My answers to questions agents ask writers

Matthew Arnold Stern at Indie Author Day in AnaheimChuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest posted a helpful column by Lisa Katzenberger listing four questions agents ask writers at pitch sessions. I’m working to get my new novels published, so here are my answers to those questions. If you’re a writer, my responses may help you formulate your own answers. If you’re an agent or publisher, please read on.

Are you working on anything else?

In addition to The Remainders, I completed a draft of my new novel Amiga that I’m sending to beta readers. I am also looking at reviving a series I started.

Who are your favorite authors?

My all-time favorite is Kurt Vonnegut. I binge-read him in college, and the first new hardcover book I ever bought for myself was his 1979 novel Jailbird. What I love about Vonnegut is how he combines humor with serious themes and absurdity with personally tragic stories. I also like the density and economy of his writing. He packed a lot of story and theme into short books. Of current authors, I like John Green for many of the same reasons.

What kind of writer are you?

I consider myself a cubicle author. I find that many of my stories, including my alternate history novel Doria, take place in offices. Our work lives aren’t often covered in fiction, even though we spend over a third of our day at our jobs and define ourselves by our careers. (When we meet new people, “What do you do?” is the second question after “What is your name?”) In cubicles, we can find enough drama, humor, and personal growth to create engrossing and entertaining stories.

Where did this story come from?

My stories come from fear, and I write to seek solutions. The Remainders comes from a personal crisis, and I express my hope that we can grow from the experience and find redemption and reconciliation. Amiga comes from my concerns about being middle-age in a youth-oriented job market. We worry that our jobs will be taken from us by Millennials who grew up with the technology we developed. Amiga shows how our past experiences can help us deal with present-day crises, including the political changes we’re going through.