Can you tell us a little bit about the book for which you’ve found representation? What inspired you to write it?
It is a gender-swapped retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. I wrote it for my sister as a college graduation present.
How long have you been writing?
I've been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote my first (short and terrible) novel when I was 11. I've been doing NaNoWriMo since 2009, so I've amassed a lot of material from that. Honestly, it's kind of horrible that I've been writing as long as I have because I've amassed a huge backlog of awful pieces that should never see the light of day.
How long have you been working on this book?
Actually, not terribly long. I started the first draft in February and finished the latest draft in August. I had a very clear idea of what I wanted from this story, even when the ending changed in revision.
Do you have any formal writing training?
I'm graduating with my BA in English fiction writing next month. I'll be continuing my education next fall.
Do you follow a writing "routine" or schedule?
I try to write at least an hour a day, and I work best at night. It's hard since I'm in school. On weeks when I don't have a lot of time, I cram in as much as possible on weekends.
Did you have beta readers for your book?
I had three friends and six beta readers read it. The friends actually gave better criticism than the beta readers, in my opinion, but I did tell the friends to be brutal.
Did you outline your book, or do you write from the hip?
I'm such an outliner. I wanted to know as many details as possible going in. When I know where the book is going and what I'm trying to achieve, it makes it easier to change things in revision and to track the changes as I go. Of course, the outlines change as I'm writing, so I try to keep them updated.
How long have you been querying for this book? Other books?
I had two rounds for this one. I queried a few people with the original draft in April/May, then again with the revision in September. I've been querying this version since September. I queried one book before this for about six months. That one is shelved indefinitely.
Did you tailor each query to the specific agent, and if so, how?
I did tailor each query. I had a space where I put personalization, and I always queried based on their #MSWL, clients I admired, or connections we shared.
What advice would you give other writers seeking agents?
It's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't get discouraged. If you keep hearing the same feedback, that's when you need to take a second look. And don't put time limits on your dreams. It's better to take your time and put the best version out there than to rush into querying, which I learned the hard way.