Kathy Bradey (known as kathy_xoxo on QT) has recently signed with agent Suzie Townsend of FinePrint Literary Management. Kathy, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Congratulations and good luck.
QueryTracker: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Kathy Bradey: ICE CAROUSEL is a YA fantasy loosely based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. The inspiration came to me one summer on the way home from the beach when the song "No Air" came on the radio. I thought about how difficult it would be to lose someone you love, then thought, "Well, what if they weren't really lost?"
QT: How long have you been writing?
KB: I've been writing since I was little, but I started to write seriously in about 2007.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
KB: I started writing it in July, 2009.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
KB: All writers feel discouraged from time to time, but I never felt like giving up. I love writing and I like challenges! And I had wonderful writer friends to cheer me up along the way.
QT: Is this your first book?
KB: I'd drafted one book prior to this one. It shall never see the light of day. :)
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
KB: No, unless you count the millions of essays I wrote at university and the two screenwriting classes I took.
QT: Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
KB: I try to write every day, even if it's only a few paragraphs. I usually get all my day job work done by dinnertime, then I sit down and write for a few hours before bed.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
KB: I have no idea. The short answer? Lots.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
KB: YES! They were so generous with their time and wise with their critiques. If you don't have beta readers – find some!
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
KB: I jot down brief chapter outlines, but they always change as I write. I could never write from the hip because I like to know where the story is going and what the "journey" of the MC will be -- before I put finger to keyboard!
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
KB: I started querying at the end of January, 2010.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
KB: I queried close to 60 agents in batches of ten. Funnily enough, my offer of representation came from my dream agent who was from the first batch!
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
KB: Apart from representing my genre and making sales, I was looking for an editorial agent who was open to frequent communication.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
KB: Yes. I read lots of interviews, blogs and agency websites and included a paragraph at the beginning of each query letter.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
KB: Don't be precious about your work. Be open to revisions. Be brave about tearing your manuscript apart and putting it back together. And don't give up!