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An Interview with Megan Reyes upon receiving an offer of representation.

02/12/2020

Megan Reyes (MReyesWrites on QT) has signed with agent Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
My book, DRAGONBOY BLUE, is a middle grade fantasy with vibes of THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON and AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. During #pitmad, I pitched it as a 12yo stable boy gets hastily chosen to slay the dragon threatening his kingdom. Then he learns his world is in peril and he must *become* a dragon in order to save it. With the help of three unlikely friends.

As for inspiration... I've always wanted to have a dragon as one of my main characters!
How long have you been writing?
Since always. I've always adored stories. Before I knew how to write, I drew comic books. Then I wrote little stories for fun all the way through high school. But I began writing seriously (with hopes of publication) 10 years ago. DRAGONBOY BLUE is my fifth novel.
How long have you been working on this book?
From the first idea and outlining until finished draft… probably about a year.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
There were many times of discouragement, but I never wanted to give up. I love writing. It brings me such joy to carry these characters around in my head and bring them to the page. I write my stories for them. If anyone else enjoys the stories along the way, then that's just a bonus.
Do you have any formal writing training?
Nope. Just consumed a lot of books and podcasts about story craft. And I always make time to read for fun. Not only to see what other authors are doing, but to remind myself what a gift stories are.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
No, but I do sort of have predictable writing patterns. If I'm outlining, I have a certain flow to the day, and if I'm drafting, I tend to aim for 2,000 words a day. When I reach the 30% mark of any story, then it's go time. I'll start giving myself deadlines and jump into a writing sprint where I push myself hard until I finish the book. Then I take a month off while my CPs read the book. Then I'll re-read, and revise. After the final draft is finished, it's time for celebratory Ben N Jerry's ice cream!
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Really, it was just the first draft (with minor edits along the way) and then the final draft. I had one kick-a** CP for this book who gave awesome notes and helped my revision in the right direction.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes, and they are amazing. I have a list of CPs and usually try to get 2 to read once I've finished a manuscript. For Dragonboy Blue, I only had one CP, but I knew she'd be a perfect fit for this particular book.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I am a super planner. I tend to write series, so I outline all of books in advance. I like to have a good sense of where the characters are headed. Once I have the major plot points and character arcs in place, I divide out the chapters (best guesses) and get started. I will say though, I "pants" a lot of the dialogue in my scenes. So all kinds of surprises pop up when my characters start chatting.
How long have you been querying for this book?
I started querying in October of 2019 and received my offer in mid-January 2020.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
*runs off to check QueryTracker* 71 queries.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I've done a ton of research over the years. My process: I first used QueryTracker to search for agents who rep middle grade and fantasy and made a list of about 60 agents. Then I used twitter and manuscriptwishlist.com to check out specific wish lists. Then I created a list of agents and prioritized them. I sent out the first 20 queries to agents I was most interested in working with. A few weeks later, I sent out 20 more, and so on.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Definitely. As mentioned above, I used twitter and manuscriptwishlist.com. If I was especially interested in an agent, I'd read interviews they'd done and try to find something I could use to personalize the query.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Get your booty in that seat and keep writing. It's always best to keep working toward the next Thing so you have something new to be excited about. The rejections suck. Absolutely. It's totally normal to get discouraged, but don't dwell in that space for very long. Surround yourself with a small group of writer friends who can lift you up when you need it. Keep your hope alive for your next Thing. Also: ice cream.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?

Dear AGENT:

Every twenty-five years, the king of Gerbera is eaten by a dragon.

It is tradition.

A deal's a deal, after all. One king every quarter-century, and in exchange, the dragons leave the villages of Gerbera alone. But when the king dies on Dragon Day, the Fates choose a new replacement--Blue, the twelve-year-old stable boy. Everyone's certain it's a mistake. Blue doesn't even have a proper name, let alone the proper skills to fight off any dragons. To make matters worse, when Blue reaches Dragon Mountain, he learns instead of being eaten by a dragon, he must become one.

In order to save the world.

With the aide of his reluctant, acrophobic dragon rider, the new dragon, Blue, works out the whole flying thing to race to the other side of the world, where war is breaking out at the hand of the madman, Chancellor Cudek. Blue soon meets a pair of unlikely allies: a girl who's wanted for treason after her new Magic's run off, and an enemy soldier boy who can't decide which side he's on, at the risk of his family's safety.

As the first war cannons fire, Cudek's found a new way to steal forbidden Magic and put all the dragons to sleep. Bound together by the Fates themselves, the four new maybe-friends must each face their own demons and find the will to trust one another before their world is torn apart. In order to defeat Cudek's army, Blue and the others must each find the courage to play their part--before Cudek puts the dragons to sleep permanently.

Told in multiple points of view (with an emphasis on Blue's story), DRAGONBOY BLUE is 65,000 words of a coming-of-age MG fantasy, written as a stand-alone novel with series potential. It would likely appeal to fans of THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, THE RANGER'S APPRENTICE series, and the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series.