Sunday, February 6, 2011

Meet Alyson Peterson

Today I have a very special guest ... Alyson Peterson!!!!

*A huge circus of flying trapeze artists doing flips in midair*


And once again...yes, you guessed it. My little spiel about networking, meeting people, and talking to people. I've met the most wonderful agents, authors, writers ever. As you can see, several have already visited us on my little, tiny blog.

Alyson has the best of both worlds (actually a lot of worlds wrapped neatly into a nice little package). She is an intern at Ayesha Pande Literary, who gets to read our queries, and she is also a writer. Not to mention a blogger with helpful advice for all of us, and a devote tweeter on twitter.

I highly suggest you pop on over to Alyson's blog, CRAZY WRITER GIRL. Very sound advice for anyone querying. Then, as I already pointed out, Alyson also writes, and you can check out the first chapter of SOUR GRAPES (btw....go read it...magnificent). Haven't had enough...follow her on twitter.

So sadly for her, I get to ask questions concerning lots of little things. Bah ha ha!

So where should I get started...OH! I know.

Tell us a little bit about yourself...

I am a bit of a nut. If you don’t mind manic laughter with a snort on the end, then we’ll get along just fine. I am married with two older kids even though I am still very young and I enjoy life waaay too much!

What is your most favorite book...EVER?

Tough question. Toss up between Jane Eyre and anything written by Jane Austin. I am a SUCKER for historical fiction.

What author most inspired you?

James Herriot. He wrote great books and he is a good man.

What was the one book that changed everything for you with regards to wanting to become a writer?

It wasn’t really one book as much as I had too much going on in my head and I needed to release the spigot before something explosive happened. Is therapy a good answer?

What made you decide to wet your feet in the agenting world of it?

I have this insane desire to help people. I need it and love it like crack heads need coke.

You have a wonderful blog. For those of us that haven't had a chance to visit it, can you tell us what you mostly blog about and why?

Lately I have been blogging a lot about querying and writing mainly because I get a lot of junk in my inbox. I figure that if I can get out the word on how to query effectively, I’ll have an easier time reading it! Win, win situation.

Your first chapter of SOUR GRAPES is up on your blog (*insert demand* Go read it). Can you give a little blurb about your book?

LOL. Sour Grapes is a character driven novel on St. Peter. I always joke that if I can’t bribe my way past Pete, I am doomed for hell. It was funny to think of a guy who has to listen to a lot of whining and excuses must have some issues. It was fun to write.


Cupcakes or pie? PIE!

Movie theaters or DVDs? DVD

Favorite dessert? Anything Chocolate

Your first kiss? Wet, slobbery and in public unfortunately.

Zombies or vampires? Neither.

Most embarrassing moment ever to happen in your life.

Damn it. I had coed P.E. in high school and we were playing flag football. My crush made a wild grab for my flag and ripped my gym shorts off instead. I ran the football into the end zone in nothing but my white granny panties glinting in the sun. Worst damn day of my life even though everyone couldn’t stay upright for laughing. Happy now? LOL!!!

Now other stuff we all want to know....

Tell us about Ayesha Pande Literary.

Ayesha is awesome. If you ever want an agent who will go to any length to publish your novel, she is the gal to do it. She is very dedicated and passionate about what she does and takes agenting very seriously. Currently we are actively seeking YA.

How did you become an intern?

I met Ayesha through twitter and I had her guest on my blog. She read and considered my novel Sour Grapes and we became friends. She needed an intern and I pounced on the opportunity. Best thing I’ve ever done.

I see some networking at work here!

Tell us what is the most enjoyable aspect of being an intern.

Reading your ideas. A lot of you are so incredibly creative. It is a beautiful thing.

Would you share a day of being an intern with us?

Well, we are very behind at the moment so I read a good 50 queries a day to keep a handle on the backlog. I read manuscript submissions and write up reader reports on whether I recommend them for representation or not. Ayesha is very trusting which keeps me on my toes. I don’t want to miss anything good!

When you are reading a query letter, and let's say that it is bad, do you stop right there or move to sample pages?

I read everything. Sometimes the query sucks and the writing is excellent (and vice versa). I want to give the writer every chance I can. I’ve only read one query where I stopped mid query and gave a rejection, but that was only because the writer was caustic and rude.

Which happens most often--great query with bad sample pages or bad query with awesome sample pages? Why?

Great query with bad sample pages happen more often than not. It is very sad to me that more time is spent on the query than polishing the material. Sometimes the hook is amazing and I am pulling my hair out when I read the sample pages and there are grammar errors, misspellings, and reads flat with no voice. Breaks my heart because I have to reject it. Ayesha is only interested in the best writing.

What is the one genre that you are sick of seeing?

Vampires and terrorist plots.

What would you like to see on your desk right now?

YA. Give me a Gary Paulsen’s HATCHET or Ellen Conford’s A ROYAL PAIN and I would be a very happy lady.

You're a writer and an intern. Can you tell us how reading a jillion query letters and sample pages have helped you on your writing?

Uh… I suffer from the curse of the internship. After reading some incredible material and writing, I think everything I put out sucks royally. **shrugs**

As a writer, what is the most valuable tool you have at your disposal? Would you recommend this to other aspiring writers?

A good dictionary and read read read read. A good critique partner is invaluable too.

Besides SOUR GRAPES, what other projects are you working on now?

Sour Grapes is my fourth novel. I finished a 5th and trunked it. Right now I am taking a break from writing and focusing on making myself happy instead of filling a market quota. Sorry if that sounds sour.

Are you querying your manuscript now?

Nope. Sour Grapes is sitting on two agent’s desks and if I hear no from both of them, I don’t think I will query it further.

Has being an intern helped with writing your own query letter?

YES! Shorter, simpler and to the point makes for good queries. Focus on plot and stick to it. Let me read the rest.

Any other advice you'd like to share with the readers of my blog?

Just because I send out a rejection letter doesn’t mean that you are a bad writer. The best submission I have read so far was passed on (until the writer can finish and send us the full manuscript) by Ayesha. She felt the beginning was too slow and I agreed. The writing was phenomenal.

This is not the first time this has happened. I finished a romance where the writing was breathtaking and very beautiful. We passed on that one too.

Agents have to be very picky. They are mindful of the market and what their editors are looking for. However, they also need to be passionate about you and your work. Out of 200 queries I’ll request 7 partials. Of the seven partials I might ask for 3 fulls. Of the three MAYBE one will get signed on before the whole process starts over again. It is just as nerve wracking for you as it is for me. Keep plugging, keep querying and keep perfecting your writing. The more you do the greater the chance for success!

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed your time as much as I enjoyed having you. I hope you will stop by again.

Xxoo, it was fun! Best of luck to all of you! Alyson


  1. Such a great interview! I think it's great that Alyson has the perspective of both an assistant and a writer in the midst of querying. I think we can all learn from her. :)

  2. Ok, I'll admit I'm biased because AP and I are friends, but she ROCKS!

  3. what a fun interview! And a character-driven book about St. Peter!!! Called Sour Grapes--hilarious! I love it. Thanks, guys~ :o) <3

  4. This was a great interview. I actually was just doing research on agents the other day and came across Ayesha Pande Literary. thinky...

    Thanks for a wonderfully informative interview!

  5. Very nice interview. Interesting questions and answers. Thanks.

  6. Great interview. Sour Grapes sounds like an interesting concept. I hope one of those agents makes an offer.