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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Meg Gaertner and her mentor, Olivia Hinebaugh

Monday, 11 November 2019  |  Posted by Brenda Drake


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.

First up, we have . . .

Meg Gaertner – Mentee

Website | Twitter


Olivia Hinebaugh – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Olivia, why did you choose Meg?

I trusted her writing straight off the bat. I knew I would keep reading. There were so many things that I loved in her pitch as well. And as soon as I got to know the characters, I was hooked.

Meg, why did you choose to submit to Olivia?

So many reasons! I saw a ton of elements on Olivia’s wish list that I felt really resonate with my book: new religions and real-world politics in a fantasy setting, a focus on art/performance, queer characters with a loving community of support, characters who are still exploring their identity, characters that break gender molds, romantic tension, and central platonic relationships. On her blog, she says, “the place where feminism, self-love, and the arts intersect is my jam.” I knew then and there that she’d be a great fit for my book. I also liked the sense of humor I got from her website, and how her description of her mentorship style sounded both intense and loving.

Olivia, summarize Meg’s book in 3 words.

Poetic, Spectacular, Political

Meg, summarize your book in 3 words.

Astonishing :), beating-heart hope

Image result for beating heart gif



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

The first novel I ever completed was a 4 POV fantasy (Like M.E.’s A VERY STRANGE ENCHANTED!) And I still have plans to go back to it!

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

I hope to gain new tools for drafting and revision that I can apply to future projects, a gorgeous manuscript with a sucker punch of a story, and a community of lifelong friends and critique partners. (And, fingers crossed, an agent!)

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

A VERY STRANGE ENCHANTED has a single burning question at the heart of it: in times of sociopolitical chaos, what does it mean to be astonishing? The four POV characters answer this question in very different ways, and it’s my hope that the book challenges/encourages readers to consider their own answer to the question.

Beyond that deeper exploration, the book has been a joy to write. With a cast of characters that includes an earnest/hapless tiger-tamer-in-training, a calculating royal hostage, a smoldering fire breather (get it?!), a beloved drag queen, a sentient tiger, and a fool pulling the strings, writing this book has been like play—often literally. To write the circus scenes, I attended a lot of circus performances, took aerial silks classes, and challenged my fear of heights with the flying trapeze. Research has never been so fun!

Outside of writing, I spend most of my time dancing—I’m an avid swing dancer, and I teach an empowering movement practice called Qoya (it’s totally at that intersection of feminism, self-love, and the arts I mentioned above—check it out!)


Check out Olivia’s latest release, THE BIRDS, THE BEES, AND YOU AND ME.

Seventeen-year-old Lacey Burke is the last person on the planet who should be doling out sex advice. For starters, she’s never even kissed anyone, and she hates breaking the rules. Up until now, she’s been a straight-A music geek that no one even notices. All she cares about is jamming out with her best friends, Theo and Evita.

But then everything changes.

When Lacey sees first-hand how much damage the abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum of her school can do, she decides to take a stand and starts doling out wisdom and contraception to anyone who seeks her out in the girls’ restroom. But things with Theo become complicated quickly, and Lacey is soon not just keeping everyone else’s secrets, but hers as well.

On sale now!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | Powell’s Books
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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