Hello, Pitch Wars Mentors and fellow writers! I’m a second year PW hopeful Mentee and I’m excited to participate in this great writing experience. Last year, though I wasn’t selected, I was grateful to receive requests and detailed feedback. I also made new writing friends. This year has been one of amazing growth for my writing and manuscript. It’s evolved into a contemporary story with magical realism elements. I’m drawn to the magic in nature and love to weave these threads into my writing. I work closely with my critique group and I’m a regular conference attendee of SCBWI Carolinas.
My inspiration for THE WHISPERING SHELL came from my love of horses and experiences I had as a young girl growing up near upstate Binghamton, New York. I’ve always loved the ocean, but a few years ago I visited the northern Outer Banks in North Carolina and began to dream of writing a book about a twelve-year-old horse-crazy girl going through a rough patch in her life.
I was enthralled with the wild mustangs that roam the upper most area of the Outer Banks. They’ve lived on this beach for almost five hundred years and are descended from Spanish horses that swam ashore after ship wrecks . On a wild horse tour, I viewed the mustangs up close and admired their wild beauty.
I’m a former elementary teacher and taught second grade in my home state, New York. When I was a twelve-year-old girl I had horse fever big time and walked away from home without permission to be near horses in a field, draw them, and dream of owning my own horse. When I was twenty-four, married and living out in the country, my dream came true and I finally had my own horse, a black mare I named Shadow. I loved caring for her and riding her.
I now live in Indian Trail North Carolina, with my husband, close to our sons and two sweet granddaughters. I look forward to future visits to the Outer Banks to see the wild mustangs again.
My Favorite Things include nature, walking on nature paths, wild animals and searching for sea glass on the beach at Corolla, N.C. I also enjoy feeding wild birds in my backyard; reading on my porch with an iced tea; cool mornings on my back porch; listening to cicadas at night; spending time with my granddaughters; coffee; chocolate; pizza; and coming up with surprises for family dinners.
Memorable events: One Halloween I made a snake-shaped stromboli with a pimento tongue and olive eyes. It was so realistic that it had my family in shock for a few seconds.
A few years ago we visited Ireland and rented a car. It was a challenge to drive on the other side of the narrow roads. We took a wrong turn down a dirt path and got stuck in the middle of a herd of cows! The lead cow charged at our car and we waited in terror for the farmer to herd them across.
Pet Peeve: When a squirrel climbs up my bird feeding station and runs away with a whole block of suet.
When twelve-year-old, horse-crazy Eva fails math, her parents leave her with a great aunt to be tutored on a distant N.C. shore. No riding lessons for her this summer—but she will find a way to be with horses, even if she has to follow wild mustangs up a hidden beach.
Near the old pier, Eva befriends mustang-protectress Addie, a girl visible only to her. As the girls sketch a wild mare and foal, two men speed toward them on a dune buggy and Eva watches Addie herd the mustangs to the woods. Through a magical shell she finds on the beach, Eva listens as the two thieves scheme to round up and sell the entire mustang herd for slaughter later in the summer. The ruthless thieves attempt to lure the mustangs with cruel tactics, but Eva and Addie protect them together and develop a dangerous rescue plan.
Before the thieves’ roundup, Addie tells Eva she can’t participate in the rescue and reveals that she is a ghost who will soon disappear. Eva faces a monumental decision: Believe in herself and carry out the rescue alone, or let the mustangs she loves be captured and killed.
The Whispering Shell Aesthetic
The Mentor and Mentee Relationship
I’m hoping for a partnership with an honest, kind and goal oriented mentor. I welcome constructive criticism as a catalyst to advance my manuscript to the next level. I’d look forward to a mentor who would help me determine my personal writing goals and use her experience as a published author to help me polish my manuscript. A mentor who loves my manuscript’s story and is drawn to my writing style would be a perfect match.
Since I’m able to devote most of my time to my writing, I would make it a priority to focus on the areas my mentor suggests, and respond in a timely manner. I see the relationship between mentor and mentee as a partnership for growth and change which will prepare my manuscript for hopeful publication.
My Favorite Middle Grade Books
I love reading middle grade fiction mostly in the contemporary genre, especially with magical elements. Some that I’ve totally enjoyed are:
The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd–which is a historical MG book with magical elements. I totally loved the MC’s voice and magical horses.
Other favorites include: A Hundred Horses, by Sarah Lean, Circle of Secrets, The Time of the Fireflies, The Healing Spell, and When the Butterflies Came, all by Kimberley Griffiths Little.
Orphan Island, by Laurel Snyder
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Nest, by Esther Ehrlich
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
The Keepers: The Box and the Dragonfly, by Ted Sanders
The Road to Tater Hill, by Edith M. Hemmingway.
Wonder, by R. J. Palacio
I can’t forget the classics which I read and loved as a girl:
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley
Misty of Chincoteaque and all the other horse-themed books by Marguerite Henry
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
For adult reading, I enjoy a variety of mysteries, historical fiction, including series by Phillipa Gregory, and women’s fiction.