Success Story Interview - Adina Glickman

An Interview with Adina Glickman (adinaglickman on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Paula Weiman of ASH Literary.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Adina Glickman:
The Girl Who Talks To Flowers is about 10-year-old Bumble, who has always thought it was her fault her mom died when she was two and her dad took off before she was born. When the flowers in Grampa’s greenhouse start talking to her about her feelings, she’ll have to learn from these magical plants about how plants work through adversity and loss, or she’ll never be free of the guilt she’s carried her since losing her mother.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Adina Glickman:
Fiction, a little over a year. Non-fiction, decades.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Adina Glickman:
I wrote it in three weeks and then made revisions for about a month.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Adina Glickman:
Nope. I love writing, I love re-writing, and I know I'm writing something only I can write.
QT: Is this your first book?
Adina Glickman:
I am a co-author in non-fiction from about 20 years ago. This is my second novel but the first one didn't yield an offer.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Adina Glickman:
Nope. I think reading is the best training a writer can get.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Adina Glickman:
No, but I do better if I can use the early morning to write. I run out of steam after about three hours. I can usually edit and revise later in the day but new stuff needs the morning.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Adina Glickman:
I edit as I go, and then I revise based on feedback from others.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Adina Glickman:
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Adina Glickman:
No outline. I ask the characters to tell me their story and it unfolds. When I re-read and am not satisfied with what I see, I put myself into the character's head and look for what's real or what's not been said yet.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Adina Glickman:
I ran it up the flagpole June, 2023 but then in earnest in October, 2023. I withdrew it briefly to re-work the first three chapters and then got an offer almost immediately.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Adina Glickman:
About 50
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Adina Glickman:
Their MSWL notes and if their bio reveals something pertinent about them.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Adina Glickman:
Yes, I always reference whatever specifics I can that prompted the query. For example, "Your MSWL note about seeking authors who take on heavy subjects with a light touch prompts my query."
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Adina Glickman:
Don't buy into the bummer consensus reality that the process is arduous. There's room for all of us. Have fun with it. Get excited about querying as you imagine an agent reading your delightful letter! Believe that just like you're looking for That One Agent, they're looking for you.

Also, hire a professional editor to give you honest feedback on not just your manuscript, but your query letter, synopsis, one-sentence pitch, and one-paragraph pitch.

The best editorial advice I got was from an agent critique, a paid add-on to an SCBWI conference I attended.

Something no one told me: Everyone says the first sentence is the hook, and that's true. But since the standard submission is about ten pages or three chapters, certain things have to happen within those pages. For example, by the end of the first page, it's good to have a scene or dialog take place. By the end of the first chapter, the conflict has to be suggested or shown. By the end of the second chapter, important characters need to show up.

Query Letter:

I am seeking representation for a voice-driven MG novel, THE GIRL WHO TALKS TO FLOWERS, complete at 32,000 words. Fans of Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan, and Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly will enjoy our spunky, flawed protagonist navigating her adopted family’s quirks while trying to understand why she can hear plants talking.

Bumble is in the fifth grade, and has always thought it was her fault her mom died when she was two and her dad took off before she was born. As a result, she's super vigilant about never being a burden to Grampa. But one day, she gets in trouble doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. Things go even more sideways when the flowers in Grampa's greenhouse start talking to her. To undo the damage she's done and heal the ache she feels for a mother she barely remembers, she'll need to learn from these magical flowers about how plants work through adversity and loss. If she doesn't, she'll never be free of the guilt she's carried since losing her mom.

I am a self-taught horticulturist who tends several acres of native and cultivated gardens. Before becoming a full-time writer, I spent thirty years as an academic, parenting and life coach (at Stanford University and later running my own business). My essays have been published in several publications, including where I currently pen the “Dear Adina” advice column.

In addition to this and my other MG novel, I have written a collection of picture/early reader books about an eight-year-old who is not deterred by weather when visiting her garden.

Thanks so much for considering my work.