Saturday, March 16, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Pooja Menon

Pooja Menon joined Kimberley Cameron and Associates as an intern in the fall of 2011, with the aim of immersing herself in the elusive world of books and publishing. She soon realized that being an agent was what she was most drawn to as the job was varied and challenging. She represents both fiction and non-fiction for Adult and YA markets.

Her passion for reading inspired her to acquire a BA in Literature and Media from England. Her love for writing then took her to Los Angeles where she pursued an M.F.A in Fiction from the Otis School of Art and Design.
As a new agent, Pooja is looking to build her client list and is eager for submissions by debut novelists and veteran writers. She's looking for writing that has an easy flow and a timely pacing, along with a unique perspective and a strong voice.

And now Pooja Menon faces the 7 Questions: 

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

Half Of A Yellow Sun- Adichie Chimamanda Ngozi
The Namesake- Jhumpa Lahiri
Daughters Of Fortune- Isabel Allende

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

Bridget Jones Diary (All of them)
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns
All the Indiana Jones Movies


North and South (BBC TV series)
The Mindy Project

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

Easy-going people with a warm sense of humor. Writers who truly live to write. Good communicators who can communicate with honesty and diplomacy, who are patient and respectful of my time as much as I am of theirs. This is not a business where things move fast. Plus, agents have a wide roster of clients, so things take time. Someone who views revisions as a positive challenge, and is active on social media, and has good knowledge about the market they writing for. 

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

Fabulous multi-cultural stories with strong characters, heartwarming/heartbreaking conflicts, lush settings, tight pacing and great emotional depth. This is something I've been searching for in YA as well- a great story set in a different place, or has a character living in America but coming from another community/culture. Other YA I'm looking for: Horror/Dark Psychological Thrillers, Sci-fi with little or no dystopian element, Historicals, and strong realistic contemporary novels with heart (think John Green, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jennifer Browne, Jay Asher, etc), fantasy (think J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, etc), magical-realism, and adventure/mystery.

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

I love everything about my job. The reading, the editing, the mingling with other agents/editors/writers, the finding of wonderful clients who've written brilliant stories, the challenge of matching the right editor to each manuscript, the selling-I love all of it. 

Least favorite: An agent's job is not your typical 9 to 5 job. Not only do we work at the office, but we do most of our work in the evenings and over the weekends. Although I enjoy it, I doubt my family does as much as I do. :) I wish there were more hours in the day to accomplish everything. 

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)

Read widely, write everyday, edit as though your life depends on it, send your work out to all your writing buddies to get their honest feedback, then go back to the drawing board again. Once you've done all of that, THEN approach an agent/editor with your work. Trust me, your hard work will show in the manuscript. Also, make use of the conference workshops in and around the area. Not only do you get to hone your manuscripts, you get great advice directly from the horses' mouths. Lastly, keep an eye on the market- what's out, what's just beginning to get hot, what's already creating havoc, what's not selling anymore. I'm not saying follow the trend, but it's good to be aware.

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

Tough question. I'm struggling between J.K. Rowling and J.R.R. Tolkien. Both their stories contained such epic, creative worlds, so different from ours and each others, but so darn brilliant- I pretty much went into hiding when i was reading their books! After which, I would like to end that lunch with some drinks with Helen Fielding. I bet she's one hilarious woman to talk to, what better way to end the day? (sorry for cheating!)

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