Welcome to Pitch Wars 2019!
Wait, what in the world is Pitch Wars, you ask?
Pitch Wars is a mentoring programme where published/agented authors, editors, or industry interns choose one writer each to spend three months revising their manuscript. It ends in February with an Agent Showcase, where literary agents can read a pitch/first page and can request to read more. You can jump on www.Pitchwars.org to find out more.
If this sounds like you, welcome! And come inside. It’s cold out (in the southern hemisphere), and we have a nice crackling fire going inside. Go on - here are a few bikkies and a hot chocolate to warm you up too :)
In this blog, you will be able to find out more about us - #TeamKiwi - Graci Kim and Karah Sutton.
We will be mentoring one Middle Grade mentee this year, and below, you can find out a little bit about who we are, what we hope to see in our inbox, and what you can expect if we choose you as our mentee.
Once you’ve done that, hop on over to Part 2 of our Mentor Wishlist on Karah’s website. There, you’ll be able to get an idea of our specific Wants and Do Not Wants, which will hopefully give you a bit more insight into our tastes. Make sure to read both Part 1 and Part 2 before submitting to us!
Without further ado...
WHO ARE WE?
Karah Sutton is a MG writer based in New Zealand. Originally from Kentucky, Karah spent four years working in her hometown’s bookstore, where the joy of helping children find a new favourite book inspired her to try her hand at writing her own fiction. Her books are fantasy adventure stories, often with elements incorporated from fairy tales and usually celebrating her love of animals and the natural world.
Karah's debut MG fantasy A WOLF FOR A SPELL will be published by Knopf Books for Young Readers (Penguin/Random House) in fall 2020. She was selected as a mentee for the 2017 Pitch Wars and Query Kombat showcases, and has volunteered with #DVpit and #WriteMentor, as well as Pitch Wars.
Karah also works in marketing for the entertainment industry, where she has been fortunate enough to learn about world-building from concept designers and about tension and pacing from video game developers. She has had the pleasure of working with some of the world’s most respected and well-loved entertainment companies including Disney, DreamWorks, Fox, and Cartoon Network.
In her spare time, Karah loves hiking in the forests of New Zealand, analysing films for their plot structure, listening to musical theatre cast albums, and playing board games with her partner and friends.
Karah is represented by Katie Grimm of Don Congdon Associates.
Graci Kim is a MG author of Korean-Kiwi extraction, currently living in Middle Earth, New Zealand. She has an insatiable interest in all things supernatural (witches and ghosts never get old), and writes novels about girls who are full of dreams and hungry for magic. She grew up wishing she could read books about girls who looked like her, so now she’s committed to putting her diversity onto the page.
Graci’s debut MG novel, THE LAST FALLEN STAR about Korean-American witches, sister bonds, and the search for belonging will be published by Rick Riordan Presents, Disney-Hyperion, in Spring/Summer 2021.
In 2018, Graci was shortlisted for the NZ Storylines Tessa Duder Award for YA fiction, was a 2017 AuthorMentorMatch mentee, and is currently the Comms Officer for the NZ Society of Authors (Wellington branch). She and her friends also run Love At First Chapter, a free newsletter that sends out the first chapter of a new YA/MG book, every month.
When she’s not writing, Graci works for the New Zealand diplomatic corps. When not diplomat-ising (um yes, that is a word, thank you very much), you can find her trying to knit, eating all the things, and probably asking for directions. She also believes most of our daily problems can be solved by hugging a dog (or ideally, many).
Graci is represented by Carrie Pestritto of Laura Dail Literary Agency.
WHO IS #TEAMKIWI?
We have affectionately called our team pod #TeamKiwi (after the cute little bird, not the fruit) because we both live in New Zealand and we’re proud of it!
This means that we get to meet up in person to work on your manuscript, and ensure our messaging is aligned and coordinated for your benefit. It also means that you will also become an honorary Kiwi, no matter where you are in the world! So be prepared. Once a Kiwi, always a Kiwi :)
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT US?
We love structure. That’s our jam! We will talk beats, character arcs, and the 3 vs 4 act structure with you until the sheep come home. We believe a strong structure is the backbone of a strong book.
We also believe in hard work, and many celebratory wines (or your drink of choice). This is a challenging industry. We think it’s crucial we celebrate and indulge in all the small wins along the way. So prepare to be inundated with love!
We are always here for you. Our door is always open, and we welcome a free flow of communication between our #TeamKiwi podmates. And not just for the mentoring period. We’re in for the long haul. Like we said above: Once a Kiwi, always a Kiwi. You won’t be able to get rid of us that easily…
WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR?
We are open to fantasy and contemporary MG books (and the various shades in between).
Specifically, here are some of the bigger picture things we’d love to see:
Stories with emotional resonance with high personal stakes that tug at our heartstrings.
Diverse voices from underrepresented authors or about underrepresented MCs.
Voice-driven characters with personality who we love to hate, or hate to love.
Fast-paced plots with lots of delicious tension.
Magic of all forms is encouraged, as is all forms of spookiness and humour.
Rich, lush settings that feel real and tangible, whether set in downtown LA or in an imaginary world.
Stories that feel like a puzzle we desperately want to solve.
Stories that keep us thinking long after closing the last page...
SO, WHAT NOW?
Now that you know a little more about us, please hop on over to Part 2 of our Mentor Wishlist. There, you’ll be able to get an idea of our specific Wants and Do Not Wants, which will hopefully give you a bit more insight into our tastes.
Take a few extra bikkies with you on your way out, and make sure to read both Part 1 and Part 2 before submitting to us!
We look forward to reading your words, future honorary Kiwi :)
Thanks for stopping by!