Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Strachan of Strachan Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 5.23.40 PM.pngLaura Strachan is a literary agent and founder of Strachan Literary Agency.

The agency was established in 1998 by literary agent and principal Laura Strachan who was looking for a way to combine her lifetime love of books and good writing with her legal background.

Fiction interests: Primarily literary fiction and upmarket commercial. In general, the agency seeks no genre fiction; however, Laura will consider fiction with crossover potential if beautifully written.

Nonfiction interests: Narrative nonfiction, including memoirs and travel writing. Will consider other nonfiction projects if quirky or interesting. Particularly interested in “single subject” books (think SALT, or COD, or MAUVE, etc.)

Children’s: She seeks high quality YA or middle grade fiction. No picture books.

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zabé Ellor of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 5.15.21 PM.pngZabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Zabé joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency after previously interning at the agency and at Inklings Literary, and serving as a publications assistant at IOP Publishing. He graduated from Cornell University with a dual degree in biology and English. An avid reader and writer, his non-literary interests include running, travel, and finding the perfect dim sum in his home city of Washington D. C.

What he’s looking for:

Young Adult: “I love all genres of YA: swoonworthy romances, electrifying thrillers and mysteries, heartbreaking contemporaries, and SFF that sweeps me off to a new world. Whatever you’re writing, give me flawed characters who struggle with the complexities of growing up and tangled networks of relationships binding them together. Books with messy, real, and consuming emotions are my kryptonite; recent favorites include Three Dark Crowns, Burning Glass, The Astonishing Color of After, When Dimple Met Rishi, Eliza and her Monsters, When the Moon was Ours, and The Love Interest.”

Adult SFF: “In adult SFF, I’m looking for expansive worlds inhabited by unforgettable characters. In fantasy, hook me with a setting or magic system I’ve never seen; then deliver by making me fall in love with the heroes struggling in its shadow. Favorites of mine include the Emberverse series, The Broken Earth trilogy, Sanderson’s Cosmere novels, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels novels, Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels, and anything by Joe Abercrombie. In science fiction, give me technology-rich stories that explore how societies evolve and change on a grand scale: think Ancillary Justice, An Unkindness of Ghosts, Seveneves, and Yoon Ha Lee’s Hexarchate novels.”

Graphic novels: “I’m interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. Give me children’s projects that will make me laugh, cry, or both: think The Prince and the Dressmaker, The Witch Boy, or anything by Dav Pilkey. Give me adult projects that can ONLY be told in graphic novel format—stories like Saga and Low where the art creates the world. Author/illustrators strongly preferred.”

Nonfiction: “In nonfiction, I want proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject.”

“Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Vicki Selvaggio of Storm Literary

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Vicki Selvaggio is a literary agent with Storm Literary (formerly with Jennifer De Chiara Literary).

Victoria A. Selvaggio comes to Storm Literary Agency as a Literary Agent and Partner. Previously with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, she was drawn to the publishing scene first as an author. As a prior Regional Advisor for SCBWI Northern Ohio, Victoria’s desire to help writers and illustrators reach their publications goals inspired her to become an agent.

With over twenty-five years as a business owner, Victoria is excited to help grow the agency’s client base with talented writers and illustrators, while also helping build the agency from within with motivated agents who possess the same ideals, literary interests, goals, and approaches to the industry.As a frequent presenter at conferences, library events, contests, etc., Victoria is always interested in meeting writers and illustrators, and hearing about unique projects! While Storm Literary is primarily a children’s book agency, Victoria will be accepting pitches for new adult and adult projects from conference attendees.

She is seeking: “I am currently looking for lyrical picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction, new adult, mysteries, suspense, thrillers, paranormal, fantasy, narrative nonfiction, adult fiction but find I’m especially drawn to middle grade and young adult. I especially love thrillers and all elements of weird, creepy stuff. If it’s out of the box, and it will make me think and think, long after I’m done reading, send it to me! On the flip side, I yearn for books that make me laugh, cry and wonder about the world.”

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Gwen Hawkes of St. Martin’s Press

Screen Shot 2019-06-19 at 2.43.41 PM.pngGwen Hawkes is an editor with St. Martin’s Press and St. Martin’s Essentials.

She is seeking: “I’m looking to acquire adult fiction, particularly book club fiction, historical/period fiction, and women’s fiction. I have particular soft spot for magical realism (even occasionally tiptoeing into fantasy). I love stories that are transporting, that shake you loose from the everyday, whisk you into a different world, or offer a new angle on the familiar. If it can make the din of the subway fade away, I want to read it. I read for both strong characters and propulsive plotlines. Best of all, I like books and characters that are brave enough to tangle with big ideas.”

“I’m also in search of narrative nonfiction that reveals stories and places every bit as engaging as fiction. Untold histories, environmental and nature writing, and memoir are all favorites. Within SMP Essentials, I’m looking for body, mind, spirit titles that are geared to a younger, millennial audience—how to build a life (relationally, financially, spiritually, vocationally, etc.) that you love. Books that are direct and practical in their approach are ideal. I’m also interested in narrative nonfiction that could fall into the body, mind, spirit category.”

“My favorite books include Once Upon a River, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, The Overstory, The Plover, The Recovering, Educated, The Electric Woman, Advice for Future Corpses, American Wolf.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stacey Graham of Red Sofa Literary

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 11.00.00 AM.pngStacey Graham is a literary agent with Red Sofa Literary.

Currently, she is seeking romance, humorous fiction, middle grade fiction with a great voice (especially funny and/or spooky), historical fiction with a commercial hook (no 20th century pitches please). She also represents nonfiction in the following categories: humor with a strong platform (no dating memoirs), history, and children’s nonfiction that walks on the weird side (adult nonfiction, young adult nonfiction, middle grade nonfiction, picture book nonfiction).

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Stephanie Kehr of CYLE Literary.

Screen Shot 2018-05-17 at 10.07.13 AM.pngStephanie Kehr is a jr. agent and for C.Y.L.E. Literary.

She’s a professional writer and former journalist with 7 years’ experience. Stephanie currently lives in Northern Virginia and serves on the publishing board of Illuminate YA fiction, an imprint of LPC books. She’s an adventure lover with a special place in her heart for travel and culture.

Stephanie is looking for skillfully crafted stories that capture the heart and answer the world’s deepest questions.

She’s seeking young adult, middle grade, historical, children’s picture books, chapter books, romance, science fiction, fantasy, inspirational, and authors with strong platform, unique ideas, and diverse characters. In nonfiction, she’s interested in self-help, devotionals, leadership, biographies, and religious genres.