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Success Story Interview - Marian Lee

An Interview with Marian Lee (MarianLee on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Carly Watters of P.S. 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?
Marian Lee:
It is a quirky women's fiction/chick lit style novel, that is basically a modernized retelling of Jane Austin's Persuasion. Persuasion is one of my all time favorite books and it makes me sad that it is somewhat underappreciated these days. This is my tribute if you will.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Marian Lee:
I have always loved to write and tell stories, but I have only been thinking seriously about publication for about two years.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Marian Lee:
I started writing July 26th.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Marian Lee:
Not giving up entirely, but some days definitely make you want to crawl under your bed and not come out... As far as keeping me on track, QT had a lot to do with that. I am something of a QT addict - checking it like 5-6 times a day if not more - and reading people's comments and seeing other's stats and success stories did wonders for my state of mind.
QT: Is this your first book?
Marian Lee:
First completed book, yes. There is one I wrote before this latest one, but I still have a few chapters to go on that one.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Marian Lee:
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Marian Lee:
Only if I have a deadline. Otherwise it's when the babies are sleeping, when they are playing quietly (yeah right), and/or when no one needs fed or changed.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Marian Lee:
I wrote the first draft straight through. Then I went back and reread/edited it. Then I printed out the entire thing and did a red pen edit. After that, I gave it to me beta reader (mom) to read. When she was done I made the edits she suggested (the ones I agreed with anyway) then I called it done. After Carly read my full, she requested some revisions and a resubmit, so I did another edit and made the changes she was looking for. And even now, after being signed, there is yet another list of revisions I need to make before it will be ready for Carly take it to the publishers.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Marian Lee:
Mom, Mom-In-Law, and Sister-In-Law
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Marian Lee:
I'm an outliner. Nothing too detailed, but I need to know generally where I am going and how I will get there or else I'll leave things out.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Marian Lee:
My First Query was sent on 10/1.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Marian Lee:
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Marian Lee:
I started with the genre then I looked at their website and made sure they were for me.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Marian Lee:
Not really. I made sure to give each agent exactly what they wanted as far as sample pages, bio, etc. I also made sure to use the agents name in the greeting, but otherwise everyone got the same letter.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Marian Lee:
Never give up, but know when to move on to the next project, and don't look at that as defeat. You are probably closer than you think.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Marian Lee:

Query Letter:

Dear Agent,

Eight years ago, Julia Basham lost her chance at happily ever after - all thanks to her fairy godmother who didn't show up for work.

Wait, slighted by your own fairy godmother? How can that be? After all, showing up just as you hit rock bottom and giving you everything you need to 'land your man', is basically the fairy godmother's sole job description, right? So we've been told… Bibbity, Bobbity, Do-Over, is a 70,000 word, quirky-contemporary women's fiction novel, where unfortunately, there is no little old lady with wings handing out 'happily ever afters'.

Julia's life seemed to be falling perfectly into place. She had a great job, seemingly endless prospects, and a wonderful fiancé, Nick Kerkley, who she was totally in love with. Nick however, while being completely devoted to Julia, did not have the potential or stability to be worthy of someone like her - or at least that was Julia's sister Lisa's opinion. Reluctantly following Lisa's advice, Julia ended the relationship, forcing herself to believe it would all be for the best. Little did she know, that one decision would begin the slow but steady deterioration of her entire life. As the story opens nearly a decade later, Julia is the quiet shadow of the woman everyone thought she'd be, who's once fulfilling life has fallen into a stale and safe existence. Her shell of a world is thrown into upheaval when she finds out that the financial planning team she works for has taken on a new client; a now successful and very rich Nick Kerkley. Stuck in a horribly awkward situation, Julia makes a decision - take charge, step up, and find her own happy ending. However, she quickly realizes that fairy tales aren't as strait forward as we've been brought up to believe. Sometimes, to get to happily ever after, you have to stop waiting for fate, take charge, strap on a pair of wings, and be your own fairy godmother.

Jane Austin's Persuasion, is one of my all time favorite novels, and it makes me sad that it has taken something of a backseat in the world of classic literature. Bibbity, Bobbity, Do-Over puts a modern yet whimsical spin on Austin's classic love story, and serves as my personal tribute to that amazing, yet somewhat under-appreciated work.

As for me, I am 27 years old and live in Chicago with my husband and two daughters. While this is the first novel I am seeking publication for, I would love to one day make writing my career.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Marian Lee