Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Lindsey Frydman

Lindsey was a proud 2016 Pitch Wars Mentee and thoroughly adores being a part of the wonderful writing community. Lindsey writes about heart-stopping romance, rule-breaking heroes, and everyday magic. THE HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is her debut novel. Lindsey is represented by Naomi Davis of Inklings Literary Agency.

Your book HEARTBEAT HYPOTHESIS is your debut novel. In the book Audra walks in the footsteps of Emily who died too young. I feel like a lot of us wind up knowing someone who died too young. Did any personal experiences inspire the story?

Actually, no. There was no personal experience that inspired the story, though I have known a few who’ve sadly died too young. The story was actually inspired by a news article about a fifty-something-year-old woman who received a twenty-one-year-old’s heart after she died in a car wreck. Afterwards, the older woman set out to complete the young girl’s bucket list so at least her heart could experience all the things she’d wanted to do. Continue reading “Meet an Author: Lindsey Frydman”

Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Natasha Neagle

Meet Natasha Neagle, author and Pitch Wars mentor. Natasha Neagle’s debut is THE BODY PARADOX, in which a genetically altered teen becomes trapped in the same body as her worst enemy and must overcome their rivalry in order to survive the organization that turns against them. It’s slated for publication at Entangled teen in winter 2018.

Natasha Neagle

You started writing at a young age but took a break when you went to undergraduate school. Years later you started writing again. What made you decide to finally get back to writing?

I taught 8th grade science in Maryland at the time and I had three students who I adored. They called the four of us FEWN (Farah, Eunice, Wesley, Neagle), which led to an idea of four friends going on a crazy time-traveling adventure. I started plotting it and the next thing I knew I had a completely different idea take over. My original idea focusing around those three amazing students is still in my AMWRITING folder to be written one day. Continue reading “Meet an Author: Natasha Neagle”

Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Kate Foster

Meet author, Pitch Wars mentor, freelance editor, and Editorial Director for Lakewater Press Kate Foster. Her book WINELL ROAD was published by Jet Black Publishing in April 2015.

Kate Foster.jpg

Let’s talk about your book WINELL ROAD. In it the main character, a boy named Jack, sees a UFO and meets aliens. What was your inspiration to write about UFOs and aliens?

I honestly don’t know because I wouldn’t say I read or have read masses of alien/space books in my time! But, I think, having worked creatively with kids and owning three sons myself, boys (and girls!), when brainstorming ideas always seem to come up with alien attacks and invasions in their outlines. So, regardless of current book trends, I wanted to give kids what they love to read, and aliens have definitely stood the test of time. Plus, the possibilities of where a story can go when UFOs and aliens are involved are endless, so in this instance my aim was to turn something utterly cliché on its head so a reader has absolutely no idea where things are headed. I *think* I managed it…

Ever seen a UFO yourself or suspect any neighbors of being aliens?

Well, I’ve always wondered about my mother in law… no no, I won’t go there – not today, at least. But no, I haven’t seen a UFO and don’t currently suspect any of my neighbors. I’m a strong believer that aliens walk amongst us, and throughout the ages life on Earth has definitely had input and direction from extra-terrestrials; so I do keep my eyes and ears open for anything that tingles my alien senses.

As a mother who writes middle grade fiction, how often do you draw inspiration from your kids? Do you ever draw inspiration from your own childhood?

All the time. I am and will always be part-kid, so I spend all my free time hanging with my boys. They are the best, most interesting company I could ask for and never cease to fascinate me. I can’t ever predict what off-the-wall conversation we’re going to have next and it’s because of them that my imagination remains pretty obscure too. I particularly love the middle grade age group because it maintains that perfect balance of innocence and complexity. I was a weird kid – of which I’m now proud – so I always look back and analyze some of the more bizarre choices I made as well as how certain life events made me feel. Those moments I remember the clearest are the ones which drew out my most extreme emotions – positive and negative. Fundamentally kids haven’t changed all that much today, it’s what’s around them that has.

You’ve lived in the UK and Australia. Talk about a difference in climate! Do you ever draw inspiration for settings from the places you’ve lived? And did either of them play a role in how you pictured Jack’s neighborhood in WINELL ROAD?

Yes, I love nature, and I find all the books I’ve written – some that no one will ever see! – at some point are set in woodland. Some of my earliest memories are trudging through forests with my dog, playing hide and seek, and climbing trees, so I guess this was inevitable. Nature is jam-packed with secrets, and the fact that there are new species being discovered in some of the deepest darkest caves and dense woodland, I think it’s another useful tool for letting the imagination run wild.

Funnily enough, Jack’s neighborhood is surrounded by forest, but I can’t honestly say I’ve ever seen a road or houses like those on Winell Road. Maybe I have and can’t remember, but the memory hung around waiting for me to write a book!

What made you decide you wanted to be a published author?

I didn’t want to be, or rather never considered it a possible route for years. I was happy just scribbling away in a notebook, creating short stories and novel outlines, and later on full novels, imagining published authors to be that select few like Hollywood actors. Early on, my path took me to book and writing clubs where I was always reluctant to share my own work but loved analyzing other people’s. So, it really wasn’t until I was in my late 20s when I started to wonder if I had enough talent to maybe take the next steps with some of my own work. To be fair, the journey has been pretty bumpy, enough to have made me wish I’d never bothered trying at times, but I believe everything happens for a reason and, if anything, my writing is a billion times stronger than it was even a couple of years ago and I am much wiser. Plus, I have of the most amazing friends now because of my decision to step out from my lair.

Besides being an author you’re also an editor. Did your love of writing play a part in you becoming an editor?

They have both supported each other. I still prefer editing to writing and that has been the case since my childhood, but my drive to write comes from the inspiration and passion I witness in the work of the authors for whom I edit. I never cease to be amazed by what writers come up with and where they take me; this really is the most exciting industry to be a part of. Think about it: writers are the solid foundation of pretty much everything that entertains us – film, music, books, TV – and on top of that some of the most powerful, comforting, and life-changing moments in history have come via the written word.

 You’ve been a Pitch Wars mentor for a few years now. What is it about mentoring that keeps you coming back for more?

Most of what I wrote above, really. Having the opportunity to meet, hang, and work with authors is a blessing. And Pitch Wars has nailed it when it comes to creating something so positive, successful, and supportive to a huge variety of people around the world, all connected by their love of words.

Do you think Pitch Wars helps give mentees a taste of what to expect from the editing process with publishing houses and what it’s like to work with an editor?

Definitely. It’s been written countless of times, but a book, finished, polished, and mounted on a bookshelf has undergone more edits and revisions than anyone who isn’t a writer could possibly imagine. Anyone entering this industry that isn’t prepared to put in the time and effort, to listen to advice and accept feedback is heading for a difficult and painful time. Hard work, open-mindedness, and perseverance are what a writer’s backbone need to be made of, plus a shed-load of emotion. Why write if you’re not fully invested personally? The best books are the ones that have been made with love, tears, and passion, and this isn’t an industry you come to for the money!

What’s one of the most common issues you see in Pitch Wars submissions?

Telling. Sorry. Urgh, but it’s true. The manuscripts that stand apart are the ones where I’m thrown immediately into action. And not necessarily explosions, murder, and invasions, but where I can see, hear, taste, and smell the entire scene in which an author opens their manuscript. I can hear the character’s voice, immediately get a sense of their personality, and all whilst I’m wearing their shoes and taking their steps. A lot of authors just tell me what’s happening, bog me down with back story or setting, and try to educate me about their world and characters. Sadly, this makes boring and heavy reading. Readers come for entertainment, so entertain them.

If you could give one piece of editing advice to Pitch Wars hopefuls, what would it be?

Just one? For me, characters are the heart of a story, the bridge between reader and book. So, my advice always starts there. Know your characters, every single thing there is to discover about them – where they went to school, what their strengths and weaknesses are, what their habits are. Investigate their family, their relationships, their bedrooms and favorite belongings. How they like to dress, what they do in their spare time, how they talk and if they have any favorite phrases. Bring them to life outside of your story, and only then do they stand a chance of owning the pages and words that you write. Make sure your reader feels emotion for your character – their good and bad parts.

Want to know more about Kate? Visit her website here.

Winell Road Kate FosterLiving on Winell Road is hardly fun, not when your neighbors are weirder than your own parents.

But the road has a secret that few people know.

And Jack’s about to uncover it.

For fans of Men in Black and Zac Power, Winell Road is jam-packed with “loads of twists and turns” that will keep you guessing to the end.




Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Judi Lauren

Meet writer Judi Lauren. She’s also a Pitch Wars mentor and an assistant to Lydia Sharp at Entangled Publishing.

What made you decide you wanted to write YA? Did any other authors influence you?

I started writing as a teen. My first book (so cringe-worthy) was written when I was thirteen. Back when floppy A disks were popular. I guess I never quite grew out of writing in that genre—and it’s such an interesting time of life! My teen years were a total mess, so writing about those years has always been easy for me. As far as influential authors: J.K. Rowling, S.E. Hinton, Sara Zarr, David Klass, and Benjamin Alire Sáenz. I read at least one book by each one of them when I was a teen and they heavily changed the course of my writing. I also have to mention Barry Lyga, whose I Hunt Killers I discovered when I was twenty made me realize dark books were what I really wanted to write. Continue reading “Meet an Author: Judi Lauren”

Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Amanda Rawson Hill

Meet Amanda Rawson Hill, author and Pitch Wars mentor. She is represented by Elizabeth Harding of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Her book THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC is coming in fall 2018 from Boyds Mills Press. The book follows 11-year-old Kate, who is starting to believe in what her grandmother calls “everyday magic”—she just hopes it can bring back her estranged feather or her erstwhile best friend.

Amanda Hill

When I saw the description for THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, my first thought was that 11-year-old me likely would have identified with the book and ate it up (and adult me probably will too). Was any of the book inspired by your own childhood?

Yes! Though more on a scene level than a premise level. In the book, Kate’s grandmother has early dementia. My grandpa died of Alzheimer’s when I was 15. There’s a conversation Kate has with her grandma where Grammy says, “I’m losing it, aren’t I?” and they talk about what’s happening. That was directly inspired by my grandpa sitting down with my mom and I remember him saying, “I’m not going to be myself for much longer.” Several other scenes with Grammy are inspired by my grandpa and a story Kate’s mom tells her about a piano recital is straight from my junior year of high school. Continue reading “Meet an Author: Amanda Rawson Hill”

Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: Annette Christie

Meet Annette Christie, author, past Pitch Wars mentee, and current Pitch Wars mentor.

Annette Christie

You were a 2016 Pitch Wars mentee with Sonia Hartl as your mentor. Tell us a little bit about your book FLORENCE LEARY’S THEORY OF FLIGHT that you got into Pitch Wars with.

FLORENCE LEARY’S THEORY OF FLIGHT was inspired by a Rolling Stone article I read about Ben Schlappig. It’s the story of an ambitious and cunning seventeen-year-old girl who spends every weekend (and the occasional school day) flying from airport to airport collecting travel points. Her ultimate goal is to be a full-time frequent flyer and travel blogger, but her guidance counselor is making her join a club for young entrepreneurs as penance for skipping school, her dad’s trying to convince her to take over the family business, and she’s falling for the cute-in-a-weird-way guy who works at the airport. Florence’s perfect first class life is the salve for every one of her anxieties and problems. If only the people in her life will stop trying to pull her feet back down to the ground.

In a nutshell, it’s UP IN THE AIR meets ANNA & THE FRENCH KISS. Continue reading “Meet an Author: Annette Christie”

Interview · Meet An Author

Meet an Author: K. Kazul Wolf

Meet K. Kazul Wolf, fantasy author, past Pitch Wars mentee, and current Pitch Wars mentor. Her graphic novel SACRIFICES OF SHADOW is out now!

K. Wolf

Let’s talk about your fantasy graphic novel SACRIFICES OF SHADOW. What made you decide to make it a graphic novel instead of just a novel?

It actually wasn’t something that I sought out myself, originally! I submitted Sacrifices of Shadow as a short story for an anthology that Villipede Publications was putting together. It didn’t quite fit the theme of the anthology, but the editor loved it so much he wanted to try and make something out of it, so it ended up as a graphic novel. I’ve always loved visual arts, so it was an amazing experience. Continue reading “Meet an Author: K. Kazul Wolf”