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An Interview with Diana Pinguicha upon receiving an offer of representation.


Diana Pinguicha (pinguicha on QT) has signed with agent Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
It's a YA Fantasy where a mind witch (essentially someone who manipulates minds) is sent to a neighboring country to plant the seeds for an invasion. There's lots of magic, an insane girl, and bad decisions. I wrote it as a prequel to a book I'd previously shelved because my CPs all loved this character, and insisted she needed her own book. Looks like they were right! Also, I'd always wanted to write a novel with an essentially good person who's forced to do horrible things to survive.
How long have you been writing?
That's a tricky one. I'm going to say I've been writing since I was fourteen, although it was fanfic and my English at the time was abhorrent (it's not my native tongue). But I kept at it, and found out I enjoyed writing a lot, so I eventually moved to writing original things.
How long have you been working on this book?
More or less a year.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
There were times (yes, plural) where I wanted nothing but to throw my computer at the wall and dunk my head in five gallons of freezing water. But my CPs kept me strong! They're the absolute best.
Is this your first book?
Nope! Fourth!
Do you have any formal writing training?
Absolutely none at all.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Not really. I write when I have the time (say, between breaks on my day job, or after dinner).
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I re-wrote the last third once. As for editing, I do it as I go -- say, on a hard day when I don't feel like writing, or the words won't come, I use the time to go through what I have.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
I did, both betas and critique partners!
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
A hybrid of the two. I started with an outline, but as I was reaching the end, I wasn't "feeling it", so I redid that part like a true pantser.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I've been querying this book for about 6 months. In total (four books), I've been querying for three years.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I chose agents who had a solid track record of sales, as well as agents who represented YA fantasy.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Some I did, others not so much. In the ones that I did, I went through #MSWL, and interviews, and if the agent had mentioned wanting a book along the lines of mine.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Get other writers to look at your query and manuscript and give you honest feedback. Workshop if you can, or enter contests (even if you don't get picked, you'll get feedback). Have a lot of chocolate and kitties at hand. But more importantly, don't despair and don't give up!
Would you be willing to share your query with us?

Seventeen-year-old Zéphyrine is her father’s most powerful weapon. Under his control, she manipulates thoughts, rewrites events, and erases memories to bend the world to his whims. With two nations already under his rule, he sets his eyes on a third, and orders Zéph to infiltrate its ranks.

Against her wishes, Zéph travels to the country of Almar, where she's supposed to convince Prince Jasen, to confide in her crucial intel to conquer their land. Her careful planning is undone by Iriae, a girl as powerful as she is mad, and possibly the only person in the world who can help Zéph destroy her father and attain her most burning desire: freedom.

Threading carefully between sides, Zéph’s relationships with Jasen and Iriae blossom into love. Her father will not be denied long, however, and she faces an impossible choice. The only time she defied her father before, he burned her half to death.

If her alliance with Iriae fails, she will lose her only chance to break free, and the first people to ever know the real Zéph, the first people she’s trusted with her heart, will forget she’s ever existed.

A TRACE OF MADNESS is a YA Dark Fantasy. It's complete at 101,000 words, and it has the dark mood of Shadow and Bone, along with the politics of Graceling.