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An Interview with Stephanie Boman upon receiving an offer of representation.

Stephanie Boman (sboman on QT) has signed with agent Alyssa Reuben of Paradigm Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
Here's the tag line: What if you had to choose between your best friend and your first love? What if that best friend was dead?

It's a YA paranormal story about first romance, finding personal strength and overcoming OCD tendencies, freaky wraiths wreaking havoc, and friendships that extend beyond the grave.

It was based on a gushy story I wrote in H.S. and is set in my hometown. The paranormal part came to me when I was trying to find a twist to make it more than a love story.

How long have you been writing?
A looooooong time. But I took big breaks until about three and a half years ago when I decided to get serious about a writing career.
How long have you been working on this book?
Two years.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Oi. Yes. When rock bottom came, I told myself, sure, you can go back to life as it was, less stress. But when I tried to picture that life, I couldn't imagine not writing seriously anymore. It had become an integral part of me, and I knew I couldn't quit and be happy. That's when I realized I was in for the long haul and knew that it would happen for me, it just might take many more years. Luckily it only took one more year.
Is this your first book?
Second. I've written three, and have starts for two more.
Do you have any formal writing training?
Yes, in Mrs. Parobeck's second grade classroom in Billings, Montana. She sparked my interest in creative writing and journaling at a very tender age.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Mmmm...yeah....The routine is to write when I'm inspired, take breaks when I don't.

Honestly, my best writing comes when I go away for the weekend and write/sleep/eat whenever it feels right, and not based on the needs of my family. That's how I've written the big chunks of my books and finished revisions.

How many times did you re-write/edit your book?
Editing: innumerable. As far as revisions, there were two major ones. The second one came after querying and getting bites, but no takers. Revising again with the help of awesome critiques from trusted writing friends did the job.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes. And I apologize to them. I don't know how they got through it.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I wrote long hand when the first inspiration struck, then revised as I typed it, then created charts and outlines and character sketches. They really helped, but in the end, it's all about the story on the page.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I queried just under two years ago, then stopped, and started again last December with the new version and a new title, so about three months this round. My first time ever querying with my first book was three years ago.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Do I really have to answer that? Gah, thirty-three this round, but 102 the first round.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
Big time research, especially this time around. I definitely checked out profiles and agent preferences with the help of this site, but if they repped YA they most likely got a query from me.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Yes and no. Some you can't, because there isn't much info out there. If I reeeeeeally liked an agent I would tailor the query with references to what they repped and stuff they put on their profiles that I thought was relevant.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Don't quit. I once wondered if it was irresponsible of people to keep cheering writers on through rejection after rejection. I thought that maybe there were some people who just aren't cut out for it, who would never be published. I feel totally different, now. If you want it bad enough you will read enough blogs, go to enough conferences, find good writing partners, apply helpful criticism, and write and rewrite and rewrite, and cry and bleed until it happens. If you want it bad enough, it can happen to ANYONE, you just have to put the immense effort into it that it takes.

Oh, and always include a sample chapter in the body of the email. If the agent is interested they can read on, if not, they don't have to, and if they're irritated by it, then you probably wouldn't want to work with them anyway.

And subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace. It is important to see if the agent has even sold in your genre. This is what made the final decision for me. Alyssa has two sales to big houses since Jan, the others I was considering hadn't sold in my genre in over a year. To me that was very telling. I know another author who's agonizing over a book that has been on submission to editors for over seven months, but a quick check shows that her agent has never sold her genre before, nor is his firm known for working with that genre. Any agent is *not* better than no agent at all.

Would you be willing to share your query with us?
This is the one that did it. It was originally sent to Jason Yarn at Paradigm, who passed it on to Alyssa Reuben. I have to note that the reference to the inkpop site at the end was a little risky, since agents really don't care about outside opinions, but my response had been so overwhelmingly positive from a lot of teen readers, that I thought it was worth throwing in.

I am hoping you will be interested in my YA paranormal titled FADING, complete at 56,000 words.

What would you do if you had to choose between your best friend and your first love? What if your best friend was dead?

Sixteen-year-old Lovey doesn't know why Celeste has come back as a spirit after being hit and killed by a car, she's just happy to have her BFF again, in whatever form. But a door has been left open to the spirit world, allowing evil wraiths to enter and torment the living. Adding to her turmoil, new guy Troy Armstrong seems to be interested in Lovey, but the closer she gets to him, the more Celeste begins to fade.

Lovey, whose OCD has gotten worse since the accident, has to make a choice, but it will take a strength she's never known before to overcome her guilt and insecurity. Can Lovey sacrifice the one thing that's ever given her a feeling of self-worth in order to set things right?

FADING has been well received on the HarperTeen website for teen literature, "inkpop". I know the opinion of random people doesn't mean a lot at this point, but you may want to check out the enthusiasm of my readers here. Recently, I was one of the top five finalists in a Querytracker.net agent submission contest. I have had a short story and poems published in the American River Literary Review. I have included the first chapter in the body of this email. Thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you!