Saturday, February 19, 2011

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Jennifer Laughran

Jennifer Laughran began her career in agenting after working as a long-time children's bookseller and buyer. She is also the founder of the extremely popular YA event series "Not Your Mother's Book Club". She joined Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2007. Always on the lookout for sparkling YA and middle grade fiction with unusual and unforgettable characters and vivid settings, she is drawn to all kinds of books, whether realistic comedies or richly imagined magical adventures. However, the common thread in her favorite stories is an offbeat world-view. Jennifer adores simplicity, but she is not interested in the conventional, predictable, mechanical, gimmicky or ordinary. Jennifer loves funny books, thrilling books, romantic books, books that make her cry, and all-around un-put-downable books... and her true favorites are all of the above.

Clients include: National Public Radio's own "children's book ambassador" and the author of over 100 books for young readers, Daniel Pinkwater, whose latest novel is ADVENTURES OF A CAT-WHISKERED GIRL (Houghton). His wife, the talented artist Jill Pinkwater, who did the vibrant illustrations for their book BEAUTIFUL YETTA (THE YIDDISH CHICKEN) (Feiwel & Friends). Author/illustrator Calef Brown, whose whimsical drawings and poems have garnered him praise and the number one spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Illustrator and graphic novelist Matt Faulkner, who draws picture books for authors such as Laurie Halse Anderson and Judith St. George, as well as his own books and graphic novels. Series author Linda Joy Singleton whose popular YA paranormals include THE SEER series and the DEAD GIRL series, both from Flux. Jackie Dolamore, whose wonderful debut MAGIC UNDER GLASS (Bloomsbury) has been described as "Libba Bray meets Charlotte Bronte". Edgy debut YA novelists L.K. Madigan (FLASH BURNOUT, Houghton) and Tara Kelly (HARMONIC FEEDBACK, Holt). Kate Messner, who made a splash in 2009 with her warm and wonderful family story BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z (Walker)... these are to name just a few.

For more information about Jennifer Laughran, as always I reccomend checking out her page on my friend Casey McCormick's amazing blog, Literary Rambles.

And now, Jennifer Laughran faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

It changes depending on my mood. And I will assume you mean books that I do NOT rep. :-) But the first ones that come to mind:

FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E FRANKWEILER by EL Konigsburg; BALLET SHOES by Noel Streatfeild; THURBER CARNIVAL by James Thurber (also the dictionary, and Elements of Style.)

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?



Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?

I tend to like people who are funny, smart,fairly low drama and really good communicators. And good writers, obviously.

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?

I would really like to get some queries for epic romance, a la TEA ROSE or GONE WITH THE WIND, but for YA.

I would like to have a real tearjerker of a story for either middle grade or YA (recent tearjerkers that I've loved include A DOG'S WAY HOME by Bobbi Pyron and THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE by Jandy Nelson. Bonus points if the story can make me laugh and cry at the same time.

I also always love stories set in the world of of the stage (singing, dancing or drama) - I love-love-love great "behind the scenes" stuff. And I tend to be drawn to ensemble pieces. I'd love a great comedy.

But mostly, I just want to read things that are totally different than all the same-old-same-old that I get in the inbox. I really want to be surprised.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

I love working with authors. And my favorite thing has to be telling an author that an editor wants to buy their book! Least favorite would have to be saying no to so many people. :-/

Question Two: 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)

Be patient. Publishing is slow, and there is no shortcut.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Probably Ina Garten - I'd make her cook.


  1. I'd never thought of having a chef-author to lunch. Stroke of genius by Ms. Laughran!

  2. Great interview. It's great to find out what Jennifer Laughran is looking for. I've heard about her book club. It sounds fabulous.

  3. Enjoyed both of Ms. Schroder's books and was very glad to hear her take on writing!


Thanks for stopping by, Esteemed Reader! And thanks for taking the time to comment. You are awesome.