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An Interview with June K. upon receiving an offer of representation.

01/29/2022

June K. (June_K on QT) has signed with agent Jill Marr of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
37 Questions started as a jest. We originally write different genres, and we were each other's critique partner when we saw a six-figure deal for a Romance story. Both being enthusiasts of the genre, on a whim, we decided to try our hand at it. Alessandra mentioned the "36 questions to fall in love" questionnaire and it seemed like the perfect place to start. Add one famous guy, one normal girl, a tornado watch, and thus 37 Questions came to life.
How long have you been writing?
As a literary duo, since January 2021.
How long have you been working on this book?
The first words were put on (digital) paper on January 5th, 2021, and it's been a continuous work ever since.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Never! We had each other to rely on, and that's the best thing about writing as a duo. Every writer should have a support network–family, friends, other writers. It's a tough industry and having someone to cheer you up is essential.
Is this your first book?
As a writing duo, yes.
Do you have any formal writing training?
None of us do, but we'd love to change that soon.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Not really. Both of us work full time, so we write in our spare time and when we're inspired–oftentimes, that's everyday; sometimes, it's not. We wrote 37 Questions in a heartbeat, but our second project is going way slower–even though we're super excited about it. Sometimes life gets in the way and it's part of the process to accept and work around it.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
We had two major revisions.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes. We had few but excellent beta readers, and we are so grateful about how much they helped us improve our manuscript.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Alessandra is a plotter; Ilana is a pantser. We actually got to combine the best of both worlds!
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
We started querying in February 2021 and signed in June 2021.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
We had sent seventeen queries when we got signs that an agent was going to offer. Although we were elated to possibly have an offer on its way, we hadn't yet queried some agents we thought would be a great fit for us. For fear of missing out, we went nuts and sent out fifty (!) more queries. So, in total, we sent sixty-seven queries, but in a very unconventional way. In hindsight, we would have done the querying process so differently.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
We first made a list of agents who represent adult contemporary romance and were open to submissions, and refined the list to agents who seemed solid and legit. Then we searched for their clients, to have an idea if we would be what they were looking for.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Yes. We checked what each agent was looking for and their submission guidelines on Query Tracker, Manuscript Wishlist, and their agency's website. Then, we adapted our query letter accordingly–highlighting elements we thought would catch their attention.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don't compare your journey to others'. And be resilient: there's an agent out there who'll love your novel and will champion your work!
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Yes, absolutely!

Dear Jill,

Confident IT worker Nora and chivalrous actor Aiden doubt that 36 questions can make two people fall in love, but take the plunge nevertheless. What else could they do during a tornado lockdown with a stranger?

When Nora and Aiden meet by chance during a downpour, coincidences, attraction, and a few misunderstandings take them by storm. It intrigues gallant Aiden, a famous English actor, that she doesn't seem to know who he is and, precisely for it, doesn't bring back his latest failing project, which symbolizes the downfall of his dreams. With Brazilian and German roots, Nora holds a secret about her dream-job-turned-not-dream-job that may change her own perspective on the subject. Trapped together after sirens go off and a tornado lockdown begins, a "36 questions to fall in love" questionnaire from a cheap magazine sparks conversations that bring joy and happy memories, but also deep sorrow. What starts as a joke in which none of them believes turns into a blossoming intimacy; and, as the night goes on, into something else. However, the strength of their inevitable bond will be tested as soon as the sun comes up—and with it, the brightness of the limelight shining over Aiden's life. With all cards on the table and deep wounds exposed, they will have to deal with their own issues before they're ready to forgive each other.

37 QUESTIONS is an Adult Contemporary Romance novel, told in dual POV (one in British English, the other in American English), complete at 88,000 words. This story, in which NOTTING HILL meets BEFORE SUNRISE, will appeal to the audience of PARTY OF TWO by Jasmine Guillory, particularly because of the relationship-building element and strong adult voices.

Some aspects of our story we believe are worth noting. Nora is a reflection of our heritage—she is half Brazilian, half German, living in different places throughout her life (#ownvoices). She also has fibromyalgia, a condition known to us firsthand through a family member. Aiden has trauma-induced hematophobia and it plays an important part in the plot, and his mother is physically disabled. Our novel covers from witty banter to flirting to dark subjects, such as pregnancy loss, absent parents, infidelity, chronic illnesses, disabilities, and break of trust. We tried to tweak some gender stereotypes as well. Nora has a degree in Computer Science and leads her own team in a big IT company, whereas Aiden is shy, discrete, and family oriented—not what's usually expected of a hotshot actor.

[paragraph with credentials]

Below you'll find the synopsis and the first 10 pages, as per your submission guidelines. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

June K.