How did you become an agent?
I’ve wanted to be in publishing since seventh grade, when I decided to be a writer. Over the years, I took loads of writing workshops and gradually realized that what I loved most was giving editorial feedback and helping other writers with their work. After graduating, I did the Columbia Publishing Course, where I got a great overview of the industry, and then started at Sobel Weber as an assistant, where I got a great overview of the agenting process. Eventually I struck out as an agent myself, first at Waxman Leavell, and now at Prospect. I love being the one in the author’s corner, championing their work and getting others to fall in love with it the way I have.
What genres are you looking to build your list with, and are there any dream projects that you hope to see?
My focus is on literary, thriller, and speculative fiction for YA and adults. Great writing is a must, as is a plot that grabs my interest early on. I’ve got a strong interest in stories that feature diverse characters and feminist themes. A couple specific things I’d love to see: epic fantasy based on Journey to the West and featuring Monkey; historical fiction about Ching Shih, the undefeated Chinese pirate queen; murder mystery set in space.
What is one of your favorite projects so far that you've worked on?
I’m super excited about The Duke of Bannerman Prep, a contemporary YA by the incredibly talented Katie Nelson that’s forthcoming from Sky Pony. It’s a clever retelling of The Great Gatsby in which blue-collar debate star Tanner is recruited to an elite prep school, where he’s partnered with a larger-than-life playboy everybody calls “The Duke.” They’re an odd couple at first, but Tanner eventually gets sucked into the Duke’s glitzy lifestyle, only to find that he’s more conman than caviar. I love the depth of Tanner’s character: he’s devoted to his single mom and disabled brother, but winning Nationals means a ticket to Stanford and it’s easy to see how playing the Duke’s games seems worth the risk if they’ll get him there. The Duke is marvelously ambiguous, and as we learn more about him, every revelation feels both surprising and inevitable.
Any advice for aspiring authors or writers looking to query you?
It may sound like basic stuff, but professionalism goes a long way towards making you stand out as someone with whom I’d like to work. Research any agent you’re querying (if you’re reading this interview, you’re already on the right track), and make sure you’re only submitting books in genres I represent. When you’re putting together your query letter, make sure you that you’ve covered the basics: introduce the character and the setting, show me the conflict, establish the stakes, and give a hint about what the character will do next.
Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you? Quirky facts are always fun to know!
Hmm, random facts about me! I have an awesome dog! I’m a big Buffy and Veronica Mars fan! I used to do archery and am kind of getting back into it! I think I’ve used too many exclamation points!
Also, a bunch of you have been asking, so here are some of the photos from our wedding :)