A lot of people have been asking how I found my agent. The long version of the story involves a chicken (seriously), but I’ll save that for my interview with Oprah. The Secret says to put it out there, right? Instead of just telling the story, however, I thought it would be more fun if I showed it to you:
Dear Ms. Rostan ,
I understand that you are drawn to fresh and engaging commercial fiction. I am submitting BEFORE EVER AFTER, an offbeat romantic novel complete at 85,000 words for your consideration.
Mosaic artist Shelley Gallus’ happy ending ended when her husband died three years ago. Today she learns that her tour guide husband Max is alive and well. This is pinch-me-twice wonderful news, or at least it would be, if Shelley could just overlook two tiny details: Max was blown to pieces on the Madrid subway three years ago; and the bearer of this news is her thirty two year old husband’s thirty two year old grandson, Paolo. Unfortunately, Shelley is a stickler for detail.
BEFORE EVER AFTER takes place along the back roads of European history as Shelley pursues the only clue she has to the mystery of her husband’s vastly improved health – her memories of “The Slight Detour,” the European budget tour package where she met and fell in love with her scruffily handsome guide. As a heartbreaking secret emerges from Max’s accounts of bloody Parisian barricades, smelly medieval Austrian kitchens, and buried Roman boathouses, Shelley discovers that not all stories end where they are supposed to.
BEFORE EVER AFTER is my first work of fiction and was inspired by my experience living, studying, and traveling through Europe. I have included sample pages below. I am committed to a long-term career in writing and would be happy to send you the complete manuscript. Thank you for your time.
Hi Samantha — I read your pages and I think this is off to a fresh, fabulous start. I’d like to read the rest. Would you send me the complete manuscript as an email attachment and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible?
Thank you for your interest and kind words. I have attached my novel as a PDF file for your review. I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the manuscript. Thank you for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Hi Samantha — Well, this hasn’t happened to me for quite some time, but I have a habit of reading the first few pages of new material when it comes in to decide how to prioritize my reading, and every once in a great while, I can’t stop. I had already read the first few pages of your book in your email, so I read a few more when the manuscript arrived and, as I said, couldn’t stop. I stayed up late and finished the whole manuscript last night. I loved it — and I’d love to represent you. Would you like to speak by phone? Which part of the world are you in now?
Which part of the world was I then? Nowhere. I was over the moon!