so that's two agents who have read the entirety of my WV novel. Both said the same things--love the writing and the characters, but there isn't enough conventional tension. I am convinced by the professional consensus, and I already have a detailed plan. I'd be more bummed if the WV novel was the only thing I had going. But the New Orleans novel is revised and ready (I think!), and I'll start the query process asap.
Despite the fact that I couldn't win these agents over, I'm pleased by the honesty and advice they've offered. And both left the door open for me to send again. This summer I've learned a lot about writing.