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Success Story Interview - Maddison Michaels

An Interview with Maddison Michaels (Madsy003 on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Pamela Harty of The Knight Agency, Inc..


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Maddison Michaels:
My book ‘The Devil Duke’ is a historical romantic suspense and I was inspired to write it after the characters came to me and just wouldn’t leave me be.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Maddison Michaels:
On and off since I was a child, but it’s only been in the last year and a half that I’ve gotten serious about pursuing my goal.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Maddison Michaels:
On and off - it’s taken me five years from idea to completely polished ms. It took me a couple of months to write back in 2010 - but after that I got distracted with family and having a baby, so it was only really at the beginning of 2016 I decided it was time to finish polishing it and start submitting.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Maddison Michaels:
The idea of editing and re-writing the suspense sub-plot kept me away from polishing up the initial draft for years (as well as busy family commitments). But I finally got serious about writing and got it done early in 2016.
QT: Is this your first book?
Maddison Michaels:
Yes my first fully finished novel.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Maddison Michaels:
I’ve got a diploma in creative writing and have done several short writing courses.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Maddison Michaels:
I’ve recently finished my second book (97,000 words) and I wrote every day for 10 weeks. Monday to Thursday (after my day job) I would write a minimum of 1,000 words each night and then on Fri-Sun I would write a minimum of 2,000 words each day.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Maddison Michaels:
I did a major edit after writing it and then another major edit early in 2016, then there have been a few revisions after various suggestion from agents/beta readers.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Maddison Michaels:
Yes I had three.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Maddison Michaels:
I didn’t outline ‘The Devil Duke’ and oh boy I wish I had. With the new book I’ve just written, I spent a week completely outlining it first and it made writing it sooooo much easier, as I had a road map every day to follow.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Maddison Michaels:
I started querying ’The Devil Duke' in October 2016
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Maddison Michaels:
I sent out 62 query letters, and I got 24 requests (4 offered representation), 12 rejections and 26 no replies (I love querytracker for the stats and keeping track of all my queries!!).
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Maddison Michaels:
The had to rep the romance genre and have an interest in historical romances. I also used Publishers market place to see who the top agents in my genre were and I specifically targeted them (if you don’t have a subscription to Publishers market place, get one! It was so worth it in finding an agent).
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Maddison Michaels:
Originally I did - but I then just changed to a very generic query, but made sure to address each query to the specific agent I was submitting to.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Maddison Michaels:
Do your research, polish up your query, and just keep going - it’s all subjective and what is not one agent's up go tea, another agent will LOVE. Besides you want an agent that loves your ms and is enthusiastic about your project. So for every rejection just say ‘next’.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Maddison Michaels:

Query Letter:

Dear Ms. Agent (personalize),

I am seeking representation for my novel, The Devil Duke, a historical romantic suspense, set in mid Victorian England. The manuscript is complete at 98,000 words.

Devlin Markham, the notorious Duke of Huntington, needs a woman. And not just any woman. He needs one of the most eccentric bluestockings of the Ton, Lady Sophie Wolcott, to marry him within the month, or he can kiss his hard-earned fortune goodbye. Placing financial success above all else, he determines to have her agreement, despite the fact that she considers him a reprehensible rake, is infatuated with another man and is quite determined never to marry.

When Sophie learns her beloved charity is in imminent danger of demolishment with its orphans thrown out onto streets, she will do anything to save them. Even if it means making a deal to marry the Devil Duke; a man who ruthlessly takes what he wants in business and pleasure. A man she should fear, but whom she reluctantly begins yearning for.

Investigating the disappearance of a former orphan, Sophie becomes the target of a killer hell-bent on silencing her at all costs. As murder and betrayal turn Sophie and Devlin's engagement into a deadly game, they find themselves caught up in a torrid brew of temptation and treachery, with not only their lives in jeopardy but their very hearts.

I get a daily dose of suspense working as a Police Prosecutor in the (deleted for privacy). I am member of the Romance Writers of America and Australia (RWAust) and am part of their online community. This novel The Devil Duke was selected for the RWAust 5-day intensive manuscript development program, where I was very fortunate to be mentored by Harlequin historical romance author Sophia James.

If you are interested in reading The Devil Duke, I would be delighted to email the completed manuscript to you. Many thanks for your time and consideration.

Maddison Michaels