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An Interview with Michella Domenici upon receiving an offer of representation.

04/12/2016

Michella Domenici (thebluecray0n on QT) has signed with agent Heather Flaherty of The Bent Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Sure! My story is about a girl who stages a gender-swapped Hamlet production as she tries to win a scholarship to her dream drama school. The idea kinda came to me from all these little plot elements I knew I wanted to write about, like a small town, theater, female friendship, and anxiety. It just kind of took shape organically.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing fanfiction in 2005! That was a great way to learn and I never really had a fear of sharing my work, which might be why I send drafts to CPs too early and then go, "Wait! Read this one instead." Before I wrote, though, I was always the kid using my imagination and telling my friends how the stories we'd act out went.
How long have you been working on this book?
I started drafting last summer and finished in three weeks. Then I let it sit, revised, entered Pitch Wars, revised some more with my mentors/beta readers/ and CPs. So from start to finish I'd say 7 months.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Kind of, but I never seriously considered it. Like I'd think, "I need to shelve this MS soon," but then never actually did it. My CPs and the Pitch Wars mentee group were always cheering me on, and had more confidence in me than I did in myself. Definitely find your people, because they will carry you along when you need it.
Is this your first book?
This is the third manuscript I've queried!
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Sometimes I try to, but after a few days I slip and end up writing whenever, wherever, and whatever I can.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
This manuscript went through at least five edits. I'm not sure of the exact number anymore.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes! I found them on Twitter and their opinion was very important to me.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I outlined, but was always open to where the story would take me. I find outlines super helpful because when I get lost or am feeling down, I can just refer to the outline and make myself continue because I know what's next. I also I find them helpful for revisions when you're keeping track of all the plot threads and arcs. It keeps everything together in a cohesive and organized way.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I queried this manuscript from November to March (4 months).
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Around 70.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
If I had something to say (like I loved a client book, something they said in a recent interview resonated, #MSWL), then yes. But if not I got straight to the pitch.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don't rush it. Enjoy your time as unagented writer, when it's just you and your words and there's no deadlines or expectations. And when you're ready, revise, revise, revise and find your people. But above all, always keep writing. It might not be this manuscript, but it could be the next.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Sure! One agent I had a call with told me I had a 'flawless query' and it gave me warm fuzzies (especially since I was once on QueryShark and she tore me to pieces).

Seventeen-year-old Alice Li wants to play Hamlet so bad she might slip poison into someone’s ear. After a flawless audition, the role goes to her very male nemesis, and Alice’s shot at a prestigious drama scholarship is ruined. But Alice can’t be stopped that easily—she decides to perform a gender-swapped Hamlet at the community theater and recruits her friends and ex-girlfriend’s help.

That’s easier said than staged. When her location falls through, Alice doesn’t know how to tell her newly assembled cast they have no theater. Vowing to fix it by herself, rehearsals push on. But when her best friend would rather stay with the school’s production, Alice’s panic attacks take on a life of their own. Juggling school, a part-time job, therapy, fundraising, rehearsing, and a crush on the distractingly cute boy playing Ophelia is enough to drive a girl madder than the prince of Denmark.

Everyone is counting on Alice, as a director and star of the show, but if she can’t get a grasp on her anxiety, procure a theater before everyone finds out she’s lying, and avoid a huge Hamlet-Style meltdown, their show and her scholarship chances will be as dead as Poor Yorick.

LADY HAMLET is a YA novel complete at 75,000 words, with a biracial and bisexual protagonist. I think it will appeal to readers of Stephanie Perkins, Becky Albertalli, and Nicola Yoon. The first ten pages are below, as per agency guidelines.

I am an undergraduate student at [X] and work part-time at [X]. I also intern for a literary agency.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.