Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for July: (7/6) Jennifer J. Chow (7/13) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 1--Ice Cream Shop Mystery), (7/20) Susan Van Kirk, (7/27) Meri Allen/Shari Randall (Book 2--Ice Cream Shop Mystery).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dear Literary Agent

Dear Agent,

In my novel, TOASTING FEAR, Abby Jenkins, champagne supplier to North Carolina's Outer Banks, suspects a demon from her past is causing today's murders and must call upon an angel to convince the police detective that she's not behind the killings.

A mystery novel, TOASTING FEAR also has supernatural and romantic elements. Because there is a demon antagonist, I wrote horror scenes depicting my heroine’s victimization by the demon. When writing horror, harnessing personal fears facilitates authentic writing. I’ve rarely been in fear for my life, but I have felt other fears, which I utilized when writing those scenes.

One such situation is querying agents, inciting my feelings of fear, anxiety and dread. The last manuscript I completed took a little over a year of my life to write. My manuscript, a warm, funny, romantic mystery, enticed only four of the thirty agents I queried to ask for partials. This experience taught me that in horror, the heroine’s expectations and a quick reversal of those expectations must be felt by the reader.

Waiting for responses from agents made my bones feel hollow with trepidation similar to what I wanted my readers to feel as they watched Abby walk into trouble. When I previously queried, I set my PC to announce incoming email via sound. That sound was like hearing “for whom the bell tolled.” Every time I heard the bonging, like Pavlov’s dog, I raced to my computer, my heart pounding in suspense only to find myself disappointed by agents’ responses. In writing Abby’s horror scenes, I recalled my own feelings of powerlessness while reading those rejections.

When Abby is caught in an ocean whirlpool, like me, her mind races to determine how she can change the outcome. I evaluated my script trying to determine what to change to lure agents. For me self-publishing is a compromise that at this time I’m not willing to make. When Abby becomes trapped in a hole on the beach, sinking into a possible quicksand death, I called upon my own feelings of being trapped in a process that allows me to show only what is surface material rather than the depth on my novel. Do the first five pages catch their attention? If not, I’m doomed.

Like revising my novel, Abby uses a clam shell dug into the hole’s sides to heave herself out. But in the end, she must rely on an angel’s intervention to save her. I’ve tried praying that some agent will like my query. In the past, prayer hasn’t worked. So, I’m sucked into a hole of despair, much like my heroine, but unlike Abby, I won’t get a hand up from an angel.

I’ve spent two years of my life writing TOASTING FEAR without a clue as to whether or not it will sell. So dear agent, you see that I’m extremely qualified to write horror scenes. I hope you like my work, hope that we can become partners in my career and unlike my antagonist, I hope you aren’t really a demon.
E. B. Davis


Warren Bull said...

It sounds like you make wonderful use of your life experiences in your writing. Good luck in your ongoing quest.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm in revision, Warren. But I'm anticipating the query process, like in the pit of my stomach!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Fun post, EB! Your book sounds intriguing.

Kaye George said...

That's right, blame the agents! :) This is using what you know, E.B., and best of luck with it. Congrats on moving to a new project. It's hard, I know.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks, Linda--I can only hope. As I write this, I'm working on perfecting, revising and deepening character. I'm looking forward to reading your novel, which I think will be released before too long, right?

E. B. Davis said...

I haven't actually started the next book yet, Kaye. I'm revising this one and hope to query by the end of summer. But that brings up the subject of what to do. Do you write the second book, wait to see if the first sells then write the second, or do you different book? What did you do?

Polly Iyer said...

Follow your heart. If you love the book--I know, we love what we write or why would we write it--write the second one. If you have an idea for another book that's burning in your brain, write that while it's hot.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the direction, Polly. I'm also thinking that two in a series may sell better than one. So, I think I'll at least write the second. If I can't sell them at that point, then onto a new concept.