Today I'm introducing my amazing mentee, Nina Moreno. Her novel, Hurricane Daughter, wowed me at first reading. I had to fight for it. I had to pry it out of the hands of her other mentor choices. But my persistence and a bit of bargaining wore them down. She is an amazing writer that has written the best kind of tear jerker romance. I've sobbed over and over at the end of her book. Not only that, she's taken on her revisions with gusto, taking my suggestions and running with them. I suggested a POV switch and the next thing I know she'd not only done the first few chapters, she'd done the entire novel!
I can't wait for the agent round to watch the requests build. In the meantime, you can read her answers to my questions and get a taste of her lovely writing voice.
1. Give us the Twitter pitch for your Pitchwars manuscript (140 characters or less)!
YA SouthernGothic Beau’s from the wrong side of the swamp; Daisy doesn’t care. Family feuds, moonshine and a wildfire on the horizon #PitMad
2. Stephanie Perkins does this cool thing for her books called a Love List, explained here: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/2011/01/happy-writers-society-love-lists-by.html, what is the love list for your novel?
an orange grove
red cowboy boots
static from an old country station
a battered Braves hat
the burden and blessings of family
a frayed knot
the sweet, soft smell of orange blossoms
the growl of an old black truck driving down a county road
slow ceiling fans
an anchor in a storm
a mason jar of moonshine
open windows and warm breezes
ashes in swamp water
3. Name a handful of writers whose work inspires you, along with a short explanation of why!
Harper Lee's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is carved onto my soul. It's just always going to be The One for me. I read it at the exact right moment and it got tangled with all my roots. I was a Cuban girl from Miami who grew up in a tiny town in Georgia and my voice comes out Spanglish with a twangy accent and finding writers like Junot Diaz, Julia Alvarez and Sandra Cisneros was big for me. I loved PAPER TOWNS by John Green in a very personal and selfish way. It was so painfully seventeen and central Florida. Jennifer Echols writes the YA I want to be best friends with. GOING TOO FAR is in my top ten forever and ever. Her characters are flawed, dimensional and interesting and the romances always cut me deep. Jennifer Crusie and Susan Elizabeth Phillips got me into romance as a whole, though. They kept my heart racing and head in the clouds in college when dissecting assigned readings might have killed the fever.
4. Why PitchWars?
I'm so brand new to the online contest game I'm the new kid that doesn't know where to sit in the cafeteria yet. I heard about Pitch Wars after taking a stab with Agent Treat, which introduced me to Brenda Drake and everything she does for writers. The mentoring aspect of Pitch Wars was the friendly face telling me I could totally sit here. I wanted that. I wanted it bad. Not just for my manuscript but for me as a writer trying to get out of my own cave. Pitch Wars has been that and more. It's teaching me how to be a part of this community and how to write out loud. It's been the biggest deal for me.
5. When you self-identify as a writer, what does that mean to you? How does it make you feel?
It means finally claiming myself. Writing was always this secret thing I put so much of myself into, but left in the drawer with all the old stories instead of talking out loud about them. I was terrified of actually answering to it. How would I validate this quiet, isolated thing I did that maybe would never be more than that? What would I say if someone asked me about it?
"So, you write? Really? What do you write?"
"God, don't ask me that."
All my friends and family knew I wrote since I was always posting my feelings on some Livejournal or blog post or my mother was bringing out the books I printed back in elementary school where I poetically described my love for zebras. I had folders and floppy disks filled with stories I'd written, but I still wouldn't call myself a writer. Getting the guts to write this book and not feel guilty or ridiculous for the time I gave to writing meant getting the guts to call myself a writer. Out loud. To other people. I'm now claiming the stories as much as the girl who writes them.
6. Next 3 books on your TBR pile, what liquid's in your cup, and what's playing on repeat!
THE FIERY HEART by Richelle Mead. FORTUNE'S PAWN by Rachel Bach. VOYAGER by Diana Gabaldon (Och aye, I'm finally reading the Outlander series). Coffee or Diet Coke is always in my cup. I'm in a bluesy, rusty place with my music and Charlie Parr, Johnny Cash and Mumford & Sons are all on repeat.