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The Writer’s Voice … another success story (sort of)

Wednesday, 20 June 2012  |  Posted by Brenda

 
I’m so thrilled (albeit a little late because of the blog schedule) to announce that R.C. Lewis has signed with Jennifer Laughran of Andrea Brown Literary Agency! She was so kind as to sit patiently as I tortured interviewed her.
My Photo
R.C. Lewis: Crossing the Helix
B says: So let’s get this party started. What made you decide to enter The Writer’s Voice, and how did you feel during the contest?
I felt like my latest manuscript had the strongest query I’d ever written, so I figured I’d go for it. During the contest, I tried not to get my hopes up, figuring if it didn’t go anywhere, I’d just dive full into querying.
B says: I’m so glad you did! Which team were you on and what was the title of your entry?
Team Monica and STITCHING SNOW (a.k.a. “that ‘Snow White in space’ one”)
B says: I love Monica, she’s so kind and talented. How did the coaching round of The Writer’s Voice go for you? What was the best advice your coach gave you?
Coaching went smoothly. Monica had just a few suggestions. Probably the best was her advice to add a touch more grounding in the physical setting.
B says: How many requests did you get during the contest?
I got five requests from participating agents. Between a batch of queries I sent the week before and lurking agents, I ended up with eleven requests the week of the contest.
B says: That’s a great success! Your agent was stalking the contest and participated in the Twitter Pitch. How did she contact you? Was it a partial or a full? Tell us how you snagged your agent.
I’d queried Jennifer in that batch I sent the week before. She tweeted that she’d been looking at the entries and saw some she’d love to read, but darn, she wasn’t participating. I replied that some entries might be in her inbox at that moment, hardly daring to think mine was one of those she was hunting for—but it was! She found my query and emailed me to ask for the full. She then read it at lightning-speed and offered two days later.
B says: I saw that all go down on Twitter. I love how you put that out there. No guts, no glory, right? Okay, this is my favorite part *sits at the edge of her seat*. Tell us about THE Call.
As I detailed (extensively) on my blog, the day of The Call was pretty much sheer chaos. The Call itself, though, was great. She mentioned what she loved about the story and also asked questions about some details. We talked about my general direction as a writer, her style as an agent, and some of the nuts and bolts. Some of it’s kind of a blur because I was so nervous. I asked for a week for the other agents with the manuscript to respond and got four more offers, so I got a lot more practice at The Call than I ever thought I would. I ended up accepting Offer #1.
B says: I really enjoyed reading your success story on your blog. I was sad that you moved from New Mexico. We were so close and could have met. Drat! Can you tell us a little about your book?
Beyond “Snow White in space, if Snow were a cage-fighting tech-head with daddy issues”? It’s not a straight-up retelling. More of a sci-fi adventure inspired by elements of the fairy tale.
B says: You had me at “cage-fighting”. How long had you been querying before you got your agent?
Less than two weeks from query to offer to acceptance. Crazy fast. I’d only sent that one batch (nine queries) before the contest. Bigger picture, this was the third manuscript I’d queried over about two years.
B says: That is fast, but I’m sure it felt like forever to you. Okay, let’s have some fun. Coffee or Tea?
Neither!
B says: *Gasps* Neither? You kid, right? No? That’s not right. Moving on, potato chips or chocolate?
Both! Well, mostly chocolate, but sometimes a salt craving hits. (Then there’s always salted chocolate … mmm.)
B says: Phew! If you had said neither here, I wasn’t sure what I would do (think you were a health nut, think you were from Snow White’s spaceship, think I should be as strong and go on a diet…). Anyhow, moving on. Which vacation would you prefer: camping out in the wilderness or shopping in a quaint town?
The second, but more for the quaint town than the shopping.
B says: No shopping? Oy! Where do you write?
Mostly on my couch. Sometimes in bed. Wherever I take my laptop.
B says: Have laptop will travel and write–love it! And the big question, are you an outline or panster type?
Somewhere in-between, and the balance varies by manuscript. I usually have a few plot “landmarks” in my head before I start. I often jot notes, sometimes more detailed than others. But there are always parts of getting there that surprise me as I go, or ways that things tie together.
B says: That’s how I roll. So, before I untie you from the chair, do you have any advice for those seeking representation? Anything you wished you’d done differently?
It’s really easy to get frustrated when you’re in the querying process. Frustration makes it easy to try to pin blame. There are a lot of things out of our control, but instead of placing blame, I think it’s important to just keep working, keep trying to improve. Control what we can.
B says: Great advice. Never give up, never surrender, and keep working. Thank you for taking the time to fill us in on your awesome success. I can’t wait to read about Snow White kicking some butt in space soon.
I know I said I’d have some details up about the voice workshop, and I should have something up soon. We’re ironing out some things and it will be announced this week.

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