Tell us a little bit about yourself.
On top of what’s included in my bio, I’m pretty much an open webpage. I’ve been writing for hire, blogging for free, and generally just being social media promiscuous for decades. Anything you want to know, you can probably google my name and read all about it; like this interview I did with Kirkus, shortly before my move to Fuse, or you can follow me on Twitter, or check out my MSWLs. This will also give you an idea of the kind of stuff I like to read.
Outside of publishing, I’m a weirdness enthusiast. I am passionate about causes, particularly feminist and LGBTQIA+ issues. I love Star Wars, Marvel, and various obscure SF/F TV shows. I play roller derby, but it’s not the kind you’re probably picturing. I have a cat named Skeletor who used to be very skinny, with no fur, but now she is chubby and fuzzy so her name no longer makes sense. (But she still does that “wah” noise, so sometimes it does.) I also write things for fun, but you’ll seldom hear me talking about that, because I prefer to amplify the voices of my writers and my writer friends.
How did you become a literary agent?
Honestly, becoming an agent was largely an accident, but a happy one. As I’ve said many times now, it’s the only job I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a frightening number of jobs, #MillennialLife) that requires me to use all of my various and otherwise incompatible skills to get the job done. In undergrad, I studied and worked full time as a journalist and TV/film producer, and went on to write, edit, and produce freelance for years, which taught me how to package content for mass consumption across various types of media. I’ve also sometimes been a bartender, which has proved surprisingly useful at conferences. Professional public speaking is a thing I overcame early and turned into a power, but it’s never been more fun than when I use it to speak to rooms full of writers, who get my obscure literary jokes more often than most.
I’m also incredibly privileged to be able to do this job, which I am extremely passionate about, and frequently enjoy. Because of my background, college degree, early experience in various parallel industries, and many (many) open doors, I was able to start my own consulting business, which (in addition to the deals I make,) helps fund the fabulous and chic lifestyle of a Literary Agent. (Note: by “fabulous and chic” I mean sometimes, I can afford the good wine.)
Are you open for submissions? If so, help writers understand what kind of fiction and nonfiction projects you take queries for.
Yes, I am open for submissions. Please note that I am currently specializing in Nonfiction (in particular, books with a humorous tone and/or an activist bent that highlight efforts already in progress to make the world a better place) Women’s Fiction, and Romance for all ages. I tend to prefer contemporary stories, but I do love historicals with an element of currency about them (ex: women’s rights, social and economic diversity, stories that combat POC and/or LGBTQUA+ erasure, etc.) and will usually prioritize strong character arcs and realistic human relationships above tricky plotting. Paranormal is a tricky sell for me right now for new projects, and SF/F is my area of fandom #AllWorkNoPlayEtc. so I tend to avoid repping it unless it’s something really cool that I haven’t seen before.
What are you looking for right now and not getting?
I would really like to see more contemporary romance that targets that age group between first love and forever love. We’re seeing a long-awaited revival of rom-coms onscreen, but this Spring, I’d like to see some surprisingly thoughtful beach reads and silly meet cutes that turn out to be something more. Think recent TV shows like “Younger,” and “Jane the Virgin.” Or movies like “Mr. Right” and “Set It Up.” There’s a lot of unexplored territory between college and full adulthood, in my opinion, which the category of “New Adult” didn’t always capture.
What are you tired of seeing?
I’ve been getting a lot of pitches for political thrillers inspired by current events, but with a lot of really outdated tropes. I’m definitely not the agent for you if your story uses the harming or debasing of women as a narrative device to toughen or motivate male characters, regardless of the plot or circumstances. Same goes for any marginalized characters who exist in a story merely to be victimized, saved by a white person, or used as any kind of cautionary tale.
Do you have a dream client?
Yes: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Is there something personal about you writers would be surprised to know?
One time, in undergrad, I was expelled from fencing club due to violating the rules of chivalry.
And finally, any last piece of advice for writers seeking an agent?
Please remember that like writers, most agents are first and foremost, human. We too have moods. We don’t always know how the future is going to shake out. We each have our own particular likes and dislikes, and every agent has a unique perspective and set of experiences that influence their literary belief system. Sometimes, a story just isn’t for us. Sometimes, we find that we lack the perspective to offer insight on how to make your story better. Ultimately, you DO NOT want to sign with an agent just to check a box on your “Get Published” To Do List. Trust. The right agent will make this process feel like you’re not going it alone. It’s a rocky road, this publishing path. Bring a friend, a partner, and someone who gets where you’re trying to go and what you want to do.
How can writers submit to you?
Please check out my MSWL page to find out which categories and genres I’m currently seeking, then query me through the Query Manager system. Thanks!