Mentee NameTitle of ManuscriptMentor NameAge CategoryGenre(s)Total word count (approx.)
Manuia HeinrichThe Fifth Warrior of Ana’aHeather L. Powell & Jennifer Griswell YAContemporary Fantasy82000

Eighteen-year-old Sawyer is one date away from getting the ideal life. 
She’s in college, has the coolest best friend, and soon she’ll have the perfect boyfriend, as planned by a very reliable resource—her astrology book. What she doesn’t count on? Three unruly ghosts popping into her world and ruining it all.

After a few too many nights of dealing with her new obnoxious guests, Sawyer decides to scour the second most reliable resource—the Internet—for ways to get rid of them. When her investigation reveals that the ghosts are from Ana’a, her dead mother’s Polynesian island in the Tuamotus, Sawyer reaches an impasse. Her mother Fetia died in childbirth, and since her father never recovered from losing her, Sawyer’s guilt makes her reluctant to pursue the matter further. 

As a last resort, she enlists the help of Noarai, an overconfident guy from Ana’a, thinking he might know the quickest way to ditch the ghosts. Unfortunately, his plan isn’t what Sawyer had hoped for. Claiming that her only choice is to ask Fetia’s spirt for help, Noarai insists that Sawyer travel to Ana’a with him. But crystalline blue waters and sunny beaches aside, Sawyer doesn’t need any reminders that she caused her mother’s death. Worse, Noarai warns that between Fetia and her will stand evil ghosts and ferocious warrior trials. Now Sawyer must decide if she’d rather face it all—guilt and mother’s ghost included—or be haunted forever. 

THE FIFTH WARRIOR OF ANA’A is a 82,000 word YA contemporary fantasy. This ownvoices novel embarks Disney’s Moana on an adventure with mischievous spirits, pairing her with a curse similar to Ghost Squad (C. Ortega), while adding in a slow-burn romance à la Sorcery of Thorns (M. Rogerson). 

I’m doing a PhD in Literature and Cultures of the Pacific in Wellington, New Zealand, and write stories grounded in my Polynesian origins.

Thank you for your consideration. 

Sincerely,

Manuia Heinrich. 

Chapter 1

According to very accurate, very powerful astrology calculations, tonight is the best time to set my Ideal Life Plan in motion.

And boy do I feel it.

The restaurant’s warm light wraps around me like summer. Soft ambiance music flits between the tables, mingling with mouth-watering, spicy scents of cardamom and thyme. I straighten a little in the booth, my reflection in the window looking older and wiser in a high neckline lacey dress. This astrology book is a lifesaver.  

As I wait for my date and future boyfriend, Ben, to arrive, I watch the couple next to me. They champagne-toast, drinking in each other’s eyes. I plop my chin on my fist and sigh through a smile. It’s the planets’ alignment, I know it. Positive energy infuses the brick walls, the satin brown benches, even the painting of a red tiger behind the hostess stand. No doubt the Universe will hand love and success to me on a silver platter tonight. 

A waitress stops before me. “Can I get you anything to drink, Miss?”

My gaze flies to the clock above the red tiger. Ben is not precisely late. I just arrived early. Maybe I should order without him. 

“We have this new cocktail that’s very popular, Cupid’s Potion,” the waitress continues. “I can bring you one and come back for appetizers later.” 

“Yes, thank you,” I tell her. Cupid’s Potion? I sigh contentedly. The Universe.

Through the window, I stare at the city lights soaking up the streets like spilled neon-glow painting. Auckland’s Sky Tower rises like a lighthouse among the glass buildings, shaming the stars. It’s a sight I rarely got to see before, but now things are changing. For the better. 

There’s a damp spot under the glass of my pink cocktail by the time Ben arrives. He’s really late now, but it must have been the traffic. He plummets into the seat, eyes wide, back straight as a boat mast when he says with a mechanical voice, “I’ve been sent to kill you.”

My smile freezes while my brain tries to decide how to react. But then a laugh bursts out of him. 

“It’s a line from my acting lab play,” he says through a charming, crooked smile. “I’m a humanoid hitman. It’s actually why I’m late, I had to learn my script.” 

“Oh.” I dig up a smile. Not traffic then. “You got me there. When is it due?”

“In two weeks.”

Okay… Well, I’m not annoyed or anything. What are—I glance at the clock—thirty-two minutes when homework and a potential career are on the line? If anything, I admire his dedication. When he’s a famous actor in a few years, we’ll laugh about tonight and he’ll say, “It’s a good thing I learned those lines and ran late, now we have this ideal life.” Yes, it is most definitely okay. I brush a strand of my hair aside and take a huge gulp of Cupid’s Poison. I mean Potion.