Success Story Interview - Sonora Reyes

An Interview with Sonora Reyes (sonorareyes on QT) upon receiving an offer of representation from agent Alexandra Levick of Writers House.


QT: Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Sonora Reyes:
THE LESBIANA'S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL is about a young girl trying not to fall in love with the only openly queer girl at her new Catholic school. I was inspired by my own experiences as a queer Catholic school survivor.
QT: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Sonora Reyes:
Definitely. At one point while I was almost finished drafting, my computer crashed and I lost 30k words! I was heartbroken, and I quit. For a day. Then I finished the book over the next few days, fueled purely by spite.
QT: Is this your first book?
Sonora Reyes:
This is my first book!
QT: Do you have any formal writing training?
Sonora Reyes:
I took a few creative writing classes in college, but other than that, no.
QT: How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Sonora Reyes:
The draft that got me my agent was draft 5. I'm now on draft 6.
QT: Did you have beta readers for your book?
Sonora Reyes:
Yes! I wouldn't have gotten where I am without them.
QT: Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Sonora Reyes:
I'm a hardcore planner. I outlined every scene and make a character sheet for every character before starting my first draft.
QT: How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Sonora Reyes:
I was incredibly lucky and landed my first offer after only a couple of months of querying.
QT: On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Sonora Reyes:
I mostly queried agents who were looking for diverse stories. Other than that, I went with my gut.
QT: Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Sonora Reyes:
At first I didn't, but when I started personalizing my query letters, it made the world of a difference. I started telling agents which clients of theirs I was a fan of, I told them why I wanted to work with them and what I appreciated about them as an agent.
QT: What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Sonora Reyes:
Get other eyes on your manuscript and on your query letter before diving in. Rejection is tough, so make sure to take care of your mental health.
QT: Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Sonora Reyes:

Query Letter:

Dear (Agent)


Seventeen-year-old Yamilet prefers drawing attention for her killer eyeliner, not for being the new "ghetto" Mexican kid at a mostly white Catholic school. At least here no one knows she's gay, and she intends to keep it that way. After a harsh rejection from her crush at her old school, she could use the fresh start.

It's harder to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly cute. Yami isn't sure if she likes Bo or if she's just jealous of her unapologetic nature. Either way, she isn't ready to make the same mistake again. If word got to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection.

Here, she has new priorities. Make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don't fall in love. Granted, she's never been good at any of those things, but that's a problem for future Yami.

THE LESBIANA'S GUIDE TO CATHOLIC SCHOOL (65,000 words) is a coming-of-age #ownvoices contemporary YA that explores the intersections of race, sexuality, and a Catholic upbringing. It is reminiscent of I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

I've written largely from my own experience as a queer first-generation immigrant who attended a Catholic high school.

Trigger Warning: off-screen suicide attempt. No graphic descriptions, not in sample pages.

Thank you for your consideration.


Sonora Reyes