Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
My book is called IF ALL ROADS WERE BLIND and it tells the story of Bonnie and Clyde. For anyone who might not know, they were two criminals during the Great Depression who spent two years on the run from law enforcement before ultimately being ambushed. I've always been aware of this story (I really love the 1967 film with Faye Dunaway and also the Broadway musical) but early last year I picked up a biography about them from the library and the more I read the more I wanted to know. All of that curiosity ultimately turned into me wanting to share what I learned, which made me want to write about it.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since before I can really remember. I've been told that, when I was really young and couldn't actually write anything legible, I would fill up notebooks with scribbles and pretend they were words.
How long have you been working on this book?
I started the first draft in April of last year.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
No, not really. This might sound silly but I always sort of knew that I was supposed to tell this story.
Is this your first book?
It is the first book that I'll have going on submission with publishers but it's the fourth book I've written.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I don't. I've taken quite a lot of English classes but I don't have a degree or certification in it. I've just been reading and writing so fervently for so long and, really, I think that's all that it takes.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
At the beginning of this process, I tried to write at least one thousands words a day. This was at the beginning of the COVID-19 shutdown so I wasn't leaving my house and so that wasn't really a difficult goal to reach considering the circumstances. Now, with my new project I'm editing on, I'm trying to get through a chapter a day (the chapters are relatively short.) So, basically, it varies depending on the circumstances but I try and write something every day.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
When I queried, I sent my agent the seventh draft but while I was waiting for a response I kept editing. So, now, we are prepping the twelfth draft for submission to publishers.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
No, but that's something I would definitely recommend.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I outlined this one. Granted, it was easier to do because history sort of gave me a historical timeline to work with. Still, I hadn't really done that with any of my previous projects and I found it really helpful.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
In total, I've been querying for five years. For this book, I queried for five months before Julie responded.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
I think it was about thirty-five or so.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I had written and queried another historical fiction manuscript so I started with agents I'd sent that one too. Beyond that, I was looking for agents interested stories about complicated women.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Sometimes, based on their Manuscript Wish List. If something on there matched an aspect of my project, I'd mention it.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don't give up. Try not to take it personally. If an agent says your project isn't a good fit, just know that them recognizing that is for the best. You want someone who cares about your story as much as you do.