Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday's Special Is...Lucienne Diver!

Welcome, Lucienne Diver, to the Book Roast!!

Over the course of her dynamic career Lucienne has sold over six hundred titles to every major publisher, and has built a client list of more than forty authors spanning the commercial fiction genres, primarily in the areas of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, suspense and erotica.

That's all well and true, but what we really love about Lucienne is her hearty appetite for good humor. We also admire her ability to whip up beautiful jewelry in one hand while whipping up beautiful manuscripts in the other. Welcome, Lucienne!!

The Knight Agency website

1) In addition to writing great query letters, what else bothers you about today’s aspiring writer? (This is inspired by Stephen Barbara's post on PW)
That there are so many of them! (Writers, not pet peeves.) We get something like 200 queries per month per agent. Reading through them really cuts down on my beach time.

Seriously? Authors who don't do their research or follow submission guidelines. Queriers who address me as "Mr." Diver or put down those who've rejected them previously as lacking vision. We're in publishing; we squint at tiny type all day. Mocking us for our corrective lenses isn't a bit nice.

2)What’s your favorite karaoke song?
Favorite karaoke song? You're kidding, right? Is there such a thing?

3)What’s your favorite snack?
The blood of innocents.

4)A haiku about adverbs, please:
With verbs needing help
Lolly got her adverbs here
At the Comp'ny Store

5)What is the daily price you must pay for being a hottie?
$49.95. I had a coupon.

6) If you were on a deserted island, what book would you most like to use as kindling?
Ooh, that's tough. On Walden Pond is too short for an extended burn.

7) One bottle of fine wine, or ten bottles of college stuff?
Can we compromise on two bottles of decent, but not really fine wine? I want it all. Quality and quantity.

8) Who is your favorite editor?
Is that the phone? Yes, I'm sure it is. Gotta run!

9)There’s a reason to be afraid of that closet. The one to your left, behind the pile of boxes. Go ahead. Open it. Show us what’s inside.
When I was a kid, I was convinced that aliens were waiting under my bed to grab my legs if I got up during the night. The grim reaper hid out in my closet. Frankenstein was waiting to chase me down the hall, Dracula was hiding behind the shower curtain and there was a hand in the toilet. So, if I was desperate, and only then, I'd leap out of bed, several feet out of reach of grasping alien hands; run down the hallway, because Frankenstein shambled; throw open the shower curtain to foil Dracula and then hover. The reaper in my closet was really kind of timid. He was always waiting until I fell back to sleep. Did I mention I didn't do much of that as a kid?

10) What are you reading at the moment?
The second pass edits on my own novel, VAMPED (think Clueless meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer), which is coming out in May! I'm doing the love/hate thing with it. Today I'm just hoping it doesn't suck…no pun intended.
Please drop by and wave hi to Lucienne! Perhaps she'll give us tidbits about Vamped!! And if you have a query letter you've been circulating for years with no success, why don't you throw it up here? heheheheeh (That's a joke. DON'T do that!)
Welcome, everyone!


Chris Eldin said...

Good morning everyone!

I'm publishing this post a bit before 9:00. Hopefully everyone will be able to read and drink coffee at the same time!

Lucienne is very, very funny. During our emails, I almost forgot she was an agent. Then after all was said and done, I went to fetch her bio for this post, and thought HOLY MOLY! She's more than a hottie with a humor. She's really good at what she does!

Welcome all!!

Sandra Cormier said...

Hi Lucienne! You are now officially on my stalking list.

Gotta go to work and then write six thousand words before tomorrow. Have fun with this buncha crazies.

Lucienne said...

Wow, what a great introduction., thanks! I feel so privileged to know me (*grin*).

I've posted the link on my blog and invited heckling. Now I must gird my loins. Flannel is no substitute for chainmail.

peggy said...

Good morning everyone, sounds like this is going to be a fun one!
Nice to meet you Lucienne :)

Margay Leah Justice said...

Lucienne, don't give up on that idea! It sounds like a great book. So what can you tell us about our experiences on this side of the publishing fence?

Lucienne said...

Dear Margay,

This side of the publishing fence...I've learned so much! For one, complete sympathy with my authors when the get crazed over edits and the timing thereof.

For another, as an agent, I'm confident. I've been in the business going on sixteen years (come March), so I have a good handle on the business and how to work my end of it. As an author...well, I'm neurotic. Insecure. Worried that people won't like my work or feel indifferent to it or won't read it at all! Also, it feels funny plugging my own work, almost arrogant, where I can rave about my authors' novels all day long.

Julie Weathers said...

Lucienne has been on my stalking list for a while. I moaned on another blog about the agent not repping fantasy and he emailed me with a suggestion to check her out. I was thrilled at what I found.


Julie Weathers said...

"I'm doing the love/hate thing with it."

Yep, I'm so there. I just hope I fall in love with it again soon. I don't think it would be good to start out a query letter, "I hope you don't hate this as much as I do."

Margay Leah Justice said...

Lucienne, I know what you mean about promoting yourself. Unless you're born to it, it's not a natural thing. I still feel weird singing my own praises.

Stacy said...

Okay, Lucienne Diver is one of the coolest names ever. When I read that name, I thought of a female James Bond.

Charles Gramlich said...

The first thing that struck me is that Lucienne looks very much like my niece Stacey. Amazingly so.

Julie Weathers said...

"Okay, Lucienne Diver is one of the coolest names ever. When I read that name, I thought of a female James Bond."

Yes, it is. I named my female antagonist Lucine. This was before I was aware of Miss Lucienne. Unfortunately, Lucine is a complete sociopath. I may have to change her name if I ever submit to Lucienne.

Lucienne said...

Dear Julie,

That's okay, Lucine isn't a name I'd own, so you're good to go. Also, while I agree you shouldn't, it might be refreshing after some of the query letters I get ("I'm John Grisham and Stephen King all rolled into one") to read one that starts, "I'm sending this to you in the hope that it doesn't suck."

Anonymous said...

Hello Lucienne.

"What is your favorite snack? The blood of innocents."

Whew. That is a relief. I'm glad I'm not innocent. Seriously, whatever it was, I probably did it.


Barrie said...

200 queries a month per agent?! Yowser! So, out of those 2,400 that you receive, how many fulls do you request? And out of those fulls, how many clients do you sign? Just curious....

Sarah Laurenson said...

"I'm sending this to you in the hope that it doesn't suck."

Right. Got that in the first line. Any hints for the next line? ;-)

So nice to meet you. Loved your interview. And that you have experienced life on the dark side. Always nice to have inside information on what the people you work with are doing.

Best of luck with the book. It sounds great!

Lucienne said...

Dear Barrie,

Now that I've got such a full (but never totally closed) client list, I ask for less than I used to. Maybe three fulls a month, several more partials. Out of those, I maybe take on one or at most two brand new writers a year. I think the most authors I've ever signed in one year (most previously published) is seven. It takes a lot to impress me, but when someone does, the world knows about it. I'm not shy about raving about that which I love.

Lucienne said...

Dear Sarah,

Thanks so much. The book is out on May 1st, which seems a lifetime to wait to see what people think.

Anonymous said...

I adore (and fear) Lucienne, she's fun, sharp and just good people.

Chris Eldin said...

Hi All!

Reading through these comments, an evil thought occured to me. Let's ask Lucienne if she'll post the query she wrote for Vamped. AHAHAAH! Then we can rip into it. AHAHAHAHA!
Then she'll make a list and never read OUR queries. {sigh}

Okay, seriously. Do you mind talking about VAMPED a bit? Where did you get the idea? Is it a stand alone novel, or part of a series?

Kiersten White said...

How fun/horrifying to be on the other end after fifteen years of guiding authors through the same thing!

I'm curious about your take on vampires. It seems like so much (SO MUCH) has been done. I thought I would never do vampires, but finally came up with a way to use them as side characters in a novel I'm writing that feels (to me, at least) if not completely original, not totally derivative, either.

And now you're thinking, where on earth is she going with this?

I'm just trying to get you to give us spoilers on VAMPED. That's all. But I suppose I could give not being lazy a try and go read about it on your blog.

Kiersten White said...

Ha, Chris, great minds...

I'm also curious the intended audience. YA?

Julie Weathers said...

The cover of Vamped or proposed cover, was really interesting. Did you have much input in that?

elysabeth said...

It's nice seeing you here, Lucienne. I sort of met you in round about ways at the SCWW conference in October at Myrtle Beach. Several of the Greenville group people had you for their critiques. I think you gave one of our members some great advice or that's what I've heard. I write children's, short stories so didn't seek a critique this year (actually sold my slot to Kevin, the person I think you gave great advice to).

I loved your interview and can see that you do have a wonderful sense of humor. I think you do have a lot to offer folks. Thanks for being here and giving us some perspective from an agent/editor who is also an author.

(Check me out Saturday - lol, can't wait to see what Chris and the group here do to me.) See you all in the postings - E :)

Sarah Laurenson said...

It is a lifetime and it will go by in an eye blink.

Kiersten White said...

Okay, if anyone hasn't gone to Lucienne's blog and seen the cover for VAMPED yet, you really, really need to. So. Awesome.

jjdebenedictis said...

What a great interview!

I have a question for Lucienne. *scuffs toe bashfully*

Why did you leave Spectrum Literary Agency?

(Full disclosure: I'm one of Eleanor Wood's clients. She signed me almost the same time you left, so I've always been mildly interested as to why you decided to hop over to the Knight Agency--although I've heard Nephele Tempest speak at a conference, and she certainly made it seem like a cool place!)

Lucienne said...

Dear Chris,

I'd love to talk about VAMPED! My novels all start with character. Everyone knows the big-haired girl in high school with the reputation (deserved or not). We certainly had one, and she tormented the life out of my sister. At the beginning, all I had in mind is how awful it would be for that girl to suddenly have no reflection, no way of keeping up appearances. Now that's horror!

So, I began a short story...more of a vignette, really, about such a girl discovering she'd been vamped and deciding to turn her stylist. My writers group read it and insisted that it had to be a novel. The only problem was that I didn't have any idea what I'd do with the character beyond that. I just wasn't attached enough to her to carry her voice for 200+ pages. So, she mutated, became more savvy and smart, though certainly shallow at the start. She had to grow into someone I could respect. At the same time, my beginning love/hate relationship with the character meant that I enjoyed torturing her to my heart's content, something I'd had difficulty doing earlier in my writing. Now she's become such a living, breathing being to me that we often speak of her at home as if she's real.

Lucienne said...

Dear Kiersten,

You know, the originality so often comes in the voice that I think it is still possible to do something different with vampires. (Some shine like diamonds in the sunlight for examples *grin*.) VAMPED is young adult in the way Clueless and Buffy were young adult - teenaged protagonists but with broad appeal to adults et. al.

Lucienne said...

Dear Julie,

Flux (my publisher) was great about asking me for suggestions, and I did a lot of research on YA covers, sent them thumbnails of those I thought struck the right tone, etc. In the end, what they came up with is even better than I imagined. I'm thrilled with it!

Book Nymph was kind enough to post an entire interview with me on the Vamped cover here:

Lucienne said...

Dear Jjdebenedictis,

I love Spectrum. Eleanor Wood gave me my start and was a fantastic mentor. I grew up there. But sometimes to complete the growing up process you have to leave home.

I was drawn to The Knight Agency because they're such a dynamic group with progressive ideas about promotion and keeping up with or even getting ahead of trends. There's a lot of synergy with what I'm doing and what they're doing and we're really building on that.

Kiersten White said...

Thanks, Lucienne! From what I read on your blog, you've done a really fun spin on vampires, and like you said, it's the voice that makes it different.

May, you say?

May feels so far away...

Lucienne said...

Dear Sarah,

Hints for the next line? That's tough, because uniqueness, originality and voice are so key. So, something I haven't heard before that peaks my interest. I know, I'm a huge help, right?

Maggie Stiefvater said...

Okay, I snorted hard at the "blood of innocents" line.

Tyhitia Green said...

Hi Lucienne. :-) You represent some wonderful authors, which is a little intimidating during the query process.

What are you looking for currently? Any specifics? :-)

Lucienne said...

Dear Demon Hunter (love the name),

I'm looking for anything that really blows me away. There seem to be one of two common denominators in everything I represent: mystery/suspense or paranormal elements. Both combined is awesome, but I can't think of anything I represent that doesn't have one or the other. So, urban fantasy, paranormal and other romance, mysteries, historicals, even mainstream if it's got a great hook - bring it on.

The thing is that I do have a pretty full list, so I'm not taking on a lot of new writers at the moment, but I'm always going to have room for something wonderful.

And hey, Onyxhawke, you had chocolate for me the first time we met, so you have nothing to fear (*grin*).

laughingwolf said...

welcome lucienne... hee-haw hottie, huh? the bestest kind! ;) lol

gotta say i had a good laugh from your answers

what could be more fun than a clueless buffy? two of em, mebe?

as for something that blows you away... here in the frozen north we had a nice blizzard a few days ago, dumped some 12 - 14 inches of that white stuff, likely could've done the job, wind gusts to 120kmh - 100/mph? :O lol

forecast high til sunday: -8 to -10C :(

robkroese said...

Welcome, Lucienne! Thanks for your insights and advice. When you say "mystery/suspense or paranormal elements" -- well, let's say that someone had just finished a comic novel about the adventures of an AWOL angel at the brink of the Apocalypse. Would that be something, hypothetically speaking, that you might be interested in?

I have a, um, friend who was wondering.

Lucienne said...

Oh Lordy, laughingwolf, that's why I moved to Florida! I still love New York, but in smaller and warmer doses.

Lucienne said...

Dear Diesel and, uh, friend,

If it's darkly funny, like in the vein of Buffy, then yes, definitely. Light and funny is a little tougher in the market and I often find there isn't enough meat on those bones. I like a book I can sink my teeth into (*grin*).

Lucienne said...

Dear Diesel and, uh, friend,

If it's darkly funny, like in the vein of Buffy, then yes, definitely. Light and funny is a little tougher in the market and I often find there isn't enough meat on those bones. I like a book I can sink my teeth into (*grin*).

robkroese said...

Lucienne - Considering it's about the Apocalypse, I think it might be on the darker side. :) It's a little less Buffy and more Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though.

Lucienne said...

Diesel, Hitchiker's Guide works too!

Ann Tracy Marr said...

Dear Lucienne,

I read the posts backwards, so I forgot the latest (of course.) I did catch that your book comes out May 1 -- May Day, May Day -- no, your ship isn't sinking. Just wanted to say, congrats.

Ann Tracy Marr

robkroese said...

Hey, I just realized my last comment was number 42! I couldn't have timed it better.

Thanks, Lucienne. Expect to be hearing from me. :)

Sam said...

Lolly Lolly Lolly get your adverbs here...
I know that song - & now it's stuck in my head thank youvery much.

But didn't Mark Twain say "The Road to Hell is paved with adverbs?

robkroese said...

Sam - Twain did say that. Brilliantly, I might add.

Lucienne said...

Dear Ann Tracy,

Thanks! Eek, it never occurred to me the book was coming out on May Day. At least it's not April Fools! My husband and I announced our engagement on April 1st many years ago and didn't understand why no one believed us. (We were lost in the haze of love that knows no dates.)

Shona Snowden said...

Another guffaw for 'the blood of innocents'. When's the novel about the vampire agent coming out? Or is it, um, an autobiography?!

Lucienne said...

Dear Shona,

I wanted to think outside the box. Vampire agent just seemed redundant (*grin*). Actually, Eleanor Wood at Spectrum used to have a plaque on her wall that said "In case of negotiation, break glass." Under glass was, of course, a set of fangs.

Gary Corby said...

Hi Lucienne, you've probably seen so much of what not to do in submissions. Does it make you a better writer?

laughingwolf said...

lucienne, you got a rug in your garage an ol wuff can curl up on... til spring? :O

can act as a good watchwuff... eats little, housebroken, pup friendly, tolerates cats, vamps and other aliens, NOT leash trained ;) lol

Lucienne said...

Hey, all,

I just have to share - I just received the news that Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series hit #7 on the New York Times Children's series bestseller list! WHOO HOO!!!

(See, I told you when I'm excited about something I love I shout it to the world.)

Chris Eldin said...

Congratulations, Lucienne!!! That is awesome news!!!
It would be very cool to roast you two back to back in May...

Thank you for hanging out with us and answering our questions.


Lucienne said...

Chris and everyone, thanks so much for having me. It's been a lot of fun!

Chris Eldin said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by!!

Agent Lucienne is off to work of the bestselling sort! So we bid a very happy good-night, and look forward to roasting VAMPED in May.


Thanks again!!!!!!!!!!

Robin B. said...

Hi Lucienne,

Sorry I'm too late to the party (that work thing gets in the way) - but I read through the commments and emjoyed your visit.

laughingwolf said...

grats rachel... and lucienne :D

darbyscloset said...

Hey Lucienne,
Instead of posting my letter here, I'll stick it into the mail to you, what's your address? tee hee
Nice Post!
Good Luck on Vamp!!!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Janet Mullany said...

Hey Lucienne, this was a fun interview and I would have dropped by earlier if not for the sinus infection (nose like a banana).

cindy said...

darn it! i totally missed out on the fun! good luck with your debut, lucienne! how exciting!

sexy said...