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An Interview with Mercedes M. Yardley upon receiving an offer of representation.

Mercedes M. Yardley (Mercedes on QT) has signed with agent Jason Yarn of Jason Yarn 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 had written two books in a series and was planning to churn out a third. The day before I was scheduled to start, I thought, “Hmm, I’d like to do something different. What about an ethereal fairytale of a girl who is destined to be murdered?” It was out of the blue and I have never enjoyed a project as much. It fairly sang.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing forever, but I really started taking it seriously three years ago. I started making the sacrifices necessary to carve out time.
How long have you been working on this book?
The book took three weeks to write. Then I revised it off and on for another year.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
I never felt like giving up completely because I know that I’m a writer. But did I tire out and take revising/querying breaks here and there? Definitely! My friends got me back on course. I’d say, “Hey, I need you to be all over me until I finish this project.” And bless their sadistic souls, they were.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I minored in writing, but I wouldn’t really consider that formal training. It was something that I did for fun. I write. I’ve always written. I try to get better each year. That’s my real training.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
My schedule is absolutely insane. I write in tiny snippets. I leave the computer on all day and run to it for five minutes here, ten minutes there. When I really have a deadline, I try to claim 10:00 PM to midnight as my writing time. The kids are asleep. I kick my husband out of the room. That’s my only schedule, but it isn’t always rock solid. Just every now and then.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
I have the best beta readers in the world! My critique group understands my work and they’re so remarkably insightful without trying to change my voice. Mason has an eye for continuity and ratcheting up the tension. Billie picks up on the sensitivity and the heart of it. Ryan is my literary soul mate. My oldest friend, Janyece, is also a great beta reader and keeps me true to myself. These four people are my core. I’ve also reached out to a couple of writer friends who write in a similar style and asked their opinions from time to time.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I literally sat down at the keyboard and thought, “What happens next? I have no idea. Let’s find out!”
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
This is really the only book that I queried for. I queried for about a year, a year and a half. I took a few months off at a time whenever I got burnt out.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
About 60!
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don’t give up. Don’t take rejection personally, and if you have that niggling feeling in your gut when you talk to an agent, don’t be afraid to walk away. I spoke with enough agents that I was able to recognize when our personalities clashed. It wasn’t that we weren't friendly, but we just didn’t gel. I wanted an agent who was professional, definitely, but I didn’t want everything to be super formal ALL OF THE TIME. It's very important to me that there be ease in the working relationship. During “the call” when Jason said, “That’s cool” a few times, I breathed a sigh of relief. And he loved the novel as much as I did. It was exciting to hear him talk about my characters like they were real. When you find the right agent, you know. You also know when you find the wrong one, so move on.