My dear friend and critique partner of two years, Krista Van Dolzer, signed with Super Agent Kate Testerman (a.k.a. Daphne Unfeasible) a few weeks ago. I am over-the-moon excited for her!! To celebrate, I thought it would be fun to do a little interview and pick her brain about writing and what it's like being newly agented.
Welcome Krista! I know it's early in the author-agent relationship, but what are the top three things you've come to appreciate about your agent?
I appreciate how enthusiastic Kate is, both in general and about my manuscript. I'm an exclamation-point person (online, anyway), and Kate is, too, so that works out well. As for my manuscript, Kate offered representation a few hours before leaving for the Bologna Book Fair because she couldn't stand waiting, and I loved that. It actually factored into my decision to sign with her.
I also appreciate how patient she is, especially with me. I'm kind of a worrywart, so I e-mail her more than I probably should. But she's never been anything but kind and enthusiastic in her responses. I never feel like I'm bugging her.
Finally, I appreciate her tenacity. As another of her clients told me, she's committed to having success with every one of us, so she's not afraid to submit a manuscript as many times as it takes.
Can you tell us a little about your current novel? Tell us about genre and subject, but also a nutshell version of what the querying process was like for you this time around.
THE REGENERATED MAN AND ME, whom I affectionately call Steve, is an MG historical with a dash of science fiction. I was lying in bed one night, just on the verge of sleep, when a first line came to me: "Mama said it was plum foolishness to keep my cousin's dog tags like that, with his blood still stuck between the ridges of his name." I wondered what kind of story would start with that kind of line, and Steve was born.
Steve is the fourth manuscript I've queried, but to be honest, I thought my third manuscript was going to be the One. When it didn't land an agent, I was devastated, heartbroken. I started querying Steve in this weird in-between place, with absolutely no expectations as to how it would turn out. Happily, the first query I sent turned into an offer (although it did take a few months).
Have you always written Middle Grade? Do you see yourself continuing to write in this genre?
Steve is the first truly MG manuscript I've tackled; my previous novels were YA. Eventually, I want to build a career like Shannon Hale's or Lauren Oliver's, in which I bounce back and forth between YA and MG, but for the time being, I plan to stay in this category, just for continuity's sake.
(Oooh, I'd love to bounce back and forth between YA and MG, too!)
What's it like being on submission?
Exhilarating, terrifying, surreal. Mostly surreal. I've been on submission for less than two weeks, so I guess I can't say for sure:) I can say that I'm still having a hard time believing that real-life editors are reading my manuscript. And after spending so long in the query trenches, I'm still trying to figure out how to relinquish control of the process. Thank goodness for Kate's patience:)
Do you have a favorite author who inspires you in your writing?
Thank you, Krista, and congratulations again! And if you aren't already following Krista's blog (or Kate's for that matter), you really need to. Besides blogging fantastically, Krista holds Agent Inbox contests regularly, which are golden opportunities for aspiring writers.
And, very quickly, I want to announce the fabulous winners of my little celebration critique contest:
Full Manuscript Critique: Andrea Berthot
Ten-page Critique: Suzi
Ten-page Critique: Julie DeGuia
Congratulations, winners! And thank you to everyone who entered. I wish I had time to give a critique to every one of you!