Friday, April 12, 2013

Interview with (Agented) Contest Winner, Sherry Ellis!

SO. I recently ran a "Become an Agent" contest and Sherry Ellis's query won!!!

She emailed me a few days later to tell me that she got representation for BIG HOLE TO CHINA with Owen Burnham (UK) and Anne Charles (USA) of L & C Agency.

SO. OF COURSE. We had to celebrate. How? With an interview, of course!
Here is an interview with Sherry Ellis

(I think I'm going to start making this a 'thing' with the contest winners from now on. Yes! There will be more contests! Stay tuned.)

This is a 7 Question Interview because 7 is Harry Potter's magical number :)

1. Tell us about your writing/publication experience. How did the querying process go? The actual writing? Was it hard?

Let’s just say it has been an extremely long process! Writing the first draft took about three months. It was the revisions that took forever! I revised it about one hundred times before I felt it was ready for submission. That took another year. And then I submitted it. That was a year ago. One agent said he liked the concept, but he felt my protagonists weren’t strong enough. So guess what? I had to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the whole thing, again! (I changed the point of view from third person to first person, and it worked much better.) So we’re talking a three year process just to get the manuscript where it is today. As far as the query process, I was a mad woman sending out query letters. I started in January this year, and sent out 93 queries. I received 36 rejections. (Interestingly, after I had been accepted by the L & C Literary Agency, another agent expressed interest in my manuscript.)


2. What/Who kept you going on this quest for publication, especially if you felt like giving up some times?

Part of it was internal – I have a drive to succeed. And I felt my idea was a good one. The other part has to do with the awesome ladies in my critique group. They helped so much with suggestions to make my manuscript and query letter better. They too, felt I had something good with a lot of marketing potential. I really couldn’t have done it without them!


3. Give us a step-to-step about how 'the call' went. More importantly, how did it feel? :D What was your reaction?

Wow! I was so excited. I could not believe that I had actually gotten a “yes”! I think I’m still in shock. I have written so many manuscripts and received so many rejections. I could probably wallpaper my house with all of the rejection letters! The agent was extremely positive about my manuscript and said it was “compelling and well-written.” He said he wished to represent me. So of course I had to accept!


4. How long did you expect to go on submitting?

Forever. I was really hoping it wouldn’t take that long, though! Seriously, I had planned to submit to every agent and publisher who might be interested in my genre, until I got a “yes.” I figured it would take a few years to get through all of them.


5. What is your favorite book? Genre? Author?

I’m a kid at heart, so I love reading kid lit. I’d have to say my favorite genre is Middle Grade fiction, and my favorite author is Rick Riordan. His book, Throne of Fire, is terrific. My all-time favorite book though, is Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. It’s all about what‘s really important in life. If you read it, make sure you have a box of tissues with you. I pretty much use an entire box when I read it!


6. Harry Potter or Twilight? (Or Hunger Games, Star Wars, Star Trek, Dr. Who...whatever obsession is your greatest :D)

 Harry Potter, hands down! I love the characters and complexity of the plot. I think the books are so well-written. And of course it’s Middle Grade/YA fiction, which I thoroughly enjoy! (Although, I think Dr. Who is kind of fun!)

(Yes! Yes yes yes! Nothing more to add.)

Funnest question (in my opinion):
7. What part of your book did your agent love the most? Basically, what made him want to offer representation? (It's okay, you can gloat here :D)

He liked my main character, six-year-old Bubba. He thought Bubba had a great voice and quite a sense of humor. (I have to admit, it has been a ton of fun writing the way a six-year-old would view the world. The only trouble is, now I have a six-year-old in my head!) He also thought the book would be a great educational tool since it teaches kids about the language, history, and culture of other countries around the world.

Here’s a snippet from my book:
Just then I heard a rumble sound. But it wasn’t from thunder. My tummy did a flip-flop because what happened next was bad. The ground got all shaky. Then it cracked.

“Get out!” Squirt screamed.

I dropped my shovel and climbed. Except I couldn’t get out, because that hole got big. Real big. “Help!” I yelled.

“Bubba!” Squirt reached for me. Then the ground shook. The floor opened and I went down. Down, down, down through the big hole.

^Yea. That is pretty darn fantastic.

Thank you so much for having me as a guest! I wish all aspiring writers out there success in finding an agent or publisher for their work!



Visit (and congratulate) Sherry at her website,  Twitterblog, Facebook, and Amazon Author Page!

Congrats, Sherry! Excellent query and snippet! And thanks for doing this interview and participating in the "Become an Agent" contest!

31 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Sherry! Aren't you glad you entered the contest now? Hope your agent finds a home for that book soon.

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    1. I certainly am, Alex. And you're the one who told me about it. Thank you!

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  2. Awesome news, Sherry! I predict you'll have endless success. I can't wait to read your entire book! :)

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    1. Thank you! I'll keep everybody posted as to when it gets picked up by a publisher.

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  3. Thank you so much for having me as a guest! I am so excited, you just can't believe it!

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  4. Great interview! Thanks for the shout-out. You've really helped the rest of us in the crit group, too, you know!

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  5. Congratulations Sherry! I'm still submitting my queries and book to agents! So happy for you! Harry Potter is MY favorite too!

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    1. Good luck, Terri! I hope you will have good news to share as well!

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  6. You're on your way to becoming an even bigger star in the literary world! Congratulations again. I'm sure you'll be a smashing success.

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  7. Sherry, you are da mama.

    Love,
    Janie

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  8. Congratulations Sherry! That is so awesome! I'm really happy for you. :)And great interview!! (HP rocks!)

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  9. Glad it did not go on forever and congrats once more at your shore.

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  10. Congratulations, Sherry! That's awesome news. Great interview.

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  11. Congratulations to Sherry! I went through a similar process to get my agent--sooooo many queries!

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    1. It's a lot of work - but such a great feeling when you finally get a "yes"!

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  12. Considering how many publishers and agents are out there, it really would take years to get through all of them. Happy you didn't have to.

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  13. Congrats Sherry! This is a great interview.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  14. This is such fantastic news--congrats, Sherry! Even though the revisions took a while, I'm thoroughly impressed that it only took you three months to finish the first draft of this book. I've never been able to write that speedily!

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    1. It's a chapter book - only 13,000 words. I'm sure a novel would take much longer! Thanks for stopping by!

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  15. Oh Sherry!!!!! I am beyond thrilled for you. I flew up and over the moon.
    Words cannot really express how happy I am. I love your tenacity. You don't know how encouraging this post was for me. Bravo. I hope you're taking a million bows.

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    1. Ha! No, I'd tip over if I took a million bows! :) It does take a lot of tenacity. I'm sure you'll get there, too. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you (when I'm not writing or playing my instruments)!

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  16. I love hearing stories like yours.

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  17. Congrats! It was a wonderful query. So good to hear a success story.

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