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An Interview with Rose Nanashima upon receiving an offer of representation.

Rose Nanashima (SevenIsles on QT) has signed with agent Kate McKean of Howard Morhaim Literary Agency.

How long have you been writing?
I've been writing since I was eleven.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Giving up has never been an option.
Is this your first book?
This is my n-teenth book, letting n be the number of novels I completed, only to realize later that they were irredeemably flawed by ego getting the better of craft. Humility is an indispensable writerly virtue. Fortunately, if the publishing industry can't knock humility into a person, nothing can.
How long have you been working on this book?
The first draft of this book took a year, and then I revised it several times over the course of another year in between working on other projects.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I've participated in a few workshops, but never learned anything that I didn't have to re-learn subsequently for myself.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I write every day. On the rare occasions that life conspires to keep me away from my work for twenty-four hours, I feel deprived and I get nasty. That said, I don't necessarily produce new material every day. Some days I revise, and some days I just sit in front of the computer and think.
How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
I do "rolling revisions" -- that is, I revise as I write, whenever I feel something needs to change. On top of that, I've line-edited the whole manuscript of this book twice.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
No.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I generally outline novels briefly and cryptically, including only "must-have" points and leaving plenty of room for improvisation. Then I make notes to myself as I go along. Part of the "rolling revisions" process is "rolling plotting"!
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I'd been querying for five months before my now-agent made her offer. I'd never previously queried. When I was in my teens, I sent entire manuscripts to publishers. I've learned a bit since then! However, I made a few mistakes in my querying process -- see below. I would have made more, too, if not for Querytracker. I realize I'm preaching to the choir here, but this is truly a fantastic tool for writers seeking agents.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I chose agents who represented, or had in the past represented, authors working in the same genre. Within that group, I based my preferences on their websites, blogs, interviews, and so forth
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I told each agent why I was querying him or her, citing what I knew of their preferences.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Start from the top. Query the agents you really want first. I started from the middle of my list, and as a result, I had to reject one offer -- with much agonizing -- before ending up with my present agent, who'd I'd queried in my "second wave" because she was in my group of most-preferred agents!
Would you be willing to share your query with us?
Certainly.

Dear Ms / Mr Agent,

You know those kids you see sometimes on the street. All in black. Scruffy, with tattoos and piercings and hair like anime heroes. They don't smile much, but when they do, you might glimpse the tip of a fang.

The United States Congress is trying to outlaw them. Paranormal researcher Clare Standing is fighting for their civil rights. Like her father, a liberal senator, Clare dreams of a world free from discrimination and hate. But when her fieldwork takes her to Tokyo, she discovers a hidden community of the undead where violence is an art form, blood is power, and Clare, the daughter of an American senator, is a target. Now she's fighting not only for her ideals but for her life.

Fellow researcher Keita Matsudaira loathes vampires passionately. A student of black magic, he offers Clare a gift of power to slay the undead. His price: one night with him. To Clare, the only thing more repugnant than black magic is Keita himself. But with the undead shogun of Tokyo out for her blood, she must make an agonizing choice: her integrity… or her soul.

[A paragraph explaining why I'm querying this particular agent.]

[A paragraph about me.]

Regards, etc.

Here is your chance to plug your book. Tell us a little about it.
This is an urban fantasy that stands urban fantasy on its head, shakes it, rifles its pockets, then kicks it when it's down and walks off humming: "I do it all for love." I love vampires and magic truly, madly, deeply, and this book is for people who love them, too -- like a beautiful woman loves her body; like survivalists love their rifles. I hope it delivers a juicy, entertaining read for genre fans and for readers who like a good story, period.

Additionally, I live in Tokyo where the book is set, and I hope readers will enjoy this insider's take on a city that's all too often "lost in translation."