Victoria Wells Arms started in publishing as an editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, and then at Putnam. Then one day she spotted an ad in Publishers Weekly for an editorial director at Bloomsbury, so she applied and soon was setting up Bloomsbury USA’s children’s division. Starting with three people (and a dog), Bloomsbury grew quickly, soon hitting the bestseller lists and acquiring major awards on both sides of the Atlantic.
In 2013 Victoria opened her own agency, Wells Arms Literary, where she represents authors and illustrators of all kinds, including beloved authors Katherine Hannigan, E.D. Baker, Susan Roth and many others. She is not especially looking to grow her client list, but does (eventually) look at all submissions to her inbox. When something has her writing "ha!" in the margins, or rushing to share a section with her kids, that's always a good sign. When she’s not reading, or attempting yoga, Victoria can generally be found in the kitchen, cooking with her three daughters.
See all her clients' work at www.wellsarms.com and on facebook under Wells Arms Literary. She doesn't tweet as much as some, but is at @VWArms.
And now Victoria Wells Arms faces the 7 Questions:
Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
I can't think of many books I've reread--there always seem to be more than I can possibly keep up with, but:
Any book written by Alexandra Fuller--what an amazing storyteller
Jack Finney's Time and Again--I love New York City beyond measure, and the idea of going back a hundred-plus years to see how it was...and falling in love...maybe I need to reread it... and I just read Ann Lamott's Small Victories in one sitting...just amazing.
Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?
The Princess Bride--can I count the times I've told my husband to go have fun storming the castle?
Indiana Jones (the first, but in a pinch, any will do)
All the Bourne movies...
The Sopranos. TV just isn't the same without Tony.
Top Gear (UK version)
and in certain moods: Ice Road Truckers....
Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?
Very talented, happy to be working in our industry and generous of spirit. All my clients are these things and I am grateful for that every day.
Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?
Something unusual, interesting, funny...
Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?
I love being an agent--even more than I'd imagined. I love working closely with my clients to figure out their best working strategies and partners. I love looking through their book ideas and figuring out which should be next. I love working with all the different houses and editors--it's refreshing!
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)
If you have real talent, and are willing to learn the funny ways of this business, you will find a way in and succeed.
Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?
William Steig and Homer pop into my mind...just to sort of soak it all in.