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

Success Story Interview - Kristin Owens

An Interview with Kristin Owens (SLUSHPILESADNESS on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Madelyn Burt of Stonesong.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Kristin Owens:
I'm a world traveler and love learning about different cultures and perspectives which challenge my own. My husband and I were moving from Germany back to the United States and decided to take the Queen Mary 2. While on board, I thought the ship would make a terrific setting for a book.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Kristin Owens:
Creatively? About four years. I joined a writing group in 2015 which helped enormously.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Kristin Owens:
I started it in 2016 and finished in about four months. It went through several rounds of revision and beta readers, plus my group. So total time, over a year.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Kristin Owens:
Absolutely. There's very little positive reinforcement for a writer. You need supportive friends and a spouse to hold the tissue box. I found glasses of wine with writer friends helped too. The more writers I met at conferences and workshops, the better I felt.
QT: Is this your first book?
Kristin Owens:
Yes (If you don't count my dissertation, which I don't because it's for something 360 degrees different.)
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Kristin Owens:
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Kristin Owens:
I'm in my office every day either futzing with business tasks or writing.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Kristin Owens:
About seven edits and a full rewrite when I realized I needed to go bigger. That came with more writing experience and confidence.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Kristin Owens:
Yes! I recommend people who know nothing about you and can't be swayed by your sparkling personality. And don't ask your mom.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Kristin Owens:
Both. I knew certain acts and scenes I wanted and those were outlined. I also knew the beginning and ending.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Kristin Owens:
About two years. I had a lot of requests, over 40, but never found anyone to "love" it. After I rewrote it, I queried agents who had read the full already asking if they wanted another peek. When I received an R&R from my now agent, I realized I found someone who could help make my book better, but more importantly, believed in it.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Kristin Owens:
I'm too embarrassed to say.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Kristin Owens:
Since my book kind of straddles women's fiction, humor and cozy, I wanted an agent who represented different genres.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Kristin Owens:
Sometimes. If they recently tweeted something that resonated or put out a #mswl request, I'd mention it. Otherwise, I started with my hook.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Kristin Owens:
Keep at it. If you really believe in your project, keep making it better. Also, I wrote a second book while querying the first, which helped.