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Success Story Interview - Ryan Rose

An Interview with Ryan Rose (Ryan_Rose on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Harry Illingworth of DHH Literary.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Ryan Rose:
SEVEN RECIPES FOR REVOLUTION is an Epic Fantasy that centers on magic food. Basically, people eat kaiju meat to get magical powers. It was inspired primarily by my love for food and for kaiju movies, but the original idea came from an errant thought: what kind of society would factory farm kaiju?
QT: How long have you been writing?
Ryan Rose:
I've been writing for about 12 years, querying for 10. SEVEN RECIPES is the seventh book that I've queried and my first to receive an offer.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Ryan Rose:
I typically take about 1-2 years to complete a manuscript, but SEVEN absolutely poured out of me. I had the idea in March 2022 and was offered rep in October, which was an extremely quick turnaround.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Ryan Rose:
Throughout my querying experience, I saw growth. My second manuscript got more bites than my first, my third more than my second, etc. But my 6th got next to nothing. Only one full request out of about 80 queries. It was like I'd ended up back at book 2. But several of my friends in the writing community assured me that it was a combination of pandemic and poor sales in Adult Sci-Fi that were responsible, not the quality of my writing. So I got back out there for book 7.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Ryan Rose:
I drafted half (about 70k) and went back to the beginning to rewrite the whole setting from a post-apocalyptic future setting to a second-world fantasy setting. I completed it, sent out the draft to beta readers, edited it based on their feedback, and queried it.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Ryan Rose:
I sent out 10 personalized queries to agents I felt fit my style as a first wave to test the waters. Admittedly, 5 of those 10 were referrals. From that 10, I got 6 full requests, 2 polite rejections, and 2 CNRs. Of the 6 requests, I received 2 offers.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Ryan Rose:
Build community. If you read these questions, you'll see that I had 5 referrals. One of those offered. I spent 10 years in the trenches, and I built a community of amazing people around me. It was hard sometimes, but I celebrated my friends' successes as they got agents and book deals and I didn't. They kept by my side and it was because of them I got those referrals. I can't know if I would've gotten an agent by cold querying, but I do know that those same authors beta read for me and made a difference.

Query Letter:

Dear Mr. Illingworth,

I am querying you because you're looking for Epic Fantasy reminiscent of Anthony Ryan and Pierce Brown. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.

SEVEN RECIPES FOR REVOLUTION is Adult Epic Fantasy complete at 140,000 words. It has YA crossover appeal and includes horror elements. It will appeal to fans of THE EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE's unreliable frame-story narrator, THE KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY's lovable destructive kaiju, and magical food mechanics found in JRPG's such as Final Fantasy 15 and Monster Hunter World.

Seventeen-year-old Paprick labors as an indentured butcher, carving carriage-sized cuts of meat from living kaiju so elite chefs can grill meals that impart magical abilities to the city rulers who eat them. But Paprick's true passion is cooking, and he dreams of liberating his people by becoming a chef himself and sharing the kaijus' magic. Problem is, indentures face execution for tasting kaiju-flesh and no one becomes a chef without inventing a recipe that centers the meat.

When his debt becomes inescapable, Paprick skims flesh off his cuts to practice recipes at home. But skilled though he is, Paprick suffers a world that hasn't seen a new recipe in a generation, supplies and creativity stifled by war and indentures; and his desperation grows as he starts to draw attention. Rooting through a destroyed spice market, Paprick uncovers a spice imported from lands unknown, and whips together a dry rub with the last of his stolen meat, inventing a recipe with a taste like none before.

His joy is short-lived. The dish's magic uncontrollably grows Paprick to kaiju-size, revealing his success to the entire city. Immediately, the rulers arrest him to plan his execution, but Paprick uses his wit, sharp as a butcher's cleaver, to convince the rulers that he deserves a place as a chef's apprentice–if they ever want to learn his Recipe.

Cleared of charges, Paprick still simmers on his dream of overthrowing the rulers and aligns with a rebel faction. As Paprick works as their spy, the rulers harass him for his recipe and the spice, and Paprick searches for its origin. But his search reveals there's someone else inventing new recipes, someone who's willing to cannibalize indentures to find the most gruesome power of all.