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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Kate Havas and her mentors, Hayley Stone and Erin A. Tidwell

Tuesday, 4 February 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 . . .

Kate Havas – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Hayley Stone – Mentor

Website | Twitter


Erin A. Tidwell – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Hayley & Erin, why did you choose Kate?

We were lucky to have a lot of solid manuscripts to choose from this year, and initially despaired of having to choose just one. But once we’d read the first few chapters of those we’d requested, we found ourselves both drawn to Kate’s manuscript. The novel is strongly character-based, with compelling relationships, a well-drawn setting centered in a divine city edging toward ruin, and all the moral ambiguity we like in our fantasy books. We were ultimately sold after discovering that one of the main relationships in the novel twisted in an unexpected, yet utterly perfect way. Just as with our other mentee, Maiga, a few email exchanges with Kate also convinced us she would be up for the daunting revisions we had planned.

Kate, why did you choose to submit to Hayley & Erin?

I saw they were looking for character-driven stories and worlds with moral complexity, and (imo) those are two of the bigger strengths of my book, so I had a good feeling it was the type of manuscript they’d be interested it. They also said they weren’t looking for anything New Adult, and while my book did originally sort of fall into that crossover space, I wanted mentors who knew how to push it firmly into the adult category. Plus they seemed really cool and approachable, which I knew would be important for working as a revision team since I’m awkward about bringing up ideas!

Hayley & Erin, summarize Kate’s book in 3 words.




Kate, summarize your book in 3 words.

faith, murder, moral ambiguity

Hayley & Erin, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.

Erin: I’ve touched a panda bear. Or rather, it touched me. PS: they have HUGE TERRIFYING claws!

Hayley: I have never touched a panda bear and I think I’m okay with that.

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

I was at the stage where I was floundering- I knew I’d written a good book, but I couldn’t figure out how to make it into everything it could be. I wanted mentors who knew how to push me through my weaknesses, call me out where I was letting things slide, and help me identify the books strengths and unique qualities to pitch it successfully. And when I got my notes, they were all that and more! Regardless of what happens in the showcase and beyond, I’m thrilled for the chance to develop my skills further and become friends with an amazing group of writers.

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

I’ve lived in Japan teaching English for a decade now, but originally I was an art history major and did internships in curation and art preservation. My interest in religious art and symbolism played a large role in my book’s inspiration. I wanted to write a fantasy about the contradiction of faith as both comfort and sometimes violent control in so much of religious history, and a main character whose strength comes from her journey of learning to see the darkness of the world and choosing compassion and goodness anyway.

In my non-writing life, I do work-to-ride at a local stable and compete in dressage. The horse in my book is actually based on one of my favorites at the barn, and I tell him all about his counterpart’s adventures while I clean his stall.

Check out Hayley’s latest release, MAKE ME NO GRAVE.

Almena Guillory, better known as the Grizzly Queen of the West, has done plenty to warrant the noose, but US Marshal Apostle Richardson enforces the law, he doesn’t decide it. When a posse tries to lynch Almena ahead of her trial, Apostle refuses their form of expedited justice – and receives a bullet for his trouble. Almena spares him through the use of dangerous flesh magic but escapes soon after saving him.

Weeks later, Apostle fears the outlaw queen has returned to her old ways when she’s spotted terrorizing Kansas with a new gang in tow. When cornered, however, Almena makes a convincing case for her innocence and proposes a plan to take the real bandits down. Working with a known killer opens Apostle up to all sorts of trouble, not the least being his own growing attraction toward the roguish woman. Turning Almena away from vengeance may be out of the question, but if he doesn’t try, she’ll wind up right where the law wants her: at the end of a rope.

And if Apostle isn’t careful, he’ll end up joining her.

As of this writing, the weird western cult hit, MAKE ME NO GRAVE, is a semi-finalist contender for the Laramie Book Awards.


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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