Meet Sarah Nicolas, author and Pitch Wars mentor. Sarah Nicolas is a recovering mechanical engineer, library event planner, and author. She lives in Orlando with a 60-lb mutt who thinks he’s a chihuahua. Sarah writes YA novels as Sarah Nicolas and romance under the name Aria Kane. Sarah has published both traditionally and independently, and has also worked in the publishing industry as an editorial intern, editorial assistant, publicist, publicity director, cover artist, and art director.
For your latest book, what made you decide to write about something so different compared to your previous book about were-dragons? Your contemporary LGBTQ own voices book KEEPING HER SECRET has well, no dragons at all.
My publisher was looking for YA summer camp romances and I had been wanting to write a f/f romance for a while. I also write romance under the name Aria Kane, so I love it, but hadn’t written a YA romance yet. (DRAGONS has some romance in it, but it’s by no means a romance.) I love to read all genres so it’s no surprise I want to explore different genres in my writing.
Do you plan to write more own voices books about being bisexual?
Maybe? It’s hard for me because I was confused about it when I was a teenager. It took me more than twice as long as Riya (from Keeping Her Secret) to be comfortable with myself. The MC in the book I’m writing right now, I would call her bisexual, but I’m not sure she would identify that way – which, I guess, is even more accurate to my teenage experience, huh?
Tell us the truth. Are you secretly a were-dragon?
I wish! Especially if I could fly while also being invisible, like Kitty. Though the high body heat might be a problem…
What’s your favorite part about writing young adult fiction?
I love the readers! YA readers are so fun and excited and thoughtful. I really love going to events and meeting them in person.
You’ve been a Pitch Wars mentor since the contest started. What changes has the contest gone through that those new to Pitch Wars might not know about? And how much has it grown since you started mentoring?
It has grown so much and changed quite a bit. Things have gotten more formalized and what I mean by that is: things that we just did because they were fun have become more-or-less official parts of the contest. We have online workshops now and have a new official website launching. It started as, like, this hope and a dream and it’s become a Thing now. The community is so big and lively and it seems like everyone knows about it. We get such great feedback from agents about the quality of our mentees and I think that’s a huge sign of the contest’s success when it comes to “graduating” great writers.
Has anything about Pitch Wars ever surprised you during your mentor career?
My biggest surprises have come when a manuscript I truly believe is one of the best things I’ve ever read gets little to no requests in the agent round. It’s so hard when you’ve done your best and your mentee has worked their ass off to turn a great MS into a fantastic one and … crickets. It’s so hard to accept in this industry that sometimes you can do everything right and still not achieve the desired result.
Do you stay in touch with your mentees after Pitch Wars?
Some of them, I do, and some I don’t very well. Every single one of them are lovely, but sometimes you lose touch, you know? This has me thinking I should shoot them a quick email…
What’s your fondest Pitch Wars memory during your time as a mentor?
Oh, wow, that’s a tough question. First, Brenda is one of the kindest, most lovely people I have ever met and I’m so grateful I’ve gotten to know her over the years. When my mentee Elly Blake hit NYT with Frostblood, her Pitch Wars entry, I was so excited for her and proud of both of us. Finally, we did a Pitch Wars Live Show at RT this year and when people who had gotten their pitches critiqued found us to tell us about their requests from agent/editor pitches — well, that’s the best thing we can hope for.
Finally, for Book Riot http://bookriot.com/2017/03/24/8-middle-grade-authors-share-their-fairy-tale-escape-fantasies/ you posted an article about some middle grade authors sharing their fairy tale escape fantasies. What’s your escape fantasy?
That I can get a full night’s sleep every night and people always respond to my emails right away? Hahahaha. Adult dreams are so sad. I’m also very fond of (the Disney version of) The Little Mermaid. Though I never understood why she’d ever want to leave the water!
Want to know more about Sarah? Visit her website.
All’s fair in love and summertime prank wars
The last person Riya Johnson expected to run into at her new summer camp is Courtney Chastain—her childhood best friend and the girl who broke her heart after a secret, mind-blowing, life-altering kiss. She definitely didn’t expect to be sharing a bunk bed with her for four long weeks.
Courtney has what every girl wants—she’s beautiful, rich, and the object of every boy’s desire at Camp Pine Ridge. Too bad none of them make her feel an iota of what Riya’s kiss did all those years ago. But Courtney needs to uphold appearances at all costs—even if it means instigating an all-out prank war with Riya as her main target.
Neither girl can stop thinking about the other…but that doesn’t mean they can give up past hurts and take a chance on a future together.
Read the first chapter at the Entangled Teen website!