The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency
My Manuscript Wish List®
As a young agent, I’m hungry to get my hands on a lot of different books. Above all, I’m interested in character-driven novels that are lyrical and give me a book-hangover.
I’m particularly interested in historical fiction in the vein of Kate Atkinson, Kate Morton and Susanna Kearsley. I enjoy past/present narratives and dual POVs. Generally, I’m looking for historical fiction set after the 18th century, with a particular love of anything set in the UK, Ireland, Russia, (or a dark and stormy coast). I’m a bit tired of brilliant women who want to escape the torment of high society. I’d rather see brilliant women who love high society and want to use it to their advantage, à Lady Mary Crawley of Downton Abbey.
I love books with morally ambiguous plots and unlikeable protagonists in the vein of Amy Dunne and Emma Woodhouse. I recently read The Beloveds by Maureen Lindley and was kept up all night by the sheer brilliance/crazy evil of the main character. That said, while I like books with unlikeable/unreliable main characters, I don’t want anything with sadism/brutality/torture.
I love books with grumpy characters like The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen and My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry. I love the dark humor of these books, and in particular, loved the perspective of an older POV like Hendrik Groen.
I enjoy gorgeously written literary and upmarket fiction, but I want it to have a commercial hook. The prose needs to sweep me away, but the plot should be strong as well.
Please send me historical fantasy/speculative fiction like Circe, The Snow Child, Life After Life and A Secret History of Witches. These are some of my favorite books in the world and I’m dying for more. That said, I am not a good fit for epic fantasy.
I recently read I’m Telling the Truth But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi… and after I finished it I just stared at the ceiling for a while. I’ve never read such a brilliant and unflinching look into mental health. It was like reading a hurricane. I’d love to find more work like this, either fiction or non-fiction that looks at mental health and how it affects and changes us.
I’m not looking for any of the following: romance, erotica, epic fantasy, SF, YA, MG, picture books, short stories, screenplays, or poetry collections
Fun facts about me:
I joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2020, after interning for nearly three years at several top literary agencies, including P.S. Literary Agency and Folio Literary Management. When not working, I run, drink coffee, and travel widely. My favorite places to read across the globe are Île Saint-Louis in Paris, Pacific Grove, CA, and Portmagee, Ireland. In reality, though, I spends most of my free time shuffling my towering stacks of books around so they don’t kill me or my husband.
Submissions should be emailed to http://queryme.online/Mbarnard
I accept queries at my QueryManager: http://QueryMe.Online/Mbarnard. For fiction, submit your query and your first five pages. For nonfiction, submit your query and proposal. Any emailed queries will be deleted unread. I try to respond to all queries within 6 weeks, and requests within 3 months.