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An Interview with Erica M Chapman upon receiving an offer of representation.

07/28/2012

Erica M Chapman (emcwriter on QT) has signed with agent Judith Engracia of Liza Dawson Associates.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Sure. ANOMALY is a YA science fiction novel about a seventeen-year-old girl who gets her brain scanned for a government initiative called Project Reform and is sent to an island of teens marked as future killers. You know, it's a light read. LOL.

I was inspired by a documentary on the SciFi channel about serial killers. They scanned the brains of deceased killers and realized they had something different about them than a normal brain. So, I thought, what if the U.S. government got a hold of this information? Hmmm.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since 16. I started with poetry after my father passed away and moved to writing novels in 2006.
How long have you been working on this book?
This was my NaNo 2010 novel. I wrote it in 22 days. I've revised it several times since then.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Sure. I think it's a natural feeling that comes when pursuing your dream. There are ups and downs, so I'd be lying if I didn't say I wanted to quit at some point. The feeling never lasted long though. I wouldn't let it. I thought about what my life would be like without writing in it and it just wasn't an option.
Is this your first book?
No, but it's my first good book ;o) I wrote two before this one that I plan on keeping locked away for eternity!
Do you have any formal writing training?
I have a Journalism degree and have taken several Creative Writing classes.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I try to write every night. Well, when The Vampire Diaries aren't on. LOL
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I believe it was at 6 when Judith offered. I'm sure that will go up!
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes, I had some amazing readers and critique partners. I've met some great people who have helped me tremendously.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I'm a total pantser. I did have an idea of what it was going to be about, but no outline.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I've only queried this novel. I sent 3 queries in November 2011, then I was lucky enough to be picked for Miss Snark's Baker's Dozen Agent Auction and received some requests from that. I revised based on the feedback and went back out into query world in May 2012. I signed with Judith in late July.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
*Consults my QueryTracker stats* I sent 32.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I researched them on Publishers Marketplace, then checked out interviews, and stats on QueryTracker. I picked agents that had an interest in YA science fiction or thrillers.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I really tried to. I researched each agent I queried. I found that when I started with the query right away I got a better request rate.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don't be afraid to revamp your query. This was my third version. Show your query to others and get feedback. It takes a village sometimes ;o)
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Sure!

Dear Ms. Engracia,

Sloan's not a killer.

She brakes for squirrels and helps old ladies across the magnetic tracks. So when she’s the next seventeen-year-old to get her brain scanned for the government initiative, Project Reform, she never expects to end up in the Desolate, an island full of teens marked as future murderers.

In the Desolate, hover cameras follow Sloan’s every move, and sadistic wardens use any means necessary to keep the inmates in check. But death is part of everyday life, and trusting the wrong person is the fastest and only way off Killer Island—in a body bag. Convinced she doesn’t belong—she can’t be a real killer—Sloan makes a reluctant friend in her roommate who has a general dislike for every human except her arrogant boyfriend, Lane.

Problem is, Lane attacked Sloan on the day she arrived, and he seems to know a lot more about the Desolate than he’s saying. When Sloan's roommate starts acting strange, and transforms into a programmed assassin, Sloan discovers there’s a whole lot more to being marked a future killer in Project Reform than she was told. As more dead bodies appear around the island, Sloan will have to do anything to get out. Now the only thing she has to hold on to is the knowledge that she’s not a killer.

Not yet.

ANOMALY is a 70,000-word YA science fiction novel that explores the critical moments on one island in the year 2059. I believe it will appeal to those who enjoy the isolation and mystery of VARIANT by Robison Wells, and the futuristic aspects of the movie Minority Report. I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism from Central Michigan University.

Thank you for your time and consideration.