Pitch Wars Team Interviews with Amanda Helander and her mentors, Ava Reid and Rachel Morris
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 . . .
Amanda Helander – Mentee
Ava Reid – Mentor
Rachel Morris – Mentor
Ava and Rachel, why did you choose Amanda?
Ava: Amanda’s novel was tailored perfectly to our tastes – we asked for something with the feel of a Diana Wynne Jones or Naomi Novik book, and Amanda absolutely delivered. We also asked for complex, sometimes infuriating, characters that drive the plot, and that’s her main character, Mona, to a T! Her language is gorgeously evocative and her worldbuilding is sweeping and magical. We can’t wait for everyone else to fall in love with it, too!
Rachel: Amanda’s novel gripped us from the very first line and never let us go. Her perfect prologue built an irresistible world starring a heartbreaking gem of a unique, compelling character, and every subsequent chapter only ensnared us more irrevocably. Her character-driven, voice-filled story made us laugh, scream, and fall completely in love with her protagonist and her utterly magical, life-changing journey.
Amanda, why did you choose to submit to Ava and Rachel?
Ava and Rachel hooked me when they asked for character-driven, literary-leaning fantasy. Then I saw they wanted flawed, infuriating, morally gray characters with hard-earned redemption arcs, and I knew it was a perfect match! Also, we share a deep love for Diana Wynne Jones (actually, their entire “favorite books” list was so closely aligned with mine I thought I was dreaming!).
Ava and Rachel, summarize Amanda’s book in 3 words.
Ava: Messy seer’s shenanigans.
Rachel: Whimsical, haunting, luminous.
Amanda, summarize your book in 3 words.
Gods, ghosts, agoraphobia!
Ava and Rachel, tell us about yourself. Something we may not already know.
Ava: The truffle mushroom pierogis at Veselka in the East Village are my favorite food in the world. Everyone in NYC needs to try them.
Rachel: I’ve written several academic essays analyzing the gothic horror genre as it appears in the video game medium.
Amanda, what do you hope to get out of the Pitch Wars experience?
New writer friends! I’m also so excited to learn from Ava and Rachel (who have already taught me SO MUCH and given me 1000 great ideas for my book).
Amanda, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your manuscript unique?
I’m a paralegal who can talk for DAYS about medical malpractice and health law, so don’t get me started. I’m also a big advocate for mental health awareness and fighting stigma. I have bipolar disorder, and it’s one of my dreams to see more aneurotypical protagonists in fantasy & science fiction. My absolute favorite part of my Pitch Wars manuscript is the main character, Mona, who struggles with agorophobia, grief, and self-loathing, but also subverts quite a few stereotypical notions of how a “mentally ill” person should look and/or act. Also, my book has alchemy and a talking cat god and the world’s broodiest royal bureaucrat, who’s also my MC’s boss and love interest! I honestly had so much fun writing this story – I hope it’s just as much fun for readers.
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 December 5, 2018! Want to know more about #PitMad? Go here.