Success Story Interview - Rebecca A. Carter

An Interview with Rebecca A. Carter (Becks on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Christine Goss of The Purcell Agency, LLC.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I was querying a book partially set on the Titanic, but I wasn't ready to let go. So I decided I wanted to set a new story on the same ocean liner, but unlike the last one, I wanted this story to be more lighthearted even if featured a disaster. Mind you, my characters had other plans and decided they wanted to be on another ocean liner altogether, in a different city, in a different year. As it turns out, 1915wip (its working title) became a YA romventure with a lot of mystery, but in a very lighthearted way, with fake dating and a protagonist and a love interest reminiscent of Anastasia and Dimitri and Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I started writing seriously in 2009. I've been writing ever since.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I started writing 1915wip in spring of 2022.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Rebecca A. Carter:
Giving up? Never. I had times in which I wondered: what's the point? I've hit low points many times, but I always pushed forward because I am stubborn. Spite and many writing friends helped me to keep my sanity. And most importantly, push through another book and the query trenches.
QT: Is this your first book?
Rebecca A. Carter:
No. This is my 10th book. The third one I queried.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Rebecca A. Carter:
As someone who has to juggle a day job and writing I've never been able to afford a writing routine. I make time for it, after work and on the weekends. But sometimes life gets in the way and there's nothing you can do about it.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Rebecca A. Carter:
Yes! I had 5 wonderful beta readers!
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I am a plantser, so I had a very succinct outline, which was based more on hype and vibes than anything else and no knowledge of what was in between the key scenes.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I started querying in April 2023 and got my offer in late October 2023.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I sent 94 queries and got 12 full requests. For other books, I sent out many more.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Rebecca A. Carter:
By order, agents that repped YA and Adult, the main genre then the sub-genres of my book, and who are working at reputable agencies. I also took into consideration whether I wanted to work with them or not.
I browsed QT, Publisher's Marketplace, MSWL, their websites and Twitter to find whether we might be a good fit or not. From the moment I saw Christine's MSWL, I said: she's perfect for me. I didn't even wait; it was around midnight, I was almost about to go to sleep, but once I ran into her tweet, I queried her right away on my phone.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Rebecca A. Carter:
I only did if I had anything relevant to tell the agent. If not, I sent a normal query. Agents are busy, I realized, so I thought it'd be better to cut to the chase. I didn't find the lack of personalization to make a great difference at the end of the day.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Rebecca A. Carter:
Don't give up! Sounds like a cliche but right before I found my agent everything felt like hell. This is a game of persistence and luck. If you keep banging your fist on the door, the door will eventually open.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Rebecca A. Carter:
Sure thing! Here it is.

Query Letter:

Dear Christine,
BEAUTIFUL GILDED LIES is set in 1915 NYC and on the Lusitania. This YA romantic Adventure novel clocks in at 80k words and it features mystery, light humor, fake dating/betrothal, and a snappy protagonist and a sunshiny love interest who love to banter. With a historical-yet-accessible voice, it's perfect for fans of The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, Cindy Anstey's Love, Lies and Spies, and Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor.

Plucky seventeen-year-old Alexandra Benson is desperate. Recently orphaned, her uncle has come to drag her from the remnants of the only life she's ever known and on to boring countryside England at the dawn of the Great War. Unacceptable. If her loss wasn't enough, she's also mourning her father's treason—as avowed in his testament, she must marry if she wants to inherit. Otherwise, her uncle will manage her fortune at the turn of her eighteenth birthday. But she has a plan. Find a con artist and convince him to play the part of her fake fiancé for a large sum in exchange.
Enter Cameron. A young teacher, he has the wits for the part. Of course, it doesn't hurt that he's also extremely handsome and has a knack for the forbidden. Alexandra convinces Cameron to get on board with her scheme. Together, they set about fooling Manhattan's polite society and her family. But Alexandra's world is rattled when she sneaks with Cameron into her parents' old townhouse and finds a photograph of the real testament, which doesn't include the marriage clause, and a note that simply says that her uncle is lying.
Battling her growing feelings for her fake fiancé and afraid of the secrets her uncle harbors, Alexandra begrudgingly sets off for England with Cameron and her family aboard the RMS Lusitania. On the ship, she learns her uncle keeps German intelligence documents. As Alexandra's suspicions grow that her uncle's true designs might not be on her fortune alone, she must find the real testament and uncover if her family's secrets are involved in the sinister world of international espionage—before those secrets kill her and Cameron.

During #MoodPitch, [REDACTED], assistant editor at [REDACTED], showed interest. My full manuscript is at the moment with several agents. I'm a KYC analyst by day, a writer by night, and on occasion, I also sing and act.
Thank you for your consideration,
Rebecca A. Carter