We love sharing success stories! Meet Elora Cook and check out her PitMad story!
Tell us about your book:
My story is titled IN THE COMPANY OF KILLERS and is a Young Adult thriller / mystery surrounding a glamorized version of New York’s present day mafia world. It follows two rival teenagers and their mob families who rule over the rest of New York’s mafia in style. Their only problems are with each other, until a new mystery gang shows up intending to overthrow their families and destroy the world they rule. It’s THE SOPRANOS meets GOSSIP GIRL.
What prompted you to try PitMad?
I’d been participating in PitMad for a few years and all with different books. I believe this was attempt number 7 or 8. Ever since I joined Twitter’s writing community in 2016, I’ve been intrigued by the excitement and thrill surrounding pitching in the online event. The feed moves quickly and there’s no guarantee an agent will notice your pitch or ask for the full / sign you even if they do “heart” it, but putting myself out there and getting to support friends always made me come back to it. Regardless if I received no interest or was one of the top pitches of the day, I always came back with the hope that one day a pitch (and my materials) would stick. Finally it did!
Tweet that caught your agent’s eye:
ONE OF US IS LYING x THE GODFATHER
Tasha dreams of gilded pistols, bathtubs of cash & a mafia world wrapped around her finger. But her empire chances crumble when her family’s murdered. The only way to save it is by doing the unthinkable–team up with her archrival #pitmad #YA #T
Agent & Agency:
My agent is Sabrina Taitz at William Morris Endeavour!
Please tell us about The Call. We’d love as many juicy details as you’d like to share:
I queried two books previously to my mafia one and compared to those two, this experience leading up to The Call moved far faster than anything I was prepared for. I had just finished querying my second book (which I also started by participating in PitMad’s March event!) feeling discouraged after receiving a great request rate, but no offers. So when I went into querying this one, it was with a bundle of nerves and wariness. Before December’s PitMad, I had started querying conservatively, but it was pretty quiet in my inbox. On the day of the event, I wasn’t getting as much attention as I had received for my previous book and was feeling a little discouraged, when I got a notification that an agent named Sabrina Taitz had liked my pitch. Before then I hadn’t heard of her, but I knew about WME and how prestigious the agency was! So I went for it and sent my materials later that day. She requested immediately and was officially my first full request for this mafia book! From there I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Well, three days later I checked my email and sure enough, her response was there. I held my breath, anticipating the worst, but she wasn’t rejecting it…she wanted to jump on the phone!! I was in complete shock and scheduled a call for the next morning. I don’t know how I got through the night, but somehow I did with my friends and family cheering me on. Sabrina made it clear she was offering and immediately I clicked with her. Her revision ideas, her strategy for pitching the book, the team she had behind her — all of it aligned with my career aspirations! I was on Cloud Nine the entire time. This is the same agency who represents Oprah Winfrey!! After the call I definitely shed a few tears of happiness. After so many years and rejections, it was finally happening!
What inspired you to start writing?
I’ve loved telling stories since I was a young girl. I’m one of those writers who wrote lots of short stories when they were in elementary school and even then I remember having hopes of publishing one day! I’ve always been an ambitious person. My first attempt at a novel was at 13 and I got about 40k in, but then went on a hiatus while in high school. In that time I veered towards film & tv, still wanting to tell stories, until I realized the medium I wanted to tell them in was and had always been through the written word. Then I decided to get serious about writing again at 18!
Please share with us your writing process:
I’m a plotter. It took me several years to realize this and now my writing flourishes because of it. I’m also a daydreamer through and through. Depending on where the story idea comes from, I’ll start out thinking a lot about it, brainstorming and daydreaming in my head while listening to music and just letting it develop more. When I feel it has good legs to stand on, I’ll take a blank Word doc and type out all my ideas I have for it. It looks messy, but it helps me put everything somewhere to come back to later and help me figure out other ideas along with it. I’ll organize then based on characters, arcs, world, plot, emotional beats, etc. From there I take a story structure outline and start organizing the story by plot. For the first draft it’s always plot I focus on first. Once I get the first draft written, I’ll let it sit for a bit, then write down all the ideas for changes I thought of while writing and organize everything that needs to be added in. Then I repeat until the book feels solid from my own perspective of it. My CPs and betas get to tackle it after that and I get to revise based on their thoughts!
Elora resides in Toronto, Canada working in the tv industry by day and writing books by night. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in the Creative Industries from Ryerson University. In her free time she takes care of her houseplants, loves discovering new foods and has left parts of her heart in New York, Scotland and (one day), Japan.