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Success Story Interview - Kyra Whitton

An Interview with Kyra Whitton (Oneunkindness on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Colleen Oefelein of MacGregor & Luedeke Literary.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Kyra Whitton:
A Becoming of Darkness is a contemporary fantasy of about 90,000 words. It was inspired by Florence + The Machine's "Cosmic Love" and my personal struggles with belief.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Kyra Whitton:
I've been writing stories since I was eight, but didn't write my first full-length novel until my undergraduate years.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Kyra Whitton:
The first draft of this book was written in 2017. It saw a lot of changes and then I started a complete rewrite in 2021. The only thing that remained the same was the overarching theme, some character names, and the title!
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Kyra Whitton:
I wanted to give up all the time, but I'm too stubborn, so I just kept going. Focusing on the next project while querying the current one always helped. I figured if it didn't happen for one, maybe it would happen for the next one!
QT: Is this your first book?
Kyra Whitton:
Not by a long shot. I've published a few novels with small presses, and I have at least five other manuscripts that either didn't find homes or I never queried.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Kyra Whitton:
I studied creative writing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Kyra Whitton:
I try to write every day. When I am drafting, 1,000 words is my daily minimum (but I exceed that often), and if I am editing, I try to get through at least one chapter a day. I tend to do most of my work in the late morning before lunch and then again late in the evening before going to bed.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Kyra Whitton:
This book has seen at least 8 rounds of editing with one complete rewrite (and several first Act rewrites before I got that part right and could finish the rest!). I've sort of lost track of how many drafts it's gone through.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Kyra Whitton:
Absolutely! I am part of a wonderful group of writers that formed several years ago as Pitch Wars hopefuls. We've been critiquing and reading for each other ever since!
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Kyra Whitton:
When I rewrote this book, I used Scene Cards (I really like the Lisa Cron method). I don't know if I consider it much of an outline, but maybe somewhere in between.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Kyra Whitton:
I sent out the first queries for the rewrite of this manuscript in June 2022, so I queried for about 6 months.

I sent out my very first agent query in 2012, so it took me almost twelve years of querying and 8 manuscripts to find representation.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Kyra Whitton:
I sent out about 106 queries for this book.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Kyra Whitton:
I queried anyone I thought represented anything that could be remotely related to my book, genre, or age group.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Kyra Whitton:
I only tailored queries for agents I had previous interactions with. For example, if they had requested material from me in the past, I always mentioned it. Otherwise, I didn't spent too much time reworking my queries for specific people.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Kyra Whitton:
It took me a long time to get here, so I guess the best advice I have is: don't give up. It will eventually happen, but eventually could be more than a decade.