reader of my own, getting all that nonsense out on paper made sense as I love telling him stories.

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

My biggest takeaway from Pitch Wars, undoubtedly, will come from Sarah and Adrianna’s experience, wisdom, and general writing awesomeness. They don’t hold their punches and each suggestion is worth its weight in gold. Growing in any pursuit requires good mentorship, so more than the agent showcase, more than the pride of being a Pitch Wars mentee, I’m excited to have earned two invaluable connections, who’s insight I’m sure I’ll carry throughout the rest of my writing career!

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

Me, unique? *Blushes*

When I’m not writing Arab characters who make cringy food metaphors, I enjoy traveling, practicing yoga, editing my little sister’s college essays, and feasting on ethnic foods. I’m constantly trying to convince my friends that reading is cool, and I’m passionate about mentoring english-language learners and first-generation students.

My manuscript revolves around a 12-year-old Arab immigrant, Shad Hadid, who has a passion for baking, but discovers that he comes from a family of alchemists. Shad’s story practically wrote itself, mainly because he’s a reflection of who I was as a child–a trouble-maker with an insatiable sweet tooth. It’s loaded with food references, a strange obsession with pro-wrestling, and an enemies-to-best friends storyline!

Check out Adrianna’s upcoming release, THE TOTAL ECLIPSE OF NESTOR LOPEZ, and Sarah’s upcoming release, GET A GRIP, VIVY COHEN!

All Nestor Lopez wants is to live in one place for more than a few months and have dinner with his dad. But when you’re the son of an Army sergeant deployed in Afghanistan, you get used to never really having a home and moving so often, you’ve had ten first days in six years of school.
Nestor finally has a chance to live off-base when he and his mother move to New Haven, Texas to live with his grandmother. Nestor plans to lay low and bide his time until his mom announces the inevitable next move. He certainly has no intention of letting anyone find out his deepest secret- he can talk to animals.
But New Haven turns out to be much different than Nestor’s previous towns. Nestor’s long-held secret of being able to communicate with animals is put front and center when New Haven is threatened by a tule vieja, a witch that can morph into animals. As the town’s animals begin disappearing and his grandmother is accused, Nestor must chose between keeping his secret and defending his family and friends. With his father deployed thousands of miles away, Nestor relies on his own strengths, as well as those of his new friends, to save New Haven, a place he just might dare to call home.

Add The Total Eclipse of Nestor Lopez on Goodreads now!

 

Vivy Cohen is determined. She’s had enough of playing catch in the park. She’s ready to pitch for a real baseball team.

But Vivy’s mom is worried about Vivy being the only girl on the team, and the only autistic kid. She wants Vivy to forget about pitching, but Vivy won’t give up. When her social skills teacher makes her write a letter to someone, Vivy knows exactly who to choose: her hero, Major League pitcher VJ Capello. Then two amazing things happen: A coach sees Vivy’s amazing knuckleball and invites her to join his team. And VJ starts writing back!

Now Vivy is a full-fledged pitcher, with a catcher as a new best friend and a steady stream of advice from VJ. But when a big accident puts her back on the bench, Vivy has to fight to stay on the team.

Add Get a Grip, Vive Cohen on Goodreads now!

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

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