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Q&A  •  23 May 2023


The unlikely way Kate Dramis found her literary agent

We asked debut author Kate Dramis about the publication of her first novel, The Curse of Saints. Read about her ‘fairy-tale’ submission experience, how she came up with the idea for the book and more.

What was your writing process like for The Curse of Saints? Did you have a writing routine or any regular rituals?

I didn’t have a formal process when writing The Curse of Saints. It was more just writing whenever I could find time between client calls and work for my company. I did take a few trips to the mountains though, and those were designated writing times for the book. I felt most inspired there!

How did you come up with the idea for the book? 

I had a dream about a girl calling down lightning to save a friend and the echoes of a conversation between that girl and another character that I simply could not get out of my head. When I sat down to write out the scene and conversation, I had SO many more questions. Who are these people? Why are they arguing? Why was calling down lightning a forbidden act? What world is this?

I filled in the blanks from there.

What was your big break into publishing?

It was my first book deal, which was for this book! I had a fairy-tale experience when submitting my manuscript for the first time and was pre-empted within a day. It was UNREAL! I kept thinking I was dreaming.

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How long have you been working on this book?

I wrote the first draft in a year.

What was the publishing process like?

I have a very non-conventional agent journey because I actually knew my agent before. I knew her through my copywriting job before I signed with her as an agent and had done a consulting session with her before she represented fiction. It’s one of the reasons I don’t give out query advice – because I recognize my journey wasn’t normal and I had the privilege of knowing an agent I ‘queried’.

I was still SO NERVOUS when she asked to read the full manuscript. I really wanted to work with her because I knew her values, and it was important for me to work with someone I trusted.

Jessica and I worked on edits together for about three months before I went on submission, and a DAY later, I got a three-book deal from Penguin Michael Joseph! 

What most excites you about your book being published in 2023? 

I’m really excited for readers to meet Aya and Will. I’ve been talking about this book since 2021, and several of my readers have been patiently waiting since then to read this book. The fact that they finally get to makes me so excited.

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Do you have a favourite book or author?

I have SO many favourite authors and books, but Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (and Leigh herself) is one of my all-time favourites

What inspired you to become a writer?

Writing has always been a passion of mine. I’ve been writing since I was 11. Whether by journalling or making up stories, writing is how I best express myself. My brain just works better with the written word. I was a journalism major in college, which of course involved a lot of writing, and when I graduated, I became a copywriter. So in some way or another, I’ve always worked in words professionally. 

What did you want to be when you grew up and why?

I wanted to be an author! I LOVED to read, and I thought it would be cool to share the stories that were constantly floating around my head.

If you could go back in time and give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be and why?

I think I would tell my younger self to not worry about being ‘different’. I was made fun of a lot for wanting to play imaginary games, and now I know that my imagination is my superpower.

What is the best writing lesson/ tip you ever received? 

When I was working through edits with my agent, I had a moment where I was afraid of ‘breaking’ the book. She replied, ‘What if it’s meant to be broken?’ That really helped me release perfectionism and experiment with drafting and editing to get the best book possible.

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The Curse of Saints
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