Some big news, folks—I've landed in a new nest: Upstart Crow Literary! I’m delighted to join the very fine group at Upstart, and thrilled about this move.
As I did over on the UC blog (please visit the site if you haven't been: Upstart Crow), I'd like to share a bit about what I'm hoping to find in my query inbox this year. You can find more general information under the Wishlist and Query tabs, but here's a detailed list:
For YA, I’m interested in:
• Family stories, sister and sibling stories, and mother-daughter stories. In many YA novels, the main character’s relationship with their mother is troubled, and the mother is toxic in some way. I’d love to see a book with a strong—albeit complex—mother-daughter (or son) relationship.
• I want rich, big world-building and gutsy, smart characters, especially historical fantasy that isn’t based on Western Europe, or set in a world that takes inspiration from folklore of a non-Western tradition.
• Science fiction, especially that deals with changes we might see in our lifetime—more cutting edge science, less space opera (though I’m open to a juicy space opera too).
• Epistolary novels; a novel-within-a-novel; a journal format; secret letters; found documents— I’m interested in stories that use these kinds of elements.
• A sharp, irresistible, crush-worthy but unreliable narrator.
• A word about romance. I enjoy a good, swoony romance, but probably not by itself. Romance as a part of a larger story? Yes, please!
• Some of my favorite non-client YAs of late: The Spectacular Now, The Knife of Never Letting Go, Fangirl, What I Saw and How I Lied, The Seeds of America trilogy, The Montmaray Journals series, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Grasshopper Jungle.
• Mystery! I’d love, love, love to see something that makes me think of Agatha Christie, but set in the US.
• Edgy, dark MG that pushes the boundaries of “upper MG.”
• Contemporary stories with a female main character who is passionate about science, math, engineering, ie. STEM. (For YA too!)
• I love historical fiction, and want projects that feel vital and alive, that balance history against characters who are accessible, yet believably of the past.
• All the above in YA Fantasy is true for MG too. In addition, I’d also like to see fantasy that’s based on American folklore—think Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, John Henry, Sally Ann Thunder, etc.
• Some favorite non-client MGs: The War that Saved My Life, Wolf Hollow, El Deafo, When You Reach Me, One Crazy Summer, Cuckoo Song, The Riverman, Breadcrumbs, The Wednesday Wars.
For Picture books:
• Texts that just get it when it comes to childhood, like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse; or More More More Said the Baby.
• Conceptual texts like Duck, Rabbit or Not a Box.
• Character-driven stories that introduce me to someone as indelible as Olivia, George and Martha, the Pigeon, or Miss Nelson.
• The pairing of informational text with lyrical voice, such as in Over and Under the Snow.
• Illustrators whose work is bold and full of emotion. I’m a fan of Sophie Blackall, Zachariah OHora, Frann Preston-Grann, Simona Ciraolo, Emily Hughes, Gabi Swiatkowska (and many more!).
• Some favorite non-client picture books: The Dark, Sophie’s Squash, The Princess and the Pony, A Home for Bird, This is Not a Picture Book!, Me…Jane, Flora and the Flamingo, Home by Carson Ellis, Boss Baby, Leo: A Ghost Story.
I’m an editorial agent, and passionate about my clients and their projects. The lists above are a grab-bag of interests and ideas, but please try me, even if you’re not sure if your project is described above—I love to be surprised!