Sign In

An Interview with Ann Bedichek upon receiving an offer of representation.


Ann Bedichek (bradichek on QT) has signed with agent Tricia Lawrence of Erin Murphy Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
SCIENTASTIC SUPERGIRLS is a MG novel about four 12-year-old girls in an all-girls science club who discover a secret, dark energy-detecting super collider under their town and have to go all superspy to find out more.

The inspiration came from my experience running a girls group when I taught middle school -- I loved the dynamics of those strong, sassy girls! Then last fall, I read an article in Discover Magazine about dark energy and how no one knows what it is even though it makes up most of the universe, and I thought, "hmmm..."

How long have you been writing?
Two years. (And I'm not just ignoring a lifetime of journaling and casual writing. Two and a half years ago, if you had asked me about creative writing, I would have emphatically said, "That's something I can't do." Stories do not just pour out of me like they do for some people. But still, it's amazing what you can achieve if you're willing to take a step into some unknown territory. Sometimes you don't immediately crash and burn; sometimes you're able to take a second step.)
How long have you been working on this book?
It was my NaNoWriMo for 2011, so about six months (minus a six-week break when I worked on an R&R for a previous novel.)
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
No. There have been times when I've given up on books (when it's clear from querying that they're not going anywhere), but then I've just tried to focus on writing something else -- or on reading more (an excellent remedy for writer's block.)
Is this your first book?
It's my third. And what's funny is that when I was querying my first book, I remember reading all sorts of things about how it's really rare for a first book to land an agent and how usually it's a writer's third book that does...and I thought, "Oh crap. I don't think I have another book in me, much less two more." And it was especially an "oh crap" after it was clear that first book wasn't about to get scooped up by a mob of agents who all wanted desperately to represent it. But then, I read more, got inspired, and a month later was brainstorming the plot of another book. For me, it's all about one step at a time.
Do you have any formal writing training?
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I'm a stay-at-home mom with a 2-year-old, so basically I write anytime he's asleep and I'm not. I like the pattern of that because it gives me 2-3 chunks of writing time every day with space in between to ponder whatever story problems crop up.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Four. My very first draft was really skeletal -- just action and dialogue for a lot of it. After I finished that, I reworked it based on Sarah Davies' awesome presentation about what makes a good thriller at an SCBWI conference. Then, I did a regular revision after a more formal first draft was done, another after my fabulous critique partner Tara Dairman read it, another after a round of betas, and another polishing round after it went back to Tara.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes! Four -- all of them brilliant. In my mind, betas are absolutely necessary if you want to present your best possible work.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I outlined the first half before starting, and then I tried to write from the hip after that, but I really couldn't (as in, if I don't know where the story is going, my characters end up playing 20 questions). It turns out I'm a plotter through and through. I ended up plotting the second half as I wrote, trying to stay a scene or two ahead -- it was grueling!
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
One month for this book. (Six months for my second book, and three months for my first.)
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
For my first book, I sent out 38 and had 5 requests. For my second book, I sent 111 and had 25 requests. For this book, I ended up sending 38 and had 12 requests.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I first queried agents who had requested my earlier YA book and also repped MG, but then I realized that the two books were so different that it wasn't a good strategy. My next tact was to find people who repped MG and also mentioned liking sci-fi -- even though mine isn't sci-fi I figured it would help if they at least had an appreciation for science.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I would if I could be really specific, but I didn't want to crowd my query with lots of vague platitudes.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
I'm a huge fan of entering contests. There is, of course, the benefit of the feedback you get from others, but what's equally valuable is the way they let you experience what it's like to be an agent. Read 50 queries or 50 first pages and then read yours. Does it stand out? Is the concept similar to others? Those are key questions. Even when you're just brainstorming a new book, it's important to read through contest entries. You don't want to write for the market, but you also don't want to pour months of your life into a story that pretty darn similar to what a whole bunch of other people are writing. And if you're aware of what's being queried BEFORE you start writing, you can take an overdone concept and turn it on its head, so that when an agent gets to your query in the slush pile they put down their coffee, lean into the screen, and think, "ohh."
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Of course! I've learned so much from reading the queries on these success stories!

Dear Agent,

When a substitute teacher starts ranting about how dark energy is ripping the universe apart, 12-year-old Julia Veltman knows to write him off as a wackadoodle. She is, after all, one of the four members of the Scientastic SuperGirls after-school club. So when it turns out that dark energy is real and her physicist parents have even written classified government documents about it, Julia feels like an electron knocked out of orbit. And with the twitchy sub now refusing to share anything else, the SuperGirls have to go all superspy to find out more.

A series of covert missions involving lip gloss and dental floss leads to an elevator in the most unexpected place, and the SuperGirls discover that Julia’s parents are running a secret, dark energy-detecting super collider under their town. Which would be wicked awesome, if it didn’t mean they’ve been lying to her for years. But now that her parents are just days away from announcing some earth-shattering discovery, Julia’s got bigger problems.

She’s got an army of ninjas on her tail. Their plan: kidnap Julia to stop her parents.

What the ninjas don’t know is that Julia’s not one to sit quietly tied up in a closet – and the other Scientastic SuperGirls aren’t about to let some dudes in black stand between them and one of their own.

Complete at 63,000 words, SCIENTASTIC SUPERGIRLS is a standalone upper middle grade novel with series potential. It has an action-packed, girl-powered mystery similar to Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls series, but for a younger audience. I am an active member of SCBWI.

Thank you for your time and consideration.