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

04/01/2017

Kara Reynolds (karareynolds on QT) has signed with agent Silvia Arienti of Jill Corcoran Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
RESET is young adult speculative fiction. I wish I could remember what inspired me to write it! Sadly I have a terrible memory for that kind of thing.
How long have you been writing?
I started with NaNoWriMo in 2010, but didn't get serious about writing for publication until 2013. But like many of us, I've written stories since I was a little kid.
How long have you been working on this book?
RESET was my project for NaNoWriMo 2015.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Lots of times! My critique partners helped me keep my chin up and keep going. My husband is also great about keeping my expectations realistic while keeping my hopes up. Finding people who support you is a critical component of the publication journey.
Is this your first book?
This is the third book I've queried.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I wish, but my writing time is usually just whenever I get a chance. During NaNoWriMo, however, I make sure to write every single day.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I outline. I like to use Save the Cat! to help me hit story beats. I usually write from the hip in between beats. And I don't think I've ever ended a book the way I originally planned to.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I started querying RESET in July 2016 and got an offer of rep in March 2017.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
According to my QueryTracker records, I sent out 134 queries.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I did if I could do it naturally. For example, there were several people I queried with my second book that mentioned they'd like to see further work when they rejected my full MS. So when I queried them with my third book, I reminded them of that. One agent held a "Bad Christmas Tchotchke" contest on Twitter one year that I won, so I mentioned that when I queried. But the query that got me my agents wasn't personalized.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Make sure your query letter is as good as it possibly can be before you send it out. Many agents offer query critiques periodically, there are a million query contests out there, and I know of several writers who frequently offer to help with query letters on Twitter. I myself critique query letters (for free!) through writing blog Operation Awesome a couple of times a month. My point is, there are so many opportunities to get other eyes on your query letter before you send it out that it's almost reckless not to.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?

When the universe resets itself, no one notices—except for Lia Tobin. Since she was six years old, Lia’s been able to recognize when the universe has erased the future and given her a chance to live life differently. The flip side of this gift? She can’t control when it happens.

After the disappearance of her 10-year-old sister, Lia would give anything to be able to make the universe reset itself so she could have a chance to save Maddy. But the universe is uncooperative, which forces Lia to live through the rest of her senior year as the girl with the missing sister, watch her parents’ marriage dissolve, and finally discover Maddy’s body. All without a single chance at a do-over.

Until her former classmate, Jay Garza, is murdered, and the universe resets six months. Suddenly, Lia’s dream has come true: she has a chance to save her beloved little sister. But by being hyper protective of Maddy, Lia completely ignores Jay, until the universe makes it painfully clear that his life is a priority, too. Choosing between Jay and Maddy seems like a no-brainer, until Lia meets someone else who recognizes the resets. She learns that ten years in the future, Jay is a celebrated researcher on the brink of developing a cure for cancer. Saving Jay now feels like saving the whole world.

But then Maddy disappears again. In fact, every time Lia focuses on protecting Jay, Maddy disappears. When Lia shifts her attention back to Maddy, terrible things happen to Jay. Lia is reset to avert each catastrophe, but she knows she must do more than fix things—she’s got to find out who’s responsible. As she knows only too well, the universe could stop resetting whenever it chooses, leaving Jay or Maddy to a terrible fate.

RESET is an 80,000-word work of speculative fiction for young adults that crosses EDGE OF TOMORROW with BEFORE I FALL.