Queries, Qualms, & Quirks show

Queries, Qualms, & Quirks

Summary: Queries, Qualms, & Quirks asks published authors to share their successful query letter and discuss their journey from first spark to day of publication. Author Sarah Nicolas interviews authors of all genres about how they got started writing, their writing process, getting their book deal, and their experiences with publication.

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Podcasts:

 Book Club Fiction Jessica Strawser and Taking a Pause | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2110

Book Club Fiction Jessica Strawser joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss not believing in her own writing, being inspired by the authors she interviewed, realizing successful authors are regular people, the difference between knowing what a good query letter is and writing your own, the overlap in publishing schedules, worrying you've wasted so much time, advice from Debbie Macomber, and not being afraid to take a pause. Jessica Strawser is editor-at-large for Writer's Digest, contributing editor at Career Authors, and author of five popular book club novels, including the Book of the Month selection NOT THAT I COULD TELL. Most recently, A MILLION REASONS WHY released in a new paperback edition, and her latest, THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, hit shelves March 22 from St. Martin’s Press. Jessica: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqstrawser This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Young Adult Author Carolyn Tara O’Neil and a Passion for Settings | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1660

Young Adult Author Carolyn Tara O’Neil joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss dreaming of being Carolyn Keene, spending five years drafting and revising her debut, reading the entire Query Shark blog, adding a POV to increase request rate by 600%, how much work her agent actually does, writing one day a week, worrying of never writing something worthy, not beating yourself up, and believing in your own writing. Carolyn Tara O’Neil grew up in a tiny New York City apartment filled with thousands of books. Every Friday she went to the public library for even more reading material. Since then, Carolyn has dedicated her career to the education and rights of young people. She loves to travel, study languages, and spend endless hours discussing TV, books, great hiking trails, and how we can work together to build a more equal society. Her debut novel, DAUGHTERS OF A DEAD EMPIRE, is set during the Russian Revolution and was published in 2022 by Roaring Brook Press. Carolyn: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM Ira Glass on the Creative Gap QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqcarolyn This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Young Adult Author Margie Fuston and Proving Vampires are Real | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1965

Young Adult Author Margie Fuston joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss having both a great and a terrible Pitch Wars experience, ditching a PhD to write a book, selling a trunked novel after getting an agent, R&Rs, making the one change she said she'd never make, fear of social media, taking care of your mental and physical health. Margie Fuston lives in the woods of California and spends all her time wrangling a herd of cats and helping her nephews hunt ghosts, pond monsters, and mermaids. She’s the author of Vampires, Hearts, and Other Dead Things and Cruel Illusions. Margie: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqfuston This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Science-Fiction Author Jackson Ford and the Secret First Draft | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1775

Science-Fiction Author Jackson Ford joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss almost giving up, being encouraged by a friend, having his first series not meet sales expectations, transitioning from journalism to fiction, and not spending enough time with his characters. Jackson Ford is a South African author living in Vancouver. He is the author of the Frost Files series, starring the psychokinetic government agent Teagan Frost. Jackson: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqford This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Young Adult Author Sarah Dass and the Pressure of Representation | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2249

Young Adult Author Sarah Dass joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss letting go of a book to move forward, the importance of finishing books, her debut group, a disastrous first book, amassing 100 rejections, Pitch Wars, and getting published with your third book. Sarah Dass was born in Trinidad but has lived in Tobago since she was two years old. She works as an office administrator by day and writes stories about the Caribbean by night. When she's not writing, she's reading or taking walks with her dachshund, Stella. Sarah's debut novel, Where the Rhythm Takes You, is inspired by her childhood, spent in a seaside hotel. Sarah: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqdass This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Book Club Fiction Author Lyn Liao Butler and Too Much Query Personalization | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1914

Book Club Fiction Author Lyn Liao Butler joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss the book that started as a blog, dissecting her favorite books to learn to write, doing an R&R, not getting into Pitch Wars (for a great reason), reviving trunked novels, post-publication uncertainty, traveling for research, the importance of community, and the benefit of an agent in your corner. Lyn Liao Butler was born in Taiwan and moved to the States when she was seven. Before becoming an author, she was a professional ballet and modern dancer, and is still a personal trainer and fitness and yoga instructor. She is an avid animal lover who fosters dogs and volunteers with rescues. When she is not torturing clients or talking to imaginary characters, Lyn enjoys spending time with her FDNY husband, their son (the happiest little boy in the world), and their three stubborn dachshunds; sewing for her Etsy shop; and trying complicated yoga poses on a stand-up paddleboard. So far, she has not fallen into the water. Lyn: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqbutler  This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Nonfiction Author Jessica P. Pryde and a Dare from Daniel José Older | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 1932

Nonfiction Author Jessica P. Pryde joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss starting in fanfic, the magic of writing dates, getting an agent without querying, learning how to write a nonfiction proposal, long waiting periods, worrying about the concept matching the reality, narrowing your audience to make your book better, and more. Jessica P. Pryde is a Contributing Editor for Book Riot and cohost of the When In Romance podcast. Her book, Black Love Matters: Real Talk on Romance, Being Seen, and Happily Ever Afters, is a collection of essays about the consumption of romantic media and the Black experience. Jessica: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqpryde This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Young Adult Author Lauren James and the Ten-Year Gap Year | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2320

Young Adult Author Lauren James joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss having a supportive family, thinking every year this will be the year she has to get a real job, the ten year gap year, when your entire America publishing team gets fired, publishing three books during the pandemic, the one course she wish she'd taken, trusting your instincts, and the value in an editor who also teaches as you go. Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including Green Rising, The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker and The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. She is a RLF Royal Fellow, freelance editor and screenwriter. Lauren is the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and on the board of the Authors & Illustrators Sustainability Working Group through the Society of Authors. Lauren: Query | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqlj This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Middle Grade Author Payal Doshi and the Joy of Writing a Single Scene | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2706

Middle Grade Author Payal Doshi joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss writing Captain Planet fanfic at eight years old, putting revisions on hold to have a baby, removing an entire POV, wanting to tell a story different from the dominant narrative, paying attention to the market, having to do your own marketing, the benefits and challenges of working with a small press, knowing which questions to ask, writing with a young child, paying attention to word count Payal Doshi has a Master’s in Creative Writing from The New School, NY. Having lived in India, the UK, and US, she noticed a lack of Indian protagonists in global children’s fiction and one day wrote the opening paragraph to her debut middle grade novel, REA AND THE BLOOD OF THE NECTAR. Raised in Mumbai, India, she currently lives in Minneapolis, MN with her family and can be found daydreaming about fantasy realms to send her characters off into. Payal: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqpayal This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Middle Grade Author Meera Trehan and Falling Asleep on Page 75 | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2788

Middle Grade Author Meera Trehan joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss setting a contract with yourself for writing time, the ups and downs of writing conferences, finding friends through writing contests, harsh query rejections, leaving an agent, struggling with titles, how her greatest fear was her greatest strength, and using the waiting time to work on your craft. Meera Trehan grew up in Virginia where she read as much as she could, memorized poems, and ate enough cookies to earn the nickname “Monster” after the Cookie Monster. After attending the University of Virginia and Stanford Law School, she practiced law for over a decade before turning to writing for children. Her debut, the MG novel THE VIEW FROM THE VERY BEST HOUSE IN TOWN came out from Walker US/Candlewick in February 2022. Meera: Query | Website | Twitter | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM Story by Robert McKee Steering the Craft by Ursula K Le Guin Tackling a Multi-POV Query Letter from Kimberly Vale  QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqmeera This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Horror Author Cynthia Pelayo and Your Person Versus Your Persona | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2357

Horror Author Cynthia Pelayo joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss breaking stereotypes, having an MFA but not knowing how to query, separating your person from your online persona, getting rejected by every major publisher, listening to your gut on edits, taking 4 years off writing, focusing on the writing instead of the drama, and avoiding the comparison game. Cynthia Pelayo is a three-time Bram Stoker Award nominated author and poet. She lives in Chicago with her family. Cynthia: Website | Twitter | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqpelayo This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Fantasy Author David R. Slayton and the Two Hardest Publishing Decisions | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2648

Fantasy Author David R. Slayton joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss leaving your first agent, canceling a book contract, R&R scars, writing in many genres, learning as you write the first couple of books, getting up at 5am to write, the expectation of marginalized authors to perform their trauma, the ritual of writing, and his advice for writers just starting out. David R. Slayton grew up outside of Guthrie, Oklahoma, where finding fantasy novels was pretty challenging and finding fantasy novels with diverse characters was downright impossible. David’s debut, White Trash Warlock, was published in 2020 by Blackstone Publishing and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. David: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqslayton This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Middle Grade Author Shakirah Bourne and the Email That Will Change Your Life | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2490

Middle Grade Author Shakirah Bourne joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss the benefit of saying yes to everything, getting distracted from pursuing publication, being 100% confident in a project that doesn't go anywhere, querying without knowing your genre, googling everything, publishing from outside the US, the unfairness of the publishing process, and how you will always have another dream project. Shakirah Bourne is a Bajan author and filmmaker born and based in Barbados. She once shot a movie scene in a cave with bats during an earthquake, but is too scared to watch horror movies. Her middle grade fantasy, JOSEPHINE AGAINST THE SEA was published by Scholastic in 2021, received starred reviews in Kirkus and Booklist, and was a School Library Journal Best Book of 2021. Shakirah: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqshakirah This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Middle Grade Author Maria Frazer and Not Quitting Your Day Job | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2674

Middle Grade Author Maria Frazer joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss Google and Twitter University, #dvpit, figuring out her category, meeting friends through pitch contests, the importance of calling yourself a writer, the purpose of language, working with an editor who rejected the book, waiting for a book deal to get announced, being rejected by your peers, writing on your phone to trick your brain, and learning about taxes. Maria Frazer is a middle grade and young adult author with a heart of queso. She was born and raised in Texas, where she still spends her time turning every space into a reading nook. Her debut middle grade audiobook MARGARITA IN THE SPOTLIGHT is available now on Audible. Maria: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqmariafrazer This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

 Young Adult Author Derek Milman and the Last Pre-Pandemic Book Tour | File Type: audio/mpeg | Duration: 2231

Young Adult Author Derek Milman joins Queries, Qualms, & Quirks this week to discuss going from acting to writing, how his brother's bachelor party launched his writing career, meeting agents for coffee, two atypical experiences at opposite ends of the spectrum, the last book tour before the pandemic, media mail, focusing on the work in the middle of the business, and being careful about choosing a publisher. Derek Milman is the author of the YA novels SWIPE RIGHT FOR MURDER and SCREAM ALL NIGHT. A classically-trained actor, who worked for years in TV and film, Derek now lives in Brooklyn where he (tries) to write full time. Derek: Query | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound | Libro FM QQQ Home Base | Support on Patreon If links aren't clickable, find them here: https://bit.ly/qqqmilman This page includes affiliate links. Please use them if you’d like to support the show.

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