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

Success Story Interview - Kathleen S Allen

An Interview with Kathleen S Allen (kathleea on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Alicia Brooks of Jean V. Naggar 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?
Kathleen S Allen:
It's a feminist young adult reimagining of Frankenstein so a gothic horror. Frankenstein is my favorite book and I'm a fan of Mary Shelley and anything Victorian.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Kathleen S Allen:
Since I was eight and composed a book of poems I gave out as holiday gifts. I painstakingly copied ten poems onto notebook paper, punched three holes in the side, made a "book jacket" out of construction paper and tied it together with red ribbon. My first "book."
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Kathleen S Allen:
Since 2015. It's gone through many revisions and just as many titles!
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Kathleen S Allen:
Yes, many times. I kept writing which is what spurned me on.
QT: Is this your first book?
Kathleen S Allen:
No. I have pubbed over 20 as an independent author on Amazon/Nook.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Kathleen S Allen:
I have a Master's in Children's Literature.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Kathleen S Allen:
No. I'm a binge writer. I write when I can but not everyday. It took a while to discover my process but I'm good with it.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Kathleen S Allen:
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Kathleen S Allen:
Yes. I always have beta readers and critique partners read. I incorporate feedback if it resonates with my vision of the story.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Kathleen S Allen:
I am a die-hard pantser. Outlining kills my creativity.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Kathleen S Allen:
This version since 2021. Other books since 2005.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Kathleen S Allen:
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Kathleen S Allen:
If they represented young adult, horror and historical.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Kathleen S Allen:
No, I made a query template and used that but I did tailor each by using the agent's name.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Kathleen S Allen:
Be persistent. Don't take rejection's personally. Keep learning your craft, take workshops, go to conferences if you can, read in your genre. I read almost exclusively young adult and am a fan of YA horror.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Kathleen S Allen:
Since it's currently on submission with editors I can't. But my advice is to keep it short, include the main plot, obstacles and stakes. What is your protagonist's goal? What happens if they don't meet that goal? Use a hook at the beginning. Remember a query is the appetizer not the whole meal. It's supposed to entice the agent into wanting to see more. Show your query to someone who doesn't know your story to see if it makes sense. Keep going! Persistence is key!