Back for another interview with a Canadian author and literary agent!
Here is Nicole’s bio, from her website:
“NICOLE BEA is a short story author, novelist, technical writer, and agent with Metamorphosis Literary who primarily focuses on writing contemporary teen fiction. An avid storyteller since childhood, she has honed her skills through a variety of educational programs including management, sociology, legal studies, and cultural diversity in the workplace, most recently engaging in coursework about communication for technologists.
When she isn’t busy updating her manuscript portfolio or responding to queries, she can usually be found reading, avoiding domestic chores & pursuing her new hobby of learning to cook. She & her husband share their home in Eastern Canada with a collection of disabled cats and a lifetime’s worth of books.”
Loie: Hi Nicole! It’s so great to have you here on the blog today. I’m excited to chat with you 😊 I love meeting Canadian YA authors. Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.
Can you share a little bit about your writing journey. When did you start writing, what do you write, and how did you get your agent?
Nicole: I started writing novels in January of 2017 after being diagnosed with clinical depression. I had always wanted to write a book growing up but never really knew how to go about it. Once I started to be treated, I decided to tackle my goal of writing a full-length novel. I’ve always loved young adult stories and thought that perhaps that would be a good place to start and I completed the first draft of my first book in about a month. It was such an exciting process and I found the ideas started flowing from that book very organically, and so I started my second book very shortly after, finishing that one in six weeks. Over the course of the year I wrote five teen fiction books!
I ended up querying my fifth book, FORGET ME NOT, in January of 2018 and was picked up by my agent, Patty Carothers of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, in April of the same year. I was so happy to find someone who loved my story as much as I did and who was also willing to help me set some goals and teach me about the publishing industry, so it was immediately a great match.
Loie: Thank you for sharing ❤ That’s quite amazing that you wrote five novels in one year 🙂 ! Also, super encouraging that you found an agent after querying for a few months.
Can you tell readers a little bit about Wattpad and why you decided to post your stories there? What’s your favorite thing about Wattpad?
Nicole: Wattpad is such a great community to be part of, especially for a new writer. There are so many ways to grow your writing and share your stories with others that I think it’s a fantastic way to learn more about writing. There are people on the platform who like all different genres, so the nice thing about that is you’ll be able to find a group of people to connect with who have similar interests.
I joined Wattpad about a year before I started writing full-length fiction, mainly as a reader and poster of micro-fiction. I ended up turning some of my Wattpad pieces into novellas that were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing and it was then I realized that maybe I had the potential to turn writing into something more than a casual hobby. Wattpad definitely helped engage me with a network of wonderful people who were all very helpful in giving me direction and answering inquiries.
Loie: Wattpad is amazing. I’ve read some incredible works on that site. My friend and mentor from #WriteMentor, MB Dalto, posts stories there 🙂 That’s really neat that some of your novellas were picked up by Zimbell House Publishing!
As a literary agent at Metamorphosis Literacy Agency, have you noticed anything with incoming manuscripts? What are some things that turn you away from a manuscript? Have you noticed any trends? What do you love seeing in a submission?
Nicole: I absolutely love reading submissions. It’s one of my favourite parts of the job. I’ve received some really creative content and it always amazes me what people can come up with and the depth and breadth of creativity. I’ve received all genres and sub-genres and have become really engaged with some things I would normally not have thought I’d interested in. That’s kind of an interesting part of being an agent is the exposure to all these projects.
Most submissions I receive are very well put together. That being said, it is important to ensure you have the basics down in your query. Please double-check to ensure the agent’s name is spelled correctly, that you’ve included contact information, and you are following the submission protocol. I also personally like to know why the author thinks we would be a good fit, but if you’re including this, please make sure it is a personalized statement and not just something generic that may not actually apply (for example, don’t say that you’re sending it along because of the agent’s interest in romance if they’ve indicated they don’t wish to receive romance).
Loie: Wow, that’s super insightful. Thanks for sharing. What is your favorite genre to write and why?
Nicole: I generally only write teen fiction, but I have dabbled in adult romance. I like to use my own experiences as a teenager as the basis for my books and some of my stories directly reflect things that have happened to me growing up. I find when I write about things that are based on real life, it allows me to process them in a different way, plus I get to maintain some sense of nostalgia. In particular cases, like with my story SKIN, I get to re-write endings to stories that may not have had positive conclusions.
Loie: Can you share how you edit your novels? Do you have a checklist you go through after completing a draft? Do you send to beta or critique readers?
Nicole: I edit as I write, paragraph by paragraph. Because of this it takes me a little bit longer to get my writing done, but I find it less stressful than trying to get all my thoughts down without reviewing them. As I’m writing my first draft, I post the chapters on Wattpad for my dedicated readers and take their comments into consideration when putting together my manuscript for submission. Once my draft is complete and I’ve reviewed the comments on Wattpad, I employ a selection of beta readers.
Loie: That’s a neat method 🙂 Cool! What are you reading at the moment?
Nicole: Nicholas Sparks – The Last Song
Jay Coles – Tyler Johnson Was Here
Lauren Spieller – Your Destination is on the Left
Loie: Ooooo, I have Your Destination is on the Left on my TBR list 🙂 What are you hoping to find in your inbox as a literary agent? Do you have a specific #MSWL? Any fairytale retellings or fantasy, contemporary, or YA stories you’d love to see in your inbox?
Nicole: My #MSWL is as follows (at least for now!):
Contemporary fiction in ages 16+, and YA in all forms and genres, particularly with romance or mystery subplots. Manuscripts featuring animal appearances are always appreciated, cats and horses in particular, as are stories taking place in Canada.
Loie: Awesome! Yay, Canada ❤ Thanks so much for visiting, Nicole! So great chatting with you.
Until next time,