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Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Yvette Yun and Her Mentor, Kathleen Barber

Monday, 9 December 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 . . .

Yvette Yun – Mentee

Twitter | Website

Kathleen Barber – Mentor

Twitter | Website

Kathleen, why did you choose Yvette?

Yvette’s manuscript, THE STAR HOUSE, is a compelling family drama mixed with an intriguing mystery, a combination that is essentially catnip for me. She has a beautiful way with words, and the story grabbed me from the very beginning and held me throughout — but the thing that really cemented things for me was that I couldn’t stop thinking about her characters. They’re well developed and sympathetic, and I can’t wait for more readers to get the chance to meet them!

Yvette, why did you choose to submit to Kathleen?

I needed someone I could trust to help me puzzle out where to go with this manuscript! I felt Kathleen and I had a similar personality and editorial process/style, and we are indeed very much on the same page. It also helps that she’s a new mom like me! My manuscript ticked every box on her wishlist, too. I believe luck played a huge role in my getting selected as a mentee this year. In a different year and with a different manuscript and mentor, I don’t think I would have paired up with someone so perfectly. It was kismet! 

Kathleen, summarize Yvette’s book in 3 words.

family, secrets, healing

Yvette, summarize your book in 3 words.

Chinese-American family broken

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

I currently write full-time (or as full-time as I can with an energetic toddler!), but I used to practice as an attorney focused on corporate restructuring. In between the two, I spent eight months backpacking, mostly through Southern and Eastern Africa.

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

I live in Hawaii, which is physically isolated and doesn’t have a very robust writing community. With writing being a solitary endeavor, I hope I can make lasting relationships with fellow writers. I’ve already made so many new writing friends and am enjoying being a part of the larger Pitch Wars family.

Additionally, I was recently agented and had been on sub with my first novel in 2017-2018. I shelved that project and was so riddled with self-doubt as I wrote this one. I almost shelved this manuscript before even querying it, so I’m hoping Pitch Wars can help me with my confidence. Finding a new agent and, more importantly, getting that elusive book deal would be the cherry on top of what has already been a hugely rewarding experience.

My fellow mentee and PW 2017 alum Cliff said that we’ve already “won” – and I totally agree!

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

I’m a college English professor based in Honolulu. My manuscript started as an homage to and origin story of my childhood home here. It’s a landmark in my neighborhood because it was designed to look like an exploding volcano. That premise is unique in itself, but I think the #ownvoices story that it’s becoming – about a Chinese-American family living in that house – will hopefully resonate even more with readers.

Check out Kathleen’s latest release, TRUTH BE TOLD.

The only thing more dangerous than a lie…is the truth.

Serial meets Ruth Ware’s In A Dark, Dark Wood in this inventive and twisty psychological thriller about a mega-hit podcast that reopens a long-closed murder case—and threatens to unravel the carefully constructed life of the victim’s daughter.

Josie Buhrman has spent the last ten years trying to escape her family’s reputation and with good reason: her father was murdered, her mother ran away to join a cult, and her twin sister Lanie, once Josie’s closest friend and confidant, went completely off the rails and stole her high school sweetheart. Josie has finally put down roots in New York, settling into domestic life with her partner Caleb, and that’s where she intends to stay.

The only problem is that she has lied to Caleb about every detail of her past—starting with her last name.

When investigative reporter Poppy Parnell sets off a media firestorm with a mega-hit podcast that reopens the long-closed case of Josie’s father’s murder, Josie’s carefully constructed world begins to unravel. Meanwhile, the unexpected death of Josie’s long-absent mother forces her to return to her Midwestern hometown where she must confront the demons from her past—and the lies on which she has staked her future.

IndieBound | Amazon | B&N

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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