Success Story Interview - Angelique Addo

An Interview with Angelique Addo (AngeliqueAddo on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Anne Tibbets of Donald Maass Literary Agency.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Angelique Addo:
The book that I've found representation for is called OF BLOOD AND ROSES, and it's dark YA Fantasy that follows my main character Draxler's Druen through the trials and tribulations of underground fantastical fighting pit and his struggle to survive. I think that I was inspired to write this book because I wanted to be part of the movement in fantasy that had more casual diversity in novels, what with Draxler being mixed raced and being in an interracial relationship in the novel.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Angelique Addo:
I have been writing since I was about six years old, so for about eleven years now. When I was fourteen I got really serious about my writing, and I knew then that I wanted to be a published writer someday and not just write for fun.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Angelique Addo:
I've been working on this book for about three years now.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Angelique Addo:
There were a couple times I felt like giving up on this particular story, but I always ended up staying my course because I loved the characters and the world that I had created here, and even when things did get super difficult, I didn't want to give up on them. I felt like I owed it to myself to see this book through to the end, and make sure that it was on the shelves for other people to read someday.
QT: Is this your first book?
Angelique Addo:
This is my very first novel.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Angelique Addo:
Not at all. I think that experience truly is the best teacher when it comes to writing though.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Angelique Addo:
I don't follow a set routine or schedule, but I do try to write early in the mornings sometimes before school starts if I have time, and I usually like to get at least 1, 000 words done per day.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Angelique Addo:
I have rewritten this book three times, and edited it numerous times besides. Right now, I am completing some of the last edits before sending it off for editors to look at.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Angelique Addo:
I did outline this book very much, although I kept changing the outline! I can't write from the hip. I have no idea how people manage to complete a coherent book like that.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Angelique Addo:
I've been querying for this book for about a year and two months now.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Angelique Addo:
I sent out over 50 query letters for this book.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Angelique Addo:
I did tailor each query to the specific agent, and I did it based on their personal preferences and if their interests tended to align to mine.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Angelique Addo:
I would say rewrite, rewrite, rewrite. I'm talking about your query letter and portions of the book itself. I feel like my biggest mistake was querying a bit too early. I should have waited and had more people read the book and edit it before sending it off to agents, because you don't want to burn out any bridges before they have had a chance to see your best work.

Query Letter:

Dear Agent,

For Draxler Druen, the Vesperian Pits is more than just an underground fighting pit—it's a hell of the war god Vesper's own making, designed to turn even the most innocent of boys into hardened killers.

There is no mercy in the Pits. Just death. And for the past five years, that is all Draxler has ever known. But then his friend Grant Petruchio is convicted of the crime of attacking an honored Guild Head, and Draxler must watch in horror as his trial quickly turns into an execution. He is desperate to save Grant's life, even though he knows that trying to save anyone else will only ever get you killed, or worse—turn you into the monster that you've always feared becoming.

His greatest fear comes to pass when he is forced to whip Grant half to death and the Lord Elder Rose refuses to let him pay the blood price. But the reason that the Lord Elder Rose refused to let him die in Grant's place is more shocking still; he is to marry the Elder's daughter Amber Rose—childhood friend, boyhood crush, more beautiful than the goddess herself.

The curse that has been Draxler's life ever since his father's death turns into a blessing when he is finally able to see the world Above again, the world that he had forgotten amidst the Pits' dark, stone wrought depths.

But there is a price. There is always a price. And for Draxler, it is called the Vesperian deathmatches. Kill for the girl he loves or die for the boy he grew up with. And no matter what Draxler does, he knows that he cannot save them both.

OF BLOOD AND ROSES, complete at 90,000 words, is a work of young adult fantasy. It covers similar territory to works such as Kendare Blake's "Three Dark Crowns", Kristin Cashore's "Graceling" and more recently Tomi Adeyemi's "Children Of Blood and Bone".


Best Regards,

Angelique Addo