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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Jesse James Keitel and Their Mentor, Eric Bell

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 . . .

Jesse James Keitel – Mentee

Website | Twitter | Instagram

Eric Bell

Eric Bell – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Eric, why did you choose Jesse?

I picked Jesse’s manuscript because the voice was so infectiously fun. Also, PENELOPE’S PECULIAR PRESIDENTIAL PREDICAMENT is about a queer kid, but that’s not the sum total of what the book, or Penelope, is about. We need more books like this.

Jesse, why did you choose to submit to Eric?

As a queer person with a children’s book that deals with LGBTQ topics, I chose to submit to Eric because his bio/ experience with writing books with LGBTQ characters and themes made me feel like I’d be supported in the ways I was looking for as a mentee. My expectation was that there would be a pretty small learning curve in how we communicated about the themes in the book.

Eric, summarize Jesse’s book in 3 words.

President for everyone! (Runner-up: “don’t wear khakis.”)

Jesse, summarize your book in 3 words.

Fun — Unapologetically persistent!

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

I have been running classes and workshops centered around children’s novel writing in the Philadelphia area for the past year. Look me up if you’re in the neighborhood!

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

I’m hoping to find the missing opportunities in the story and make it something that will make people laugh, cry, and fall in love with my main character Penelope.

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

I’m a non-binary actor, writer, and drag artist and I have the world’s cutest Italian Greyhound named Cairo. I’m based in NYC but spend a lot of my time in Los Angeles. Penelope’s Peculiar Presidential Predicament is unique because the story is loosely based on an experience I had in high school and the main character Penelope herself is so quippy and fun — I think she is the most entertaining part about the book. Writing Penelope’s voice has been a true joy.

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


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