Chasing my crazy dream in the writing world…

QUITE THE QUERY – Wendy Qualls and WORTH WAITING FOR April 29, 2016








If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!



Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences, but for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.



With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from Wendy Qualls. This great query connected her with her agent, Moe Ferrara.





As long as Paul Dunham stays in the closet, he’s golden: he’s nearly made tenure at his small conservative college, he’s finally gotten away from his controlling ex-boyfriend, and he can focus on just trying to make the best of his lonely bachelor-geek lifestyle.



Then a chance reunion with the gorgeous Brandon Mercer turns into a surprisingly hot more-than-one-night-stand, and things all go to hell. Paul discovers his ex has been stalking him and now has photographic proof that Paul and Brandon have become more than friends – proof he’s threatening to use to out Paul to his conservative family and his homophobic boss. Brandon’s offer to “show him what he’s been missing” also seems to have turned into something distinctly relationship-like, which Paul can’t afford to even dream about.  When Paul’s ex finally follows through with his threat, Brandon is the only defense Paul has against his life falling completely apart. Fortunately, Brandon seems to be willing to stick around for the long haul and – with luck – to help make their own happily ever after.



WORTH WAITING FOR stands alone as a single title, but can also be the first book in my planned “Gay and Geeky” series of similarly-themed romances. I am a member of RWA and this book finaled in [an RWA chapter contest]. I can be reached at [email, Twitter, and phone].




Fun Tidbit:



This took three months and a revision between my initial query and “the call.” Which I was super-excited about, except it turned out “the call” was actually “I really like this but can you revise it a bit more to make Brandon more alpha-male heroic?” I did the revisions, sent the new version to Moe and the handful of other agents who had fulls out, and got an offer from another agent about two days later 🙂 After phone calls with both the other agent and Moe, I agonized over it for a day or so and ultimately decided Moe and I would be a better fit. I officially accepted the offer on my birthday, October 11th. Best birthday present ever 😀





WendyQuallsWendy Qualls was a small­town librarian until she finished reading everything her library had to offer, at which point she put her totally unrelated college degree to use by writing smutty romance novels and wasting time on the internet. She lives in Northern Alabama with her husband, two girls, one dog, and a seasonally fluctuating swarm of unwanted ladybugs. Wendy is represented by Moe Ferrara at BookEnds Literary Agency and can be found on Twitter as @wendyqualls. Her first book will be available from Kensington in the summer of 2017.




W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Kate Watson April 27, 2016







Every writer has their own path to publication. Some are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, caution signs, and for some, serious roundabouts, but what always remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft and their enduring dream to see their work on bookshelves one day.


In bringing you the W.O.W. series, I hope as a writer you will learn that no dream is unfounded. That with time, patience, perseverance, and commitment to your craft, it is possible to cross that finish line and share your story with the world.


Today, I am pleased to share Kate Watson’s path to publication.





Amy: When did you first begin seriously writing with the intent of wanting to be published?


Kate: I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but I started seriously thinking about it in 2009 or 2010. I was a director at a private university, and in the middle of meetings, I would find my mind wandering to people and places that didn’t exist. I knew I was either crazy or I had a story to write. I think it was the latter.



I started writing a YA portal fantasy trilogy and actually wrote all three books. I queried the first before realizing that, although I still think there’s something beautiful there, there was also a lot of ugly. Abandoning that project was the best decision I’ve made since I started writing. In addition to all of the what-not-to-dos I learned from the experience, it taught me that it’s okay to write something, love it, and move on. Not every book has to be The One.





Amy: I love that your debut is a reimaging of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. What inspired you to recreate this classic story?


Kate: I’m a borderline Jane Austen fanatic, and in addition to rereading at least one of her books every year, my bookshelves are filled with retellings and spin-offs of her works. Mansfield Park is rarely retold, yet it’s one of my favorites (they all are, let’s be honest). Aside from the delight I take in Henry Crawford, part of what has always struck me is the modern reaction to the main character, poor, perennially overlooked Fanny Price. Jane Austen’s works nearly all translate wonderfully to modern day, and most of her heroines would be considered strong and exemplary in any era. Mansfield Park stands out as the exception. Fanny’s character and situation are a product of a world we can’t quite relate to, even if we can understand it in theory (although, in fairness, it wasn’t universally loved at the time, either). The result is a book that is often tricky for readers to get behind. During a reread of it a few years ago, I started to wonder what would make sense to a modern audience. SEEKING MANSFIELD was the result of that question.





Amy: I love your background, especially living all over the world. How do you think that experience influenced your writing?


Kate: Living overseas was a humbling and eye-opening experience. There is so much beauty and diversity in the world beyond what we see in our personal bubbles or on TV. It’s like the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy leaves Kansas and suddenly everything is in color. That’s what traveling and living in foreign places has done for me, and it’s certainly influenced my perspective, which I hope has influenced my writing.



There’s something unique about every country—like the land itself has a soul, or maybe it’s the collective soul of the people. I find that the more I’ve traveled even in the States, the more I’ve found the same to be true here, too. Being in Chicago feels different than being in Boston or Miami or Seattle. As soon as I got the idea for SEEKING MANSFIELD—before I’d written a single word—I knew Finley had to be half Brazilian, and I knew the story had to take place in Chicago. Her heritage influences who she is, just as her hometown does.




Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?


Kate: My experience with querying my ill-conceived portal fantasy was exactly what you’d expect: lots of rejections, a handful of requests for partials, none for fulls. I used every resource at hand to make it better, including reading every post from Query Shark and using the Absolute Write forums. I entered a First Five Pages workshop and a few First Page contests and got fantastic feedback. After incorporating all of it, I tried again and got more requests for partials and a couple of fulls, but all ended in rejection. In total, I queried around 40 agents before realizing that I wasn’t confident enough in the project to continue. Fortunately, my experience with SEEKING MANSFIELD was very different.




Amy: How many agents did you query for SEEKING MANSFIELD?


Kate: This will sound unbelievable (and it still is to me). I queried one agent, the amazing Bree Ogden, who represents me now. The timing of my being ready to query coincided perfectly with Pitch Madness (Team Fizzy for life!), and I was fortunate enough to be selected to participate. I had figured that I would start querying if nothing came of it. But a couple of days before it started, I was interacting with a friend on social media who happens to also be friends with Bree. I said something about SEEKING MANSFIELD to my friend, and Bree commented that it sounded delightful. I knew Bree was a big deal in horror and graphic novels, but I looked her up and found that she also represented YA contemp. I read a bunch of her interviews, and the more I read, the more excited I got about her. So I queried her. Just after Pitch Madness ended, I got The Email from her asking for The Call. I was floored! I’d had some agents request fulls from Pitch Madness, but something about Bree just felt different, and after talking to her, I knew I wanted to work with her. Everything about it has felt kismet since day one.





Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?



Kate: For my first book, I received a lot of form rejections and did the math many times on “no response after six weeks means no.” But a handful of the responses were personalized and absolutely invaluable. Agents are almost impossibly busy, so when they took that extra few minutes to give me helpful feedback, I was in awe of that kindness, and I took their feedback very seriously.





Amy: It can be difficult to find an agent who is the right fit for you. How did you know you wanted to work with Bree Ogden?



Kate: You hear it all the time, but she just got me and the book. She knew what I was trying to accomplish with it, and she loves the classics as much as I do. My writing style is influenced by the classics and the fantasy novels I grew up on, which means I tend to be a bit wordy (okay, a lot wordy) and to want to world build more than is necessary for a high school setting, for instance (turns out readers don’t typically need to know what is carved on the back of every single bathroom stall, but does that stop me? Nope.). Bree was able to see past all the extraneous words and scenes to what I was trying to do. Her feedback made me so excited, I knew I needed her vision to help me make the book shine.




Amy: What one piece of writing advice did you receive early on in your career that you still use today?



Kate: Writers write. It may not sound like advice so much as a mantra, but however you see it, it is a constant reminder that if I want to make this a career instead of a flash in a pan, I have to write. Not chill on Twitter or catch up on all the shows on my DVR, but write. It’s also an empowering statement. Being a writer doesn’t mean you’re published or a NYT bestseller, regardless of what your friends and family think. It means that despite all of the other things you could be doing with your time that would, frankly, make life a lot simpler, you choose to write.





Amy: Writing can be a difficult experience at times. Was there ever a time you wanted to give up? If so, what inspired you to keep writing?



Kate: When I started writing seriously, I was going through a lot of difficult things personally, and writing became my escape from it all. I found that whenever real life got hard, my thoughts turned more and more to my writing, and it was like shelter from a storm. Then I became a mom, and writing became a cute dream I had when I was sneaking naps or, when I returned to work, during meetings again. At the end of every workday, though, I realized my thoughts had been on two things all day, neither of which were my job: my daughter and my WIP. I decided to stay home in 2013 to focus on my family and my writing. I’m happy to say I haven’t looked back.





Kate_WatsonLike every little girl, Kate Watson dreamed of studying philosophy in college and being a director at a private university one day. Then she grew up, became a wife and mother, and realized she should do the responsible thing and write for a living.


Born and raised in a village in Alberta, Canada, she has lived in Utah, Israel, South Carolina, Brazil, and now calls Phoenix home. Her husband and two children are the loves of her life. Her novel, SEEKING MANSFIELD, debuts in Spring 2017 with JFP.


You can find Kate at, and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads.


Monday Musings: On Advocacy April 25, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 9:48 am
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For the most part I try very hard to keep my private life separate from my writing life here on my blog. Every once in a while though, something comes up in my private life that intersects with writing and I know I need to share it here.



Over the last ten days I’ve spent countless hours sitting in a hospital room with a sick family member. This was a new, and quite honestly, very frightening experience. What started out as a routine procedure, went downhill quickly, and I was sorely ill-prepared for the aftermath. The decisions. The gut-wrenching worry. The pure terror of not knowing what was going to happen next.




As I was going through this process day-after-day, one thing became very clear: my siblings and I would have to become fierce advocates for our family member. Doctors constantly waffled about how to handle the case, and there was no continuity of nursing care, which was extremely frustrating.



Like bulldogs, my siblings and I spoke up to hospital staff regularly, trying to get care updates. Volleying questions at doctors about medicine, procedures, and long-term outcomes. I’m sure after about the third day, most of the ICU shuddered when my siblings and I appeared, but we weren’t leaving, and we weren’t going to stop asking questions.



While sitting in the waiting room for what felt like the millionth hour, I thought about advocacy. How important it was in hospital care, but how it also plays a major role in your writing career.



When you decide to query you choose your own path. Select who you want to see your work. It cannot be a throw-everything-and-anything-out-there approach and see what sticks. It needs to be smart. Methodical. A clear picture of who would be the right fit for you. At that starting point in the publishing process, you need to start advocating for not only yourself, but your craft.



This concept holds true for the what may become the next step: an R&R. Do the changes the agent is asking for make sense for your story? Do they make it a richer read, or are you compromising the integrity of your original idea?  Again, you need to make serious choices about what is right for your art. Advocate for your own story, and not turn it into something you don’t believe in just for the sake of landing an agent.



Advocacy will continue beyond this stage. When you do have an agent, even more changes will need to be made. If the edits/revisions make sense, then move forward. But if something does not sit right with you, defend your writing choices.



The need to listen to your gut doesn’t end there. Choices will need to be made during submission too. Are you willing to make revisions, if your book doesn’t sell? Make changes if an editor asks for an R&R? And what if you know of a perfect editor for your book, but it’s not on the sub list? Then your role is to speak up. Share the thought with your agent. Have an open conversation about who you think would be a good fit for your story. Your agent will have a plan, but you must advocate for what you think is right for your story as well.



This process will continue when you work with an editor. Changes will be requested, and you again will need to speak up for your work if the revisions don’t make sense for your vision of the story.



I’m happy to say my family member is finally on the mend. It was a harrowing week and a half, but I deeply feel that we are only to this point because my family stayed strong, and spoke up for what we felt was right.



I hope as writers you will do the same for your craft. Don’t settle. Don’t give in because you think you won’t achieve your dream any other way. You’ve put your heart and soul into your work, and you need to advocate for it in the same fierce way.





QUITE THE QUERY – Michael Mammay and PLANETSIDE April 15, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Publishing,Query,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 6:53 am
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If you ask any writer about the process of connecting with their agent (or publisher), the majority will say the most difficult part was querying. Not only the actual process of sending out the letters/emails, but formulating the query itself. In fact, I’ve heard more than a few authors say writing their query took them almost as long as drafting their book!



Some people have the talent of being able to summarize their book in a few sentences, but for those who don’t, I wanted to provide a resource so writers could learn what works, and what doesn’t, in a query.



With that in mind, I’m pleased to share today’s successful query from Michael Mammay. This great query connected him with his agent, Lisa Rodgers.




Colonel Carl Butler has won battles throughout the galaxy, but now rides out the end of his career at a desk with a bottle of whiskey in the drawer. When an old friend and boss calls with one last mission, Carl finds himself flying across the galaxy into the Cappan war zone in search of a politician’s missing son. 



He reaches the military base orbiting the planet Cappa, but before he can even start his investigation someone tampers with critical surveillance data in a secure network and a key witness disappears. The career-oriented base commander seems more interested in damage control than helping out, and everyone Butler questions repeats the same rehearsed lies. When a superhuman assailant tries to end Carl’s investigation for good, the evidence points toward his supposed allies. 



Butler’s boss pushes for a quick conclusion to the investigation, and with no leads the missing person, Butler leads a group of soldiers into the war zone planetside to find answers. There, Carl must risk his life to uncover a genetic conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy. 



PLANETSIDE is an adult Science Fiction novel complete at 81,000 words. This is a stand-alone work with the potential for other books set in the same world.




Fun Tidbit:



Queries sent: 32
Requests: 5
Upgrades to full: 4
Offers of Rep: 2



I started querying on November 5th and accepted representation on March 1st.



Fun Fact: I got my offer within 24 hours of one of my long time CPs (Becka Enzor) getting her offer (different agents), so we were able to go through the whole offer process together.



Michael Mammay currently serves as an active duty army officer. In his spare time he writes Science Fiction and Fantasy, usually with military influences. He is represented by Lisa Rodgers of JABberwocky Literary. You can follow him on twitter @michaelmammay




W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Lauren Karcz April 13, 2016







Every writer has their own path to publication. Some are long and winding. Others are a straight shot. No matter the tale, the journey always involves ups and downs, peaks and valleys, but what remains is the writer’s commitment to their craft, and their enduring dream to see their work on bookshelves one day.


In bringing you this series, I hope as a writer you will learn that no dream is unfounded. That with time, patience, perseverance, and commitment to your craft, it is possible to cross that finish line and share your story with the world!


Today, I am pleased to share Lauren Karcz’s path to publication.




Amy: At what age did you truly know you wanted to be a writer?


Lauren: I have a very clear memory of being in Kindergarten and imagining myself as the author of a coloring book about my life. I think that was my moment of realizing that there were people behind the books – and coloring books – I loved, and some inkling that I could be one of those people, too.


In second grade, we had a designated Creative Writing Day every month. We were given a writing prompt and several quiet hours to work on a story related to that prompt. That was such a gift. At some point, it hit me that I didn’t have to wait for Creative Writing Day to work on a story. My mom bought me a spiral notebook with Care Bears on the cover and I started filling it with little bits of fiction. I couldn’t imagine ever not loving the writing process; I knew I wanted it to be a constant part of my life.





Amy: When did you complete your first manuscript?


Lauren: Ahh, that’s hard to say! How old of a person and how serious of a writer does one have to be before one has a manuscript rather than a long piece of fiction? I guess I’ll go way back once again and give Young Lauren some credit. About halfway through fifth grade, I decided I was going to write a novel, and have it finished by the last day of the school year. And you know what? I did it. I stayed up late the night before the last day of school, but I wrote “The End” and I was so proud. The novel was about a ten-year-old girl and her six sisters living in New York City. I wrote it on a stack of notebook paper fastened into one of those Mead folders with brads. 166 pages – I’ll never forget that number.


And the best thing was, since I’d written one novel, I knew I could do it again. I kept this up throughout middle school and into high school: starting a story, giving myself a deadline, finishing it, and then sharing the manuscript with friends. I wish I had stayed that disciplined into college and adulthood. The Internet appeared in my life in early high school and destroyed a lot of my good writing habits! I had to reteach myself basic writing stamina and will power in my 20s. I was so thankful to find NaNoWriMo in 2001 – it helped me get back to writing fiction regularly, and around 2006 I was finally able to write “the end” on a YA manuscript.





Amy: How many completed manuscripts did you query before one garnered agent interest?


Lauren: I had this thing – a contemporary YA manuscript – I wrote and trashed and rewrote for years. It was perpetually “almost ready to query.” Every year I’d go to the same SCBWI conference and see acquaintances who’d ask about my progress, and after a while it was embarrassing to be at the same “not quite ready” stage with this manuscript. I realized that I was addicted to the manuscript’s potential, and to my own potential, which itself was a symptom of my fairly paralyzing dual fears of failure and success.


All this to say, a friend made a bet with me to send out some queries for that manuscript. I did it to symbolically put it to rest. I sent fewer than five overlong query letters. Nothing resulted from them, which was a relief. I finally put the manuscript aside. I was back to the blank page.


I should say that up to this point, I had been an obsessive reader of what we’ll call The Publishing Internet. I had been reading all the agent and editor blogs for years. I followed numerous writers and publishing people on Twitter. I read the deal announcements every week. I tried to file all that knowledge away as “writing research,” but publishing stuff really needs to go somewhere else. Like, if your brain was a town, then writing thoughts should be in a cozy house and publishing thoughts should be in a mall down the highway. Anyway, the biggest thing I did toward writing my debut was to completely shut off  The Publishing Internet. I drafted for six months without reading a word of publishing news or gossip. Once I returned, I was actively revising my novel, and The Publishing Internet was actually of relevance to me. When I queried that novel, it was out of confidence and hope rather than capitulation and exhaustion. And it did get me an agent!  (And eventually, a book deal!)





Amy: Are you one of those people who has an easy time writing a query or does it take several tries before you land on the one you want to send?


Lauren: By the time I was ready to query THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS, I had been reading stuff about crafting queries and pitches for over eight years (save for those delightful six months when I took a break). I had pretty well internalized the structure and feel of query letters by that point, so my first query drafts weren’t too dire. It wasn’t too long before I had a query I was happy with. The hardest part was hitting send!





Amy: Can you give us a short summary of your call with your agent, Victoria Marini? How did you know she was the right fit for you?


Lauren: I was thrilled when Victoria requested a phone call with me to talk about THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS. I felt like our literary tastes were very similar, and I’d had a good feeling when querying her that the manuscript would be up her alley. Several of the characters in the manuscript, including the protagonist, I’ve been writing about since I was in middle school, so it was pretty surreal to be talking about those characters in a professional context. I loved that she loved the characters, and also that she had some great revision ideas for the manuscript.


I also loved when she told me she’d stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish reading it! In all the hundreds of “how I got my agent” stories I’d read over the years, that was always one of my favorite things about other people’s agent stories – that thrill when realizing they’d hooked a publishing professional with their manuscript! I was just like, wow… now that’s part of my writing story, too.





Amy: The writing process is grueling and querying even more difficult. What one piece of advice can you impart to aspiring writers to encourage them to keep working towards their dream?


Lauren: Be kind to yourself – in whatever form that takes. The publishing industry will magnify all of your best and worst qualities, and will give you endless things to obsess about. Find ways to be kind to yourself and practice them often.





laurenKLauren Karcz is the author of the upcoming THE GALLERY OF UNFINISHED GIRLS (HarperTeen, 2017). By day, she works in the linguistics world, which has given her an unholy fascination with the grammar of various languages. By night, she listens to Broadway cast albums and writes young adult fiction. Lauren lives with her family in Atlanta, Georgia. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkarcz.


Monday Musings: Thoughts on Blogging April 11, 2016

Filed under: Blog,Writers Resources,writing craft — chasingthecrazies @ 8:24 am
Tags: , ,



The most frequent thing I get asked about on this blog is how did I get started?  I wish I had some grand, amazing story to share, but I pretty much started blindly. I knew I wanted to up my social media profile because I was just beginning to query, and blogging seemed a great way to achieve that goal.


At first I only published sporadically. I was very hesitant about what I wanted to share and was still learning how to work with WordPress. Slowly but surely after about six months of posts, I got into a rhythm and have been going strong ever since.


I know starting a blog can be a daunting task, so here are my top 10 hints that will hopefully take some of the fear and worry out of starting your own:



  • Pick a topic you feel comfortable talking about on a regular basis.


  • Select days when you’re going to publish and be faithful about posting on those days. This helps drive your views and subscribers.


  • Read other blogs similar to yours. Learn what works and what doesn’t.


  • Comment on other blogs. Many times those folks will come and check out your blog too.


  • Be authentic. Share who you really are and what you hope to accomplish with the blog.


  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people in your niche area and ask them to guest post. Many times they will want to contribute because it helps with their own exposure.


  • When you approach someone for an interview ALWAYS be professional. State clearly why you are contacting them, what you are requesting, and offer a proposed deadline.


  • Leave your posts open-ended. Ask for feedback or comments. This is important because it helps connect you to your readers. My rule of thumb is to always try and reply to the comments as they come in. If someone takes the time to share their thoughts, you should acknowledge them.


  • Use social media to help promote your posts. Not only do I use Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook, but I also promote my posts via AgentQuery Connect. With my series like Quite The Query or Writer Odyssey Wednesday (W.O.W.), I ask the participating writers to signal boost via their own social media platforms as well.


  • Last, but NOT least-don’t stress! Have fun with your posts. Try new things. Force yourself outside your comfort zone. You will find the process very rewarding!



If you’re thinking about starting your own blog but still have questions, I’m always happy to talk to you. Shoot me a note in the comments and I will get back to you.



W.O.W. – Writer Odyssey Wednesday with Rosalyn Eves April 6, 2016





Today I’m proud to share the writing journey of Rosalyn Eves. What I love most about Rosalyn’s story is her experience with Brenda Drake’s Pitch Wars and how that helped her tighten up her manuscript for querying. Writing can be a very solitary pursuit, but opportunities like Pitch Wars allows you to not only connect with the writing community, but to use other writer resources to polish your work.


Many thanks to Rosalyn for sharing her journey today…





Amy: When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?



Rosalyn: When I was in fifth grade, our teacher had us write in journals every day. Some days I would stay inside from recess (nerdy, I know!) to write very bad poetry or snippets of stories. My teacher said I ought to be a writer–it was the first time I’d thought about it, and I loved the idea. Of course, my journey to actually being a writer involved several long detours, from graduate school to parenthood.





Amy: What inspires you to write Young Adult fiction?



Rosalyn: I’ve always enjoyed reading Young Adult fiction, but I think what I love about the genre (and the age) is the expansive feeling of possibility–you can be anything, do anything! That, and the intense yearning that drove so much of my adolescence. I think that need to experience things really helps drive characters in YA fiction, and I love it.






Amy: I love the premise for THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION. Can you share how the story idea came to you?



Rosalyn: Like most of my story ideas, it evolved gradually and involves a mash-up of other ideas. I was initially drawn to the idea of a character who was an anti-savior–that is, far from someone who possesses unusual power to save their world, someone who, in fact, had NO power in a world where most of her peers do. That was the start of Anna, and I think that feeling–of being outside a society or group you desperately want to belong to–is one that a lot of teens (and adults) resonate with. I also knew I wanted Anna to be a strong character–but strong in a way that was also in keeping with conventional expectations for women in her era. Much as I love reading about kick-ass heroines, I’m far from one myself, and I wanted to write about someone who could be strong without having to necessarily be physically strong.



Then, too, I’d lived in Hungary for a while and had fallen in love with the culture and the landscape and the people and it was a setting I haven’t seen much in YA fiction (or adult, for that matter). So I did a little more research and settled on a historical era when Hungary was in a lot of turmoil (1847-48) and the story itself was born. Of course, it went through a lot more revision and research to settle in the form it is today.






Amy: Did your first query for THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION  come easy or did it go through many rewrites/edits?



Rosalyn: The query went through a few drafts and feedback from critique partners before I was happy with it. Then I got into Pitch Wars and my mentor also helped me revise the query before I sent it out widely. Though it took me a while to get wording I liked, the shape of the query wasn’t too arduous. I think that’s because, prior to querying, I’d been trying to review most of the books I read (particulary the ones I loved) and focused on trying to describe the plot succinctly. When it came to querying, that practice actually helped me figure out how to capture the heart of the story in a couple of paragraphs.






Amy: How laborious/frustrating was the query process for you?



Rosalyn: Querying wasn’t quite what I’d expected: previously I’d queried a contemporary middle grade for over a year in various iterations before shelving it, so when I started querying, I figured it was going to take a while. But I’d only sent out half a dozen queries or so before I got into Pitch Wars, so I stopped querying and settled into an intense period of revision with my mentor, Virginia Boecker. Her feedback led me to gut nearly a third of the story (the pacing was terrible) and rewrite it. I think that made a huge difference. (Incidentally, I’m a BIG fan of Pitch Wars!) I ended up with over a dozen requests from Pitch Wars. I also had a few requests from a contest at Adventures in YA Publishing before Pitch Wars, so when I started querying again a few days after Pitch Wars, I was fairly confident in my pitch and first pages and sent out a bunch of queries at once.






Amy: How many agents did you query for THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION?



Rosalyn: Between Pitch Wars and Adventures in YA Publishing and a couple of other contests, I had about twenty requests. Outside of that, I sent another thirty or so queries.





Amy: Did you receive instantaneous response or did you have to wait for the requests/rejections?



Rosalyn: I had responses pretty quickly, I think because many of the agents reading knew that other agents had my manuscript from Pitch Wars. I started getting responses within a week or so–I had an agent call without warning to offer a revise and resubmit about ten days after Pitch Wars, which was terrifying, and my first offer a few days later. After a few more offers and many more rejections, I signed with Josh Adams of Adams literary.






Amy: What was your call like with your agent, Josh Adams? How did you know he was the right fit for you?



Rosalyn: Deciding which agent to go with was much harder than I had anticipated. As writers, we get so used to dealing with rejection that it’s hard to be the one dishing it out–especially to someone who loves your book and who has gushed to you about it over the phone! (Josh, however, does not gush–he’s very mellow. Luckily, one of my writer friends had told me this beforehand.) All the offering agents were lovely, and I could have been happy with any of them. I think the tipping point was partly Josh’s reputation selling YA, and also the fact that he had represented a good friend of mine through several failed submissions without ever giving up on her or her books. I wanted that kind of support for my story.







Amy: What one thing are you looking forward to most as a debut author?



Rosalyn: My first fan letter (assuming I get one!). I know how influential books were to me as a teen–how important they still are–and the idea that something in my head could have that kind of impact on someone who is not related to me floors me.





Amy: If you were doing a book signing and you met a writer who was about to give up on their publishing dream, what would you say to them?



Rosalyn: This is a hard question. I think sometimes there *are* legitimate reasons to take a break from writing–for life stuff, for mental health, etc. I still remember a publishing workshop several years ago with picture book author Rick Walton, where he said his advice is typically: “If you want to quit, do it. If you *can’t* quit, keep writing.” I think his point was a good one: writing is a hard business. If you’re in it because you want to make money (hah!) or be famous, that’s probably not motivation that can or should sustain you for the long haul. But if you’re writing because you can’t not write, because putting words on paper makes something inside you sing, because creating itself is a maddening and marvelous thing, then keep writing. Take a break from trying to *publish* if you have to, to rediscover the joy in writing for yourself, but keep writing. There are stories only you can tell, and those stories matter.




reves swanky seventeenRosalyn Eves grew up in the Rocky Mountains, dividing her time between reading books and bossing her siblings into performing her dramatic scripts. As an adult, the telling and reading of stories is still one of her favorite things to do. When she’s not reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her chemistry professor husband and three children, watching British period pieces, or hiking through the splendid landscape of southern Utah, where she lives. She dislikes housework on principle.


Her first novel, THE BLOOD ROSE REBELLION, first in a YA historical fantasy trilogy, debuts Spring 2017 from Knopf/Random House. You can find her on her website (, Twitter (, Facebook ( and Pinterest (


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