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Introducing a new writing tool from the maker of QueryTracker. Learn More...

Success Story Interview - Jamie Gilman Kress

An Interview with Jamie Gilman Kress (LadyChipmunk on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
It's an urban fantasy with a male werewolf protagonist named Aidan. Aidan is magically compelled to work as a wandering troubleshooter for the werewolf community, and he hates it. That is until he meets a teenage mage with problems of her own that shows him the upside to his duties.

I don't know that I was so much as inspired to write it as pestered. Aidan's character just started talking to me and wouldn't shut up.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I've been writing for as long as I can remember, but there were long stretches where I got very little done. It's only in the last five or six years I really buckled down and started doing the work.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
Off and on for five years, but I took long breaks where real life or other projects got in the way.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I actually tried to quit writing at one point. Since I never seemed to want to do it, I decided to give up. It lasted two weeks. I was miserable. So, I decided if I had to do it for my sanity, I'd take it seriously and do it well.
QT: Is this your first book?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
This is my first book.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I have a Bachelor's in creative writing. I've also done a lot of writing workshops, most notably Clarion.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I try. I often fail, but I do try to do two hours of writing in the morning before I do anything else. I find if I wait, chores, friends, etc get in the way and the writing never gets done.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
A lot. The initial draft went through seven revisions. Then Hannah called me, and she liked the book but wanted revisions. I did three drafts of that version.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
Yes. I find outside perspectives crucial for my writing process.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I really wish I outlined. I think it would make the process less painful, but it's just not how I work.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
This is the first book I queried. I started querying in April of 2013, and I accepted Hannah's offer in March of 2014.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
Around 60. My initial query letter was truly terrible, so I wish I'd sent it out to less people.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
I looked at the agents that handled authors I liked in my genre. I also looked at fantasy agents on Querytracker. If the interviews or clients they handled matched up, I gave them a try.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Jamie Gilman Kress:
It is a daunting process, but you can't give up. It really does only take one yes. Also, when agents say they pass on work to others in the agency, they mean it. Hannah got my manuscript from Caitlin Blasdell initially.