Have questions about submitting to Pitch Wars or just want to know what it is? Start here!


Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Molly Steen and her mentor, Keena Roberts

Monday, 18 November 2019  |  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 . . .

Molly Steen – Mentee



Keena Roberts – Mentor

Website | Twitter

Keena, why did you choose Molly?

Molly’s story grabbed me immediately and refused to let go. It’s creative, funny, and deeply emotional. Her characters are incredibly rich and the more I read, the more I couldn’t stop and when I teared up at the end, I knew I’d found my manuscript. The more I talked to Molly, the more I saw how our personalities and interests lined up and I am so thrilled to be working with her on her amazing manuscript.

Molly, why did you choose to submit to Keena?

Did you see Keena’s exceptional use of gifs in her wishlist blog post?! I mean, honestly. But even beyond being drawn to her wishlist from top to bottom (which I was), I took particular note of her editorial experiences and expectations for a mentee. I have never gone through a true fictional editorial process of any kind, but I’m here for spreadsheets! And checklists! And timelines! And basically anything to help me figure out what the heck this step in the writing process is really about. Furthermore, I had the pleasure of interacting with Keena on Twitter in some #PitchWars mentor Q&A sessions and of observing her interactions with others. She was consistently kind, funny, prompt, and an open book to those interested and likely anxiety-ridden prospective mentees such as myself — I appreciated that very much!

Keena, summarize Molly’s book in 3 words.

Gods = Drama

Molly, summarize your book in 3 words.

Hell vs. Heart

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

Something you may not know about me is that I was (very briefly) on the national roller hockey team of Botswana.

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

I don’t think I’m particularly different from any other -ees out there in this regard! If I’m lucky enough to have some interested agents come February 2020, that’s going to be pretty rad and something I’m very hopefully looking forward to. But ultimately, I took the leap and submitted my manuscript for a couple of reasons:

1) I want my book to be better! And I want to pick up tools along the way that I can utilize not just over the next three months but for the entirety of my writing career.

2) The writing community is fantastic, but it’s also huge on places like Twitter. The possibility of being part of a “graduating class” of sorts was a huge draw for me as well.

3) Mentorship! And the ability to navigate this quagmire that is the publishing industry without having to grope about in the dark quite as much. Whatever my journey ultimately turns out to be, it’s absolutely invaluable to have someone like Keena in my corner, and I’m beyond grateful for her experience and guidance.

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

Some facts about me:

I’m married to an amazing woman named Bridget, and we have three children (named Porch Kitty, Hazel, and Cha-Cha).

Oklahoma is my home, completed undergrad at the University of Arkansas and pharmacy school at the University of California at San Francisco, then completed a year of post-graduate training in the Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina.

I’m a clinical pharmacist and Deputy Chief Pharmacist with the Indian Health Service in Belcourt, ND, specializing in ambulatory care, quality improvement, and administration.

I am a proud member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. My book is fun as hell honestly, with characters I hope readers someday fall in love with as much as I have while writing them. It’s a look at larger than life beings who look and act like us, all while having the literal weight of the world on their godly shoulders — and the humans who lift them up, deal with their shit, and love them along the way.

Check out Molly’s latest release, WILD LIFE.

Keena Roberts split her adolescence between the wilds of an island camp in Botswana and the even more treacherous halls of an elite Philadelphia private school. In Africa, she slept in a tent, cooked over a campfire, and lived each day alongside the baboon colony her parents were studying. She could wield a spear as easily as a pencil, and it wasn’t unusual to be chased by lions or elephants on any given day. But for the months of the year when her family lived in the United States, this brave kid from the bush was cowed by the far more treacherous landscape of the preppy, private school social hierarchy.

Most girls Keena’s age didn’t spend their days changing truck tires, baking their own bread, or running from elephants as they tried to do their schoolwork. They also didn’t carve bird whistles from palm nuts or nearly knock themselves unconscious trying to make homemade palm wine. But Keena’s parents were famous primatologists who shuttled her and her sister between Philadelphia and Botswana every six months. Dreamer, reader, and adventurer, she was always far more comfortable avoiding lions and hippopotamuses than she was dealing with spoiled middle-school field hockey players.

In Keena’s funny, tender memoir, Wild Life, Africa bleeds into America and vice versa, each culture amplifying the other. By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, Wild Life is ultimately the story of a daring but sensitive young girl desperately trying to figure out if there’s any place where she truly fits in.


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

Comments are closed.
We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

Pitch Wars takes a stand. ANTI-BULLYING. Click here to review our policy

Pitch Wars 2021

Blog Archives

Blog Categories

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.