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An Interview with KA Reynolds upon receiving an offer of representation.

04/13/2016

KA Reynolds (Lit_Fan33 on QT) has signed with agent Thao Le 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?
The story is a MG Fantasy with a Tim Burton/Coraline feel, in which a once brave girl named Cecelia, feels to blame for her little brother’s death. And her mother’s leaving. And for her house turning evil, kidnapping her father, and running away. In the depths of despair, Cecelia allows sorrow to overtake her world. And just when she thinks it can’t get any worse, her overwhelming sadness begins turning her into paper. And that’s really when things fall apart. For the story’s inspiration, see question 5.
How long have you been writing?
Like most other writers, I began very young. The first poem I recall writing was an unintentional Shakespearean sonnet at eight years old about my cat pooing on the dinner table. Not even kidding. Without Tiger’s non-conformist turd, I might not have been here today!
How long have you been working on this book?
About a year, with breaks in-between.
Is this your first book?
No, this is my fourth queried novel.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Oh so many times.

I’d queried three novels start to shelf. The last two landed me top spots in several contests including Pitch Wars, where I was a mentee in both 2013 and 2014. I worked SO HARD to revise those novels. Yet despite a lot of interest and several close calls: no agent. I’d hit my lowest point as a writer yet. I felt crazy for wanting a dream that continued to shut me out. I became severally depressed and was a breath away from giving up—literally on my knees crying on the floor!—when this dark MG Fantasy hit. So I sat at my computer and poured all that darkness and all those tears into my MC. The story came out in under 3 weeks and so easily, like dictation. It was just as Hemingway said: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. I bled until it was done.

Do you have any formal writing training?
Not an ounce (unless you count the divine sonnet mentioned above). Ha.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Yes. Every single day I get up between 2:30 and 3:30a.m to write. I have 5 kids and a job, so carving out time for my dream is essential. Lucky for me, that’s my favorite time of the day. While the kids are at school on my days off I write or revise. I will always make time for my dream.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I’m currently on my sixth edit.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes! My CP’s and beta readers are The Best People Ever. Without them, I’d be nowhere. And by nowhere I mean a dusty and forgotten shriveled husk of a girl on the floor.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Total pantser here. Outlines give me hives.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I began querying my first novel about five years ago. This MG went through a few revisions over the course of ten months or so. (I had R&R’s)
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
On the original version, over a hundred! After my R&R’s, I sent out 39, but many were re-queries.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I did a lot of research. On whether or not they accepted my genre, if we shared literary tastes. I read interviews and client lists. After that, it came down to my gut.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I always addressed to a specific agent, but only personalized the query if they had MSWL interests that matched mine, or I had a reference of some kind.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Never, ever give up. It sounds so easy, not giving up. But it’s THE HARDEST THING EVER. The trick for me was to know I’d be writing anyway, published or not. Immersing yourself in the amazing writing community will keep you sane. Find CP’s you trust and love, stick with them and they will become family: reminding you that you are brilliant when you feel dull, and that you will get through together. Know that with each book you *will* get better. Writers are amazing beings. Keep going. You’re not alone.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Sure!

Not long ago, eleven-year-old Cecelia Dahl had a little brother who was alive, a mother and father who didn't blame her for his death, and a pleasant house in Hungrig. Before Tuesdays turned evil, Cecelia was made of skin and bones and happiness. Not the actual paper and sorrow, now ripping her life to shreds.

Cecelia’s mother has left for The Land of Yesterday to find her ghost brother. Her house, a dark and crooked thing called Widdendream, absorbs her father into its walls as punishment for making her mother leave. Just before it eats her as well, two mischievous gnomes whisk her away in their hot-air balloon. The gnomes claim they know the way to Yesterday, and also how to find her missing father. But finding them won’t be easy. Now Cecelia must survive the harrowing voyage in order to find Yesterday and bring her mother and ghost-brother home. If she doesn’t, Widdendream will never give her father back, and Cecelia’s transformation to a full paper Dahl will be irreversibly complete.

THE LAST PAPER DAHL is a 35,000 word MG fantasy that will appeal to fans of Coraline and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls.

(BIO)

Thank you so much!