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An Interview with Melanie Doctors upon receiving an offer of representation.

03/12/2021

Melanie Doctors (melaniedoctors on QT) has signed with agent Catherine Hedrick Armstrong of The Purcell Agency, LLC.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you've found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Would you believe a vision? It's true. Driving home from a drag race with my husband I "saw" a woman by a pale blue convertible in the dirt by the side of the road. A little girl with sunglasses in the front, and a messy little boy in the back. I had to know more, and they "told" me the story.
How long have you been writing?
Since I learned to scribble.
How long have you been working on this book?
Six years but lots of that time was learning how to write a novel.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
#nevergiveup. The soul grabbing desire to get this story out into the world for the sake of the characters, and the relentless encouragement of my early readers and critique partners.
Is this your first book?
Yes.
Do you have any formal writing training?
Local writing conferences and the connections I made became the university I needed.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
In the beginning I wrote wherever I could and had the outrageously bad habit of putting my writing last. That's changed. I have what I need and where I need it to commit to what I wished I put first a million years ago.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
How many pizzas have you eaten?
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Absolutely and I love them dearly. I will be sending lots of flowers on my book's birthday.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Again, my ways have changed along with my personal growth. I used to work from a stack of scribbled on cocktail napkins. Now I use a few cherished online too of the trade.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
Over two years but the feedback helped me hone the manuscript to its saleable state. I adore my agent (squeal) and hopefully, I won't have to query other books. #nevergiveup
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
184.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
The top criteria was finding someone that understood me as a writer, a business partner, and a human. Someone that would enjoy the process as much as I do.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
All agents were heavily stalked. I mean researched. That being said, I operate from complete transparency so if I had something personal I added it, if not I let the story do the talking.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Agents are people trying to make a living at something they love. It's a tough business so don't make it any harder than it needs to be. Follow directions to the letter and remember there is more at play than just your manuscript. There is never a reason to take a rejection personally. Ever. Each rejection (and I had plenty of practice) is giving you time to polish your story and yourself.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?

Dear Cathie,

SLEEP IN PEACE is a 93,000-word work of contemporary women's fiction with two semi-unreliable narrators and strong romantic overtones. Think Fleabag meets The Husband's Secret with Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine perched on top.

If San Francisco's culinary darling Leanne Spencer believes her addiction to bad boys stems from her flawless daddy dying when she was a child, she'd be only half-right. It turns out, Mom's a liar, Dad's not dead, and her childhood was a well-crafted illusion. After Leanne forces Mom to confess what really happened, she's not sure what to believe. Mom's flashbacks of an innocent jazz singer and the rat bastard who ruined her life sound more like a 1950's B movie than reality. And yet, the unthinkable stories explain more than Leanne is willing to admit.

Meanwhile, relationship-challenged Leanne is falling fast for "The One." A sexy, grounded widower who is plug and play perfect, except he's none too thrilled with Leanne's current trust issues. Determined to figure herself out before committing to David, she's on a secret mission to meet her dad and discover if he's simply misunderstood and her mom something far worse than a liar.

As her past, present, and future collide, Leanne, must reconcile the inconceivable, and rescue herself or lose a dream of a man who accepts her for exactly who she is, flaws, and all.

For seven years, I wrote a weekly newspaper column, Dear Miss Kitty, published in The Santa Barbara Daily Sound: humorous philosophy disguised as relationship advice. An excerpt from THE RELUCTANT COUGAR, my work in progress, was published in The Santa Barbara Literary Journal (June 2019). I'm Mom to three children, three dogs, and more cats than any sane person should have.

Thank you for your consideration and stay safe.

Melanie Doctors