Success Story Interview - Christopher Mannino

An Interview with Christopher Mannino (ChrisMannino on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Ramona Pina of BookEnds, LLC.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Christopher Mannino:
This was an odd process. I left my former agent a month ago, and reached out to Ramona based on her interest in fantasy similar to what I write. I queried my adult fantasy THE WOMAN WITH GLASS FINGERS, which is a literary low fantasy that's roughly American Gods meets The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. I've been writing fantasy stories for a long time, but wanted to try something based more in our world. However, shortly after querying Ramona I was offered a publishing contract on a completely separate project, a parenting book I'd pitched some presses called MAKING IT UP: A REVOLUTIONARY WAY TO BOND WITH KIDS THROUGH PLAY. This concept-driven book teaches parents and caregivers how to connect with kids through improv theatre skills and was largely inspired by my own teaching background and my children. I pinged Ramona with that news and she ended up offering for both.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Christopher Mannino:
I've been writing since I could hold a pencil. I've been pursuing publishing seriously for twelve years.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Christopher Mannino:
THE WOMAN WITH GLASS FINGERS took about 9 months. It's a complex book, but I enjoyed writing it.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Christopher Mannino:
Absolutely! Leaving my previous agent was a tough choice, and honestly one of those times I was ready to quit. I felt stagnant. Yet, my writing groups and friends really encouraged me to keep trying. My wife is my biggest cheerleader of all, there's no way I would've made it this far without her.
QT: Is this your first book?
Christopher Mannino:
These two projects are my 30th and 31st books.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Christopher Mannino:
Yes. I write mostly at nights, but as I'm always working on more than one wip, I delineate certain days for certain projects. So MWF on one WIP, Tuesday and Thursday on another, for example.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Christopher Mannino:
Absolutely, even for my parenting proposal, which was an entirely new genre, I made sure to have a team of readers before sending it out.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Christopher Mannino:
I always outline first.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Christopher Mannino:
I only spent a month in the query trenches since leaving my agent. This is not the norm, I know!
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Christopher Mannino:
Since I was querying my fantasy primarily I wanted to pitch agents who repped my genre, but also agents who'd made some recent sales, and agents who were open to other genres.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Christopher Mannino:
As they say in GalaxyQuest: Never give up, never surrender! Perseverance is one key difference between success and failure in this business.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Christopher Mannino:
Sure! Here was my query:

Query Letter:

Dear Ramona,

A desperate detective enters a dark world of lies and betrayals, hoping to free his sister from a nightclub of the gods.

THE WOMAN WITH GLASS FINGERS is an 84,000-word upmarket dark fantasy novel. The god-entangled romance of N.K. Jemesin's The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms meets the self-discovery amid magic in Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. On your MSWL you mention seeking projects with a Pan's Labyrinth vibe, and that is the exact vibe I was going for.

A year ago, everything changed when Nathaniel Glazier's sister Tori vanished from her home in New Jersey. Eager to heal his own fractured past, Nate searches for clues. He's pulled from the reality he knows when the trickster god Eso admits kidnapping Tori. Nate is invited to the Unsung, a hellish nightclub of gods and mortals, hoping to save her. But Eso will not release Tori, his new toy.

Alternating between present and past, Nate struggles with his history and his complex relationship to Jane, a goddess with glass hands. Like Tori, Jane is a prisoner of Eso, held in the Unsung. Nate loves Jane, but fears her as well. Can Nate and Jane trick the Trickster when gods play by their own deadly rules? And can he trust Jane, when she herself is a creature of mysteries? Tori's life and freedom hang in the balance.

I have been writing for 12 years and have four released novels, including the Scythe Wielder's Secret trilogy. I lead four writing groups, including 200 writers, and I am one of Business Insider's most-read freelance writers with over 4.5 million readers across my articles there. I am an extremely prolific writer, and have over a dozen publisher-ready books. The first five pages of this book follow below.

I look forward to hearing from you,


Christopher Mannino