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An Interview with Caitlin LaRue upon receiving an offer of representation.

07/30/2016

Caitlin LaRue (clarue on QT) has signed with agent Jen Hunt of The Booker Albert Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
The book that found me representation was a women's fiction title. I watched Pretty Woman and thought it would be awesome to turn it upside down and really showcase the power that Julia Roberts had. Then I saw a special about Sugar Babies and it sparked my novel SUGAR BABY.
How long have you been writing?
I've been seriously writing and seeking representation for three years.
How long have you been working on this book?
I've been working on this book for a year and a half with ten different rounds of edits.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
There were tons of times I wanted to quit. Having great critique partners and people who support you is crucial. Without them, I never would have made it this far.
Is this your first book?
No this was my second completed novel.
Do you have any formal writing training?
No. I was a dual major in college (English and Education) so I would say any formal training comes from reading lots of great writers. I've loved books since I was little, so in a way, I think I've been preparing my whole life.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I don't have a set routine or schedule but I do try to write every day, even if it's only a few words.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
There are ten rounds of edits (all saved as different versions) for the book that is on submission. It was definitely a labor of love.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
I use critique partners more than beta's. I have a few really close writer friends that read and critique my stuff. We have similar styles and I can trust them to be totally honest with me.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Every novel I write starts with a "what-if". From there I normally spend time on the characters and getting them to tell me their story. I outline major plot points, but I'm not a rigid outliner. Most of the time, I come up with new plot points I like better while writing anyway.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I queried for a total of two years and received over 200 rejections over five manuscripts (that includes the picture book queries I sent).
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
I sent 63 queries for this manuscript and entered it into a contest. Jen Corkill-Hunt requested through the contest after the request window for the contest had closed. Five months later she called to sign me.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
First, I looked at what they represented. I made sure they represented what I write and also that they didn't have anything too similar on their list already. I followed them on Twitter and checked out who they were, that our personalities might mesh and how they interacted with current clients. I also read interviews or blogs that they've been a part of to get to know them a little better too. I ended up making some agent friends along the way.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
If I had interacted with them on Twitter or social media I made sure to point that out after an agent told me to do that in the query. I also pointed out similarities in why I thought we would make a good team or other writers they work with that I admire. Being honest, polite, and professional in a tailored query is important and can get you requests.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Rejection sucks but you have to be professional. Every writer, before getting an agent, received a rejection letter. Let it burn for a minute, vent behind closed doors, and then move it on. If they gave criticism, consider it and then make a decision. But ultimately, publishing is extremely subjective. Even if an agent likes your work, but doesn't LOVE it, they won't offer you representation. So just keep going. Make sure you have amazing critique partners. Seize every opportunity, whether it be querying, contests, or conferences.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?

Four years ago, Drea was a broke art student who partied too hard. When she woke up in a five start hotel room with a new designer bag and a cryptic message from a guy she hooked up with the night before, she didn’t think it would end up changing her life forever. Now, thanks to her sex-for-stuff arrangement with Tom, she has everything she could ever want.

But when Drea meets Xavier, a new curator-in-training at her gallery, and Marco, an Italian photographer, her carefully constructed world begins to unravel.

After her trip to Rome, Drea thinks she can go back to business-as-usual, despite Tom hinting that he’d like to change the terms of their agreement. Marco’s U.S. debut only makes things worse, especially since it’s at her gallery. Stuck between who she is and who she wants to be, she needs to figure out if she wants a relationship with a man who’s been her financial crutch for the last four years, a man who challenges her, or a man that’s like her favorite pair of jeans. After finding out that one is not who they say they are, maybe it’s not about what she wants, but about what she needs.