Leah Raeder (leahzero on QT) has signed with agent Weronika Janczuk of .
I've been a zombie nut ever since I was a teenager scaring myself silly playing Resident Evil. You'll never walk down a hallway with a lot of windows and feel safe after that. My generation grew up more with zombie video games rather than zombie movies. Notice what's missing from that equation? Zombie books.
I wanted to combine modern horror with my love of literary fiction and intensely character-driven stories, and zombies are a surprisingly good fit: in most zombie stories, the monsters are almost just a backdrop for the human drama. But I wanted these monsters to be front and center, so the solution was obvious: make the main characters infected. The result is a literary horror/thriller fairly unlike anything out there. The closest comparison is probably Alden Bell's (Joshua Gaylord's) wonderful THE REAPERS ARE THE ANGELS, a Southern Gothic literary zombie bildungsroman. (Say that three times fast.)
What wore me down was how long the whole process took. A close friend of mine found her agent after a month and a half of querying. Of course it's a mistake to generalize from that, but every month that passed galled me. I made a promise to myself that if I didn't find an agent before my birthday this year--or at least have very good prospects with one--then I'd seriously consider self-publishing, just so I could get out of the agent game and get on with what I really wanted to do: continue writing.
What helped me stay the course? Stories from the online writing community. My season of querying is nothing compared to what some folks have endured. And, deep down, I knew I had something special. It's been my dream since I was a little girl to become a commercially published author, and I've spent a lot of my time on this earth working toward that dream. If it didn't happen with THE FERAL, it would happen with something else.
But when the story really got rolling, I found myself looking forward to the hard work, because I just had to find out what was going to happen next. That's probably the best part of writing: when you get so caught up in the story that you don't even realize you're doing work.
Don't. Give. Up.
Rosa Farrow didn't kill Ben Waters. She moved in with her brother to get away from violence: the alcoholic father who was behind the wheel the day Mom died. But she's the last one who sees Ben alive. When his body turns up brutally mauled—with evidence of human bite marks—everyone wants to talk to her. Cops. Social workers. Even her brother seems unsure of her innocence. Rosa's starting to feel like she's in some waking Kafkaesque nightmare.
Until Ben's body disappears from the morgue.
And he shows back up at school, bloody, pissed off—and with lots of murderous new friends.
That's when he does the one thing you shouldn't let the recently deceased do: he bites her. She flees with her brother, but something escapes with her, stows away in her veins. She's infected. Changing. Becoming something like Ben. Becoming a monster even worse than her dad.
Rosa's no killer. Whatever happens, she won't follow in her father's footsteps. But how can she fight something that's inside of her?
THE FERAL is a literary thriller complete at 100,000 words... etc. etc. (I included the first 5 pages unless the agent's submission guidelines specifically said otherwise.)