Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, where I still live with my husband, daughter, and our very old boxer.
How did you get your agent?
I queried like the wind and she pulled me out of the slush pile. It really can happen!
I spent a year drafting, revising, and polishing ITALIAN before I sent my first query. Marietta Zacker was in the "dream agent" category, so I held off querying her until later in the game when I got some confidence that my story was actually something. And when I was ready to query her, she was closed to queries! I waited what felt like forever, then the morning she reopened, I submitted to her. She requested my manuscript nearly right away! GASP! That same afternoon, I happened to get my first offer. Once that offer came in and I notified those who still had my manuscript, things got exciting. I couldn't eat, couldn't sleep. All stress. I spoke with six agents on the phone within a week, and got a seventh offer via email/phone call request, but I'd already made up my mind. As soon as I spoke with Marietta, I knew she was the one for me. Every little thing that happened on my query journey happened because Marietta and I were supposed to work together.
Some stats for you:
Total time querying: 5 months (I did several rounds of revisions based on feedback from agents during this time)
Total queries sent: 121 (I know, it's a lot. I went query-rabid. I kept track on querytracker.net)
Query rejections: 59 (Don't take rejections too hard. They're going to happen. Sometimes, it leads to really good things later.)
Partial requests: 13
Full requests: 13
(Those numbers are the same, but not all partials were upgraded to fulls. Some agents ask for fulls right off the bat)
Offers of representation: 7
The rest never responded.
Can you read my unpublished writing / tell your agent about me?
I'm sorry. It's as hard for authors to say no as it is for you to hear it, but there are a number of reasons why this would be inappropriate.
Where did you get the inspiration for Wish You Were Italian?
In 2009, hubs and I went to Italy with some friends, and I knew I had to set a story there someday. Two years later I went to Houston Teen Book Con where I heard some amazing contemporary authors speak on a panel, and my eyes were opened. Contemporary was for me! I was so inspired, I sat down the next day and flipped through my Italy pictures, asking myself questions. What would happen if a teen girl went to Italy? Maybe without her parents, like for a summer program? What if she skipped out on said summer program and didn't tell anyone where she really was?
Where did you get the inspiration for What You Always Wanted?
I was brought up on classic movies, and crushed hard on actors like Gene Kelly, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, Clark Gable, and Jimmy Stewart. Some of my friends went along with it, even watched some of those oldies with me, but I was sort of in my own little world about it all. I realized that I only knew about these gems because my mom introduced me to them. I wanted to write a story that could be that introduction for young readers (and readers of any age!). I dreamed up a teen girl so in love with Gene Kelly that no modern boy can compare. And when she finds one who's partly there, she tries to change him into what she always wanted.