Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Keir Alekseii of Azantian Literary Agency

Keir Alekseii is a literary agent with Azantian Literary Agency.

Keir is an educator and anti-GBV activist born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country in the West Indies. Keir is a writer, gamer, lover of folklore, and former research scientist. As a neurodivergent, queer woman of color, Keir is invested in discovering engaging work with similar representation, and is passionate about creating space for voices not often recognized. She is especially interested in stories from BIPOC who are born and raised in the Global South.
Wishlist

Keir is seeking YA & Adult SFF and YA contemporary. She is ONLY open to receiving queries from writers who identify as belonging to a marginalized or underrepresented group such as (but not limited to) BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, ND, folks who speak English as a second language, and DIS people.

Her favorite traits and tropes include:

  • Found family
  • Protags that are too smart for their own good
  • Stories about embracing your identity and finding your path
  • Stories that center BIPOC and queer happiness
  • Enemies to friends/unlikely friendships
  • Grump & sunshine/stabby & cinnamon roll pairings
  • Femme villains corrupting cinnamon rolls/himbos
  • Non-white power couples/non-white love interests
  • Sapphic everything
  • Enemies to lovers & friends to lovers
  • Slow burn & second chance romance

In YA contemporary, she is looking for books in the vein of TJ Powar Has Something To Prove where the romance is secondary but identity and self-love are primary. Keir would also love work like Icebreaker, with queer love and found family.

She has a fondness for disaster bi/pan characters, being one herself, and appreciates seeing diverse representations of queerness. She’d also love to read more books with nonbinary characters and love that runs deep even without a romantic element (yes, that means aro characters and stories with friendships that don’t turn romantic are welcome).

In fantasy, she loves immersive worlds that pull her in from the first page, like The Daevabad Trilogy and particularly enjoys secondary worlds that are based outside of western cultures like The Jasmine Throne. You’ll be even more likely to catch her eye if you’re West Indian or West Indian diaspora, drawing from Caribbean culture and mythology. In general, Keir would love to see more fae books with BIPOC leads that use fae and folktales from non-western cultures, like Trese.

She particularly enjoys characters with strong internal conflicts, like in The Sun Sword series and Gearbreakers, who wrangle with the consequences of others’ actions while fighting for (or maintaining) their autonomy. She also loves adult characters who must clean up generational messes, thereby healing from generational traumas or otherwise breaking cycles.

Keir loves complex, smart, emotional characters that aren’t afraid to take on oppressive systems, like in Kaikeyi, and who find their voice and a purpose by the end of a story, like in Raybearer. She would love to see more books with unapologetic characters like in Iron Widow.

Retellings or reimaginings with these characteristics are welcome, especially those which draw from underrepresented cultures.

In science fiction, Keir is primarily interested in seeing SF settings that force us to explore the human condition, like the Xuya Universe or The Space Between Worlds. She also likes to keep it weird with works like Snowcrash and is always intrigued by how the alternate lives/worlds offered by gaming, virtual and augmented reality might inform our future. Though Keir’s SF tastes do lean toward Adult, she would welcome YA that explores these ideas and makes her crave adventure.

Keir likes science fantasy as well, enjoying both the setting of sprawling space and powerful magic offered by Warhammer 40K, and the grounded, emotional connection provided by The Broken Earth Trilogy.

If you are pitch her Adult SF/F with a steamy element, Keir appreciates work that is kink- and poly-positive.

Keir’s hobbies, background and identity also deeply inform what she loves. In general, you’re likely to catch her eye if:

  • You’re burning down the patriarchy and/or destroying colonizers
  • You’re reversing or reimagining colonialism
  • You’ve got DnD or other TTRPG Easter eggs, or inside jokes for games like Hades, Devil May Cry, or Final Fantasy.
  • Your story has the emotional resonance of games like Gris or Old Man’s Journey
  • Your story has the political complexity and ethical realities of anime like Gundam or Full Metal Alchemist

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: James Mustelier of The Bent Agency

James Mustelier is a literary agent with The Bent Agency.

“I’m looking for a range of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction. In all genres (but particularly in literary fiction) I prize economical prose, complex characters, steadily building tension, narrative gravity, and the momentary relief of dark humor, even (or especially) amid dire circumstances.

“In commercial fiction I’m looking for compact horror and mysteries with big hooks and intricate plotting. In sci-fi and fantasy I’m drawn to stories that are grounded in reality and have high stakes that touch on contemporary issues — more speculative fiction and alternate histories than high fantasy or space opera.

“In nonfiction I’m looking for books that give me a vivid look into subcultures and events I might not otherwise have had the chance to explore. Much of my favorite nonfiction melds a distinct narrative voice with rigorous research.

“In young adult and middle grade I’m interested in epic fantasy, grounded sci-fi, and irreverent retellings of fairy tales, classic myths, and historical events. I’m specifically seeking stories written from diverse perspectives that draw from underrepresented cultures.”