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An Interview with Suzanne van Rooyen upon receiving an offer of representation.

01/08/2013

Suzanne van Rooyen (Xaniver on QT) has signed with agent Jordy Albert of The Booker Albert 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 can't say too much about Daughter of the Nether, but I can say that it's a paranormal-cyberpunk mashup. The inspiration for this book comes from my long standing fascination with mythology. I've been wanting to write a story about a certain lesser known mythological figure for a while and so Daughter of the Nether was born.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing professionally since 2009 when I started writing for my university newspaper. Shortly after that I started submitting short stories for publication and began seriously considering a career in writing.
How long have you been working on this book?
Daughter of the Nether took several months and multiple revisions to get as far as the querying stage and it's since been through multiple revisions totaling a year of work on this novel so far. BUT I expect edits are far from over.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Oh sure. All the time. I think every author feels like this at some point. In the end it was belief in my character, belief in my story and the encouragement from friends and family that kept me going long enough to land an agent.
Is this your first book?
No. It's my first YA book but it's the second novel I've written. My first novel Dragon's Teeth was published in 2011 by Divertir Publishing.
Do you have any formal writing training?
Not at all. I have a Master's degree in music and I did a few minors in literature along the way for fun but I've never taken any writing courses.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
Not really. I try to write every day if possible but I treat it like a job and close up the Word document around 5 PM.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I wrote the first draft pantsing all the way and it was a disaster. The second attempt had a bit more direction but it wasn't really until my agent sent revisions that I plotted out an outline to fix mistakes.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
This was the first book I queried. I started querying in April 2012 and signed with Jordy 4 months later.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
Dozens. I think the final count was somewhere near 100 including online contests. Jordy was actually in the first batch of 20 queries I sent in April :)
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
I wanted an agent who not only represented my genre but truly loved my genre so I was immediately drawn to Jordy when I discovered her affinity for Doctor Who (Capt. Jack Harkness is my ultimate hero!) and various other TV shows and books for which we shared a passion. I was also looking for a newer agent who was still growing their list, but who had been in the industry for a while as well. Jordy was and is the perfect fit.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I tried to when possible. If I knew an author from their blog or twitter, I would mention that but I wrote many queries to agents without personalizing it too much and didn't really notice a significant difference in responses.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Understand the industry. Do your research. Always be professional even when you get rejection after rejection. Use social media to make connections before you start querying. Stay positive but have realistic expectations.