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Success Story Interview - Sarah Bromley

An Interview with Sarah Bromley (Magpie80 on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Miriam Kriss of Irene Goodman 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?
Sarah Bromley:
REVENANT is about Vivien Blaise, a teenage girl who raises hell and the dead. One of my critique partners said, “You should write a book about a teenager with a necromancer for a father.” After I broke my ankle in December, I was laid up on the couch and the story took off.
QT: How long have you been writing?
Sarah Bromley:
In fifth grade, I cast my best friend as a man-eating space plant in a rip-off of “Little Shop of Horrors.” In high school, I began writing young adult paranormal, but life—college, marriage, babies—pushed writing to the back burner. A year and a half ago, I began writing in earnest again.
QT: How long have you been working on this book?
Sarah Bromley:
REVENANT took three months to write and roughly two weeks to revise.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Sarah Bromley:
Many times. I have the world’s best critique partners and writer friends, and any one of them could talk a cat out of a tree. Their faith in this book and my writing helped reinforce my own. A can of persistence and a thick skin should be included in every writer’s tool kit.
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Sarah Bromley:
In college, I was an English major with an emphasis on Gothic literature and rites of passage stories. My minor was criminology with interest in social deviance among adolescents, which has been valuable as a YA writer.
QT: Do you follow a writing routine or schedule?
Sarah Bromley:
I generally write any chance I get. I have small children, so writing time comes at a premium. I’ve gotten used to writing late at night when the house is quiet.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Sarah Bromley:
My internal editor has a hard time shutting down, so I did a lot of write-revise-write-revise until I got the story where I wanted it as I was going along.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Sarah Bromley:
I have a critique group and three betas all familiar with my genre.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Sarah Bromley:
I write the first fifty pages of any project from the hip and then outline the rest to focus on how to tie together all the threads I’ve started unraveling.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Sarah Bromley:
Three months.
QT: About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Sarah Bromley:
I sent 60 queries. 25 were still out when I got my offer of representation. I had 17 rejections and 18 requests for partials and fulls, more than one offer for representation.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Sarah Bromley:
I queried agents based upon genre, whether they had books similar to mine, and I paid attention to agency blogs and interviews.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Sarah Bromley:
I did my best. If I’d read an interview on a blog or saw something on the agency’s website pertinent to my project, I mentioned it.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Sarah Bromley:
Having a great critique partner or group is invaluable, and make sure they know your genre so they can adequately help refine your work.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Sarah Bromley:

Query Letter:

Dear Ms. Kriss:

I read on your website that you are interested in both urban fantasy and young adult fiction. I am seeking representation for my young adult novel, REVENANT, a dark urban fantasy complete at 78,000 words.

The dead talk and, unless she wants to lose her life, seventeen-year-old Vivien Blaise must listen.

Armed with a rosary and Magic 8-Ball, Vivien raises hell—and the walking dead. It’s her family’s curse, not to mention illegal. After an attack by two bounty hunters puts one bad guy in the grave and her dad under arrest, the dead warn Vivien: help them or they’ll never stop following her, and neither will the hunter who survived.

Making matters worse, Vivien’s best friend Dez Castillo is so tormented by the whispers of Los Muertos—the dead—that he attempts to join them. Yet Vivien needs Dez and his dark gift to answer the demands of the dead and outlast the living determined to destroy her.

In an underworld where every day is the Day of the Dead, Vivien travels between New England and New Mexico to silence restless souls, escape a bounty hunter hell-bent on fulfilling his own warped desires, and uncover the truth of why she and Dez need each other now more than ever if they hope to stay alive.

I believe REVENANT will make a good addition to your list. I am a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in English, focusing on Gothic literature. The full manuscript of REVENANT is ready at your request. Thank you for your time and consideration.