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Success Story Interview - Amanda Bonilla

An Interview with Amanda Bonilla (abonilla on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Natanya Wheeler of Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

03/31/2010

QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Amanda Bonilla:
My book, Shaedes of Gray, is an adult urban fantasy. The inspiration came from a single sentence, a snarky first person voice, and a rainy day. I ran with it. I wanted to write about an unapologetic, hard as nails heroine and I had the most fun ever writing her!
QT: How long have you been writing?
Amanda Bonilla:
On and off since I was eighteen. But I started writing seriously about two years ago.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Amanda Bonilla:
I started Shaedes in May of 2009.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Amanda Bonilla:
I was pretty close this winter. I'd had a disheartening experience with a submission and it was pretty hard on me. But I've never really thought of giving it up. Even when I try not to write I find myself sitting at my computer. It's a compulsion!
QT: Is this your first book?
Amanda Bonilla:
This is my third completed book, but only the second that I've queried.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Amanda Bonilla:
Nope. I just love words and I have an overactive imagination!
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Amanda Bonilla:
I write when I'm inspired. I can be cooking or cleaning and think of an idea, throw down a couple hundred words and go back to whatever I was doing. Other times, I'll sit at the computer all day and write.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Amanda Bonilla:
I've done about five minor revisions, and one major revision this January after receiving some agent feed-back.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Amanda Bonilla:
I had several. A group of critique partners and friends who simply read the book for content and flow.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Amanda Bonilla:
I'm a horrible outliner! I just can't do it. I'm a “from the hip” writer all the way. I don't know what's going to happen until my characters do. Sometimes I even surprise myself!
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Amanda Bonilla:
I started querying this book in September of 2009. I had queried my previous book for a year.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Amanda Bonilla:
I sent 118 queries out for this book. Out of those 118, I still have about 45 open queries that I haven't heard back on.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Amanda Bonilla:
I researched quite a bit before querying this book. I made sure to visit each individual agent's website and confirmed they represented my genre before querying them.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Amanda Bonilla:
I actually started off tailoring my query to specific agents, but ended up sending out a rather generic query letter.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Amanda Bonilla:
DON'T GIVE UP!!! If you want it bad enough, you'll get it. My daughter has a poster in her room that reads, “Luck Follows the Persistent” and I stand by that!
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Amanda Bonilla:
Sure! Here you go:

Query Letter:

Dear Ms. Wheeler,

I was pleased to read on the QueryTracker website that you are accepting submissions. I am seeking representation for my urban fantasy, SHAEDES OF GRAY which is complete at 80,000 words.

For a century Darian has existed in a realm of darkness. Made and abandoned, she is a Shaede, virtually immortal with the ability to blend with the shadows once the sun sets. An assassin by trade, she spends her nights as a hired hand, meting out death for the highest bidder. She's alone in the world, the last of her kind, merely existing—or so she thinks.

When her infatuated employer, Tyler, sends her out on a routine hit, Darian discovers that her new mark is not only another Shaede, but Alexander Peck, King of the Shaede Nation. Her not-so-chance meeting with Alexander takes her deep into the realm of who—and what—she really is. Only when she puts her life in his hands does the supernatural world unfold around her, revealing that she is not as alone as she once thought. Under the tutelage of Alexander's fiercest warrior, she prepares to find and kill the man who set her adrift in the world of humans.

But with that quest comes danger. Not even Tyler , revealed as her unearthly protector, can save her once she crosses into their dark realm to face the truth. As her role in awakening an ancient evil is revealed, she must face who she was, who she is, and what she could become.

As per your guidelines, I have pasted the first chapter below. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Amanda Bonilla