Monday, June 7, 2010

STAY debut and QUERY CONTEST


Updated: CONGRATS VICKI LANE!



Listen up! STAY by Allie Larkin is coming out this week! How cute is that cover? Love.

To honor this momentous event, we've strongarmed amazing agent Rebecca Strauss of McIntosh & Otis into a query contest! (Actually, she was happy to do it.) Wondering of you have an effective query? Allie will choose one winner at random for a private critique by Rebecca. Just leave a comment below and let me know if you'd like to be entered. To up your chances, you can also visit Allie and Corinne Bowen (one comment per blog, please.)

ETA: The winner will be selected by Allie FRIDAY at NOON and contacted shortly thereafter.

Here's a little about Rebecca:

An Agent at McIntosh & Otis, Inc., Rebecca is eager to work with both debut and established authors. She is looking to add to her list of diverse and compelling projects and is particularly seeking non-fiction, literary and commercial fiction, women's fiction, mysteries, memoirs, humor and pop culture. As the Director of Subsidiary Rights, she continues to build on her prior experience with Trident Media Group, as well as her time at Sony Pictures where she was a book scout and development assistant. Rebecca earned her degree in English Literature from Duke University.

So what's this STAY all about?

From PW: Twenty-something Van Leone, fresh from serving as maid of honor at the wedding of her childhood best friend and the man Van's been in love with since college, impulsively buys a German shepherd puppy on the Internet while drowning her sorrows in vodka and a late-night Rin Tin Tin marathon. Van's surprised to discover, however, that the little ball of fuzz she's expecting is an enormous Slovakian police dog that she names Joe.

Sounds like something I might've done in my 20s.

Lucky me, I already have my copy and I can tell you that it's great--so witty and funny. Allie was nice enough to answer a few questions for us:

I know you have 2 dogs--one of which made the cover of your novel. What's the craziest thing your dogs have done?

They are both German Shepherds, so they play hard. It’s somewhat reminiscent of a nature documentary. They bark and growl and roll around on the ground together (sometimes in the yard and sometimes in the living room).Their teeth gnash, but their tales wag the whole time. They play until they are completely exhausted. Sometimes, Argo lets Stella tackle him, and it’s hysterical. Stella is small for a German Shepherd, and Argo has about 35 pounds on her, but he’ll throw himself on the ground like she’s knocked him over, when she clearly doesn’t have the heft to.He’s very dramatic.

How did you find your agent?

I found Rebecca Strauss’s listing on AgentQuery.com and thought she might be a good fit for my book. I sent her a query letter, sample pages, and a synopsis, and she picked my query out of the slush pile. I know a lot of writers fear that things like that don’t happen and it’s all about who you know. I had a few contacts who were generous with their help, but ultimately what worked for me was sending a query through the traditional submission lines.Rebecca and I had no previous connections.

Who would you cast in the movie version of STAY, if you had a choice?

J and I joke about casting choices all the time. I'm on a Buffy/Angel kick right now, so the current joke is James Marsters in every role.

What led you to writing?

When I started college, I was a theatre major. I loved my acting classes. We worked on developing characters, taking apart scenes, and figuring out the intentions behind the characters in the scenes. I was less enthralled with that whole getting up and performing on stage part of things, which is not really ideal when you’re a theatre major. I dropped out of school for several years. When I finally went back, as a Communications major, I had a few professors who really made a point of letting me know that writing was something I should consider pursuing. I am so thankful for that. I added some creative writing classes to my course schedule in future semesters. When I started writing fiction, I felt like things began to click for me.

Under what circumstances are you at your most creative?

I come up with a lot of story ideas and solve a lot of issues that are holding me up in a story when I’m doing something active. I realized Van needed a dog while I was raking leaves in the backyard. I worked out some difficult Van/Peter dialogue while hiking with Argo. So much of my creative process happens while I’m not writing, and then when I sit down to write, I know what I need to do.

What sort of themes do you find come up in your writing?

I’m very interested in how complex friendships can be. Some are both delicate and durable at the same time. And even though there is a simplicity to some aspects of love, the way we love people and the reasons we love people are not simple concepts.

Thanks, Allie!

Well, what are you waiting for? Leave a comment and go visit Allie and Corinne!

70 comments:

Donna Cummings said...

This sounds like a wonderful book! So much of my "writing time" occurs when I'm doing other things too -- I don't know if my brain gets bored with those other things or what, but it really is nice to be able to multitask!

Congrats on your book. I think it's gonna be on my TBR pile soon!

April said...

That sounds great! I agree about friendships - they are challenging and complex and beautiful. I am definitely adding this book to my wish list!

Also...I'll enter the query contest!!!

Niki said...

Joe sounds adorable!

Do the query crits count for any genre, or just the ones she reps? Count me in if she's willing to look at one for a graphic novel! :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Great interview!!! If I didn't already have an agent, I'd SO be submitting my query! Instead, I'll tweet this and let people know about this great opportunity. Also, I can' wait to read the book!

MeAgain said...

I have a query. It sucks and is 100% responsible for all of my rejection letters. I refuse to believe it's due to the content and quality of my manuscript.
*sticks head back in sand*

ralfast said...

G.S. are my favorite breed (and featured on my book), so yeah, I'll like to enter, if you please?


;)

WendyCinNYC said...

I'll ask about graphic novels, Niki, since I'm not sure if the process is different.

Thanks, Debra, and everyone!

Empty Refrigerator said...

Congratulations! And it's uplifting to hear about a slush pile success. I would love to be entered in the contest.

Lisa said...

What a great interview. Thank you so much for posting it!

Em said...

I'm so happy for Allie and all of her success! Hope she's enjoying her well-deserved time in the spotlight.

Count me in for the query contest! Thanks!

Dingo said...

Yay Allie! I agree, the more time I spend trying to work out a writing issue, the further away a solution seems. Then, as I'm doing something completely unrelated a solution pops up.

Thanks for a fantastic opportunity. Please enter me in the contest.

Dingo,

dingo@asiwassaying.com

Anonymous said...

I would love to enter for a querry read.

NhEMTGDog@comcast.net

Melanie Avila said...

Sadly I'm not query ready, but this book sounds great.

And, wonderful interview!

Karen said...

I have a query I would love feedback on--please enter me! Looking forward to checking out the book!

Sara Baker said...

I'm entering, so sign me up! Does this include Y.A. or M.G. query letters?

J9Talley said...

STAY sounds like the perfect book to kick-off my summer reading.

Please enter me in the query contest.

Maureen McGowan said...

Awesome interview, Wendy and Allie.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great interview! I think networking is important...both in real life and in the blog world.

Please count me in, Wendy!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Allie's friendship theme is my cuppa -- both in the reading and the writing. Maybe I'll enter the query contest.

Great post! Best of luck with STAY. (Will it be follwed by HEEL and ROLL OVER?) *grin*

Julie said...

I'd love to enter the contest! Thanks for this great opportunity. Allie definitely has an amazing voice.

stoogepie said...

The book sounds fabulous (though, thanks to the interview, now I'm also looking forward to the James Marsters movie!) and so does the contest.

Beth said...

Sounds like a great story!
Please enter me in the contest.
: )
Beth

Laura said...

I'm looking forward to picking up a copy. And thanks for such an interesting interview. Always great to hear how other writers work.

Please enter me in the contest too.
Thanks!
Laura

Susan said...

Sounds like a good read. And please enter me in the contest.

Livia said...

Thanks so much for having the contest!

Rhen Wilson said...

I love this query contest! It's a great opportunity for us newbies who would love professional critiques.

Sign me up for the contest! I'm can't wait!

Ricky Bush said...

Hey, count me IN--new friend!

Higley Browne said...

Thanks for the contest--and for the links to other writers just as interesting :) Stay sounds really interesting.

Ian said...

Great interview, and congrats Allie!

Oh, and could you enter me into the contest? cheers.

Elizabeth Flora Ross said...

Thank you for the opportunity! I would love to enter the query contest!

thewriterrevived@gmail.com

P said...

Very interesting. The slushpile route! This is a testament to your query and first pages.

Thanks for sharing.

Mim said...

This sounds like a great book. Enter me in the contest

M. Gray said...

Van is a great, unique name. Great work to Allie finding an agent through traditional means!!

Rivka said...

Congrats on the book!
Count me in on the contest!

MarcyKate said...

Sounds like an exciting book! I'd love to enter the contest, too.

Adam Heine said...

Count me in for the contest, and thanks for the opportunity!

Carolyn said...

Enter me in the contest and thanks so much for doing this!

Kathleen@so much to say, so little time said...

Love the story about the slush pile. Thanks for hosting! Enter me in the contest, please. I'm excited about the possibility of a professional critique!

Stuart Aken said...

Allie's query letter has really clarified the whole process for me. And Rebecca's response is just so helpful. Please enter me for the contest. And what a great marketing idea. Good luck to Allie. Thanks for this opportunity.

Christy Hayes said...

You girls are wonderfully supportive. I would like to enter the query contest.

Mrs. Skinny Con Leche' said...

Congrats to Stella and Argo! My German Shepherd, Zipporah, is now jealous and threatening to forget her manners if I don’t hurry-up and find an agent. She thinks she is the main character in my book…for now that keeps my shoes safe and my tile dry. Thanks for the contest and Zipporah sends her best.

lisa said...

And they say dreams don't come true...The only thing better than a query contest is scrubbing oil-soaked gulf pelicans, because that's the amazing humanitarian I am (once I live in my book royalty financed resort home).

It would be so easy to turn this comment into an 'all about me,' but hey, I have a co-author and I owe it to her to be humble, cordial, grateful and fantabulous.

So congratulations, salutations, affirmations and celebrations around. Break out the bubbly!

Donna B said...

I'd love to be entered in the query contest and this book sounds great!

Go Allie!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Awesome contest and congrats on the book!

MamaRas said...

Thanks for asking Allie such great questions!! I had no idea about agentquery.com and I spend a LOT of time in creative avoidance researching on the net....

Randayle Greyson
Unleashing Stories.

shielacblank said...

Thanks for taking the time to help us out! Please enter me in the contest. Thanks again :)

~Shiela

Suze said...

You've only JUST got on the Buffy bandwagon?? Think how many years you've lost! Shame on you ;-)
Great query, I'm sure it's a great book - will be finger-strolling through amazon to find it in a minute. Cool contest too - fingers crossed!

Julie Kibler said...

Great interview and sounds like a fun book! Came over from the GLA blog and would love all the chances I can get for the query critique. :)

Barbara said...

Although I'm now a cat lover, dogs were life-savers for me as a kid. STAY sounds great.

Pls enter me in the query+ 2pp contest.

TracyP said...

STAY looks fabulous! Thanks for the opportunity to enter the query contest.

Vicki said...

Hi, Wendy. Thanks for helping Allie and Rebecaa promote "Stay."
"Joe", the German Shepherd, brings wonderful childhood memories to my mind--that in and of itself is a great hook. Best of luck to all--well not all...I'd like to win the query contest. .

Joyce Lansky said...

This sounds like a wonderful book, especially for a dog lover like me. Best of luck with it.

Davy said...

To be honest the dog cover threw me off -- I'm a bit bored with the 'learning about life by raising a dog' stories, but I liked how there seems to be good deal more involved. Sounds like an interesting read.

Michaele Stoughton said...

Great job Allie. Please enter me in the contest!

Jen J. said...

I would love to be entered in the contest (jenjdanna@gmail.com); thank you to Rebecca for offering her expertise.

Looking forward to reading 'Stay'; it sounds like a wonderful book!

Lorena said...

Can't wait to read the book!

Please enter me in the contest too.

Tiia Jones said...

I enjoyed all three blogs about the book, and even though I'm not a dog person, I'm tempted to order it now! Great information about author, agent, and writing in general. Thanks for sharing.
I have a manuscript, and I'd love the opportunity to have my query letter reviewed. I've re-written the darn thing so many times I can't even "see" it anymore!

Desert Mama said...

Enter me please!

Thanks so much, and can't wait to read STAY. :)

Miles McGuinness said...

I'll definitely be picking up a copy of STAY in the near future; it sounds like a truly good read!

Please enter me in the contest. ;)

Chris Bailey said...

Smart marketing! Everybody loves a contest. STAY sounds like a winner, too! Best to all! Now, back to the daily word count--
Chris

Eileen said...

Thanks for the inspiration.

Please include me in the contest.

EileenFingerhut@hotmail.com

Karen Goodwin said...

I am finally alone with my laptop and MPR on the radio. Lovely, the children are engaged.

Please enter me in the contest again before chaos ensues. (I hear my 9 year old reloading the nerf darts).

Karen Goodwin
goodgil@northlc.com

Tracy said...

After hearing such an awesome feedback on Ms. Rebecca, I'd love a chance to win a critique from her.
So *wags her tail* please pick me, Allie!

Congratulations on the publication of Stay. You have such an interesting premise and lovable cover. Good luck with the sales!

Lisa Steinke said...

Liz and I would love to enter this contest. We'd KILL for some feedback on our one-page labor of love. Well, we wouldn't actually kill, but we'd do something big. Something...

In other news, we LOVE the cover of your book and can't wait to read it. And yes, we're buttering you up (sort of).

xo
Lizandlisa@chicklitisnotdead.com

KC Frantzen said...

Thank you for hosting this contest! I appreciate the extra info on her "dawgs" too!

Please enter me for May on the Way, a story about an imaginative Schnauzer who becomes a K9 spy!

Vicki said...

The book sounds great! Please enter me in the contest. To have a critique on my query letter would be awesome.

vickilanewrites@yahoo.com

Carlos Merriweather said...

When I read the words of Allie speaking about her experience in the reading, it reminded me of the biography I just watched of Christina Aguilera. Many great artist and authors are usually shy, humble, quiet, and shocked of great appreciation, and highly appreciative of it, as they both are.

I am the author of a serious young women’s fiction full of humor in the pop culture. It would be wonderful to have you view and critique my query. You may find the manuscript is that connection to the heart that is so desired right now.

Thank you for reading this,
Carlos

Howling Hill said...

_Stay_ was aweome!

Please sign me up for the contest.

Gilda Horgan said...

I love to celebrate when a good story finds its way to the bookshelf! Congratulations. I wish you success.

And, what a great marketing push holding a query contest to encourage and support other writers!

I'm in!

gilda Horgan
adlig1000(at)aol(dot)com

Cyndy Aleo said...

Getting picked out of the slush pile is every writer's dream, right? Picked up Stay mostly because Allie is in Rochester and a fellow alum (although I'm WAY older) but am enjoying the publishing journey vicariously via her blog, as it may end up being the only way I ever do. ;)