Saturday, November 9, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Shannon Hassan

Shannon Hassan, an agent at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role as agent, having worked in publishing and law for more than a decade. She represents authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult fiction, and select nonfiction. Her recent sales include SUMMONER'S HANDBOOK by Frank L. Cole (Delacorte) and FUTURE FLASH by Kita Murdock (Sky Pony).

Previously Shannon was an agent at the Warner Literary Group where she represented a range of literary and film projects. Prior to that she was the Acquisitions Editor at Fulcrum Publishing, where she worked with best-selling and award-winning authors such as Anita Thompson, Laurie David, Adam Schrager, Larry Schweiger, Marilou Awiakta, Matt Dembicki, Sally Kneidel, and Mitch Tobin.

Before entering the publishing world, she was a corporate attorney at Arnold and Porter in New York, and she received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University. She has served on the board of the Publishers Association of the West and was a founding board member of the Boulder Writing Studio. 

And now Shannon Hassan faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

I have a lot more than three favorites, but will go with a classic, Pride and Prejudice, a childhood favorite, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and a recent favorite, The Book Thief.
And of course, Harry Potter -- getting to read that series again to my children has been such a joy.

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?
TV: Breaking Bad, the Wire, Justified, Arrested Development 

Movies: Rushmore, Royal Tennenbaums

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?
I look for someone who is talented, committed to his or her career, willing to take criticism, and a pleasure to work with.

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?
I represent authors of literary and commercial fiction, young adult fiction, and select nonfiction. 

With respect to fiction: I am drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose. For nonfiction: I am interested in memoirists with exceptional stories to tell, as well as authors with a strong platform in current affairs, history, education, or law.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?
I enjoy editing and contributing to the creative process as much as I do negotiating the deal (and of course announcing good news is always fun!)
I still have a difficult time saying “no” sometimes, especially if it is a good project but just not right for me.

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)
It has been said before, but one piece of advice I like to give to authors is: READ!!  Read books in your genre to help you gain an understanding of your target audience.  And then read books outside your genre to expand your worldview and keep your writing fresh.

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

I would like to see all of the authors that I work with more often. We all get so busy working remotely these days; time to connect over lunch would be lovely.

And maybe J.K. Rowling could join us :)

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