I got the opportunity to interview author Laura Weymouth about her querying and writing experience. Some info about Laura:
Laura Weymouth is a Canadian living in exile in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, a spoiled cat, an old soul of a dog, and an indeterminate number of chickens.
Laura’s debut novel, The Light Between Worlds, was published to critical acclaim in 2018, and her sophomore novel, A Treason of Thorns, will publish on September 10th, 2019.
Hi Laura! I read that you queried another book before you queried THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS. Can you tell me what querying that first project was like?
LW: I actually had quite a positive experience querying prior to The Light Between Worlds. While the project I shopped around remains indefinitely shelved, I knew I was probably in for a long haul and so I managed my expectations accordingly. And while I was querying, I also spent a lot of time getting involved in the book community on Twitter and getting connected with my wonderful critique group, which was super helpful. Finding your people gives you someone to gripe to on hard days, and really helps put things in perspective.
What did you learn from your first time querying that helped you for the second round?
LW: I think the main thing I learned was based on the feedback I received from agents, which was that everyone in publishing is always looking for stories with a classic feel that are approached from a fresh angle. With my first manuscript, I’d specifically set out to write a fantasy that felt like the classic British kidlit I grew up with, but it didn’t really stand out or offer a unique perspective. So now I always try to figure out in advance what the hook for a particular story idea is–what is it that will make this book different from anything else currently on the market?
When you were querying, was there a time when you wanted to give up?
LW: Not when I was querying, no. I’m pretty stubborn 🙂 I do occasionally have moments when I’m on a tight deadline or really struggling with a set of edits in which I wonder why I’m putting myself through this, but they never last long. And I’m the slitheriest of Slytherins, so feeling driven to succeed in the face of long odds is my natural state of being.
What helps refill your creative well?
LW: I’m a passionate gardener, and absolutely love being outside tending to growing things and getting my hands dirty. But I also live just outside of Buffalo, where the winters are very long and very snowy, so when I can’t garden I snuggle up with my animals and watch silly television–funny ensemble casts are my favorite. Shows I recently watched through and loved are Kim’s Convenience and Schitt’s Creek.
When you got your first call with an agent, did you do anything to celebrate?
LW: I did! The woods behind my house served as a very tangible inspiration for the Woodlands in The Light Between Worlds, so after I got my first offer, I walked out there even though it was raining and said thank you to the forest.
Is there anything you learned as an agented author that you wish you’d known before?
LW: Author/agent relationships live or die based on communication. You need an agent who’s a prompt and conscientious communicator, who keeps channels open, and never makes you feel like a nuisance when you have questions.
Do you have any advice for querying authors?
LW: Firstly, everyone says this, but it’s true: always be working on your next project. Even now, as soon as I turn something in to my agent or editor, I give myself a day or two and then start working on whatever comes next. Secondly, teach yourself to work to a deadline now. By setting yourself personal deadlines prior to landing an agent or a pub deal, you’ll learn what sort of time frames are reasonable for you, and will be able to tell at the outset whether official deadlines are realistic or not.
Favorite book trope?
LW: Princess in disguise, when it’s done well 🙂
Thank you so much for your time! Do you have any links to share?
LW: I’m an avid Twitter user, where you can find me @lauraeweymouth
And all the buy/add links for my books are very handily located at www.lauraeweymouth.com/books