Writers House is one of the largest agencies in the world and prides itself on providing an extraordinary amount of individual client attention, combined with full-service benefits of foreign, subrights, accounting, royalty, and contract departments.
I started at Writers House as starry-eyed intern in 2007 and worked my way up to Senior Agent over several years. I LOVE what I do, and cultivate a boundary-pushing, empathy-building, omnivorous list. My main focus is children’s books, but I also represent select adult fiction and offbeat nonfiction-—see below for a more precise breakdown.
I’m extra-crazy-picky with taking on picture books, but I do love them and rep them. I would love a great picture book series, like a Fancy Nancy or a Knuffle Bunny—something where we could see fabulous, memorable characters encounter a variety of new circumstances. My tastes tend to run toward the funny, here—very sweet, gentle picture books are just not for me. The same goes for chapter books. I’m particularly on the lookout for humorous, entertaining, illustrated chapter books that also have some kind of educational angle to them, something that could be brought into a classroom to supplement the new Common Core Standards, and ALSO something a kid would gleefully reach for, themselves.
I have a great love for middle grade—bring on the whimsical, the imaginative, the dark/crass/wacky/hilarious. Roald Dahl's bizarre flights of fancy comprise some of the most pleasurable reading time of my life, and I love lower-fantasy in general—-I would go live at Hogwarts if I could..! It's a career goal of mine to rep a Newbery winner. I grew up reading Karen Cushman, Sharon Creech, and Scott O'Dell's books until they fell apart in my hands. I'd love to find a historical MG that is also fun and exciting--a lot of submissions I see for this genre are a little too serious/earnest for my taste. Really, I'd just love to find a fresh, beautiful, fun, thoughtful story that makes that first real step into adulthood seem brand-new, all over again. I'd love to find a great middle grade series!
I’m also looking for exciting, high-concept, gobble-down-in-one-sitting YA novels that keep me up way past my bedtime (I love creepy/horror/suspense, historical, historical fantasy, and creative fantasy in general) as well as beautiful, literary works that explore the coming-of-age theme from a truly original angle and beg for multiple re-readings. I'm a huge Francesca Lia Block fan, and tend to gravitate toward stories featuring offbeat, alternate-lifestyle protagonists who trailblaze their own weird and wonderful paths through life--I want unforgettable characters that I'd follow anywhere, who burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.
Lately, I've been extra passionate about YA novels with strong social justice themes that are still character-driven and commercial. Huge extra bonus points for funny, too, although they don't have to be. With the nation's politics swinging to the right, I find myself hard-lefting on social issues more than ever. Bring on the queer, the under-represented, the hot-button reproductive rights and feminist and social justice stories. Bring them all and bring it on! We need them now more than ever.
What I'm really on the hunt for are juicy, well-researched historical novels—I adore Geraldine Brooks, and one of my favorite reads of all time is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (the first few books, before they devolve into cave porn).
That said, I'm open to other genres. I want something different, and I adore psychologically complex genre-benders. I'm a huge fan of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, and I love being scared out of my wits in creepy, atmospheric, unexpected ways. I am in love with Liane Moriarty right now, and would love to find an upmarket, darkly-funny "domestic suspense" novel.
My ultimate adult project wish list would include a romantic historical with some unique fantasy elements, a horror novel with fantasy elements, a literary, Beat-like coming-of-age, a thrilling survival tale with well-researched, back-to-the-land details, and a dark, witchy, semi-realistic novel (think a modern-day Practical Magic or Garden Spells). I love a good cabal, coven, karass--secret histories of all stripes.
I’m pretty excited about the crossover category. In general, I’m interested in reading about younger adults and this rich, peculiar, “second coming-of-age”, where one is really exploring what it means to be an adult in the 21st century. I read FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell this year and absolutely loved it. Like my YA interests, I love stories set in the counter-culture, quirky love stories with a stand-out hook, and subtle twists of fantasy or magical realism.
The one link I have throughout the many genres I'm interested in is humor. It doesn't necessarily have to be silly humor—sometimes it's more interesting to find humor in darker settings—but I do love a story can illuminate something about humanity AND make me laugh. Life is serious enough. Reading should be a joy.
COME FOLLER ME! I am twittering on The Tweeter @SecretAgentBri!
I have an Instagram with that handle as well but it's private, for now. Trust me, you don't need to see *that* many mirrored pictures of my cat. (I put the best ones on Twitter, anyway)