Friday, May 12, 2017

Meet the 2017 Query Kombat Agents!

The big reveal is HERE.

Want to know what agents and editors we have for Query Kombat? WE HAVE THIRTY-TWO, AND COUNTING!! There are so many publishing professionals participating, we can’t fit them all on one blog! View one-third of them below, then click on over to Michelle's and Michael’s blogs to see the rest. We’ve got both well-established agents/editors and some newer professionals who are actively seeking to build their lists. Query Kombat 2017 is going to be an AWESOME Kontest. 

For more information on how to enter when the window opens, please click here


Whitley Abell, Inklings Literary Agency
Whitley Abell is an editorial agent, supporting her authors through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Carol Mann Agency and P.S. Literary Agency, and she also interned at Inklings Literary Agency before working her way up to agent. She holds a BA in English Literature, and a MAT in Secondary English Education, which means she can tell you everything there is to know about feminist literary theory and the Common Core Standards. When she’s not agenting or daylighting as a content manager, she can typically be found slipping down rabbit holes of the literary and fandom varieties.

Whitley is currently building her client list and is actively seeking young adult, middle grade, and select commercial fiction. Strong female voices are near and dear to her heart, and she is particularly drawn to fresh retellings, diverse voices, flawed but (usually) well-meaning characters, and parts of the world she’ll likely never see.
In commercial fiction, she is drawn to female-centric stories, whether contemporary or historical. She’s looking for psychological thrillers à la Megan Abbott; upmarket women fiction à la Maria Semple and Emma Straub; lyrical historicals à la Kate Morton and Hannah Kent; and commercial chick-lit à la Sophie Kinsella, Rainbow Rowell, and Taylor Jenkins Reid. She is also looking for immersive magical fantasies on par with The Magicians and A Darker Shade of Magic.

In young adult and middle grade, her interests are quite broad. She welcomes queries for speculative/sci-fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance, historical, thrillers, and horror, and is particularly interested in light-hearted and high-concept contemporary, magical realism that borders on psychological thriller, and dark historical fantasies set at the dawn of the modern age. Number one on her wish list is a best friend break-up story—specifically, a contemporary YA told in the style of The Last 5 Years, or a humorous, heart-filled MG spin on Forgetting Sarah Marshall. She has a soft spot for trips abroad, mischief, boy humor, and the goofy guys and devout fangirls of the world. 

She is not interested in angels, zombies, werewolves, vampires, dystopian societies, or steampunk.

Stacey Donaghy, Donaghy Literary Group


Stacey has always been a voracious reader and a fan of all things writing. She loves discovering new voices and working with her clients to build long term writing careers.

Her journey  began with Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York, where she wore many hats from team manager and trainer, to intern, to agent. While at CLA she sold her first two six figure deals.

This coupled with her experience and formal education and training in the areas of Management, Social Services and Adult Education, Stacey brings a wealth of technical and professional experience to the literary world. As a manager in the fields of Education and Training; her roles have included people management, curriculum development, academic editing, marketing, creative design, publishing, proposal writing, contract negotiations, and public speaking. Her training also includes Principled
Negotiation Techniques as it applies to relationships and contracts.

Donaghy Literary Group opened in 2013 and to date Stacey has sold a total of 9 six figure deals, as well as many other sales in a number of genre areas.  Her client projects have been sold to a variety of Publishing Houses such as: Harpercollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group USA, Sourcebooks, Kensington, Entangled and others.
Stacey represents NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Authors, as well as Authors who have been nominated or have won awards for various works.


Stacey is currently looking for #Ownvoices works, diverse works, women's fiction, suspense, and romance.


Jennifer Johnson-Blalock, Liza Dawson Associates
Jennifer Johnson-Blalock joined Liza Dawson Associates as an associate agent in 2015, having previously interned at LDA in 2013 before working as an agent’s assistant at Trident Media Group. Jennifer graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Before interning at LDA, she practiced entertainment law and taught high school English and debate.
Jennifer is seeking commercial and upmarket fiction, especially thrillers/mysteries/suspense, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, young adult, and middle grade. She is especially interested in the following:
  • Smart, upmarket women’s fiction in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan or commercial women’s fiction like Emily Giffin’s that subverts common tropes
  • Contemporary, realistic young adult with a strong voice and compelling characters (Nina LaCour; Stephanie Perkins; Leila Sales)
  • Literary realistic upper middle grade (COUNTING BY 7s)
  • Thrillers with a literary bent à la Tana French, Megan Abbott, and Robin Wasserman’s GIRLS ON FIRE, with a psychological focus and an unreliable protagonist (SISTER; GONE GIRL), or featuring an antihero/antiheroine (YOU)
  • Contemporary romance that feels fresh, young, and very current
  • Highly readable but deeply reported books rooted in psychology or sociology that use memorable research to explain why we act and think the way we do (ALL THE SINGLE LADIES; MODERN ROMANCE)
  • Politically minded issue books that put hot-button items like education into a realistic, holistic context or Washington insider narratives
  • History that’s quirky (THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN) or has particular relevance to today’s issues (ON IMMUNITY)
  • Narratives of young, contemporary entrepreneurship (#GIRLBOSS)
  • Books that help you figure out how to do life better (THE HAPPINESS PROJECT; THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP)
  • Chronicles of unique communities like competitive Scrabble players
  • Middle grade or young adult nonfiction that reads like a novel, particularly narrative history books about lesser known women or people of color
  • Cookbooks that tell a story about the person writing the book or the food itself, research-based health/diet books with programs that sane people would actually follow, or accessible books about wine or cocktails that strive to make reading about it as fun as drinking it
  • Food memoirs or novels that take the reader behind the scenes in a fresh way like SOUS CHEF–being VIPed at French Laundry is a recurring fantasy of Jennifer’s
  • All things football and basketball–Jennifer graduated from UT the year Vince Young brought home the National Championship, and her family in Oklahoma City never misses a Thunder game
  • Works situated in the classical dance world, indie/alternative music world, contemporary art world, or Hollywood at any point in history–working in the entertainment industry didn’t manage to squelch Jennifer’s enthusiasm for it
  • Anything related to her quirky list of loves: antiques, travel, speech & debate, adaptations, theater, Austin, bridge…
  • Absolutely any sort of book with a strong feminist slant
  • Diverse books and own voices across genres
When she’s not reading, Jennifer enjoys film, food, and travel.



Catie Flum, Liza Dawson Associates
Caitie Flum joined Liza Dawson Associates in July 2014 as assistant and audio rights manager. She graduated from Hofstra University in 2009 with a B.A. in English with a concentration in publishing studies. She interned at Hachette Book Group and Writers House. She was an editorial assistant then coordinator for Bookspan, where she worked on several clubs including the Book-of-the-Month Club, The Good Cook, and the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club.
Caitie is looking for commercial and upmarket fiction with great characters and superb writing, especially historical fiction, mysteries/thrillers of all kinds, romance, and book club fiction. She is open to science fiction and fantasy that crosses over to a young adult market.
She is also looking for Middle Grade and Young Adult projects, particularly romance, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, science fiction and fantasy, and contemporary books with diverse characters.
In nonfiction, she is looking for narrative nonfiction, especially history that’s impossible to put down, books on pop culture, theater, current events, women’s issues, and humor.
Caitie would love to see
  • A mystery featuring an investigative journalist. Think Rory Gilmore doing her dream job
  • Women’s fiction with millennials (THE ASSISTANTS)
  • Historical fiction from perspectives we usually do not see and untold stories (BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY)
  • Multi-POV told from different sibling perspectives. Characters that are lovable and flawed like the Bravermans
  • Adult and YA books that feature a child-free MC who doesn’t change her mind
  • LGBQT projects from all genres and age groups
  • YA SFF, please send me your epics. If it has huge battles, sweeping love stories, and twists and turns (THE CROWN’S GAME, ILLUMINAE)
  • Middle grade projects that have a voice that sounds like a kid, but also has beautiful writing (SOME KIND OF HAPPINESS, THE REAL BOY)
  • Any feminist projects, fiction or nonfiction, but the feminism needs to be intersectional
  • Complex, difficult girls/women as the main character (ALL THE RAGE), characters making decisions readers might not agree with
  • Narrative nonfiction looking at the impact pop culture can have on American culture at large, especially written by diverse voices.


Jennifer March Soloway, Andrea Brown
Jennifer represents authors and illustrators of picture book, middle grade, and YA stories, and is actively building her list. Although she specializes in children’s literature, she also represents adult fiction, both literary and commercial, particularly crime, suspense and horror projects.

For picture books, she is drawn to a wide range of stories from silly to sweet, but she always appreciates a strong dose of humor and some kind of surprise at the end. When it comes to middle grade, she likes all kinds of genres, including adventures, mysteries, spooky-but-not-too-scary ghost stories, humor, realistic contemporary and fantasy.

YA is Jennifer’s sweet spot. She is a suspense junkie. She adores action-packed thrillers full of unexpected twists. Throw in a dash of romance, and she’s hooked! She’s a sucker for conspiracy plots where anyone might be a double agent, even the kid next door. She is a huge fan of psychological horror that blurs the lines between the real and the imagined. But as much as she loves a good thriller, she finds her favorite novels are literary stories about ordinary teens, especially those focused on family, relationships, sexuality, mental illness, or addiction. In such stories, she is particularly drawn to a close, confiding first-person narrative. Regardless of genre, she is actively seeking fresh new voices and perspectives underrepresented in literature.
 
That’s her wish list, but the truth is an author might have something she has never considered before, and it might be absolutely perfect for her. She is open to any good story that is well written with a strong, authentic voice. Surprise her!

Melissa Jeglinski, The Knight Agency
A graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where she majored in English with a writing concentration, Melissa began her career as an editor with Harlequin Enterprises. Looking to work with a variety of authors and genres, she joined The Knight Agency in 2008. 

With over two decades experience in the publishing industry, Melissa has fostered her clients to National prominence including a recent Newbery Honor. She is a member of RWA and AAR. Melissa is currently seeking projects in the following areas: Romance (contemporary, category, historical, inspirational), Women’s Fiction and Mystery.



Patrica Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency
Patricia Nelson joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. She represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, and is actively building her list.
In general, Patricia looks for stories that hook her with a unique plot, fantastic writing and complex characters that jump off the page. On the adult side, she is seeking women’s fiction both upmarket and commercial, historical fiction set in the 20th century, and compelling plot-driven literary fiction. She’s also looking for sexy, smart adult contemporary and historical single title romance. On the children’s side, Patricia is open to a wide range of genres of YA and MG, with particular interest in contemporary/realistic, magical realism, mystery, science fiction and fantasy. She is interested in seeing diverse stories and characters, including LGBTQ, in all genres that she represents.
Patricia’s clients include RITA Award-winning and USA Today bestselling romance author Sarina Bowen (Rookie Move, Berkley/Penguin); women’s fiction authors Susan Bishop Crispell (The Secret Ingredient of Wishes, St. Martin’s Press) and Loretta Nyhan (All the Good Parts, Lake Union Publishing); young adult novelists Mary McCoy (Camp So-and-So, Lerner/Carolrhoda Lab), Axie Oh (Rebel Seoul, forthcoming from Tu Books) and Catherine Alene (The Sky Between You and Me, Sourcebooks); and middle grade novelists Kristi Wientge (Karma Khullar’s Mustache, forthcoming from Simon and Schuster Children’s), Hayley Chewins (The Turnaway Girls, forthcoming from Candlewick) and Margaret Dilloway (Momotaro: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters, Disney-Hyperion), among others.
Patricia is a member of SCBWI and RWA. She received her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in 2008, and also holds a master’s degree in English Literature from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in Gender Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the world of publishing, she spent four years as a university-level instructor of literature and writing.



Alisa Gus, Curiosity Quills
The loquacious female half of the dynamic duo at Whampa and Curiosity Quills. Part time writer, full time dreamer, pirate-in-training.

Alisa is looking for alternate history (i.e. Thomas Harlan's Shadow of Ararat or Ian Tregillis's The Mechanical), historical novels (Katie Teller's Kiya novels), upmarket action fantasy (NK Jamisin's The Fifth Season, and Nathan Croft's Homunculus and The Cat), and unique crossover YA (Libba Bray's The Diviners).

Additionally, she is interested in contemporary, sci/fantasy, and historical romance of any heat level, as well as romantic suspense (Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, Rebecca Strong's Where Is Mr. Plutin?, and JD Everly's Havelock). And of course, unique thriller suspense in any genre (sci-fi, paranormal, or contemporary) are all welcome!



Connor Goldsmith, Fuse Literary


Connor Goldsmith is an Agent at Fuse Literary. He began his career in publishing in 2012 at Lowenstein Associates, where he was promoted to Associate Agent in March 2013. He joined Fuse in early 2014 and was promoted to Agent in November 2015. Prior to transitioning into the world of books, he spent a year as a full-time intern and relief assistant in the commercial film and television department at Abrams Artists Agency.
Born and raised in New York, Connor lived for a brief stint in the Midwest studying English and the Classics at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is passionate about narrative fiction across all media as a vehicle for social progress, and received a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from The New School for Public Engagement.

Laurie McLean, Fuse Literary

Founding Partner Laurie McLean spent 20 years as the CEO of a publicity agency and 8 years as an agent and senior agent at Larsen Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco.
Following her stint as the CEO of a successful Silicon Valley public relations agency bearing her name, Laurie was able to switch gears in 2002 to immerse herself in writing. She penned three manuscripts before deciding that the life of a literary agent was her destiny. Laurie has been writing professionally since high school–first as a journalist, then as a public relations agent, finally as a novelist. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the State University of New York and a Master’s Degree at Syracuse University’s prestigious Newhouse School of Journalism.
At Fuse Literary, Laurie specializes in adult genre fiction (romance, fantasy, science fiction, mystery, thrillers, suspense, horror, etc.) plus middle-grade and young adult children’s books. She does not handle non-fiction, or commercial, literary or women’s fiction, nor does she handle children’s picture books or graphic novels.
Laurie’s clients include the New York Times and USA Today bestselling YA author Julie Kagawa, bestselling proper romance author Julianne Donaldson, award-winning steampunk and fantasy author Pip Ballantine, and the award-winning Linda Wisdom, who has had more than 100 romance novels published in her career.



Carlisle Webber, Fuse Literary
Carlisle Webber refused to major in English in college because she didn’t think there was anything fun to read on the required lists. No Stephen King? No R.L. Stine? No thanks!
After college, she took her love of commercial, YA, and middle grade fiction to the University of Pittsburgh School of Information Sciences, where she earned a Master of Library and Information Sciences. She worked as a public librarian for years before deciding to move to the business side of publishing. She attended the Columbia Publishing Course, interned at Writers House, and worked at the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York City.
She considers herself to be an editorial agent and has industry experience as a copy editor for Yen Press, a division of Hachette Book Group, and the health and parenting website Spright.com. She belongs to the American Copy Editors Society and Bay Area Editors’ Forum and holds a Professional Certificate in Editing from University of California, Berkeley. When editing, she aims to make a book the best possible version of itself, shaping it in a way so it can best use its unique voice to appeal to a wide audience.

Jennifer Willis, The Seymour Agency
Jennifer has five years’ experience in some of the publishing industry’s leading literary agencies.  She worked with publishers around the world as an assistant in Trident Media Group’s huge foreign rights department, and with domestic publishers as an assistant at Writers House (where, incidentally, she began her career as an intern).  

She joined the Seymour Agency in April 2016, where she has quickly moved up the ranks to Associate Agent.  Jennifer has always loved helping fledgling authors become NYT bestsellers and she’s ready to be a relentless champion for her own clients’ work.  You can find her @WillsWork4Books on Twitter.
 
Jennifer is particularly interested in a wide range of picture books and cookbooks, with a soft spot for author/illustrators of sweet and wacky picture books, and cookbooks with mouth-watering recipes of the health conscious, budget friendly or celebrity chef variety.  For fiction, she’s also interested in middle grade and YA with a sci fi/fantasy, horror/suspense, or contemporary bent, and upmarket women’s fiction with a sense of humor. On the nonfiction side, narrative nonfiction and memoir are also welcome.  If your manuscript has a great hook, a distinct voice, and can make her laugh out loud or ugly cry (or, even better, both), she’d love to see it.

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