Success Story Interview - Jules Devito

An Interview with Jules Devito (JulesKD on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Caitlin McDonald 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?
Jules Devito:
It's a SciFi story called BLUESHIFT, in which a brain-injured physics teacher, in a time similar to our 1920s, travels back in time to prevent a despot from becoming a technological god in his future. I'm just totally in love with the funky side of quantum physics, especially as it pertains to time, reality, consciousness and things like that.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Jules Devito:
Since childhood, actually. I spent a lot of years writing in various fandoms, too.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Jules Devito:
On and off for about ten years, really. Only recently did I decide to get serious about it.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Jules Devito:
Literally the day before I got an email for a phone call from the first agent. I was really close to being done with it all. My critique partner / writing buddy helped me hang on.
QT: Is this your first book?
Jules Devito:
First publishable one, yes. :) Again: Hundreds of thousands of words in fanfiction over the years.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Jules Devito:
A BA in English from, like, 20 years ago.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Jules Devito:
Now that I have a two year old son, I have to. I can only write when he's asleep, and only on my days off from work.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Jules Devito:
I've honestly lost count. As far as full redrafting, maybe five?
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Jules Devito:
Yes, I've got a critique partner who is also an agented author, with a book out on submission. I also used the Online Writing Workshop for SF, Fantasy and Horror.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Jules Devito:
I'm a pantser!
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Jules Devito:
This draft? About two years. Previous drafts of this idea, which were wildly different? Maybe about ten. I started querying way before I should have.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Jules Devito:
88! I got 8 full requests and 2 offers, in the end. Two of the agents with my fulls ended up retiring!
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Jules Devito:
They had to be all right with diverse casts, characters of color and all over the LGBTQ spectrum. And they had to be cool with the fact that I've written fanfiction.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Jules Devito:
I did, only if I knew enough about their likes, interests, and stances on social issues. That's why it's really helpful to follow agents on Twitter and Tumblr.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Jules Devito:
You just keep on trying till you run out of cake!

Query Letter:

Dear --,

I am seeking representation for my adult SciFi novel BLUESHIFT, in which a brain-injured teacher in an alternate-history 1920s travels back in time to prevent a despot from becoming a technological god.

Leander Forest has just made the biggest mistake of his life. A physics professor with the ability to “blueshift,” he bends the fabric of the universe and ends up stranded in the 1600s - right before the Cataclysm that tore a rift in the fabric of space-time. In a nightmare version of his world's past, reanimated corpses walk the streets, powered by crude batteries. Zealots predict the coming of the god Rakanar, imprisoning non-believers. They hunt Leander, striking him with a lethal plague that affects only those who don't worship their deity. If he doesn’t find where and when in space-time Rakanar is lying in wait, Leander—and his entire reality--will be erased from the continuum.

BLUESHIFT is complete at 94,000 words, and will appeal to fans of Ursula K LeGuin's LATHE OF HEAVEN, and Roger Zelazny's LORD OF LIGHT. I have had several short stories published through HitRECord, including one that was featured on Joseph Gordon Levitt’s “HitRECord on TV.” You can find me on Facebook here:

I've followed your Tumblr and Twitter for a long time and I find it very helpful (and fun!) I'm also still active in many fandoms, old and new. You've mentioned your interest in representing novels with diverse casts and LGBTQ characters; as this is important to me, as well, I thought you might be interested in this manuscript. I've pasted a synopsis and the first three chapters in the body of this email. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

Jules Devito