I've been at the Queens MFA
Alumni program, where I reconnected with writer friends, and met with Denise Shannon
, a literary agent. No, I'm not signed; I'm not through revising the novel. But it was a chance to show a chapter to an agent who represents Francine Prose, Gary Shteyngart, Lydia Davis, Kevin Canty, & Karen Russell. Was I scared? Yowser!
Denise is intelligent, direct, well-read, and yet kindly. I liked her. She liked me. She liked my writing, she liked my chapter. She did not love my chapter. She loved the work of my friend Sandy Novack, which makes me happy happy happy.
I had brought the chapter where I am most vulnerable, and it went over well. Big relief! In our private conference, after the workshop, I asked Denise the scary question: based on what you have seen, and our discussion of the rest of the novel, is this novel commercially viable? There was no pause before her reply. "Yes. It will appeal to people who like novels of place and strong emotion." Then she went on to help me with my query letter, what to mention, what not to mention. She was kindness itself. And when the novel is done and perfected, I will send it to her. But I want an agent who loves my work, loves it as she loved Sandy's.