Friday, November 3, 2017

Pitch Wars Team Interview

And next, we have . . .

Julie Christensen – Mentee

Heather Smith Meloche – Mentor

Kristin Bartley Lenz – Mentor

Julie, why did you choose to submit to Heather and Kristin?
Before submitting to Kristin and Heather, I read the first few chapters of both their books, and their writing styles and plots convinced me that they would be able to help me create a sympathetic character who readers would root for. In fact, I was so hooked by their first chapters that I knew I’d read both books as soon as the contest was over, whether they chose me or not. (I’ve since read their books, Kristen’s THE ART OF HOLDING ON AND LETTING GO and Heather’s RIPPLE.) I also chatted with them about my story on Twitter. When they asked if the story offered all angles of the social political issues, even if it ultimately filtered through the MC’s perspective, I knew they would approach my book with an appreciation for the story’s cultural impact and help me bring it to the next level.
Heather and Kristin, why did you choose Julie?
This book was so relevant and well written with a strong balance of diverse characters and viewpoints that we couldn’t pass it up.
Julie, summarize your book in 3 words.
Alt-Right-Boy Meets World
Heather and Kristin, summarize Julie’s book(s) in 3 words.
Indoctrinated boy enlightened.
Julie, tell us about yourself! What makes you and your MS unique?
The debate over whether the media’s use of the term “alt-right” legitimized white supremacists got me reading about the white power movement. I became sort of obsessed with the alt-right’s attempt to go mainstream by using codes to hide their truths. Since young men seem to be especially at risk for falling into these extremist organizations, I thought it would make a good theme for a YA novel. I spent several months researching alt-right organizations before I started writing. I read newspaper articles, books by people who study hate groups, and interviewed someone at the FBI to learn how they conduct raids. I watched dozens of interviews between alt-right leaders and the press, read the discussion boards on white power sites, and immersed myself in the alt-right presence on Twitter.
I came to realize that followers of the alt-right live in a dystopian world of their own making; they truly believe a worldwide conspiracy is planning the genocide of the white race. That’s why my novel begins like a dystopian one, so we can see the protagonist’s point of view first, and then back out into the real world. My main character, a brilliant but na├»ve teenager, born into a white power family, believes the alt-right rebranding. He doesn’t consider himself a racist, but, influenced by his parents’ goals, he is committed to a white homeland. THE STRAW MAN FALLACY is what happens when a 17-year old with these two conflicting beliefs is forced to leave a bubble he doesn’t realize he’s in.


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