Actively looking for: Funny books across all ages; contemporary middle-grade with a big heart; gothic middle-grade; YA sci-fi and fantasy with a strong hook; YA romance; interesting/inspiring non-fiction across all ages.
I represent some very funny writers in the 7-9 area and in middle-grade/tween, and I’d love to sign up more. I’m also on the lookout for funny YA – particularly because, as well as being an agent, I’m an author in this genre (the Emma Nash series) so it’s a real passion of mine. It could have a message, like Laura Steven’s The Exact Opposite of Okay, but it could be purely for laughs. I think the importance of funny books is hugely underrated, particularly for that age group.
There’s been a lot of magical middle-grade and whilst I’m still looking for it, the hook would have to really stand out to me as being quite different. At the moment I’d love a gothic, spooky middle-grade, or contemporary middle-grade centred around family or friendship. I also love middle-grade books that feel like modern classics.
I’m a fan of fantasy and sci-fi, although it has to have a strong hook. For instance, I represent Ben Oliver’s The Loop trilogy, which is like a SF YA Prison Break, where teens are held on a futuristic death row. I’d love to find something else in this area, maybe with a female protagonist. In fantasy I recently sold a YA Faustian fantasy retelling of Cinderella, where the fairy godmother is the devil and every time our protagonist makes a wish someone dies. I hope this gives an idea of my taste in sci-fi and fantasy – accessible, with a very clear pitch. I enjoy some horror, too.
I really want a YA romance, with a strong hook and lovable characters like Love, Simon by Becky Albertalli. I’m also on the hunt for all sorts of non-fiction – for instance I represent Speak Up! by Laura Coryton, a campaigning guide for rebel girls, and have worked on various science themed books. I’d love to see anything inspirational, fun, or that has a fresh angle.
It is hard to sum up one’s taste in one page so if, judging from what you’ve read, you’re unsure if I’ll like your book, please do send it along. Some of the books I’ve loved and taken on have been a surprise — you never know what might blow you away.
Ten of my favourite children’s and YA books
Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club by Alex Bell
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
Lobsters by Lucy Ivison and Tom Ellen
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Asking For It by Louise O’Neill
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James