Monday, June 3, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Peter Knapp

Peter Knapp joined the Park Literary Group in July 2011, where he has had a chance to work with many of the agency’s bestselling authors -- Nicholas Sparks, Emily Giffin, and Debbie Macomber included -- in all stages of the publication process. He has been actively involved in the company's film activities, helping to coordinate marketing and publicity efforts for The Lucky One (WB) and Safe Haven (Relativity, February 2013). 

Prior to joining Park Literary, he was a story editor and book scout at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based film companies, including CBS Films. He has also interned in the literary affairs and development offices of New Line Cinema, Overture Films, and Maximum Films & Management.

Peter is an avid reader of young adult and middle grade fiction, frequently trading book recommendations with his nine-year-old sister. Having graduated from NYU summa cum laude with a B.A. in Art History, he maintains a (mostly) healthy interest in the visual arts, particularly with animation. He is an advisor for Builders Beyond Borders, a nonprofit that organizes international humanitarian trips for teenagers, and though he loves to travel, he happily calls Brooklyn home.

You can follow him on Twitter @petejknapp

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

And now Peter Knapp faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

I’ll name a few of my favorites, but there are many more and they switch order depending on my mood. Sorry, but giving just three is a no-go! Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; Okay for Now by Gary Schmidt; When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead; The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White; The Keep by Jennifer Egan; Faithful Place by Tana French…And the list goes on!   

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

Also really difficult, because it depends on my mood. But if I have to pick three: Out of Africa; Whisper of the HeartThe Talented Mr. Ripley. 

And, bonus-material: I’ll watch Tilda Swinton and Meryl Streep in just about anything.

As for TV, I tend to watch TV in big binges, followed by periods where I watch none. Recent binges have included Homeland, The Killing, and The Wonder Years on Netflix.

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

He or she should be patient, have thick skin, and want to work together to write the best book possible. An ideal client wants is passionate about reading and writing. I want to work with someone who strives to always improve his or her craft.

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

For middle grade, I want bittersweet literary stories and smart, heart-filled mysteries. I want books that make me laugh and cry. I like books where the story hangs on big emotions.

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

Working with writers on their books and figuring out how to communicate the author to his or her audience has been my favorite part of working at Park Literary. My least favorite thing is telling talented writers that their work just isn’t for me and not having enough time to explain why each time.

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)

Always strive to improve your craft, and I imagine one of the best ways to do that is to read other successful writers’ works and figure out what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and how you can use that in your own writing. Also, as I mentioned above: patience!

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

E. B. White. I read The Story of Charlotte’s Web by Michael Sims and it’s clear that, besides being a phenomenal and important writer, he has a fantastic sense of humor and a ton of heart. The perfect person to sit next to at a dinner party. Plus, the child inside me that was always turning logs over to find salamanders wants to hear him wax philosophical about the natural world.

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