I’d like the next…
Currently thirsty for:
- Hearty novels full of joy, bringing an uplifting reading experience while still engaging substantive issues of contemporary life with honesty and nuance.
- Would love to find really moving book club fiction exploring a big sibling family with complexity and drama. Brothers & Sisters was been a quarantine binge of mine: Give me Brothers & Sisters drama with Ann Patchett’s thoughtful elegance and/or LUSTER’s whip-sharp darkly funny honesty.
- Unexpected, elevated love stories.
The key to fiction, for me, is VOICE and STAKES! While I prioritize craft and am quite editorial, I value propulsive storytelling over artful reflection. I’m looking for that can’t put it down effect when I read your sample pages. My taste is the nebulous upmarket: not super literary, not super commercial, just right. Craft meets plot and makes a perfect porridge. Things I am eager for include:
- Juicy, hearty, smart-but-not-precious women’s fiction telling a story **outside** suburban white ladies or malaise-bound 20 somethings in NY and LA. Love to see career be truly meaningful in the character’s journey like THE HERD and THE OTHER BLACK GIRL (though those both lean suspensey). Would love to see new relationships explored other than spouses, mothers, childhood besties.
- Rich, thoughtful book club fiction like ASK AGAIN YES by Mary Beth Keane, TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM by Yaa Gyasi, Leesa Cross-Smith, Kamila Shamsie
- Smart vacation fiction that explores career, friendships, not just love and romance. I also love a sense of humor with poignancy, like Katherine Center’s delightful books, or the sensationally fun QUEENIE.
- Suspense fiction with a fresh angle on the tropes we love. Especially excited to find underrepresented protagonists and settings we aren’t used to – no more bitter hard-drinking ex-cops who can’t trust anyone, please, or angry upper class wives poking into suspicious husbands and vice versa. Love suspense where setting is a vivid character as in Jane Harper and Attica Locke’s novels. And where character invests, absorbs the reader alongside the plot, like Ann Cleeves and Tana French. Not super into PIs or LEOs these days–I’d rather see a character get pulled into an investigation because of the vantage point their profession offers them on other people’s lives, habits, motivations. Also not super into psychologists as the peekers-into other lives, that’s been very done.
I occasionally fall for a speculative element, if it’s quite grounded – such as Kevin Wilson’s NOTHING TO SEE HERE – but in general SFF and otherworldly, supernatural, or fantasy elements in fiction are not for me. Same goes for dystopian.
Other Not for Mes (never say never but these elements tend to be No)
- Currently not seeking historical fiction
- Currently burnt out on WF with a mother-daughter basis or focused entirely on marital woes
- Paranormal/supernatural explanations for mysteries
- Dreams, mental institutions in suspense
- Substance abuse to create an unreliable narrator
- Sexual violence as origin story or victimology (especially tired of suspense that opens with prologue detailing a woman getting the sh*t beat out of her)
- Espionage/international thriller plots built on Islamic terrorism/suspicion thereof as the enemy
- Military/political thrillers aren’t my thing, especially not if they’re ripped from headlines past or present
I am eager for voicey nonfiction and often respond strongly to reportage with an engrossing personal element. But at this time I am not seeking memoir unless you have that trifecta of incredible writing chops, a one-of-a-kind experience, and an extremely strong platform.
- Compelling narrative nonfiction – fierce reporting or an expert who’s an irresistible storyteller. Journalists especially welcome! Think JUST MERCY, AMERICAN WOLF, I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK.
- Emerging voices with a growing platform speaking to the current issues most important to us, from pop culture to feminism to sports to faith. Morgan Jerkins and Rachel Syme are examples of the kinds of voices I’d love to work with.
- Engaging, voice-driven practical nonfiction with a fresh approach to solving a pain point in our daily lives, whether concrete or relational. A la The Home Edit, Jessamyn Stanley. Podcast or Instagram voices especially welcome in this space–personality is key.
- Nonfiction topics I’m especially eager for a smart, platform-based voice on: grief (especially outside the normal trio of spouses, parents, children); friendship (friendship in your 30s, friendship in your 40s, friendship as a substantive life partnership; friendship in groups); MLMs (bonus points if you explore the intersection of MLMs and evangelicalism); chosen childlessness and pouring into other people’s children (looking for my Big Idea AUNT book!!).
In any of the above categories, I’d especially welcome submissions from marginalized writers telling stories (true or imagined) about societies, struggles, situations I haven’t experienced, whether that’s in cultures elsewhere on the globe or right in my neighborhood.
CATEGORIES I AM NOT ACTIVELY SEEKING (never say never but these elements tend to be No for me)
- Memoir w/out platform
- Isn’t [Politician] the Worst manifestos or Here’s Why [Politician] is Actually Okay manifestos
- Children’s categories (picture books, MG, YA)
- Pandemic novels
My favorites include…
TV: Schitt’s Creek, Criminal Minds, Beachfront Bargain Hunt, any BBC crime drama, Frasier, Selling Sunset, Derry Girls
MOVIES: San Andreas, You’ve Got Mail, The Family Stone, White House Down, Something’s Gotta Give, Hobbs & Shaw, Dan in Real Life, Steel Magnolias.
MUSIC: Brandi Carlile, One Direction, basically any Les Mis recording, Harry Styles, Pitbull, Kelly Clarkson, Niall, The Piano Guys, Louis Tomlinson, Jonas Brothers, Lewis Capaldi, Only the Poets, Celine Dion
PODCASTS: Dolly Parton’s America, In the Dark, The Popcast, How Did This Get Made, The Read, BBC Radio One’s Breakfast with Greg James
CLASSICS: Les Mis, The Great Gatsby, The Secret History, Let the Great World Spin, I Capture the Castle