My friend, and fellow Query Kombat host, Michelle Hauck, is now AGENTED by the wonderful Ms. Sarah Negovetich!
So that means: INTERVIEW TIME, OF COURSE.
1. First things first: CONGRATS! How does it feel to have an agent?
It felt a bit overwhelming at first. I can say that it seems to hit me most late at night before I fall asleep. There’s this glowing little spark of happiness at having accomplished something so difficult. Plus, it’s so wonderful to know that another person really loves my writing and crazy characters.
2. Tell us a little about your book. Make us excited XD
Hmm. My middle grade book is about a very snarky hamster with a bad attitude. Tom’s stuck in the middle of a 1st grade classroom and the kids/pygmies are driving him crazy. Think of the voice of Monsters Inc and Toy Story where the main character is quasi-adult but is surrounded by kids. Lots of humor and non-stop action.
3. What part of your book do you love the most, and what part of it did your agents love the most? (This is a trick on my part to force shy writers to brag about their book.)
I’d have to say that I absolutely love some of the one liners in my book. Tom calls the guest teacher a ‘subspatoot’ because the regular teacher went off to the spa and they got stuck with this toot.
I’m not sure of Sarah’s favorite part but she did say that the ending made her clap, and she doesn’t usually applaud when reading a book. Who could ask for a better phrase!
4. What would be the best compliment you could ever ever get about your book, something that’d send you into the clouds even months after receiving it?
One of my CPs let her daughter read the story, and her daughter didn’t take the time to sit down. She was so enchanted she read half the book standing up at the computer.
5. You entered a lot of contests, and are also the host/co-host of a good number of them, such as Query Kombat. What are your thoughts on writerly contests? Should writers enter them? Why or why not?
I think a writer needs to keep contests in perspective. I’ve heard a few people get offers from contests, but in the main, a contest is best for mingling with other writers and making contacts. In other words, don’t expect miracles and don’t be disappointed if you don’t make it. Contest are subjective and no judge of the actual book.
6. You had two offers of representation. What made you decide to go with Ms. Sarah Negovetich? Was it an emotion/gut decision, a logical decision, or something in the middle?
My decision would be somewhere in the middle. Logically, Sarah prefers speculative fiction, which is my usual genre. And I also liked Sarah’s positive outlook.
7. You write MG and YA. What attracts you to both of these genres, and what different aspect of each do you like?
And adult epic fantasy, SC. Don’t forget my third age category. Lol. (Crap! Woops, sorry!!) have a published adult epic fantasy called, Kindar’s Cure, released from a small press, just last month.
I liked that in the MG book I could just have fun and let my crazy loose. That book is full of humor. Which is not to say it wasn’t hard to write. Humor is very difficult.
On the YA side, I like that the characters give me a much larger dimension as far as personality. I can really get into their heads and make them many shades of gray. And I enjoy completing a character arc. Plus, kissing!
8. The fun fun fun part: Tell us about getting “The Call.” How was it/What happened/What did you do when you found out you got agented?
The whole story is here on my blog. The short version is that I got a twitter DM from an agent with my full who wanted to ‘chat.’ It was WriteOnCon week and we didn’t get a chance to talk until Friday. It was a lovely conversation of over two hours, and Agent A had plenty of ideas, besides warning me submission is a long-haul business. After the phone call, I was reeling. Couldn’t sit down, couldn’t concentrate, couldn’t think straight. An offer! Holy cow!
I did know that I need to contact the other agents with my material and my query. I sent an ‘offer of representation’ email nudge to all of them and soon got two more requests. The days fairly flew by, so much was happening behind the scenes. Plus, my summer vacation ended and I had to head back to work, making the days really hectic. Some agents declined and others said they would get back to me. Sarah was one of those early requests and a few days later, she also wanted to ‘chat.’
Her phone call caught me out on a walk with my dogs. I feared I’d lose the cell connection. Once again I got to plow into my “The Call” questions. She seemed like a perfect fit, and she was more interested in speculative fiction, my writing bread and butter. The other agent represented middle grade and YA but was more geared toward romance.
I did some researching and a lot of thinking. The rest is history.
9. What are the plans for submission? How do you feel about that prospect?
Actually Sarah began putting together an editors list the day I signed with her. We’ve already done a few rounds of edits, cleaning up small stuff. She gave me the okay on the bigger picture of Pygmy Hazards. No work needed. (I thank my CP readers for that.) Sarah plans to start submitting in September.
I think you can guess that I will need to keep very busy this fall to take my mind off all this. I believe submissions will be twice as scary as querying. I’m thankful Sarah will be my filter through it. She can soften the process.
10. Do you have anything to say to the herds of writers out there? Any advice?
I would say the best advice is to be persistent. Learn your craft and get better with each book, but persistence is key. It took four books for me to get an agent. Part of that was because adult epic fantasy is not exactly a hot genre, the reason book two, Kindar’s Cure, sold to a small press. But don’t give up on yourself.
It probably helps to earn yourself a few publishing credits for your bio, too.
Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.
She is a co-host of the yearly contest Query Kombat. Her epic fantasy, Kindar'sCure, was published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, was published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She’s represented by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.
Go Tweet and congratulate on Twitter, like her on Facebook, and visit her blog: Michelle4Laughs: It’s in the Details (where there are a LOT of interesting and informative posts, such as her "Query Questions" interviews with various agents).
Thank you so much, Michelle! I'm shaking/cheering on the other side of this laptop screen. I can't wait to see what's in store for you, and we hope you all the best.
I REALLY WANT TO READ YOUR BOOK.