Thursday, June 20, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Kathleen Rushall

Kathleen represents a wide range of children’s literature and nonfiction at the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She started as an intern at the Sandra Dijkstra Agency, and then spent two years at Waterside Productions agency. She looks forward to garnering fresh voices, strong narratives, and whimsical tales in all areas of young adult literature including contemporary romance, mysteries, historical fiction, and horror. She is open to all genres of YA, but has a soft spot for thrillers, romance, edgy plots, humorous voices, and would love to find a dark mystery. Kathleen is also looking for unique, quirky picture books and all genres of middle grade fiction as well.

In addition to kidlit, Kathleen also represents select nonfiction and is interested in parenting, cooking, crafts, business, alternative medicine, mind-body-spirit, women’s interest, humor, metaphysical, pop-culture, and some how-to.

Kathleen graduated from Seattle University with her bachelor’s degree in English and minor in fine arts. She moved back to her hometown of San Diego to earn her master’s degree in English, specializing in children’s literature, from San Diego State University. When she is not at her desk, Kathleen enjoys exploring new restaurants, dreaming of Ireland, and walking her Australian Shepherd, Finn.

For more information, check out my friends Natalie Aguirre and Casey McCormick's wonderful blog, Literary Rambles.

And now Kathleen Rushall faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
Ah, such a tough question, there are so many to choose from!

A Song of Ice and Fire (the Game of Thrones series) by George R.R. Martin
Green Darkness by Anya Seton
Wise Child by Monica Furlong

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

Tv Shows
Arrested Development, Parenthood, Rome (and Game of Thrones, although I am an obnoxious fan who can’t stop nitpicking changes from the books)

Euro Trip (guilty pleasure)
About a Boy

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

Great writer, hard working, communicative, positive, sees the importance in editorial critique and revisions, and a sense of humor is always a great quality.

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

Contemporary middle grade and YA with humor and heart. A unique picture book that makes me laugh out loud and/ or has a fun twist. Fresh how-to, craft, business, parenting, metaphysical, or mind, body, spirit, health nonfiction projects.

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

My clients are my favorite part of the job. My authors are talented, driven, upbeat, lovely people. I really enjoy brainstorming new projects and working on revisions, mapping out strategies and helping to grow their careers. My least favorite part of the job is the rejection letters. Agents need to be so selective of the projects we take on but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to send those declines.

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)

I know the publishing process can feel like a roller coaster, but writing should also be fun. Don’t lose sight of why you chose this, why you love this. This will shine through in your manuscript and your pitch…and enthusiasm is catching.

Also, always do your research. Join writing organizations in your genre (such as SCBWI and RWA). These meetings and conferences are like continuing education for writers. This is where you’ll learn the steps to getting published as well as strengthen your writing (and demonstrate to agents that you are aware of the industry and current market).

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

Oscar Wilde. He’s hilarious, clever, intelligent, and a great writer. I imagine he’s wonderful company.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful interview with my amazing agent. She's an amazing person who really cares about the welfare and success of her clients. I count myself lucky to have been picked out of her slush pile.

  2. Ditto what Angie said. Kathleen is the best!


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