Tehlor Kinney (tehlorkay on QT) has signed with agent Jim McCarthy of Dystel Goderich & Bourret LLC.
I was inspired by a lot of things, my dad's side of the family is Mexican-American so I had a lot to draw from there, as well as my love for world-building and fantasy in general. The push for more diverse/multicultural stories in KidLit has been so encouraging, so I just figured...why not me?
Ultimately what kept me going during the tough times was the fact that I believe we need more stories for kids that don't fit the "norm" this industry has been portraying for so long. Having the chance to get stories to teens that are hungry for portrayals of their cultures and identities in literature has always been motivation enough to get back to it for me.
Familiarize yourself with the general structure of the query, and don't deviate too much from that. Ideally your writing will speak for itself, so you shouldn't have to resort to anything gimmicky. Secondly, once you get to the later stages, remember that your partnership with this agent will be a two way street. You have a lot to bring to the table, so don't let any agency make you feel like they're doing you a favor by representing you. There's a tendency in writing communities to see representation as this holy grail, but remember it's more important to find the RIGHT agent than it is to just have the representation feather to stick in your cap. It's worth holding out for someone you work well with that believes in your work and has the skill to represent it well.
Dear Mr. McCarthy,
After hearing nothing but great things, I did some research and found I connect strongly with your views on writing and representation. I was especially thrilled by your interest in YA Fantasy and your commitment to finding underrepresented voices. I am hopeful you will find what you're looking for in my new novel, BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL, a work of YA fantasy which is complete at 73,000 words.
On the island of Medio, women have two options when they come of age: Become one of the two wives assigned to each man entering high society, or remain a burden to their families forever - a subject of gossip and ridicule.
As the newest primera of the most powerful family in her world, seventeen-year-old Daniela Vargas knows she must resist the temptation to become romantically involved with her new husband. Emotions (and all the messy entanglements that come with them) are the territory of segundas, after all.
But when Dani is tested in her new life, it comes from the most unexpected of places. Though the advances of her handsome new husband leave her heart cold, it catches fire in response to another member of their household. Someone she didn't even expect to like, let alone love.
With the country on the brink of a civil war, and a revolutionary group straining at the well established boundaries of society, Dani is forced to make an impossible choice: Should she follow her head, using her status and the power it brings to create a more peaceful world? Or her newly awakened heart, and the girl who brought it to life?
BETWEEN THE SHADOW AND THE SOUL will appeal to fans of Renee Ahdieh's THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, and Marie Rutkoski's THE WINNER'S CURSE among others. It is based in part on my experience as a biracial teen trying to fit into to two separate communities - neither of which was always welcoming.
Per your submission guidelines, I have attached the first twenty-five pages of my manuscript. The rest is available upon request.
Thank you for your time,