Personal, Political, Published: Finding Agents For Important, Sensitive Topics with Annie Cardi

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CONTENT WARNING: Mentions of abortion, grooming, assault.

Annie Cardi’s new book, Red, is a very modern take on The Scarlet Letter. Today, Annie joins Jessica and Julie to discuss the importance of tough topics in YA novels, how to create “quiet” books that pack a punch, and writing advice for new authors.

Transcript here:

We discuss:
Teaching teens relationship red flags
Fiction as a safe space for difficult conversations
The power of supportive community
Being a good literary citizen
Finding the right agent for you-even if it means making tough choices

Annie Cardi is the author of young adult novels. Her first book, The Chance You Won’t Return, received starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly, and was named a Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year for 2015. She has an MFA from Emerson College, and she currently lives with her family and dog in the Boston area. Learn more about Annie here:


Annie Cardi’s writing process and journey to finding an agent (00:01:07)

Differences between first and second book publication (00:03:59)

Reading of the first page and foreshadowing (00:07:30)

Character development and relationships (00:13:26)

Navigating sensitive topics in the publishing industry (00:16:01)

Creating tension and emotional range in the story (00:18:13)

Creating a quiet book with commercial appeal (00:22:55)

Content warnings and their importance (00:27:26)

Using storytelling to educate about manipulation and red flags (00:32:05)

Navigating agent relationships (00:48:46)

Community support (00:52:16)

Being a good literary citizen (00:57:57)