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An Interview with K. E. Blaski upon receiving an offer of representation.

K. E. Blaski (keb2010 on QT) has signed with agent Michael Carr of Veritas Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
I'll give you my logline…My queries were much more successful once I had one:

The world where Nubbin Beck lives is as unforgiving as The Company that runs it, as she discovers when she begins to seek answers about her microchipped life and fights to hide the last untraceable human.

I've been a fan of dystopian SciFi ever since reading Aldous Huxley's Brave New World as a kid. Once you pile on Fahrenheit 451, 1984, The Handmaid's Tail, and The Children of Men, the seed for this book has been germinating for a long time.

How long have you been writing?
Since I was a child. I started with poetry and migrated to short stories, then my novel.
How long have you been working on this book?
Since September 2009.
Is this your first book?
Yes.
Do you have any formal writing training?
My training has been in technical writing and marketing communications. As far as creative writing, a couple classes here and there in college. An occasional workshop, otherwise no.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Every free moment and all day Saturday.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I rewrote chapter 1 at least 4x. I edited/tweaked the rest around 7x. And now I'm tweaking the entire manuscript again for my agent.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Absolutely. As I finished each Chapter, I read it aloud to my 14 year old son, then edited it based on his immediate feedback. I also sent it chapter by chapter to a good friend who made sure I was ending each chapter in a way that made him want the next one. When the book was finished, I had a physician friend and her family of boys read it; she double-checked my medical facts, and the boys checked out my awesomeness levels. Of course I had my mother read it for the warm fuzzy factor, my writing group for plot arc/pacing/continuity and finally another close friend who caught the stuff everyone else, including myself, had missed.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Both. I start with an outline of major scenes, and I write out major character biographies, then I give my characters free reign to decide how they want to get from point A to point B.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I sent my first query in August 2010 and got personal feedback from an agent who said my query peaked his interest but my pages didn't. So I rewrote Chapter 1 and tried querying again in Sept. I got one partial request and a truckload of rejections. Then I entered the QT logline contest in October, which forced me to summarize my book in one sentence and make those 1st 100 words bright and shiny. I ended up with another partial request from that in November. By the time Dec. & Jan rolled around, I had a 3rd partial, 2 full requests and 2 offers.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
61, but query 1 looked a lot different from query 61. I must have messed with my query at least 8x.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I used QT to screen the agents by genre, but had the best success once I started getting agent updates for new agents and crosschecking whether they were seeking both YA and SciFi. Can I mention how helpful the QT members have been? Very encouraging throughout the process and always willing to answer my questions!
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I tried. I Googled each one and was glad that I did because occasionally I would find an interview where the agent would say "I wish I would see more…" and I would think, "that's what I wrote!" and off my query would go, or an agent would say "I would be happy if I never saw… again" and I would think, I better stay away.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Keep writing. Keep trying, but mostly keep writing.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
I'd hate to hold my query up as an example of what works, because I really don't think it was the query that did it for me. The logline seemed to help my response rate, but ultimately it was the pages that captured my agent's attention.