Monday, July 4, 2011

Welcome Tamela Hancock Murray

I'd like to welcome my agent, Tamela Hancock Murray to my blog today. I'm excited and honored to have her as my guest. Thank you for stopping by and visiting with Tamela and me. In celebration of having Tamela on my blog and the Fourth of July, I'm giving away a canvas tote bag with the quote, Be nice or I'll make you the villain in my next novel embroidered on it, so be sure to leave a comment so you can be entered in the drawing.


I’m very excited to have you on my blog today, Tamela. I’m going to mix up the questions with some fun ones. I start every interview with this question.
 
Debbie Lynne, thank you for having me as your guest!

Where are you right now (LVR, DR, Bathroom) and what are you wearing? You have to tell the truth.
Right now I'm sitting in my office, typing on my computer, and I am wearing a Chanel suit and Christian Louboutin shoes. Oh, wait! I have to tell the truth. The first part is true, but I am actually wearing a casual shirt and pants you'd never catch me in at a conference. 

LOL! Glad I put that stipulation in there. 

How long had you been writing before you decided to become a literary agent and what brought that about?
I had been writing as a professional since the mid-1990s. You can see my books listed on my web site, www.tamelahancockmurray.com, and my articles appeared in a number of magazines and newspapers. Sometimes I drew on life experiences. For instance, our house came with a home warranty. When our refrigerator went on the fritz and we had to jump through hoops to get it fixed, I wrote an article on the pros and cons of home warranties for The Washington Times. This led to a television appearance. I was afraid of the home warranty guy who appeared with me, and he confessed after the interview that he had been afraid of me.

As for becoming a literary agent, I worked with Hartline Literary Agency as a client. The CEO, Joyce Hart, and I were chatting one day and she said she needed help. I saw the opportunity as an exciting new step in my career development so my response was to take her up on her offer. I will always appreciate the confidence she expressed in taking a chance on me. Then, recently when Steve Laube, President of The Steve Laube Agency, decided to expand his agency, he brought me on board.

And I am so excited about this new chapter in our lives!

As an agent are there publishers that you are more comfortable working with?
I seek and work with with successful publishers of quality Christian books who respect their authors and treat them fairly. Each writer has different goals and needs, so I work with a variety of publishers. I am always impressed by the dedication and commitment of the editors, and am grateful to Christian publishers in partnering with writers to further God's kingdom.
 
If you were writing a book about your life what would the title be?
Why I Am Grateful to God
This unagented book would be self-published to no fanfare but between them, my friends and family would buy approximately 150 copies. I doubt anyone but my parents would actually read it.

 I can think of some clients that would read it. ;o)

As writers we hear the term slush pile. How does an agent handle a slush pile?
With determination while draining a pot of robust coffee. With kindness for the feelings of writers who aren't quite ready, and with joy when we find a pearl worthy to be called a Mikimoto.

We hear publishers pass on something because they already agreed to publish something similar or have an author that writes comparable. Do agents take on a client if they have many authors that are similar?
Agents have the advantage of opening doors to lots of publishers for writers, whereas editors represent the interests of their publishing houses, so their needs are finite. Market conditions determine how many similar authors an agent can take at any given time.
 
What is something that very few people know about you?
At risk of being kicked out of the Worldwide Girlfriends' Club, my fondness for chocolate can be described as anemic. But keep me away from the lemon bars!

LOL! Lemon bars are yummy, but then I do like milk or white chocolate. However, given a choice I'd have to choose coconut. Does that mean I can't be in the GC club either?

Every writer looking for an agent wants to know what is that makes you notice a potential client?
Excellent writing aimed at the current market. Commitment to developing a new career or growing an existing career. Professionalism. And, making a connection -- do we like each other? 

CBA is blessed to have top notch agents with different personalities. Finding a match isn't always easy, but when you do, it's magical.
 
I know I feel very blessed to have you for an agent. I know I was walking around pinching myself for weeks after your call. 

What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you or one of your clients?
I love seeing God's hand in authors' careers. A common occurrence I've witnessed is when the discouraged author suddenly finds more than one publishing house offering excellent, multi-book contracts. Then we're flying!

What is your favorite material item that you own and why is it? (examples: ipod, Gone with the Wind book, grandmother’s rocking chair)
The bridal set my husband gave me for our recent 25th wedding anniversary. He wanted me to have a past, present, and future ring and wedding band to match, representing our lifetime of committed love.

And now the question that everyone has been waiting for. Can you tell us about this new chapter in your career?
This is quite an exciting chapter in my career, and I plan to stay here for the long term. As I see God's hand in my writers' careers, likewise I see His timing and blessing with this opportunity to join one of the top CBA agencies. Steve Laube is fabulous to work with, and he and I are partnering to grow the careers of my clients. I see continued success for my writers as they are represented by The Steve Laube Agency, and excellent prospects as we develop new talent. You will see when you visit our site at www.stevelaube.com that our client list is impressive. We are honored and privileged to be part of the ministries of each and every writer we represent.

Debbie Lynne, this has been fun! Again, thank you for letting me spend time with you and your readers today. God bless you all!
Tamela



CONGRATULATIONS Karen! Winner of A Stray Drop of Blood by Roseanna White.

Be sure to leave your email address. Please check your junk mail on and the day after the drawing. I've had to redraw because of no responses. Subject box will have: winner of (book title). I'll email the winner and they'll have seven days to respond. If I don't hear back I'll draw another name. USA shipping only. Thanks so much and please stop back again! Drawing will be held Monday, July 18th. Offer void where prohibited. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.

21 comments:

  1. A most excellent interview!

    I'm picky about my milk chocolate and like it bordering on the semi-sweet side. Don't much care for white chocolate, unless it's in a white chocolate chip macadamia cookie.

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  2. Now that was a fun read! I'm so glad to have Tamela as my agent as well, why? She's fun and quirky.
    Diana
    dlbrandmeyer @ gmail.com

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  3. Laurie Alice Eakes said...Supposedly dark chocolate is even good for you, but I like my coffee bitter and my chocolate sweet, but not white. And coconut is special, but not the lemon thing unless it's lemon meringue pie.

    Anyway, Great interview both Debbie Lynne and Tamela. Living close to Tamela again and not a country away from DL is the good part of possibly moving back to DC.

    Now I'd better get that work done Tamela told me to do.

    Laurie Alice Eakes

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  4. What a fun and awesome interview! I enjoyed reading.

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  5. Tamela, your comment about the chocolate cracked me up. I've been sending you the wrong Christmas present!! LOL But I believe I can come up with some super-duper lemon bars. :-)

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  6. How many lemon bars does it take to get to the top of the slush pile? ;) heehee--had to ask. This was refreshing and informative. Wishing you both the best in your new agency, and a long and successful partnership together.

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  7. Tamela,

    Loved the interview. This was my favorite quote from your interview...

    "I am actually wearing a casual shirt and pants you'd never catch me in at a conference."

    Hilarious! Love ya!

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  8. Rachel, I love macadamia cookies. Diana I agree, Tamela is lots of fun! Laurie Alice, I can always count on you to give me random information. heehee And I hope you move to Kentucky! Lots of horses there. You'll have a hard time getting rid of me. LOL Connie, it is good to know these things isn't it. Well, I bet her hubby and kids enjoyed your Christmas gifts. Kathy, you are so funny. I know where you can get a good buy on lemon bars.

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  9. She had me giggling on that one, too.

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  10. I have Tamela as my agent too and I love her. And I would LOVE to win the tote bag.

    And I do love my chocolate. White, milk, dark, you name it. It's my friend. :)

    Laura vernetlh(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  11. Great interview ladies! It's always fun to learn something new about my agent and friend, I love lemon bars too, Tamela.

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  12. I was so excited to see one of those questions (taking on similar clients) because I've been wondering that for a while now....and then hours later this little light bulb flashed--I'd sent that question to Debbie Lynne weeks ago. Oy! I need to find some memory enhancer pills--Ginseng does that right? Thanks, Debbie Lynne, for asking my question for me! And thanks, Tamela, for answering.

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  13. Great interview! My sweetness weakness is cake and cookies - homemade! Lemon pound cake, chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies...yummy! :-)

    It's a pleasure working with Tamela!
    ~Cecelia Dowdy~
    www.ceceliadowdy.blogspot.com

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  14. Thank you all so much for your comments! I enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed being interviewed! And yes, I do enjoy chocolate, too. LOL

    Thank you, Debbie Lynne!

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  15. What a great interview! Thank you, Tamela, for the insight into an agent's world. Oh, and lemon bars, yum! :)
    Blessings,
    Penny Zeller

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  16. Interesting interview, ladies. Congrats on your new position with The Steve Laube Agency, Tamela. Best wishes!

    Dora Hiers
    http://dorahiers.blogspot.com

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  17. Ann Shorey said...
    Great interview, Debbie Lynne and Tamela!

    Ann

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  18. Thanks for the interview, Debbie Lynne and Tamela. It's interesting to hear how Tamela first got started in agenting. I hope things go really well for her at Laube.

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  19. Well, I'm glad you said you like chocolate too since I've been sending you lots of it.:) I laughed at your statement about what you were wearing. You look classy in anything you wear and I'm so glad you're my agent. I, too, have been a longtime admirer of Steve Laube and am excited about being a part of his agency. Loved the interview. Felt like I was sitting right next to and talking. Love the T-shirt slogan and would wear it proudly if I win it. :)

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  20. Tell you what....you get chocolate, send it my way...I get lemon bars, they're yours, LOL!

    I SO agree with Tamela's comment 'we have to like each other'...Absolutely YES! It's so important that an agent and client like and trust one another. Of course, I can't claim to like Tamela and she's my agent....I LOVE her! I'm so blessed God put us together.

    Thanks for this fun and informative interview.

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  21. Tina Pinson said...
    Great interview. What an awesome step, and opportunity, Tamela. Praying every step is filled with blessings for you, your clients and the agency.

    Tina

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