Cathie Hedrick-Armstrong

The Purcell Agency, LLC

My Manuscript Wish List®

About Me:

I’m an Oklahoma native transplanted in Minnesota. I’m a graduate of the University of Oklahoma where I received my B.A. in Journalism with a minor in History in 1992, and I am (appropriately) a rabid fan of OU Sooners Football.

I am a member of the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA) and am also a traditionally published author. My personal titles include the young adult novel, Roam, and the women’s fiction title, The Edge of Nowhere, both under the pen name of C.H. Armstrong.

When deciding on a new client, I look for a manuscript that catches my attention within the first few pages. If you can evoke an emotional response in the opening pages—make me laugh out loud, cause my pulse to race, make me cry—you’ve got a winner.

I am never interested in the following:

  • Science Fiction
  • Stories including sexual assault unless there’s an absolute “need” for inclusion in the story.
  • Picture Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Short Stories
  • Novels in Verse (Love them, but there are much better agents for them!)


What I’m Looking for :

Young Adult
Please note: I’m only seeking YA manuscripts in the following categories:

  • Mystery
  • Thrillers/Suspense
  • Horror
  • Unreliable Narrators
  • Fantasy (I have a strong preference for simple magic systems and without a lot of world building)


  • Contemporary Romance (RomComs especially–I can’t get enough!)
  • Thrillers/Suspense
  • Locked Room Mystery
  • Unreliable Narrators
  • Romantasy

For any genre, I’m especially interested in stories by and about Native American creators. Additionally, I’m actively looking to represent authors from traditionally marginalized cultures,  backgrounds, and experiences (i.e. BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and non-neurotypical authors).

In the Romance Genre, I’m a sucker for “enemies to lovers” — NOT where the male protagonist is an alpha a-hole, but those where misunderstandings breed false assumptions like in The Love Hypothesis. I also love secret romances, best friends to lovers, and forced proximity. Truly, so long as there’s consent, there’s probably not a romance out there I don’t love.

  • Romance Heat Levels: Behind closed doors or with the door wide open, I’m good with both. However, the story must hold together with or without the on-page sex. If you’ve written a romance that is only sex with no real relationship or connection between the characters, it’s not for me. The on-page sex, regardless of heat level, should enhance the overall story and make the reader more more engaged and root for the characters. Sex scenes strictly for voyeuristic purposes is not a good fit for me.

In the Mystery Genre, I can’t get enough of locked room stories–those where someone in the room must be the culprit, but you don’t know who. I’m also a sucker for an unreliable narrator like in E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars.

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  • Though I don’t mind the occasional DM contact to ask questions, please follow my submission guidelines for all queries.
  • All queries sent to my email are immediately deleted without reading and without a reply to the sender.

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  • Adult: Mary Kubica, Heather Gudenkauf, Joshilyn Jackson, Lisa Scottline, Cathy Lamb, B.A. Paris, Ruth Ware, James Patterson, William Bernhardt, James Patterson, Nelson Demille, Brad Meltze, Talia Hibbert, Helen Hoang, Colleen Hoover, Christina Lauren, Tessa Dare, Alyssa Cole, Courtney Milan, Rachel Van Dyken, Lyssa Kay Adams, Jen DeLuca, Kate Morton, Evie Dunmore, Elena Armaas, Ali Hazelwood, Kelly Cain, Sarah J. Maas, Amanda Linsmeier…(I could go on and on!)
  • Young Adult: E. Lockhart, Justin Reynolds, Rachel Lynn Solomon, John Green, Rainbow Rowell, Angie Thomas, Dana L. Davis, Nikki Barthelmess, Jenny Han, Tiffany D. Jackson, Nic Stone, Nicola Yoon, Sarah Dessen, Gayle Foreman, Karen M. McMcManus, Sandy Menon

Please note that my response time can vary, but it is rarely very fast as my current clients are my priority. With that said, I respond to every single query and full manuscript submission. If you have not heard from me within 90 days and are concerned you’ve fallen through the cracks, please feel free to nudge.

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All emails sent to my email address are deleted without an answer sent. No exceptions.

At this time, I expect to reopen to queries around the first week or two of May.
When I’m open to queries, the following link will be open:



All good queries should include the Title, Genre, Word Count and a 2-4 paragraph BRIEF Synopsis of your manuscript. Think of it like the back cover of your book. It should include the following 5 elements:

  1. Who is your main character?
  2. What does your main character want?
  3. What or who is standing in your main character’s way of getting what they want?
  4. What must your main character overcome to get what they want?
  5. What are the consequences of reaching for that goal? What might they gain or lose. **NOTE: this is called the stakes of your story. Without the stakes, your query is incomplete**



  • An incomplete query. I must know what the story is about or I have no incentive to read. (See the 5 elements above)
  • A query that drones on and on for multiple paragraphs and doesn’t get to the point. Your brief synopsis should be roughly 250 words and hit the 5 elements listed above. Get to the point–there’s no need to list every action the character takes.
  • A manuscript that is far too long or far too short for the genre. For more information, a quick Google search for “manuscript word count by genre” will give you a rough estimate. This is only a guideline, but it’ll get you in the right ballpark. So if, for example, the guideline for the romance genre is 70-90K words, you’re pretty safe with me at 55-95K. But if I get, for example, a Romance submission at 35K or 135K, you can be pretty confident it’ll be a pass for me.
  • Bad or “loose” writing. I’m looking for a manuscript that needs minimal editorial help. While I can help with edits and often do, editing can be time-intensive and it takes time away from my other clients. So before submitting, make sure you’ve edited, edited, and edited again. Get a couple of good critique partners who aren’t afraid to give you honest feedback. Below is a link to an editing document I created for my clients before going submission. I strongly suggest you look through this document before sending me a query as I tend to be a stickler for a few things.

Cathie’s Editing Tips (Document)

Above and beyond everything else, have fun and good luck! Remember that a pass from an agent or editor DOES NOT mean your work is bad or that nobody will ever like it. It simply means that what you’ve written is not a good fit for that person. Most querying authors receive upwards of a hundred passes before finding an agent. Let me repeat that in a different way: you may receive a hundred or more passes before finally finding an agent. That’s completely normal, so don’t allow it to make you feel defeated!

Fun facts about me:

I’ve been married for almost 32 years and have a grown daughter, a son-in-law, a college-age son, and the world’s most amazing Lab/Plott Hound-mix named Koda. In addition to agenting, I’m also a traditionally published author, which means I “get” the agony of the querying process and always try to be constructive when sending rejections to authors.

My Approach to the Agent-Client Relationship:

Before I sign every author, we have a “heart to heart” conversation about the importance of communication. For me, the open lines of communication are the most important aspect of any relationship, and an agent-client relationship must have this key component to be successful. My clients will always be able to count on me for honesty–sometimes painful, but always done with as much kindness as possible–and I absolutely require the same, asking that they never hold back their thoughts or concerns. I must understand fully what their concerns are in order to address them, and a straight-forward, honest approach is always the best way to resolve issues or conflict, if any arise. We are partners in this journey, and partners must communicate effectively to be successful.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

I am currently closed to submissions, but plan to reopen in early May 2024. When submitting your query, please use the Query Manager link and complete all sections. Any and all submissions sent to my email account will be deleted without reading and no response will be sent to the author.



Write Angles Conference 2024
April 4, 2024

MN Writing Workshop 2024
April 6, 2024
St. Paul, MN

Oklahoma Writers’ Federation Inc. Writers’ Conference
May 3-5, 2024
Oklahoma City, OK

Ohio Writing Workshop (Online)
May 10-11, 2024

Novel in Progress Boot Camp
June 16-22, 2024
Racine, Wisconsin

WriterCon 2024
August 30-September 2, 2024
Oklahoma City, OK

Writing Away Workshop (Online)
September 14-15, 2024

2024 Colorado Gold Writers’ Conference
September 27-29, 2024
Denver, CO

2024 Wisconsin Writers’ Association Conference
October 25-26, 2024
LaCrosse, WI

Guidelines & Details