Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency

Nephele Tempest is a literary agent with The Knight Agency.

Nephele joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles-area office. As an agent, she loves to help her clients hone their skills and build their careers. Nephele initially worked on the editorial side of the publishing business before leaving to try other industries, including sales and finance. She spent a number of years at several major New York investment firms, first as a financial advisor and later a marketing and communications writer. This broad experience provided her with insight into multiple aspects of the publishing industry. Nephele continues to actively build her client list and looks for fiction with both strong, well-developed characters and a story that pulls her in and won’t let go.

I’m currently seeking submissions in the following genres: women’s contemporary or historical fiction; contemporary or historical single-title romance; adult real-world or secondary-world fantasy; adult science fiction.

In all categories/genres, I am looking for stories featuring:

  • Underrepresented characters/diverse POVs, whether by gender, race, sexual orientation, etc.
  • #ownvoices stories
  • Found families
  • Strong sibling relationships, especially sisters or large families
  • Excellent world building
  • Fish-out-of-water stories
  • “New” settings, places that have not been overdone
  • Strong writing/prose, distinctive voices, new twists on familiar tropes, and/or high concepts
  • Strong hooks
  • Smart characters who demonstrate blind spots/flaws/their humanity

Specifically, I’d love to find any of the following:

  • High-concept/breakout romance with a strong secondary narrative in addition to the HEA, especially rom-coms or something with a lighthearted thread. (Featuring diverse couples of all types.)
  • Women’s fiction that features a long-time female friendship or close-knit sisters; would love a travel/road-trip novel, but no Thelma-and-Louise endings.
  • A heroine looking at a slow/late career start/finding themselves in mid-30s to late-40s/reinventing themselves.
  • Unconventional/self-made/entrepreneurial heroines.
  • Fresh, creative re-imaginings of classics.
  • Dual/multiple timelines.
  • Magic or magical realism, especially non-Western.
  • Historical fiction set between the early-nineteenth and mid-twentieth centuries, especially that does not focus on WW2 directly.
  • Historical fiction with a literary tie-in.
  • Literary-leaning witch novel: women’s fiction/historical/fantasy, especially something set in modern-day Salem.

Favorite recent(-ish) reads include RED, WHITE, AND ROYAL BLUE by Casey McQuiston, THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB series by Lyssa Kay Adams, LOVE LETTERING by Kate Clayborn, BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall, PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev, HAMNET by Maggie O’Farrell, THE IMMORTALISTS by Chloe Benjamin, NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo, THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow, REPUTATION by Lex Croucher, Themis Files series (SLEEPING GIANTS, WAKING GODS, and ONLY HUMAN) by Sylvain Neuvel, WRITERS AND LOVERS by Lily King, and THE DINNER LIST by Rebecca Serle.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Laura Stone of Blue Ridge Literary Agency

Laura Stone is a literary agent with Blue Ridge Literary Agency.

After spending more than twenty years as an editor, Laura Stone joins Blue Ridge Literary Agency. She began her career as a freelance editor, eventually working with Entangled Publishing as a senior editor, working as the managing editor of The Manning Times, and integrating mentoring and coaching into her business.

Laura fell in love with words and story weaving when her parents and grandparents not only read to her constantly but also made up their own stories to pique her imagination. She began reading on her own by five years old and wrote her own stories by the time she was six. Now, as an accomplished editor, mentor, coach, and published author, Laura is eager to help other writers achieve their publishing dreams.

In her spare time, Laura reads, writes her own novels, beads, crochets, cross-stitches, and spends time with her husband and four rescue dogs.

Her wish list:

ROMANCE: Amish, Contemporary, Regency, Suspense, Historical (NOT looking for: Science fiction romance, fantasy romance, paranormal romance)

MYSTERY/CRIME: Cozy, Detective, Whodunit , Gentleman Thief, Legal Thrillers, Capers/Heist, Private Investigator, and Historical (NOT looking for: Serial killers, Noir, Hardboiled, Police procedurals, Paranormal)

ACTION/ADVENTURE/THRILLER: Spy/espionage thrillers, Artifact (religious, alien, historical), Alien encounters/invasions, Natural disaster (NOT looking for: Military action/adventure, Mafia/Mob, Terrorist, Political, Epidemic, Psychological, Techno-thriller)

FANTASY: Dystopian, Post-apocalyptic, Epic, Heroic, Magical realism (NOT looking for: Fairy tales, Urban/contemporary fantasy, Vampires, Shapeshifters, Demons, Dark fantasy/horror, Science fantasy)

YOUNG ADULT: Post-apocalyptic, Dystopian, Fantasy (NOT looking for: Contemporary, Romance [unless romantic elements are subplots of types looking for above], Coming of age, Vampires/shapeshifters/ angels/demons, Suicide themes)

MIDDLE GRADE: Fantasy, Humor, Mystery, Action/Adventure (NOT looking for: Urban/contemporary, Suicide themes)

OVERALL NOT looking for: Religious fiction, Horror, Western, Erotica, Romantica, Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Children’s Picture Books, First Readers, Graphic Novels/Comics, Women’s Fiction, Literary Fiction, Nonfiction, Present Tense