Today we have Angela Cappillo on the blog, now represented by Leon Husock of the L. Perkins Agency! And don’t miss Angela’s awesome giveaway at the end of her interview! One lucky reader will win a FREE first page critique!
Angela’s “How I Got My Agent” story is so interesting, but I don’t want to say more or I’ll spoil the surprise! For now, let’s just say Leon signed Angela for her YA psychological suspense manuscript, The Serenity Killer! Here’s her pitch:
When Haley’s best friend becomes the victim of a serial killer, she uses her ability to see and feel the deaths of others to exact revenge, but the killer is a lot closer to her than she realizes.
Now, without further ado, let’s ask some slightly difficult writerly questions!
1. First, let’s talk about your manuscript, The Serenity Killer! I’m always curious to know what triggered the idea for a story! How did The Serenity Killer come about, and which came first—the premise or the main character?
The premise and main character actually came to me at the same time. When I first started to plot out The Serenity Killer, it was an entirely different book in a whole other genre. As I wrote the outline, something felt wrong, though. It felt more as if I was forcing, Haley, my main character, into a world she didn’t belong. So, I took a few days to really get to know her and try to figure out where she needed to be. I was actually reading a news article about a serial killer when I realized how amazing it could be for Haley to thrown into a situation like that. I felt like someone with her abilities and a killer on the loose could make an excellent psychological suspense.
2. What’s one juicy fact about yourself readers may not already know? And please, provide tons of details!
Wow! This question was the hardest one for me to answer. I could think of so many things, yet none of them sounded juicy. Between writing books and having four children, one of which is special needs and requires so much of my time, I don’t seem to have much else going on, not that my life is in any way boring. I have an amazing family and such a diverse group of close friends. There’s never a dull moment in my life. Ever! However, here are a couple of things people probably don’t know about me. I’m terrified of flying. Even one flying over my house freaks me out, and I’m such a germaphobe. It’s terrible. I won’t even drink after my own kids. Although, I’m pretty sure the kids are the cause of my germ phobia.
3. What does a writing day look like for you? Do you have any habits or quirks you can share with us?
I don’t really have any hard and true habits when it comes to writing. I lead such a chaotic life that I just write every second the opportunity presents itself. I do carry a notebook with me at all times, so while I’m not at my computer.
4. What’s your favorite writing resource—or the one you simply can’t live without?
There are so many great tools out there. The resources I use change often.
5. What other “writerly” things are you involved with, such as contests or workshops? Tell us all about them!
I’m always looking for things to get involved with. Right now, I’m a slush reader for #pitchslam, which is a contest that happens twice a year, and I’m a contributor for YANAsisterhood.com.
Now it’s time to show off my hard-hitting journalism skills—try to contain your laughter as I adjust my sleuth’s hat!
7. Tell us all about your querying adventure! How long were you in the “querying trenches” and was The Serenity Killer the first manuscript you queried?
The Serenity Killer was the second book I queried. I actually stopped querying the other book after only twenty queries, not because I didn’t believe in it because I do. I stopped because I KNEW The Serenity Killer was the one. I can’t explain how I knew that, but it was strong. I wanted to place all of my energy into querying The Serenity Killer. I sent out a small batch of queries in November. I actually got two full requests from that batch. Then, I didn’t send any more queries out until February. One of the full requests led me to do another revision, which is why I took an extended break. Between February and the beginning of June, I sent out forty-nine queries and I entered and got into pitchmadness. I received six requests from the contest and 15 full requests total from querying. It was all a little insane for me, but my offer of representation came about in an entirely different way. My agent actually emailed me and asked to read The Serenity Killer. One of the agents who had requested the full told him all about it. She felt it wasn’t quite right for her, but she thought he’d love it. So, I sent it along to him and, of course, the rest is history. Ha! It was a rollercoaster of a couple weeks after the offer. I actually still had ten fulls out, so it was overwhelming. However, a good overwhelming.
7. One of the things many writers aren’t prepared for after signing with an agent is the tremendous amount of doubt that follows the rush of finally being “agented.” Did you experience this after signing with your agent, and if so, how did you overcome it?
Oh my God! Yes! I had never doubted my writing more than after I got an agent. It was ridiculous and definitely something, I was NOT prepared for. This sounds so generic, but writing a new book is how I got over my doubts. At first, I had to force the words and most days I didn’t want to write, but I did anyway. Eventually, the words started flowing again and I gained some of my confidence back.
8. It’s not uncommon for writers to go through one or more rounds of edits with their agent to get the manuscript in tip-top shape. Can you share what the revision process was like for you and The Serenity Killer?
I did two rounds of revisions for my agent. I actually love revising so it wasn’t so bad for me. When I read his first email, I’ll admit I panicked a little bit. I expected a bit more direction. For example, he mentioned that Haley and her mom have a great relationship, so he would like one or two more heartfelt scenes between them. I guess I thought the revisions would be more specific. The anxiety only lasted a few minutes, though. Once I sat down and started thinking about what he was asking for the ideas started flowing.
9. If you could whisper in the ear of the writer reading this, what ONE piece of wisdom would you share with them?
I wish I could be less cliché, but the best piece of advice I have is to never give up and never stop learning your craft. Read wide and read often. You’ll get there.
10. What’s up next for Angela Cappillo?
For now, I’m going to keep writing, and hopefully, one day soon you’ll see my book on the shelves. I can’t wait!
Angela is a YA author represented by Leon Husock of the L. Perkins Agency. She lives in a small town in Northeastern Ohio with her husband, four children, and a multitude of pets. When she’s not busy shuttling around children and writing, she enjoys reading everything she can, hanging out with friends, and drinking copious amounts of coffee.
Don’t miss out on Angela’s FREE First Page Critique! Just comment on her interview below to enter! And don’t forget to leave your contact information in your comment (a Twitter handle will do, or leave your email in a way that keeps the Spam-bots away).