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Holly Root
Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

My favorite part of this job is the thrill of discovery. Being the first to experience a new world, a brand-new author, or an exciting new project from a favorite simply never gets old. Couple that with the joy of sharing that wonderful book with editors and eventually readers and you’ve got the reason I truly love my job.

I’m drawn to well-told commercial novels in a variety of genres. I’m much more likely to keep reading if I know from those perfectly-executed first pages that this is someone whose voice interests me, someone whose story I’d like to get lost in for the next two hours. I know I’ve found a winner when I encounter writers whose skills on the page make me certain from page one that I’m in excellent hands.

I’m currently most actively seeking middle grade & young adult fiction (I'm open to pretty much any genre within those categories, except novels in verse which I admire but don't have the knack for) and women’s fiction (particularly interested in upmarket execution of commercial concepts) although I remain open to seeing truly stand-out projects in the other areas I cover (lighter women's fiction/chick lit, new adult, general fiction, mystery, urban fantasy, single title romance).

In all areas, I love a good high-concept hook. Across my list, specificity of voice clearly has a big impact on what books I respond to. Looking at books I didn't represent, add me to the legions of fans of Jojo Moyes & Liane Moriarty (I'm a Marian Keyes fan from way back, for good measure)--I love that blend of fast, emotional writing with a little extra sheen, the "it factor" that makes it so easy to recommend the book to a friend. I loved the mix of clever wit and structural ingenuity on display in WHERE'D YOU GO BERNADETTE by Maria Semple and DEAR DAUGHTER by Elizabeth Little. On the YA side I really admired Alexandra Duncan's SALVAGE and Robin LaFevers's Grave Assassin books. I grew up hoping I could either learn to travel via tesseract or wield Gonturan and if you have any idea what those two things mean you & I might get along. On the realistic contemporary YA side I have pressed Stephanie Perkins and Jandy Nelson's books into more hands than I can count. In MG I love friendship stories, books about smart kids doing smart things, and books that mix humor and heart (on that count, just wait til you see the upcoming releases from Kiera Stewart and Denis Markell...and whoops, we're back to talking about my clients again!).

I have represented nonfiction projects in the past and no doubt will again from time to time but am not actively seeking to add too many new ones to my list at the moment; there are other agents at Waxman Leavell covering the nonfiction front brilliantly and as a primary focus so, with a few exceptions, they're likely to be a better fit for those submissions.

I welcome submissions from authors from, or with characters reflecting, populations underrepresented on shelves today (race, ethnicity, orientation or otherwise).

I work in Los Angeles along with Taylor Haggerty, who's seeking middle grade and young adult fiction, historical fiction, new adult romance, and historical romance. We work very closely, so please feel free to think of her for your submissions as well.

years experience: 10
General fiction, Romance, Fantasy/science fiction, Juvenile fiction, Women's fiction, Romance, YA including SF/F, MG including SF/F
Rae Carson's New York Times and USA Today bestselling & Morris nominated FIRE AND THORNS series
Jessica Clare's New York Times & USA Today bestselling Billionaire Boys Club series
Mark Cheverton's New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling GAMEKNIGHT999 series
Meredith Duran's USA Today bestselling FOOL ME TWICE
Kristin Harmel's internationally bestselling THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING
Rachel Hawkins's New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling HEX HALL series
Christina Lauren's New York Times, USA Today and internationally bestselling BEAUTIFUL BASTARD series & WILD SEASONS series
Lisa Patton's nationally bestselling WHISTLIN' DIXIE IN A NOR'EASTER
V.E. Schwab's Amazon, Goodreads, and PW Best of 2013 selection VICIOUS
Selected Recent Deals
Jennifer Malone's THE SLEEPOVER (middle grade, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin)
Denis Markell's CLICK HERE TO START: A NOVEL (middle grade, Penguin Random House/Delacorte)
Kelly Harms's THE PIKE BAY INN AND ART APPRECIATION SOCIETY (women's fiction, Macmillan/Thomas Dunne Books)
C.J. Redwine's THE SHADOW QUEEN (YA fantasy, HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray)
Victoria Schwab's MONSTER (YA fantasy, HarperCollins/Greenwillow)
Kari Dell's Texas Rodeo series (contemporary romance, Sourcebooks)
Alison Cherry's THE CLASSY CROOKS CLUB (MG, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin)
Megan Crane's EDGE OF OBSESSION (romance, Macmillan/St. Martin's Press)

Selected Recent & Upcoming Releases
Kristin Harmel's THE LIFE INTENDED (women's fiction, Simon & Schuster/Gallery)
Nancy J. Cavanaugh's ALWAYS, ABIGAIL (middle grade, Sourcebooks)
Victoria Schwab's A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC (fantasy, Tor)
Alison Cherry's FOR REAL (YA, Penguin Random House/Delacorte)
Jessica Clare's ROMANCING THE BILLIONAIRE (romance, Penguin Random House/Berkley)
Christina Lauren's DIRTY ROWDY THING (romance, Simon & Schuster/Gallery)
Manda Collins's A GOOD RAKE IS HARD TO FIND (romance, Macmillan/St. Martin's Press)
Kari Dell's THE LONG RIDE HOME (romance, Samhain)
Rachel Hawkins's MISS MAYHEM (YA, Penguin Random House/Putnam)
Amanda Maciel's TEASE (YA, HarperCollins/Balzer & Bray)
Mary Kennedy's DREAM A LITTLE SCREAM (cozy mystery, Penguin Random House/Berkley)
Jen Malone's MAP OF THE STARS (YA, HarperCollins)
Hilary Fields's LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH (women's fiction, Redhook/Little Brown)
Laura Drewry's PRIMA DONNA (contemporary romance, Loveswept/Random House)
Lara Chapman's ACCIDENTALLY EVIL (middle grade, Simon & Schuster/Aladdin)
Mark Cheverton's TROUBLE IN ZOMBIE-TOWN (middle grade, SkyPony Press)
Diana Cosby's AN OATH TAKEN (medieval romance, Kensington)
Jane Porter's IT'S YOU (women's fiction, Penguin Random House/Berkley)
Meredith Duran's LADY BE GOOD (historical romance, Simon & Schuster/Gallery)
Melissa Bourbon's A SEAMLESS MURDER (cozy mystery, Penguin Random House/NAL)
Chelsea Campbell's FIRE & CHASM (YA, Amazon/Skyscape)
Kiera Stewart's HOW TO BREAK A HEART (MG, Disney*Hyperion)
Christina Lauren's THE HOUSE (YA, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
Wendy Toliver's ONCE UPON A TIME: RED'S UNTOLD TALE (YA, Disney/Kingswell Teen)

Audio & Film/TV: holly(at)
Foreign: heather(at)
Taylor Haggerty, taylor(at)
Email your query letter & first 10 pages of your ms in the body of an email to hollysubmit(at)waxmanleavell(dot)com. You should receive an auto-response to confirm your query was received. Thanks for thinking of me!
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