I want to work with the kind of stories that both create and sustain life-long readers—books that make me sigh with contentment, learn something new, or take delight in twists I didn’t anticipate. I’m actively seeking to add high-concept commercial and general fiction, young adult novels with a strong voice and propulsive pacing, and heartfelt and humorous middle grade novels across genres to my list. While concept is key, I tend to lean literary in terms of execution.
I often fall for books that sit at the intersection of a variety of genres. I love mysteries, found families, sibling stories, haunted houses, buried secrets, disability and mental health rep, coming-of-age narratives, non-western cultures and mythologies (I took every cultural anthropology course I could in college, and believe I would have gone down that path in another life), animal/spirit companions, strong (and potentially unlikable) women, toxic relationships (especially friendships), high stakes adventures, family sagas, smart horror, and anything that makes me laugh and/or cry (preferably both). I’m not the best fit for women’s fiction or adult romance, though I love elements of both as b-plots. I'm also not looking for epic fantasy—I gravitate more toward grounded, contemporary fantasy.
I was born and raised in Southern California in a multicultural, blended family, so I have a soft spot for books that shine a spotlight on the nuances of family relationships and identity. And I’m especially looking for books that are inclusive and accurately reflect our world—I like characters who aren’t your typical lead and to be surprised by the unexpected.
-Upmarket and general fiction with elements of mystery & suspense and/or has an interesting structural hook
-Voicey literary fiction in the vein of Kevin Wilson's NOTHING TO SEE HERE or Raven Leilani's LUSTER
-Basically any commercial fiction that could sit on a shelf next to Blake Crouch or Michael Crichton—something that plays with horror, speculative, or STEM elements to start a conversation
-A coming-of-age story in the vein of Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP, which I read so many times my copy started falling apart
-Give me something beautifully-written, well-researched, and expansive, something that straddles the line between commercial and literary
Think: Celeste Ng’s EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU, Angie Kim’s MIRACLE CREEK, Riley Sager’s HOME BEFORE DARK, Brit Bennett’s THE VANISHING HALF, Madeline Miller’s CIRCE, Kate Atkinson's LIFE AFTER LIFE, and Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s MEXICAN GOTHIC. Some tried-and-true favorites are Barbara Kingsolver’s THE POISONWOOD BIBLE and Steinbeck's EAST OF EDEN.
-Stealing a phrase jointly coined by my colleagues Holly Root and Molly O'Neill—I want YA SFF or historical fiction that can be summed up as "feelings while running"
-Horror and thrillers that are a little twisty and dark (but full of hope, humor, and heart), with a strong structural hook and beautiful writing
-Voicey and feminist intersectional rom-coms and contemporary romances—some tropes I like are fake dating, lovers to enemies (I know, I’m the worst), forbidden love, love triangles, second chance, and oh no there’s only one bed!
-Emotionally resonant and high-concept contemporary realistic, like Jenni Hendrik’s and Ted Caplan’s UNPREGNANT and Camryn Garrett's FULL DISCLOSURE
-Anything speculative (ghosts, witches, monsters, you name it!), especially if it includes a time loop element, à la Groundhog Day or Hulu’s Palm Springs
Think: Tiffany Jackson’s GROWN, Courtney Summers’ SADIE, Megan Bannen's THE BIRD AND THE BLADE, Natasha Ngan's GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE, S.J. Kincaid's THE DIABOLIC, Jessica Lewis's BAD WITCH BURNING, Cameron Lund's THE BEST LAID PLANS, Yamile Saied Méndez’s FURIA, and Elise Bryant's HAPPILY EVER AFTERS.
-Heartwarming and adventurous SFF, historical, and contemporary realistic fiction that doesn't shy away from difficult subjects (not for shock value, but because the reality of readers’ lived experiences are being respected—something that’s important to me across age categories)
-I especially love stories that manage to touch on timely topics without being didactic
-Anything in the vein of Jim Henson's THE DARK CRYSTAL or literally any of Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli films (seriously, I love them all and have watched them more times than I care to admit)
Think: Tae Keller’s WHEN YOU TRAP A TIGER, B.B. Alston’s AMARI AND THE NIGHT BROTHERS, Kelly Yang’s FRONT DESK, Lynne Kelly’s SONG FOR A WHALE, Veera Hiranandani's THE NIGHT DIARY, Robert Beatty's SERAFINA AND THE BLACK CLOAK, Kelly Barnhill's THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON, and Alan Gratz's REFUGEE.
ABOUT THE AGENCY:
At Root Literary, we build careers. Whether you’re here to start your career with us or to evolve your career with us, welcome!
We’re a boutique, future-focused literary agency, representing award-winning, bestselling, and up-and-coming authors, illustrators, and graphic novelists. We’re committed to helping our clients confidently define and redefine their vision of success while they build a lasting body of work and a meaningful career, and we do so by advocating, empowering, educating, negotiating, problem-solving, and revenue-generating in innovative ways to support our clients’ creative work.
As agents, we blend business acumen and proven skills for identifying talent with a nuanced, hands-on, and powerfully-effective approach to literary representation—and we do it all with good humor and an eye toward sustainable creator wellness along the way.
We’re good at our jobs because we care about books and book-making. We’re endlessly fascinated by the publishing machine: how it works, how we can help the industry evolve to work better, and how we can help our clients not just survive, but truly thrive as a part of it. In addition to a combined 45+ years of literary agency experience, our team has also worked immersively in film/TV, in foreign rights, in marketing/publicity, at publishing start-ups, and as editors, educators, influencers, and booksellers—and we bring the depth, breadth and knowledge of that wide-ranging industry experience to every situation our clients encounter. We work collaboratively and with a focus on best-in-field information-sharing and creative opportunity-forging, so that each of our agents’ clients benefit from our whole team’s expertise.
Every publishing success story that we’ve been a part of is, at its core, also the story of meaningful professional partnerships. We’re eager to match your passion for the craft of writing and art-making with our passion for next-level career strategy and killer deal-making. We love what we do, and we do it best in tandem with driven, ambitious story makers who love what they do, too.