Donald Maass Literary Agency
My Manuscript Wish List®
Newly minted Assistant Literary Agent at Donald Maass Literary Agency. I represent both YA across genres and Adult Fantasy, romance, and domestic suspense.
Young Adult Interests:
I am particularly interested in YA Contemporary that has main characters that aren’t your typical good students with black and white morals. For the foreseeable future, I am open to select low/high Fantasy (not-western/European based) and Sci-fi – more so stories that are grounded in a real world setting ie: Black Mirror. I am HUNGRY for queer and POC voices, especially if the narrative is as much driven by the main character(s) as by a high-concept plot. Think THUG, ONE OF US IS LYING, EMERGENCY CONTACT. Fantasy: THE WICKED DEEP, FOREST OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS, and CINDERELLA IS DEAD.
I am looking for queer gang ensemble casts in any YA genre/sub-genre that kick ass physically, mentally, at the arcade or in a high-stakes heist. Some of my favorite badass teams right now are in The Flash, Wynona Earp, The Craft (obviously), The Diviners by Libba Bray, Feral Youth edited by Shaun David Hutchinson. They all have their strengths, weaknesses, and quirks and each are wholly unique in their own ways. Also, COVENS.
I’m looking for an achingly bittersweet queer love story with thriller or genre spin like FAR FROM YOU and THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END. I want my heart broken with all things dark and twisty.
Give me the girls with skinned knees and boys weak with jealousy and queer kids who couldn’t be good if they tried. All the gray morality and friendships they would kill to keep. Nothing cookie-cutter for me! A ROOM AWAY FROM WOLVES and SADIE are good examples of heroines I love.
Horror! I would kill for an atmospheric horror story. I grew up with the genre and would love a character driven horror with deep, personal stakes right now.
What I am NOT LOOKING FOR:
While I love musicals and fandom, I am not the agent for stories based in those communities or settings.
Not into historical fiction that deals with racism in small towns. Or contemporary fiction that deals with racism in small towns.
Not looking for Girl Saves The World stories; I’m much more drawn to more personal/selfish stakes rather than big, save the world arcs…
No standard coming out stories; I want queer kids living their life discovering themselves and exploring their indentity in broader ways than the traditional Coming Out narrative.
Adult SFF: Think Nicky Drayden. I love love love fantasy and science fiction grounded in real world settings. A great television comp for that is Wynonna Earp or Penny Dreadful. I am obsessed with whipsmart and ballsy characters, and, of course, the darker the better.
Adult Domestic Suspense: THE GIRL BEFORE (Rena Olsen). I love exploring the way women are crafted through the trials of their childhood, particularly if that childhood involved being kidnapped into a human trafficking organization that raises little girls to be sold to men like Olsen’s novel. I would love a good cult book like this or a dark generational family story – omg! A good fantasy story could blend both! I would kill for a domestic suspense fantasy…
I want something outside of the set standard of the genre, right now. I’m not the agent for child barren women driven to murder/stalking/insanity that drives them to ruin someone else’s life. I’m not into suburban set stories. Take this genre out of white middle class neighborhoods!
Please note: I do NOT represent crime thrillers or military fiction, nor am I interested in stories of that nature.
Adult romance: For contemporary, I am DIE HARD fans of Alisha Rai and Rebekah Weatherspoon. They are the greatest models for what I’m looking for in the genre. I am dying for a book that reads right out of 2015-now – heroines that could be straight out of Broad City or Insecure. Please give me f/f – I’m not going to act like it’s easy to sell, but I’ll fight like fuck for you and your book. I also really loved THE KISS QUOTIENT by Helen Hoang and STRIPPED by Zoraida Cordova!
My interest in historical is very specific: I love regency circa classic Jo Beverly’s The Company of Rogues. Currently, I’m loving Megan Frampton! Again, I would literally die for f/f period stories…Regency lesbians would be EVERYTHING!! Basically, I love storylines where one of the main characters is staunchly rebellious or shuns propriety and seduces the prim one into shirking them, too…
I want to get black women and women of color up in historical as well. Alyssa Cole does it masterfully in her Loyal League series! Reminder: women of color existed throughout history and you don’t need to come up with an elaborate conspiracy to include them in your historical romances!
Always, I would love genre bending romance – romance that takes our lovers into thrilling dangers or a romp filled journey! Here, we can go darker as well. I adore how Shannon McKenna blends romance and dark storylines.
Adult Horror!! I always forget to mention this, but horror was my first love and I adore being scared. I’m looking for less body horror and more haunting realities that effect your relationships with family and loved ones circa The Haunting of Hill House and Bird Box. Intimate stakes, with atmospheric worlds.
Fun facts about me:
I was a park ranger for the High Line for two seasons.
I did an urban forestry Americorps service in NoCal.
I died as a character in Shane Kuhn’s HOSTILE TAKEOVER.
I cry a lot watching TV/reading books even when it’s not sad. And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, and all things twisted murder.
Lil Kim told my dad I was beautiful.
Submissions should be emailed to https://QueryManager.com/KianaNguyen
Please provide a query and the first 10 pages of your manuscript with “Query: TITLE” in the subject line.