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An Interview with Katy Atlas upon receiving an offer of representation.

Katy Atlas (blakep on QT) has signed with agent Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
MOVING NEUTRAL is the story of a girl who runs away from home the summer before she leaves for college to go on tour with her favorite band. It's a love story between the main character, Casey Snow, and the lead guitarist and songwriter for the band, Blake Parker.
How long have you been writing?
All my life. I grew up reading constantly, and writing was always important to me. After college, I slowed down a bit, but I founded my blog in 2007 and after that, writing was a daily activity for me again.
How long have you been working on this book?
I started it at the beginning of 2010, wrote for about four months, revised for another month or so, and started querying. That seems like a pretty short timeframe, but I'd been writing really seriously for a while before starting this book, so I had a lot of the kinks out already.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
There really wasn't -- I had moments of fear, definitely, but from almost the day that I started writing about Casey and Blake, I felt like I had found my story. My favorite book, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, has a line that goes: "I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell."

I hope I have lots of stories left in me, but as I was writing Moving Neutral, I kept thinking about that line -- this was my story to tell.

Do you have any formal writing training?
I majored in English at Princeton and took courses in creative writing, modern fiction and playwriting.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I write in every spare moment I can find -- early mornings, late nights, weekends, vacations.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I went through at least a dozen rounds of edits, but only a few large changes -- mostly just polishing. Several key scenes did get rewritten entirely, though, and sometimes more than once.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Of course! My husband and a few friends provided amazing feedback, both encouraging and critical. I also had several actual teenagers as beta readers, who were terrific.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I could see everything that happened in this book when I started writing it, but I didn't outline in a formal way.
How long have you been querying for this book?
I queried for three and a half weeks.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
I sent out 49 queries, received 15 rejections and 19 requests for my full manuscript. They're still trickling in every once in a while. The agent I ended up signing with was my absolute top choice, so I feel incredibly lucky.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I did a ton of internet research, looking for agents who had represented books I'd loved and agents with great sales records on Publisher's Marketplace.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Set aside anything that isn't the best you can do -- whether it's a paragraph, a page, or months of work. Only put your book out into the world if, in your mind, it's flawless.