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An Interview with Talia Vance upon receiving an offer of representation.

Talia Vance (calvin11 on QT) has signed with agent Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary Agency.

Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
The book is a YA paranormal romance called WOLFSBANE. It started out as a fictional account of how I met my husband, but with better looking people and magic.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing all my life in one form or another, but this is my first novel.
How long have you been working on this book?
1-2 years.
Was there ever a time you felt like giving up, and what helped you to stay on course?
Many times. For years, I gave up before I even started. But once I started the book, I was committed. I fed my family members chapters as they were completed, and they encouraged me to keep going.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I took a few writing classes in college, but most of my training for this book came from reading and then going back and analyzing what I loved or didn't love about a given book.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I work full time, so I mostly write on the weekends.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
Yes, several. I think it's important to see if there are common criticisms.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I wrote from the hip, but the result was way too many plot threads. Now I'm revising for my agent, and we worked together on an outline before I started the revision. I think I might be a convert!
How long have you been querying for this book?
I queried this book for four months.
About how many query letters did you send out for this book?
47, plus a few additional contest pitches that went nowhere.
On what criteria did you select the agents you queried?
First, whether they represented my genre. Then, I looked at their interests, sales history, background. I read a lot of blogs and lurked on some writer forums to get the "buzz" on a particular agent.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
Sometimes, but not always. If I had some connection to the agent through a conference, blog or contest, I would mention it. If I loved a book by an author the agent represented, I would mention that. If it sounded like they might be interested in my book, I might mention something they said in an interview. But for many, I didn't personalize the query beyond the agent's name.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
Make sure your pages are polished and your manuscript is ready to send. Most agents will ask for a few sample pages, and those pages will usually get at least a cursory look. The query can be flawed, those first few pages can't be. That said, a "perfect" manuscript isn't required either. Most agents expect that there will be revisions. Get your story as good as you can make it, than trust the process.