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An Interview with Morgan Shamy upon receiving an offer of representation.

12/16/2012

Morgan Shamy (WriterMC on QT) has signed with agent Karen Grencik of Red Fox Literary.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
This is my third novel, and the whole story flooded out of me like it’s been growing inside of me since I was a little girl. It’s the essence of who I am. I grew up in the hardcore dancing world, so I wanted to bring light to the other side—the magic I remember as a child.
How long have you been writing?
January 19, 2009 was the day I wrote my first sentence. (I’ve never forgotten that!) And I haven’t been able to stop.
How long have you been working on this book?
I started this book in May of 2012, finished it in 6 weeks, and started querying in July. (This was unusually fast—my other projects took much longer! I highly recommend you don’t do this. It’s much better to let your project sit before querying)
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Oh goodness… oh course. I can’t even tell you. I probably cried every day during the process. It’s hard to put forth SO much work and not know if your efforts will ever come to fruition. I queried two novels before this one, and faced the sting of rejection for a year and a half. But regardless of the inner struggle, you’ve got to trust in that spark—that “magic” that made you start writing. That intense desire is what pushed me forward.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I don’t. I didn’t start writing until I was 28. I learned everything “from scratch.” When I first started, I actually Googled “Show Not Tell!” I immersed myself in every craft book I could find and studied. Hard. You’ll be surprised what kind of resources are out there!
Do you follow a writing 'routine' or schedule?
I’ve done everything. With my first novel, I literally woke up at 3:00 am and wrote until dawn six days a week. With my second, I wrote only at night. Now, I just write periodically throughout my day whenever/however I can.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
With this book, I did one major edit after my first draft. (Again, this isn’t normal. With my others, I rewrote them numerous times!)
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Oh man… YES. So essential. It’s amazing what a new pair of eyes can do.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
Totally from the hip! I can’t outline. It takes the magic out of it for me. It’s the blank page ahead that inspires me.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
With this book, two months. Other books, about a year and a half.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
I sent out 10 queries for this book. Seven of which requested. Then I had two other requests that were referrals. I ended up getting 6 offers, but had to go with Karen.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I was very picky with who I queried. I wanted to be with an agent/agency where I wouldn’t feel lost in the shuffle. Boutique agencies interested me over the bigger ones. But having a “Recommended” sign on Predators and Editors was also important to me, along with the number/type of sales on Publishers Marketplace.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Yes and no. I did with Karen. But not with the others.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Embrace the process. It’s HARD. A lot harder than you first think. Align yourself with people who are ahead of you in the journey and learn from them. Accept that it isn’t an easy road and decide early on that you’re willing to fight through the tough moments and keep going. Set your goals, and don’t lose sight. Go for it—because the process is more than just writing. It shapes who we are.
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Of course! Here it is:

Pain. Sweat. Blood: The minimum expected to be a member of the corps de ballet for the Coleman Arts Conservatory.

When Dawn Humphrey is accepted to the Summer Intensive at the most prestigious school in New York, she suffers more than just blisters from her pointe shoes. Aside from the director insulting her weight, and publicly showing his distaste for her dancing, Dawn falls hard and fast for the director’s son, Griffin Coleman, who can’t seem to keep his hands (and lips) off the other girls in the company.

The Conservatory is renowned for its technique and precision, but something is off with the girls. Not only are they too perfect on stage, but they’re burning out too quickly. It isn’t until the company announces they’re doing Giselle for the summer showcase that Dawn realizes the parallels between the haunted ghost story and the lives around her. And she could be next. Dawn must find a way to free the girls from dancing to their deaths before she succumbs and becomes a ghost herself.