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Writers on the Rise: Introducing Adele Buck

Universal truth: writers are AWESOME, whether they have agents, book deals, contest wins coming out their ears, or are in the query trenches. Yes, trenches. You know, the period of time when a writer leaves behind anonymity and braves the rejection-heavy world in their attempt to obtain representation by a literary agency.

It’s a mouthful, ain’t it? Yeah, so is doing it. But when I was querying and entering every contest available, I found myself surrounded by amazing people who were querying right alongside me. Not only did my other “Trenchers” keep me going, but these were also the people who taught me the most about how to do this crazy thing we’re trying to do, and what kind of cheese goes best with red wine. (It’s Tillamook cheese, btw.)

It’s for that reason I reached out to writers who are either actively participating in contests or are querying agents, and I asked them about who they are, what they’ve learned and would like to share, and how we can support them in their journey.

I hope you join me in welcoming

ADELE BUCK

K: Hi Adele! First, thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me. What genre and age category do you write?

A: I write adult contemporary romance. Mostly comedic. The series I’m currently working on is set in the American theater.

K: Fantastic! And how long have you been writing? What inspired you?

A: Um…well, that depends. I’ve been writing fiction off and on since I was a kid. Then a bit over a year ago, I finally decided to dive in and write nearly every day. I kept up about 1,000 words/day almost every day (basically barring sickness or other exigent circumstances – often I would do double that on weekend days) for a year. I wrote four books in that time – two traditional-length novels and two category romances (short novels, longer than novellas for those who aren’t familiar with romance).

Inspiration? What finally got me off the dime? I’d wanted to write for a long time (SUCH a cliché. Oh, well). What really inspired me, believe it or not, was a habit of getting up and walking every morning before I got ready for work. It wrought a lot of changes in my body and my life, and it really proved to me that “one foot in front of the other, just do it every day” does work. Which I should know, because I’m also a knitter. What can I say? Sometimes I can be a bit dense.

My first two manuscripts were set in the computer gaming industry and were rough contemporary spins on Austen’s Persuasion and Sense and Sensibility. My category romance series, the theater one, started with a very rough take on Lady Susan and has strayed from there in the subsequent books. So Austen is also definitely an influence and an inspiration. I loved thinking about how her plots and the social structures of her era and country would map to modern America.

I queried the Persuasion manuscript for about eight months. Feedback from Pitch Wars led me to believe that it would be a good idea to shelve it (and its fellow) until I felt ready to rewrite it from the ground up. It’s too “partly women’s fiction, partly romance.” (The whole story of how I came to that decision is here)

That decision ended up being a very good one - I started querying the first book in the theater series (ACTING UP) in October, and I signed with my agent Amy in early February***.

K: That’s an incredible journey! And what a wonderful of example of persistence! So while in “The Trenches,” what’s the biggest thing you’ve learned about writing/querying that you’d like to share with other authors?

A: If you can, send it and forget it. A watched inbox never…does anything. Also, self-care. See above re: the walking. I also do exercise classes about 3 times a week (Bar Method, which a friend of mine who is a mixed martial artist calls simply: “Pain.”). Try as hard as you can to cultivate patience, because even when things start to move (and events have moved very quickly since I signed with Amy), you are still going to have to wait. Reading takes time. Editing takes time.

K: You couldn’t be more right about that! It takes time, time, and more time, which is such an important resource to take advantage of, as well as a battle to overcome. As a querying author, do you have any other resources that you can’t live without?

A: The Herman Guide was great to get started – I got the latest edition from my library. If you can swing it, a Publisher’s Marketplace subscription is also an incredible resource. Lastly, spreadsheets to keep track of agents I want to query, their responses, and other notes. I’ve heard great stuff about querytracker.com too. I liked my spreadsheet, but I was considering a subscription to querytracker shortly before I signed.

K: Yes! Writers, hear that? Don’t forget to scour the library when looking for resources! So Adele, I know you mentioned earlier about how walking and moving forward got you started in the beginning. How do you stay inspired and keep going in the face of a rejection-heavy industry?

A: Well, I was an actress for about a decade. That was my first career (I’m on my third now for those keeping track at home—well, fourth if you count writing). I find query rejections to be far less personal than audition rejections. Frankly, the only query rejections that got to me were the ones that West Coast agents seem to send that coincide with me sitting down with a nice drink on Friday evening (which is Friday afternoon to them). Those were the ones that caught me off guard!

K: Four careers! An actress? Okay, you’re clearly fabulous and I’m sold: where can we learn more about you and support you as a writer? (links to twitter, fanfic, your own blog or website, or any contests you’re actively participating in where we can root for you)