Above all, a query letter is a sales pitch and it is the single most important page an unpublished writer will ever write. It's the first impression and will either open the door or close it. It's that important, so don't mess it up. Mine took 17 drafts and two weeks to write.
I think that enduring, committed love between a married couple, along with raising children, is the most noble act anyone can aspire to. It is not written about very much.
By reading a lot of novels in a variety of genres, and asking questions, it's possible to learn how things are done - the mechanics of writing, so to speak - and which genres and authors excel in various areas.
My wife, my family, my friends - they've all taught me things about love and what that emotion really means. In a nutshell, loving someone is about giving, not receiving.
I think that men know how to romance a woman and most do it well, at least for a time, otherwise women wouldn't marry them. The problem is that most of them begin to rest on their laurels.
A typical agent in New York gets 400 query letters a month. Of those, they might ask to read 3-4 manuscripts, and of those, they might ask to represent 1.
I suppose more than anything, it's the way of life in this part of the country that influences my writing. In Eastern North Carolina, with the exception of Wilmington, most people live in small towns.
To be quite honest, I've been very blessed when I've worked with Hollywood. The studios that have purchased my work to be adapted to film have really liked the work and wanted to stay as close as they could to what the book was.