Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jennifer Mattson of Andrea Brown Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 1.27.39 PM.pngJennifer Mattson is a literary agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency. She represents children’s books — picture books, middle grade, and young adult.

Jennifer’s background in children’s book publishing includes five years reviewing children’s literature at Booklist magazine, and five years as an editor at Dutton Children’s Books.

In the picture book arena, Jennifer is interested in authors, illustrators, and author-illustrators who bring a distinctive, well-developed point of view to their work.

She is particularly drawn to fiction in middle grade and YA, especially richly imagined fantasies that depart from typical quests. (Portals entered by protagonists who fulfill prophecies don’t tend to be for her.) The most dogeared books in her childhood library tended to be fantasy adventures, survival stories, and sprawling, atmospheric tales with Dickensian twists and satisfying puzzles. She gravitates to all of the above, but contemporary realistic fiction can work for her too, especially if it’s voice-driven and carefully structured.

Fiction that Jennifer represents includes Jenny Meyerhoff’s comic middle grade series, The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger (FSG/Macmillan); and Kate Hannigan’s sweet chapter book series, Cupcake Cousins (Disney*Hyperion), and her historical middle grade novel, THE DETECTIVE’S ASSISTANT (Little, Brown/Hachette), which won the 2016 Golden Kite Award for Middle Grade Fiction, received two starred reviews, was a Booklist Editor’s Choice, and appeared on the 2016 Amelia Bloomer List.

Picture books she represents include the first picture book by Grammy Award winning folk-roots musicians The Okee Dokee Brothers, CAN YOU CANOE AND OTHER ADVENTURE SONGS (Sterling); noted poet Linda Ashman’s lyrical ode to the rhythms of the natural world, ALL WE KNOW (HarperCollins), and her nearly wordless celebration of optimism, RAIN! (Houghton/HMH); and Kim Norman’s three Arctic Companion books that cleverly spin off favorite preschool songs, TEN ON THE SLED, IF IT’S SNOWY AND YOU KNOW IT, and SHE’LL BE COMIN’ UP THE MOUNTAIN (all Sterling).

Artists she represents include Geisel Honor winning author-illustrator Paul Meisel, who has illustrated or written a total of more than 70 books for young readers; J.R. Krause, author-illustrator of two picture books featuring a bilingual inventor mouse, POCO LOCO and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, POCO LOCO! (both Two Lions/Amazon); Ramon Olivera, debut author-illustrator of ABCS ON WINGS and ABCS ON WHEELS (both Little Simon/S&S); Liz Starin, debut author-illustrator of SPLASHDANCE (FSG/Macmillan), a Junior Library Guild selection and a PW Best Summer Book of 2016; and former Google doodler Katy Wu, illustrator of several new picture book biographies, including Laurie Wallmark’s GRACE HOPPER: QUEEN OF COMPUTER CODE (Sterling) and Carrie Clickard’s DUMPLING DREAMS (Paula Wiseman/S&S).

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Joanna Mackenzie of Nelson Literary

Screen Shot 2018-11-26 at 11.20.29 AM.pngJoanna Mackenzie is a literary agent with Nelson Literary.

She is seeking: “I’m looking for the epic read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart. In particular, I’m drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers – both, ideally, with a little edge. I have a weird obsession with, what I call, ‘child in jeopardy lit’ and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines. On the YA side, I’m interested in coming-of-age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about.”

“I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s Cradle, Wuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday. In 2002, I got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency and while there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels. I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers they build. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attedance: Sarah Louise Gorman of Cyle Young Literary Elite

Screen Shot 2018-11-17 at 10.22.28 AM.pngSarah Louise Gorman is currently a script/literary with literary agency Cyle Young Literary Elite.

At C.Y.L.E., she is the resident screenwriting specialist and deals with all the agency’s screenplays and TV pilots. She also manages the screenwriting-focused client submissions, client relationships, networking, and pitching. Sarah takes screenwriting pitches and, occasionally, novel pitches. The only novels she’s interested in is middle grade novels (any type).

Sarah is an award-winning novelist, screenwriter, and writing student, studying professional writing and screenwriting through Taylor University, the Los Angeles Film Studies Center, and UCLA. Winner of eight Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Sarah has won recognition for novels, flash fiction, short stories, essays, poems, drabbles, and portfolio work. Most recently, she received the Brimstone Fiction Editor’s Choice Award for her novel Iniquity and 3rd place in the Jerry B. Jenkins Short Story Contest.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Emily Clark Victorson of Allium Press

Screen Shot 2017-01-06 at 12.09.01 AM.pngEmily Clark Victorson is the co-founder and publisher of Allium Press of Chicago.

After receiving degrees from Oberlin College and the University of Michigan, Emily moved to the Chicago area, where she has lived for over twenty-five years. Prior to starting Allium Press, she worked as a librarian, historian, and book designer for such organizations as the Newberry Library, the Chicago History Museum, and History Works, Inc.

Allium Press was founded in 2009 as a small, independent press and
publishes literary fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, middle grade, and
young adult fiction — all with a Chicago connection.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Anna Michels of Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 12.21.06 AM.pngAnna Michels is an editor with Sourcebooks and Sourcebooks Landmark.

Fiction interests: Commercial literary fiction with interesting settings and a strong narrative voice (such as Burial Rites by Hannah Kent and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman); mystery (particularly cozy, historical, and crossover literary—think Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger), psychological suspense, and literary thriller.

Nonfiction interests: Memoir by writers who connect the events of their lives to readers through incredible storytelling; smart practical nonfiction with a unique hook and prescriptive elements; gift books with a strong hook and graphic elements (including humor and inspiration); history (narrative and quirky reference).

She is not seeking: Romance, YA, children’s books, or poetry.

Some favorite books and authors she didn’t publish: The complete works of David Foster Wallace, Donna Tartt, Ann Patchett, and Jane Hamilton. Wild by Cheryl Strayed, On Writing by Stephen King, Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Tina P. Schwartz of The Purcell Agency

Screen Shot 2017-11-27 at 11.47.30 PM.pngTina P. Schwartz is a literary agent and the founder of The Purcell Agency.

She seeks young adult fiction and women’s fiction. Within these two genres, she looks for contemporary/realistic stories, coming-of-age tales, sports tales, stories of family and friendship, and LGBTQ stories. She is also open to YA nonfiction.

Tina admits to being a reluctant reader as a child. In fact, she says she is still very picky when it comes to choosing a book, and isn’t afraid to judge one (at first) by its cover!
Ask her kids, and they won’t believe you! They’ll tell you her nose is constantly in a book, or staring at her Kindle Fire, her iPad mini, or even reading manuscripts on her phone! When not reading manuscripts, marketing website, social media, or industry blogs, you can find Schwartz on her laptop enjoying her own writing time.

Schwartz is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI).

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Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alexandra Weiss of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.35.49 AM.png[SOLD OUT OF PITCH APPOINTMENTS]

Alexandra Weiss is a literary agent with Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

Within young adult, the genres she is most interested in representing include realism, science fiction, and fantasy – but also stories that include magic (think The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern) are her favorite, as are stories that include space and science. She loves stories that include diverse and risk-taking subjects, including culture, race, sexuality, and identity.

She also seeks all types of adventurous, silly, and out-of-the-box children and middle grade books. Books with or without pictures intrigue her, and she is most interested in a character-driven story and big plot to explore.

Concerning adult fiction, she is looking for strong literary voices that take the notion that every story is a love story to new levels.  She seeks interested in complex relationship stories that surround something bigger. Alexandra is open to most adult genres, but heavy mystery, horror, or thriller stories are not for her. Books that are written in or include uses of uncommon formats (uses of letters, screenplay, photos, poetry, or collection of short stories or essays) is another unique quality she looks for.

Alexandra is a Books Writer for Bustle.com and PR Manager for a Chicago circus. She previously worked as an Acquisitions Editor for an award-winning anthology and holds a BFA in Creative Writing and Publishing from Columbia College Chicago.