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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Joe Passanisi and His Mentor, Alex Segura

Tuesday, 19 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 . . .

Joe Passanisi – Mentee

Twitter | Instagram

Alex Segura – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Alex, why did you choose Joe?

When I started reading Joe’s book, I knew it was immediately the kind of character-driven crime novel I loved: strong, vibrant setting, conflicted protagonist, and a noir tone that really spoke to me. Joe is also a great advocate for books and the crime writing community, which I think will serve him well in his career.

Joe, why did you choose to submit to Alex?

There are many things about Alex’s work that resonate with me. One of them is his ability to turn the story’s setting into a character, one that feels lived-in and interactive. He’s written Miami in the same way Laura Lippman has written Baltimore and Dennis Lehane has written Boston. The other is the way in which his cast of characters feel realistic and flawed. He often describes Pete Fernandez, the main character in his acclaimed series, as an old buddy from college that took a different path in life. We all have people like that in our own lives. I think capturing that relatability on the page helps the reader resonate with the story.

I truly felt my crime thriller contained the bones of what Alex was looking for, particularly related to character and setting. I knew he would be the perfect person to advise me on using the craft within our genre to really give this story shape and some grit.

Alex, summarize Joe’s book in 3 words.

Dark. Hopeful. Raw.

Joe, summarize your book in 3 words.

Memories, trust, deception

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

I used to be in a band that put out an EP and played a handful of shows in Brooklyn and Manhattan. I’m obsessed with music and it bubbles up into my work, too. I tend to make my obsessions and hobbies into jobs, which has served me well.

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

I’m confident Alex will teach me how to flesh-out and shape my story into a really fun crime thriller with characters that resonate. I hope to learn what he has learned not only as a great writer in the crime fiction community but also as a professional. Alex is a great example of what it is to be part of a writing community and his advice on that is invaluable and something I will cherish for my entire writing career.

I’m also super excited to get to know my fellow mentees. That camaraderie has already been such a bonus on top of the honor of being selected as a mentee.

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

I am a father of two young girls and originally a Bostonian. I really wanted to write a book that captures the nuance of the Boston I grew up in, complete with all the fictional (obviously) versions of the characters that shaped the person I grew to be. Family drama and amateur sleuthing is a part of all of us and so I wanted that to be part of the plot of my story. Why do we break apart from each other? Why do we take advantage of our own family, siblings, children? As I watch my daughters grow, these are things I tell myself will never happen in my family, but then again, don’t we all? I also wanted to make the reader laugh while exploring those questions. The same way that quirky Boston nuance makes me laugh, especially when the stakes are high and the outcomes bleak. Capturing that juxtaposition will make my manuscript unique.

Check out Alex’s latest release, MIAMI MIDNIGHT.

A year has passed since Pete Fernandez’s latest, closest brush with death. After months of recovery, the newly sober Pete has managed to rebuild his life, contentedly running a small Miami bookstore and steering clear of the dangers of private eye work. So when an aging Cuban mobster asks Pete to find out who killed his drug-addicted, jazz pianist son and to locate his missing daughter-in-law, Pete balks. Until another victim suggests that the murder of the gangster’s son may be connected to the people that nearly ended Pete’s life, while revealing an unexpected, dangerous truth about the death of the Miami PI’s own mother.

Pulled back into the darkness and chaos he’d desperately tried to avoid, Pete finds his life derailed once more as he’s forced to investigate a murder that should have never gone cold while dodging assassins’ bullets and his own demons. Can Pete make peace with his complicated, haunted past to save himself and those he loves? Or will his luck finally run out? From one of the very best crime writers working today, Alex Segura crafts an epic novel of mystery, humanity, and suspense while bringing to a stunning conclusion the acclaimed series that reinvented the private eye novel for a new generation.

Amazon | IndieBound

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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