How did you research agents and what made you decide on The Seymour Agency?
I spent a lot of time on the AAR website and Preditors & Editors looking for agents who were reputable and represented the kind of books I write. I also did research online to see what other people were saying about their experiences with each agent/agency—both good and bad. You have to take these with a grain of salt, of course—lots of bitter people out there—but not every agent is a good fit and it’s important to know something about how s/he works and whether that style will mesh with yours before you accept an offer.
I then put together a spreadsheet of the “hits” with all their info, typical response time, etc., and ranked them. Nicole Resciniti was honestly and truly my number one pick, but I held off querying Nicole until a little later in the process because I wanted to try out my query letter and work out any kinks before sending it to her. As far as what made me decide on The Seymour Agency? Aside from Nicole having a fantastic reputation in the industry and having been mentored by one of the best in the biz, there was just something about her that made me say, “Yep, we’d work well together. She’d ‘get’ me.” When we actually talked on the phone for the first time, I knew my gut reaction had been spot-on. She’s awesome!
Tell us your call story.
My call story is a little unorthodox because my editor had requested RED after judging a contest in which RED was a finalist. Long story short, I received the offer of representation from Nicole and the offer from Kensington in the same week—literally days before Christmas. Merry Christmas, indeed! 🙂
What happened to that first manuscript you ever wrote?
I wrote my first major manuscript when I was fourteen, so it’s total crap, full of melodrama and teen angst, but I keep it around. Who knows? Maybe someday I’ll revamp it—probably as a parody! When I decided to get serious about publishing as a grown-up (in 2008), I wrote three other complete manuscripts before writing RED. The first two are massive and are on the docket to be re-worked at some point. The third one placed first in its category in the 2012 Emily and is in further development. We’ll see what happens.
Share with us your writing journey, from then until now.
Wow. How much time do I have? I’ll give you the short version. I always knew I’d be a writer—it was just a matter of when I’d get serious about it and really concentrate my efforts on getting published. I started writing poetry when I was about six then dabbled in short stories for a while. But when I wrote my first novel, I knew that was it. The other stuff was creative juice gravy.
I continued writing all through college and grad school but didn’t try to publish anything unless I had to for a class assignment. At some point it dawned on me that what was holding me back from realizing my dream of publishing a novel was my own fear of failure. What if I wasn’t really good enough? What if no one liked what I’d written? What if, what if, excuse, excuse…
The turning point for me was graduate school. My thesis advisor was amazing! He really pushed me to be a better writer and forced me to look at my work critically in a way no one else really had before. I don’t think I would’ve been prepared for the rejection and sometimes harsh criticism that comes with writing and attempting to publish if I hadn’t gone through that process. Mad props to Lee Garver at Butler University for helping me get past my fears.
I’m in most of the usual places. 🙂
Who are your greatest supporters in your writing journey, and why do you feel they are your greatest supporters?
That list is a mile long. I have a tremendously supportive family! And I couldn’t ask for more amazing friends—old and new—who keep me going on those days when self-doubt and frustration set in. There’s really only been one person in my life who hasn’t been supportive of my aspirations, and (surprisingly enough) it was one of my high school English teachers. I took it very personally that she was so hateful about my dream of being a novelist, but I realize now she was just bitter about her own failed ambitions and it had nothing to do with me.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Definitely a pantser. I hate outlines. I just don’t think that way. Even in school, I would do the papers ahead of time and then write an outline to turn in based on what I’d written. Consequently, my teachers always thought I could totally rock the outlines. I think I eventually came clean and let them in on what I was doing, but they were cool with it as long as the assignment was turned in.
These days, as part of my preliminary work on a novel, I do try to put together some kind of rough plot sketch to get a nebulous idea of where I’m going, and I typically write the final scene early on to give me some direction. But letting the story unfold organically is all part of the fun, in my opinion, so even if I have outlined things more than usual, I try not to get so caught up in the original plot sketch that I ignore twists and turns that hadn’t originally occurred to me. I always end up somewhere totally different than I’d intended.
What do you write and why do you write it?
I write paranormal romance and urban fantasy primarily, and I’ve written a futuristic romance that I hope to put forward before too much longer. It really took me a while to find the niche that worked for me. I’ve written somewhere around 20 partial novels—all romances of some variety or another—but none of them felt right. I’m a mega-nerd and love fantasy, sci-fi, and all things paranormal, so when I discovered I could unite those areas with my love for writing romance, I knew I’d hit the mark. It was like the clouds parted and the angels began to sing. 😉
What is your writing schedule like?
Writing schedule? Oh, yes, I’ve heard of these. (Lol.) I work full-time, so when I’m at the office, I devote myself to those responsibilities. But I have a crazy-long commute, so I keep a voice recorder in the car, and I take a notebook with me when I’m at fencing lessons or baseball practice or whatever else my kids are doing, so that I can jot down notes for later. The bulk of my writing takes place in the evenings after the kids go to bed and on the weekends.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
Tons! But the best advice I can give is to be professional, be gracious, and be persistent. All three will eventually pay off in the end.
Thanks, Kate, for stopping by!
Kate’s book is now available wherever Kensington e-books are sold!
So… comments are super fun! Here’s what you could win in the RED-themed goody basket: