It’s PitchWars time–and last year after I found myself in a group of writers where I was the only person not involved with the competition, I felt a little left out.
So when PitchWars rolled around this year, like the proverbial devils on my shoulder, my writer peeps on Twitter convinced me I had to enter. (You four know who you are.)
About my Manuscript
The manuscript I entered this year is called All the Wrong Places, which is an adult contemporary romantic comedy. What makes this one special? It’s set in Australia. I wanted to make it stand out from most of the other romances I’d read previously, so I wrote about an American living in Australia. (It was also an excuse to use Australian English, which was incredibly fun and frustrating to do. Shout out to my Australian beta reader who kept me straight.)
The story centers on Rachel Kennedy whose life just isn’t going well. She’s an out-of-work actress who can’t land a role, and then she gets home from a horrible audition to find that she just lost out on her role of girlfriend… to the actress who is always beating her out at auditions. Talk about insult to injury.
She moves in with her best friend who desperately wants to get Rachel laid so she’ll forget her loser of an ex boyfriend. While out clubbing they meet Christian, a cop with impeccable timing and a killer smile. Can he be the one to help right Rachel’s life? Or is he just one more in the long and distinguished list of wrongs?
Fun Facts About Me
- I’ve written my entire life, but I didn’t start to write fiction for anyone other than myself until after I survived a bilateral pulmonary embolism (laymens terms: blood clots in each of my lungs, and the ER doctor told me the one on the left was “freakin’ huge”). I realized then that I could never fulfill my dream of having a published book unless I actually started to chase it. I’ve been chasing it ever since.
- I used to review movies for the local paper, and I have a DVD collection of more than 500 movies–and even more in digital.
- I’ve collected old books since I was a teenager, starting with a biography of Robert E. Lee published in 1895 that I got at a flea market. My obsession has only grown from there. Some highlights of my collection include:
- A dictionary from 1865
- A first edition, fifth print of Gone With the Wind
- A first edition, first print (no dust jacket, though) of Charlotte’s Web
- A copy of Mary Poppins where the spine was printed upside down on the dust jacket
- A copy of the 40th anniversary release of To Kill a Mockingbird (my favorite book of all time), that was autographed by Harper Lee.
- I have a dachshund who is just like me. He likes to sleep a lot and he’s very particular about the company he keeps.
- I write romance, but I am the least romantic person I know. (Don’t believe me, ask my husband.) Funny how that works out.
- The first thing I ever had published was some really crappy poetry when I was 13. It was one of those “poetry contest anthologies” that are a total scam. But back when I was 13 I thought I was tough shit because of it and I thought my future in being a published author was set. Teenage me was wrong. (When my daughter is a teenager, someone please remind me to tell her this story.)
What Kind of Mentee Will I Be?
A good one.
As I’ve been hanging out in publishing for a few years, I’ve learned quite a few things, the most important of which is that you can always make it better. You can always learn something new.
All of us PitchWars hopefuls have some sort of natural ability, but I know there’s more to it than that. I’ve been able to learn so much through my experiences, and I wouldn’t trade them for that reason. But to have the opportunity to learn from other writers who have had more success is the most exciting part for me. I will be willing to listen, to change, to try new things. Because that’s the only way I will grow and improve.
Yeah, but can you take the heat? Sure I can. Not everyone is going to get my “literary vision” and that’s okay. That’s why I have beta readers, and I rely on them heavily. I fully consider a PitchWars mentor to be a beta on crack. And that’s okay. Bring it. Tear it down so I can lick my wounds and rebuild this manuscript into the most awesome story.
But what if no one wants it after all that work? Look, it’s publishing. The truth is, what one editor may rave over and threaten to stab people over (I’m looking at you Jen), may be the one thing that grates another editor’s nerves. It’s fine. If no one wants this one, then I’ll set it off to the side and work on the next thing. It’s not about selling every manuscript. It’s about learning with each manuscript. Improving.
So… to the mentors I pitched to, I hope this helps you get an idea of who I am. To the rest of the PitchWars hopefuls, best of luck to you!