Question One: What are your top three favorite books?
This is such a hard question that I'm going to have to cheat a little. I'll give you three from my ultimate favorites shelf: Alison Bechdel's Fun Home, Sara Zarr's What We Lost, and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. And then here's three that I've read and loved recently: Kate DiCamillo's Flora and Ulysses, Jandy Nelson's I'll Give You the Sun, and Bennett Madison's September Girls.
Question Two: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows??
A couple of my all-time favorites that I always go back to are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Veronica Mars, and Night Lights. But again, it's so hard to choose! Lately I've been binge watching The Good Wife and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I'm super excited for the new season of Orange is the New Black.
Question Three: What are the qualities of your ideal client?
Hard-working and devoted to honing their craft. Full of ideas. Driven to make writing a career, but aware that publishing is slow and takes patience. Persistent and not prone to giving up. Friendly and kind (never underestimate how far kindness will get you). And while it's not a necessity, funny doesn't hurt either!
Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?
I represent a pretty wide range of adult, YA, and MG fiction, and I always have lots of specific wants on my manuscript wish list, which you can find on my twitter. In general, I tend to be drawn to novels with compelling female protagonists, a strong sense of place or atmosphere, characters that are smart and witty without being snarky, and/or an offbeat, slightly askew, or even creepy sensibility. I also gravitate toward stories that have something interesting to say about friendship or found families, as well as stories that incorporate subtle, unique elements of magic into the real world. And of course I'm looking for diverse books of all kinds.
That said, the queries that I get the most excited about are often the ones that I wouldn't have been able to predict. I love to be struck by the unexpected: stories that surprise me, fresh voices, characters that feel like real/specific people, and writing that grabs me and doesn't let go.
Question Five: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?
My favorite thing is the people, from my talented and amazing clients to all of the smart, savvy booklovers who have chosen careers in the publishing industry. My least favorite thing by far is sending rejections--I feel like most agents say that! After all, we got into this business to champion creative people, so having to spend so much time saying "no" can be a bummer... but alas, it's an unavoidable part of the job.
Question Six: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)
In order to write, you have to have something to write about, so it's important to soak up as much of life and culture as you can. Work hard, but find ways to recharge your creative batteries. Read widely, go to the movies, seek out adventures, travel if you can. It will all make your work richer and more layered.
Question Seven: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
This may seem a little random, but I would love to have lunch with Margaret Atwood, Joan Didion and Judy Blume together. I feel like that would be an interesting conversation!