Meet The Pitch Week IX Finalists
Matt Fitzpatrick, Crosshairs Dance
As Matt Fitzpatrick steamed through adulthood, he found himself steeped in the American dream. He had a beautiful wife who had a very successful career, and two angelic daughters whom he loved to take boating and float sea shells with, as he is a US Coast Guard licensed sea captain. All on top of having a very successful 24-year career in the investment management industry. To most looking in, he had won the game, but what was missing was his lifelong ambition to be an author. Matt describes the genre of Crosshairs Dance as Boston Grit. The implosion of the traditional Boston underworld creates a vacuum where the players left at the table are scrambling to find new ways to ply their trades. These individuals are seeking not only survival, but the eventual ability to thrive. Their unique advantage, unlike the drones of the rest of the world, is that they are devoid of pesky morals that would get in the way of achieving their desire.
Vanessa Victoria Kilmer, Revena’s Revenge: Not a Pretty Love Story
Vanessa Victoria Kilmer told her first story to an angel who visited her when she was locked in a dark medieval attic for being a precocious four-year-old. She once won one dollar for her creepy Killer Doll story in 140 characters at Tweet the Meat. She grew up surrounded by Dark Age castles, ancient salt mines, and ice caverns in alpine mountains and the drama of Sound of Music landscapes and palaces. She watched her great-grandmother read Tarot cards for women who worshiped daily in Cathedrals built by the Holy Roman Empire. Her fantasy fiction, teeming with murder, magic, and madness, allows her to explore the abuse inflicted by those closest to us and the various ways people deal with the damage, in an effort to exorcise her own demons. Between writing novels, Vanessa blogs, paints, assembles collages, takes pictures with her white camera named Traitor, and makes cloth dolls. She lives in New Jersey (don’t judge) with her husband and father.
Angelique Pesce, American Pastime
American Pastime is a cautionary tale similar to It’s a Wonderful Life about a writer, Adam Weakley, who could sacrifice everything for the American Dream. God narrates on Adam’s baseball field of life … rounding first, second, and third, then heading for home … we watch Adam’s life, past, present, and future, unfold, similar to A Christmas Carol. God and Adam constantly revisit the ephemeral questions, “Why are we here?” “What is love?” The book pays homage to the writer’s process finding a strong beginning, middle, and ending. A writer creates much in the same way God does. Angelique Pesce is the right author for American Pastime because of her unique compassion for the people in America and her commitment to studying the basis for her book, including religion, ethics, literature, government, gender studies, the systems by which we educate our citizens, and the use of science to eliminate world oppression ideologies rather than allowing discovery to add to them, and believing in these studies as a root to understanding world peace and a future world government.
Linda Speckhals, Poetry of the Soul
When Linda Speckhals was younger, her father told her she could be anything she wanted to. Except a poet. Her parents understood her well. She read before she walked; her love of story, one of her salient qualities, developed into a love of language. She finds musicality in words, play in poetry, and sheer joy in the writing process, whether it be story, nonfiction, or even the maligned poetry. In Poetry of the Soul, Claire, a woman in her 30s who has typical dreams of a happy-ever-after, sees those dreams recede into the sunset when her boyfriend of eight years breaks up with her. As Claire starts a new career teaching elementary school, she struggles to understand this new life, to untangle herself from the past and to learn to be honest about the relationship illusions she created. She must figure out who she is since she has been defined by the path society has created for her, believing that there is only one way to reach happiness. She strives to navigate a world that is really designed for couples and families and to cope with the narrative of womanhood.
Sarah Ward, Aesop Lake
Sarah Ward writes Young Adult fiction, poetry, and journal articles in the field of child welfare. Over a 25-year career as a social worker, Sarah has worked with young adults and families with harrowing backgrounds. Her understanding of family dynamics brings her fiction to life. She is not afraid to delve into the darkest corners of a character’s history, bringing true-to-life details and depth to her storytelling. Sarah is the author of the self-published novel, Stone Sisters. She won the 2007 Editor’s Choice Award for the New England Anthology of Poetry for her poem “Warmer Waters.” Her inspiration for writing her current novel, Aesop Lake, came from a local news story about a young man who was bullied for being gay. When her youngest child came out at the age of fourteen and faced issues of gay rights and bullying in rural Vermont Sarah knew that she had to tell this story. Her depth of professional training and experience with youth who have committed crimes and with victims struggling to recover, as well as the personal family experience, makes her the ideal author to tell this story. In her limited spare time, Sarah enjoys a good book, a little yoga and a cup of tea.
Paulette Woolf, UNrevealed
“Do you know what YOUR Secretary-General said this week?” was how Paulette Woolf was normally accosted when she entered her Synagogue on Shabbat morning to attend services. “How can you work for such an anti-Semitic organization?” To be fair, it’s a question she often asked herself during her 20 years at the UN. But answers of this nature are rarely simple. As an orthodox Jew and a child of Holocaust survivors, mother of three and a sixties feminist, believing in what she did for a living caused her conflict and pain. It was difficult to justify to her community and to herself why she continued to support this “sexist, anti-American, anti-Semitic, corrupt organization.” Predictably, the tensions on this tightrope eventually took their toll. Her memoir, UNrevealed, is not an exposé of the UN. Rather, it’s an account of her personal journey – constantly tilting at windmills, first as an outspoken manager in three controversial NYC Mayoral administrations (Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani) and then as the highest ranking Orthodox Jew at the UN. In truth, because of her lack of diplomatic skills, her NYC colleagues predicted she wouldn’t last six months at the UN!