#BoostMyBio for #PitchWars 2019!

Hey' y’all! It’s that time of year again…PITCH WARS! I’m so excited to participate for the third time this year…and to get to know some of you lovely people I don’t know yet! Let’s get the party started, shall we?

ABOUT ME

Hi there! I'm Taylor. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @authorthartley (and I did #PWPoePrompts, so check those out…I’m the one with all the Tom Holland and Taron Egerton GIFs).  

This is my third year vying for a Pitch Wars spot. Every year, the contest has pushed me to improve my stories and hone my characters. My debut novel, SHE'S POWERFUL TROUBLE, was published through Parliament House Press this past May. Want to check it out? Head HERE or to Amazon to purchase it! Witches…soft boys…forbidden love…OH MY!

My novel last year, CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS, has gone through both a POV shift and a title change. Here’s hoping IT’S ALL GONE WRONG finds a home soon!

I'm a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night. I studied Creative Writing at UNC Chapel Hill and somehow ended up in the Honors Thesis class, which taught me so much about craft (and more importantly, about the importance of community). I'm a FAST reader, an even FASTER worker (I'm so Type A, it hurts), and I love diving into a good story.

Now, onto my adult MS (trying new things this year!) REVENANT CHORUS!

QUERY

After ten years, siblings Miles and Diana Rex have reforged their bond. Confident in Miles’s renewed strength and terrified their adoptive brother, Declan Duvall, might win a seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, Diana reveals her horrible truth—Declan assaulted her ten years ago. She never imagined her secret would find both men with rifles raised on a bleak Thanksgiving morning. Both weapons fire. Both men fall. And as her brother dies in her arms, Diana knows she killed him.

Days after their deaths, Georgia Governor Clive Duvall—Declan’s father—proclaims Miles a lunatic plagued by addiction and an abhorrent “lifestyle.” His comments threaten the LGBTQ youth shelter Miles founded with his partner. Fighting to defend her brother’s legacy and protect the kids he saved, Diana reluctantly reveals her assault to the press. But in a state controlled by her rapist’s father, Diana’s story rouses a deep-seated anger in fragile, dangerous men determined to silence Diana and the two men left in her life—unless more women come forward to fight beside her. 

What Diana will never know is how much the Duvall family tortured Miles, too. 

Ten years before Declan shoots him, Miles Rex is finally ready to come out to his parents. Then they perish in a car crash, leaving him and his sister in the care of family friend Clive Duvall, a Georgia state senator determined to climb his way up the political ladder—and infamous for his belief in conversion therapy. Miles, haunted by visions of his mutilated parents, embraces heroin until even Diana abandons him. The only one seemingly determined to rescue Miles from his spiral is Declan. Desperate to survive, Miles clings to him, oblivious to the monster lurking behind the golden mask—and the violent destiny awaiting them both.  

Alternating between the past and the present, REVENANT CHORUS follows a brother’s journey to reclaim his light and a sister’s journey to keep that light alive after his death. Complete at 116,000 words, this women’s fiction novel combines the raw imagery of Laurie Halse Anderson’s SHOUT with the family saga of Lydia Fitzpatrick’s LIGHTS ALL NIGHT LONG. Inspired by Sophocles’ ANTIGONE and the MeToo movement, it examines the shattering effects of grief and trauma on the psyche—and how family helps people reclaim their strength and voice, even beyond the grave.

IN THE STORY

  • GHOSTS!

  • Family intrigue

  • Political commentary and critique

  • Discussions on addiction and recovery

  • Discussions on trauma and grief

  • Siblings who love each other more than anything

  • EVIL MEN DOING EVIL THINGS

  • Boarding schools and college and protests

  • Soft boys/men

  • STRONG. ASS. WOMEN.

COMP TITLES

  • SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • SHARP OBJECTS by Gillian Flynn

  • AND THEN SHE WAS GONE by Lisa Jewell

  • BOY ERASED

MY TWO MC’s

Miles and Diana Aesthetic.jpg

MILES REX is hours away from coming out to his parents—and then they die in a horrible car crash. When his sister begs to see their bodies, Miles is left to look into the smashed face of his mother. Forced to live with a family of bigoted politicians and haunted by visions of his parents’ mutilated corpses, Miles spirals into a world of addiction—until he finds the strength to pull himself out.

DIANA REX wants justice. Ten years ago, Declan Duvall assaulted her. Now, he’s been elected a Georgia Congressman. When Diana reveals her trauma to her brother, she lights the blue touch paper that finds both Miles and Declan dead—leaving Diana to rescue her brother’s legacy when Declan’s father, Clive, accuses Miles of murdering his son in cold blood.

THE VILLAINS

CLIVE DUVALL started his political career as a Georgia state senator. Now, eighteen years later, he’s finally Governor of Georgia. College friends with Oliver Rex, he adopts Miles and Diana after their parents’ untimely death…and he’s determined to bend Miles to his will in whatever way necessary.

DECLAN DUVALL has just been elected as Georgia’s newest Congressman. With violent tendencies and deep-set traditional values instilled by his father, he torments both Diana and Miles for years before the hunting incident that ignites the action of REVENANT CHORUS.

Miles and Declan.jpg

MORE AESTHETICS (I went a little crazy this year)

CHARACTER COLLAGE (Good guys only, though).

CHARACTER COLLAGE (Good guys only, though).

Oliver and Belle’s Rainbow House: The shelter Miles and Elliot open for at-risk youth in Atlanta!

Oliver and Belle’s Rainbow House: The shelter Miles and Elliot open for at-risk youth in Atlanta!

Elliot and Miles <3

Elliot and Miles <3

Tad and Diana &lt;3

Tad and Diana <3

And now for a few of my favorite things:

BOOKS

  • THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood (one of the most beautifully written books of all time)

  • SHOUT by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton

  • CARRY ON, FANGIRL, LANDLINE, ELEANOR AND PARK and really anything by Rainbow Rowell

  • WHITE OLEANDER by Janet Fitch

  • THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak

  • SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli

  • THE FIFTH SEASON by N.K. Jemisin

  • THE CHAOS WALKING SERIES, A MONSTER CALLS, RELEASE, THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE (aka ANYTHING by Patrick Ness)

MOVIES

  • LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE

  • ROCKETMAN

  • MOONLIGHT

  • US and GET OUT

  • BABY DRIVER

  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS

  • LOVE, SIMON

  • SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING and FAR FROM HOME

  • BRAVEHEART* (*Mel Gibson is the worst...but that soundtrack is BOMB)

  • TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

TELEVISION

  • JANE THE VIRGIN (it is number one forever)

  • BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

  • THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE

  • GAME OF THRONES

  • THE END OF THE F'ING WORLD

  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE

  • PEAKY BLINDERS (CILLIAN MURPHY IS AN ACTING GOD)

Good luck to all you hopefuls out there! This community is so very powerful. Even if you don't make it, know that you've worked hard...and that good things come to those who WORK HARD and PERSEVERE! <3

#BoostMyBio for #PitchWars

ABOUT ME

Hi there! I'm Taylor. You can find me on Twitter and Instagram at @authorthartley (and I did #PWPoePrompts, so check those out, if you please!) 

This is my second year trying out Pitch Wars. While I didn't make it last year, the contest helped me turn my MS into a new story that's actually being published as SHE'S POWERFUL TROUBLE through Parliament House Press next May. 

I'm a high school English teacher by day and a writer by night. I studied Creative Writing at UNC Chapel Hill and somehow ended up in the Honors Thesis class, which taught me so much about craft (and more importantly, about the importance of community). I'm a FAST reader, an even FASTER worker (I'm so Type A, it hurts), and I love diving into a good story.

Now, onto my MS, CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS!

QUERY

When he found his mother dead in the bathtub, Tye Knotts stopped speaking. Three months later, with his father threatening to institutionalize him and his sister begging him to start over in California, the mute seventeen-year-old pours himself into designing the lights and sound for his school’s upcoming theater competition in New York. He’ll give them Beauty and the Beast like they’ve never seen before. 

Rora Smith, the star of the show, knows all her lines and lyrics—and that talent scouts await her in New York. She’s certain one of the casting agents for an upcoming sci-fi thriller will notice her and whisk her away to Hollywood. There, she'll dedicate herself to acting and forget about her parent’s stupid divorce and Dustin, the boy who never notices her. It’s why she’s created all her food rules—everyone knows you must be perfect to succeed in show business. And in Rora’s world, perfect means bone thin.  

But when she chokes on stage during the performance of her life, Rora’s future turn to ashes. After she darts offstage, Tye rushes to comfort her, and she begs him to travel to LA for an audition that offers her redemption. Hesitantly, Tye accepts—maybe this trip will help him rediscover his voice and abandon his demons. 

Together, they embark on a cross-country road trip in search of fame and escape. Instead, they dump the dead body of an old woman who gives them a ride, hitch to Chicago with a mysterious troubadour, and hide from a biker gang after stealing one of their motorcycles. As Rora starves herself in pursuit of perfection, she must decide whether her dream is worth dying for. Meanwhile, as Tye watches her strength dwindle, he must search for the strength to act—to say something—before he’s hovering above another corpse, silent as stone—before it’s all, once again, his fault.

As a teen, I battled an eating disorder triggered by a need to control my life as my mother died of cancer. CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS, a literary young-adult novel complete at 73,000 words, combines the comedy and heartbreak of THE END OF THE F’ING WORLD with the spirit of ELEANOR AND PARK. It is for teens who feel alone in their struggle with eating disorders and isolated in the wake of losing a parent.


IN THE STORY...

  • THEATRE!
  • MUSIC!
  • ADVENTURE!
  • A platonic (ish) girl/boy relationship
  • Discussions on mental illness (specifically, PTSD, depression, and anorexia nervosa)
  • Teens dealing with grief in their own way
  • ALL THE FEELS (I hope)

COMP TITLES

  • THE END OF THE F'ING WORLD by Charles S. Forsman
  • ELEANOR AND PARK by Rainbow Rowell
  • I'LL GIVE YOU THE SUN by Jandy Nelson

AESTHETICS

Setting Aesthetic: We're on the road, headed west.&nbsp;

Setting Aesthetic: We're on the road, headed west. 

The look, the feel of CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS.&nbsp;

The look, the feel of CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS. 

PITCH ONE

A mute boy and an anorexic girl take off across the country. He's running from the ghost of his mother. She's chasing a dream in the midst of a breakdown. 

PITCH TWO

Follow Tye and Rora on a cross-country road trip as they chase very big dreams and run from very real nightmares. 

(ANY AND ALL HELP WITH PITCHES IS APPRECIATED)

MY TWO MC'S

Tye Aesthetic.jpg

TYE KNOTTS: Tye found his mother dead in the bathtub and stopped speaking. After he watches Rora Smith choke onstage, he rushes to save her, desperate to feel useful in some way. But then she whisks him away on a road trip to LA, and now he's stuck in a giant purple van with a dog and a girl who won't eat...but maybe, just maybe, he'll find his voice somewhere along the way...

Rora Aesthetic (1).jpg

RORA SMITH: Rora wants—more than anything—to become the next big thing in the acting world. So when she completely blows it at a national musical competition, she knows she has to redeem herself. There's an audition waiting for her in LA, and she's got her mother's credit card...have means, will travel. All she needs is someone to look out for her...and Tye Knotts is just, you know, right THERE...

MY VILLAIN

As a contemporary YA novel, CROSS-COUNTRY THEATRICS doesn't quite have a true human antagonist (unless you count Douche Doug, a biker who looks a bit like Orlando Bloom). The true villain? Crippling self-doubt and anorexia. These hold our heroes back...and puts one of them in serious mortal danger...

Antagonist Aesthetic.jpg

AND NOW...JUST A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...

BOOKS

  • THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood (one of the most beautifully written books of all time) 
  • CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE by Tomi Adeyemi
  • THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton
  • CARRY ON, FANGIRL, LANDLINE, ELEANOR AND PARK and really anything by Rainbow Rowell
  • THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak
  • SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA by Becky Albertalli
  • THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END by Adam Silvera
  • THE CHAOS WALKING SERIES, A MONSTER CALLS, RELEASE, THE REST OF US JUST LIVE HERE (aka ANYTHING by Patrick Ness)

MOVIES

  • BABY DRIVER
  • PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
  • THE LORD OF THE RINGS
  • LOVE, SIMON
  • SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING
  • BRAVEHEART* (*Mel Gibson is the worst...but that soundtrack is BOMB)
  • TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

TELEVISION

  • JANE THE VIRGIN (it is number one forever)
  • BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
  • GAME OF THRONES (but like season 6 onward...ALL THE WOMEN DOING ALL THE THINGS)
  • THE END OF THE F'ING WORLD
  • DEAR WHITE PEOPLE
  • THE HANDMAID'S TALE (I see a pattern here, don't you?) 
  • PEAKY BLINDERS (CILLIAN MURPHY IS AN ACTING GOD) 

Good luck to all you hopefuls out there! This community is so very powerful. Even if you don't make it, know that you've worked hard...and that good things come to those who WORK HARD and PERSEVERE! <3