Monday, September 11, 2017

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Jim McCarthy

Jim McCarthy interned for DG and B while studying urban design at New York University. Upon graduating in 2002, Jim realized he would much rather continue working with books than make the jump (as he had originally intended) to the field of city planning. As an avid fiction reader, his interests encompass both literary and commercial works in the adult and young adult categories. He is particularly interested in literary women’s fiction, underrepresented voices, mysteries, romance, paranormal fiction, and anything unusual or unexpected. In addition to fiction he is also interested in narrative nonfiction, memoir, and paranormal nonfiction. Jim was raised just outside of NYC and currently lives in Manhattan.

And now Jim McCarthy faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison

It’s tough to call out three favorites. These are three that I read in high school and made me really fall in love with literature. So they’re more books that shaped and defined me as a reader than necessarily absolute all-time favorites. But they’re all genius and still move me deeply.

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

TV: RuPaul’s Drag Race; 30 Rock; Veep
Movies: This is somehow even harder to narrow down than books: Leaving Las Vegas; Clue; Carol

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

First and foremost, talent. Then kindness, tenacity, and drive.

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

I am always, always on the lookout for great sci-fi and fantasy from middle grade through adult. Non-Western based settings a plus. But I also would love to find exciting historical fiction and hook-y contemporary. And it’s hard to define exactly what I want in nonfiction, but I would love to find more narratives that open up the world a little wider—that can be in science or history or memoir or social justice. I just want stories that feel fresh and thrilling.

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

Nothing is better than the feeling of calling an author and telling them their first book has an offer. Being an integral part of making people’s dreams come true can’t be beaten.

The hardest part is the flip side of that: you get very emotionally invested in the lives and work of your clients, and not every book is a hit. So learning to roll with the punches and not take things personally/working to keep spirits up and keep driving forward is a constant journey.

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’ll leave this to much more capable hands: “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” – Toni Morrison

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

J.D. Salinger. And you know what? I don’t even like his books. But if someone turns into a hermit and doesn’t reveal almost anything about themselves for several decades? Then I want to know more. So just the impossibility of it and the potential for secrets is too tantalizing for me to turn down.

1 comment:

  1. I met Mr. McCarthy at a conference a few years ago, and he's very generous with his time, taking a lt of it to talk to authors.

    I like his quote by Morrison.


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