Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kristen Terrette of Martin Literary Management

Kristen Terrette is a literary agent with Martin Literary Management.

Kristen is a literary manager excited to build her list featuring titles in middle grade, young adult, female-driven crime thrillers, faith-based books, and the occasional picture book with an author/illustrator.

She has a BA in Early Childhood Education and MA in Theology and Religious Studies which led her into children’s ministry for many years. Eventually, her lifelong love of books and authors drew her back to her original dream of entering the publishing world. Kristen is a multi-published author and freelance writer. She’s held such positions as the Blog Manager for a national women’s ministry and the Social Media Manager for a publishing house. All these components landed her a spot in the coveted Writers House Intern Program. There, she received valuable hands-on agenting and publishing experience which she brings into her new position. 

Kristen has long been a voice for diversity. She’s written extensively on topics of racial reconciliation and unity and is a facilitator of groups around these topics in her church. In all her focused genres, she welcomes books with BIPOC or disabled main characters and diverse friendships. She believes books change people in all the best ways and that every child should see themselves in the pages.

Middle Grade (All subgenres except Sci-fi): Kristen hearts Middle Grade. She would love to see books tackling themes like abandonment, bullying, loneliness, comparison, divorce, and body image but done so by instilling hope, growth, and healing. Send her the creepy, horrifying, supernatural, fantastical, historical, and contemporary. She is ready to see it all.

Young Adult (All subgenres except Sci-fi): Kristen’s background in writing YA and her extensive reading in this genre has given her a great love and understanding of it. Grab her attention within the first couple of pages. Send her books with first loves, unique friendships, interesting and/or challenging family dynamics, and hard-hitting subject matter (race relations, suicide, abuse, divorce, etc.) but leave her with a satisfying (not necessarily happy!) ending.

Women’s Crime Thriller: Kristen loves a good thriller with a woman main character, so send her the smart, tough, and brave lady crime solvers. If she can’t figure out what’s going to happen next or what the ending will be, you’ve gotten her attention. 

Faith-Based Fiction and Memoirs: Kristen loves a good redemption or forgiveness story, a historically accurate saga, a clean and beautiful, yet realistic love story, or a memoir that has her crying and laughing within the span of a few pages. Surprise her with the beauty of God’s grace. 

Picture Books with Authors/Illustrators: Picture books are an important part of establishing a love for literature at an early age, though, at this time, Kristen is only looking for authors who are also illustrators. If your work fits these criteria, she’d love to see it.

Kristen is not a good fit for Science Fiction (even in MG or YA), books with any political agenda, extremely foul-mouthed characters, or gratuitous sex scenes.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance Anjanette Barr of Dunham Literary

Anjanette Barr is a Literary Agent at Dunham Literary, Inc. She has been working in various branches of the writing and publishing world for over a decade, and being an agent is the perfect way to synthesize her interests and talents.

She spent the pandemic earning a certificate in Literary Representation from UCLA Extension. She also holds a B.A. in Japanese Studies from William Jewell College.

Anjanette lives with her family of six in Juneau, Alaska.

Member:

– Association of American Literary Agents
– Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators
– Alaska Writers Guild
– Catholic Writers Guild

What she’s seeking:

Anjanette has an eclectic reading taste and a love for literature that “baptizes the imagination” (C.S. Lewis) and begs to be shared. She loves genre and popular fiction with substance, and literary and non-fiction titles infused with living ideas that leave readers with a new desire to immerse themselves in the subject matter.

This could look like an historical fiction that uses captivating detail and relatable characters to bring times-gone-by to life (My Antonia, Outlander), or it could be a SFF world that highlights virtues like empathy and self-sacrifice (Lord of the Rings, Song of Albion, The Sparrow). A romance set in a place so vivid she feels she’s traveled there and wants to take up the protagonists hobbies will definitely get her attention (The Winter Sea).

In nonfiction she is looking for well-researched biography (Unbroken) written in beautiful literary prose, popular science and other disciplines titles that make lay-people enchanted and invested in topics previously over their heads (The Elements by Theodore Grey, Freakonomics), and memoir with the ability to connect diverse readers (If You Lived Here I’d Know Your Name by Heather Lende). She’s also interested in books that shed light on poverty and justice in a new way (Evicted by Matthew Desmond).

She prefers picture books that are winsome and pleasant to read aloud (Blueberries for Sal, Brigid’s Cloak by Bryce Miligan, Miss Rumphius). Humor is great when it helps tell the story (The Book with No Pictures, Good Dog Carl).

Particular interests of Anjanette’s are the exploration of culture, history, faith, myth, fine arts, and nature. She has a soft spot for gothic novels (​Rebecca, Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield) and magical realism (The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey). As a mother of four, she’s is especially fond of books that can be read aloud and shared with the whole family (Children of the Longhouse, Anna Hibiscus, Gregor the Overlander).

Anjanette is not a good fit for: Horror (unless it’s gothic or quite mild), Erotica, True Crime, Sports, or Politics.

Get to Know an Editor in Attendance: Gabbi Calabrese of Sourcebooks

Gabbi Calabrese currently serves as an editorial assistant for Sourcebooks, where she works on books for kids of all ages. She received her MFA from The New School with a dual concentration in Fiction and Writing for Children and Young Adults.

Before joining Sourcebooks, she interned for a number of literary agencies, including Triada US and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. Currently living in NYC, when she isn’t reading or writing her own stories, she can be found cooking new recipes, watching competition shows, and planning her next Halloween costume.

She is seeking: I am interested in picture books, middle grade, and young adult fiction of all genres except historical fiction, as well as adult romance, thrillers, and horror. I would love to see work in the YA/adult crossover space as well as graphic novel pitches. I am particularly interested in books by marginalized voices.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Bonnie Swanson of The Purcell Agency

Bonnie Swanson is a literary agent with The Purcell Agency.

Bonnie is 20+ year elementary teacher. She shares her love of literature with her students and even tests out her own books on them. (And everyone thinks agents are tough!) Using her experience as a teacher, she has been a mentor for many authors through the WriteMentor program started by author Stuart White. Some of her mentees have gone on to publishing and best-selling success with their titles.

A short sample of her favorite authors are Dean Koontz, J.K. Rowling, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, S.A. Stovall, Suzanne Collins, Jen Mann, Danielle Paige, Christopher Paolini, Neal Schusterman, and Ally Condi. She’ll try just about anything, but romance is her true jam and the HEA (happily ever after) is a must! 

She is an active member of SCBWI and a co-rep for her local chapter. When she’s not teaching, reading, or spending time with her three kids & husband, she’s busy creating her own stories. You can also find her covered in fur and playing with her three cats Milo, Winter and, Mira—when they tell her to. She is seeking:

PICTURE BOOKS: not looking for any PBs right now

Young adult & new adult: Issue driven, romance (anything but erotica), speculative fiction, magical realism, paranormal, rom-com, suspense, mystery. (If it’s not on this list and you think I’d like it, pitch it!)

ADULT: Romance, Speculative Fiction/Suspense (think Dean Koontz), Humor (combine all three and now we’re talking!)

Always accepting LGBTQ, #ownvoices, and BIPOC

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary

Maria Vicente is a senior literary agent at P.S. Literary Agency.

Maria represents bold and innovative books for kids, teens, and curious adults. Her favorite books to work on show readers something new about the real world or invite them into new worlds they never want to leave.

In her 8 years at PSLA, Maria has launched the careers of many authors and illustrators and is known for being an early advocate of the growing graphic novel market in trade publishing. With a B.A. in English from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from Western University, she puts her teaching background to use hosting workshops about the publishing industry and supporting her fellow agents at PSLA. Maria lives in New Brunswick, Canada, reading and selling books from the Atlantic Ocean shore.

Maria is acquiring fiction and nonfiction for readers of all ages. She is looking for: literary fiction and upmarket speculative fiction (fantasy, magical realism, horror); young adult novels; middle grade novels; illustrated picture books; illustrated graphic novels, graphic memoirs, and graphic nonfiction; and narrative nonfiction for kids, teens, or adult readers about culture, arts and entertainment, history, and science topics. She welcomes and encourages submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and disabled creators.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Aimee Ashcraft of Brower Literary

Aimee Ashcraft is the Agency Operations Manager & Literary Agent at Brower Literary.

Aimee is looking for upmarket and literary fiction, specifically historical fiction, women’s fiction, and YA (all genres). She loves books that pull her in, immersing her in a world she can’t escape until the final sentence. She is looking for original voices and compelling, complex female characters.

Aimee has loved books since the days of sneakily reading under her desk in elementary school. Thankfully, reading is no longer a punishable offense, and she is busy seeking out stories that feature all-encompassing worlds and compelling female characters. She loves books that are told from an original point of view and are more addictive than a good Netflix binge. Aimee received her BA from Transylvania University and her MA from NYU. She is now based in New York City and joined Brower Literary & Management in 2016 as an intern, where she is now thrilled to be representing authors as a literary agent. In addition to being a full-time literary agent, Aimee also assists in the operations of the agency as a whole.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kayla Cichello of Upstart Crow Literary

Kayla Cichello is a literary agent with Upstart Crow Literary

Kayla brings nearly a decade of experience in children’s publishing to her agent position. A former Conference Coordinator for the Summer and Winter Conferences for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, she most recently logged several years as assistant to Senior Agent Jennifer Rofé at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

She is open to picture books through YA and illustrators, and is searching for those voices that make her laugh and keep the page turning. Some of her clients include author Ana Otaru, author of the upcoming MASQUERADE FOR GRANDPA (Atheneum/S&S, 2023) and author/illustrator Kirbi Fagan, illustrator of SUMMER OF THE TREE ARMY (Sleeping Bear, 2021).

In her own words: “I’ve always been a voracious reader. From the time I could read, I would spend summers staying up late with a flashlight reading, making my way through each Nancy Drew mystery and the Little House on The Prairie series. I would often imagine myself as a new character in the stories; a kind friend to Laura or Nancy’s sassy sidekick (move over, George). For me, reading has never felt like an escape from reality, but rather an invitation to run alongside the author’s imagination, and strengthen my own. Weekends always included a trip to the library with a list of books to check out and back up selections in case my first choices were currently checked out.

‍”Hailing from Texas, I did not take the traditional path into publishing. After majoring in English at the University of Texas, I found my way to California and into the generous and welcoming tribe of SCBWI. I owe my education in children’s books to Lin Oliver, Kim Turrisi, and Jennifer Rofé, each of whom imparted on me their knowledge of and passion for this industry. ‍

‍“I may have upgraded from a flashlight, but I’m still on the lookout for those stories that will make me stay up late turning the next page.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Literary

Beth Marshea is a literary agent and is the owner of Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Outside of agenting, Beth teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books. She relentlessly searches for more ways to encourage writers to create stories that matter! Outside of books, she loves the outdoors, all things water related, and has a strong attraction to abstract art.

In all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, LGBTQIA+ writers, Black writers, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more Non-binary and Ace representation across categories. 

Beth loves deeply character driven stories that showcase joy, resilience, love, clever twists, exciting moments of action, thought provoking concepts, and really anything that can make her get deep into her emotions.

In adult nonfiction:

Beth wants cultural phenomena like Heike Steinhoff’s Hipster Culture: Transnational and Intersectional Perspectives.

Hidden or weird histories are always a favorite, especially stories that refocus marginalized groups of historical figures as the center. 

Issue-driven books like How to be an Anti-Rascist by Ibram X. Kendi, and any books centering around activism. 

Beth is utterly and bizarrely fascinated by the world of global fashion from its historical context through its present day incarnations. 

She is interested in new ways of looking at non-Western religions, spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.

In Young Adult & Middle Grade nonfiction:

She would love more biographies on celebrities who change culture.

Prescriptive books on Self-Care and Mental Health for Teens and Tweens

Pop culture books!

In Picture Books nonfiction:

Biographies of forgotten leaders from marginalized communities. 

Forgotten stories of historic events, particularly if it has a cute animal hook like The Cat Man of Aleppo by Mohammad Alaa Aljaleel

Adult Literary Fiction:

Beth is looking for works with exceptional voice and beautiful style like Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez.

She loves multi-generational stories that show family dynamics like The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett.

She also loves stories about found family or friendships.

Adult Mainstream/Commercial Fiction:

Beth would love to see more Meet Cutes/RomComs from multicultural backgrounds like A Pho Love Story by Loan Le.

Family dramas are always welcome.

She loves workplace stories that are fun but emotionally poignant.

More queer stories all around, especially from BIPOC communities.

Adult Mysteries:

Atmospheric mysteries with a twist! Books like Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.

She would love to see more mysteries centered around something other than a murder (although, she still loves a good murder).

Voicy, creepy (largely or subtly), and haunting with or without supernatural elements will get her every time. 

Adult Thrillers:

She wants a story that is truly going to keep you on the edge of your seat guess!

She’d love to see more thrillers set outside the United States.

Adult Fantasy:

Beth is especially looking for dark Folkloric Fantasy! She’s especially fond of Latinx mythology like El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc… If you really want to get her excited, she is obsessed with finding a Dark Fantasy written by an Indigenous author centered around the Qallupilluit. 
YOUNG ADULT

Young Adult Contemporary Fiction:

She would love to find more stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, queer RomComs, really any story that pulls at your heart strings!

Young Adult Mysteries/Thrillers:

Beth will always look at a boarding school mystery from marginalized writers!

She also loves mysteries that harken back to a Nancy Drew type of sleuthing or a Scooby Doo style group heist. 

She loves stories with high stakes and friendships stretched thin.

Young Adult Fantasy:

Like Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending. 

She loves stories that feature friendship rather than romance as their base and really dig into that struggle!

Middle Grade: (Please note that Beth acquires a very small list of Middle Grade)

She is looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that Middle School kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. 

She’s interested in Middle Grade fantasy that covers similar themes to Lalani and the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada, or Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls by Kaela Rivera.

Picture Books:

Beth is extremely selective about acquiring picture books. She is looking for stories with great hooks and characters that stick with you.

DEFINITE PASS (Do not send her)

She is not looking for stories of trauma, and cannot accept works that feature sexual violence, or violence to children or animals, or war whether real or imagined. This is not to say these stories are not important, but rather she must protect her own mental well-being. ​

In both fiction and non-fiction, she is not a good fit for books on the Judeo-Christian religions, military stories, or stories focused on police. 

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dani Segelbaum of Carol Mann Agency

Dani Segelbaum is a literary with the Carol Mann Agency.

Dani joined the agency in 2021 as a literary agent and subrights manager. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction.

Dani is seeking nonfiction titles with an emphasis on politics, women’s issues, popular culture, and current events. Dani also loves memoir, narrative nonfiction, lifestyle, and cookbooks.

In fiction, she is looking for literary and upmarket adult fiction including debut, historical, rom-coms, mysteries, and women’s fiction. In both fiction and non-fiction, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices.

Born and raised in Minneapolis, Dani is a graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication where she studied journalism and political science. She has been a voracious reader for as long as she can remember. Dani began her publishing career as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins Publishers, focusing primarily on highly designed non-fiction titles. She previously worked as a literary assistant at New Leaf Literary & Media, working with established and debut authors.   

A few books she loves… A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Girls & Sex by Peggy Orenstein, The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Daré, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, Save Me The Plums by Ruth Reichl, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong, Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney, You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe, The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, From The Corner Of The Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein, Coming To My Sense by Alice Waters, Who Thought This Was A Good Idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco, Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens 

Dani spends her free time exploring the streets of her neighborhood and trying the latest restaurants in town. Her guilty pleasures include cookbooks (seriously, she has way too many), reading the newspaper in the middle of the night, and baking dozens of delicious baked goods for friends and family (she does use the cookbooks). 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rebecca Eskildsen of Writers House

Rebecca Eskildsen is a literary agent with Writers House.

I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives.

In middle grade, I’m mainly looking for contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core.

For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories — give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them). Separately, I’m looking for funny, slow-burn YA rom coms.

I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories.

Regardless of whether you recognize your book in this MSWL, if you think we’ll be a good fit, feel free to query me!

Middle Grade Wishlist:

Contemporary stories with humorous voices.

Stories about immigrants and/or immigration, like FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang.

Kids grappling with shifts in their family, such as divorce or foster care. I’d love to see books like FIGHTING WORDS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Rebecca Stead’s THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE.

Friendship stories! Moving from elementary to middle school can be a weird time for friendships. There are rivalries or shifting loyalties, and they can make you closer than ever, or pull you apart. Sometimes the end of a friendship is dramatic, sometimes it’s just what happens, but we’ve all had *feelings* about these friendship transitions.

Queer characters, especially trans and non-binary kids. I loved IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD.

Books that shine a light on mental health.

Grounded, contemporary fantasy, particularly those that draw on non-Western lore.

Layered family stories like Encanto – contemporary or with a magical element!

Upper MG (or young YA) with the emotion, humor, and hijinks of “Never Have I Ever.”

Young Adult Wishlist:

I would love to see weird or gross contemporary fantasy (with light horror elements) like HOUSE OF HOLLOW.

Friendship stories, like UNPREGNANT or even CODE NAME VERITY, and friendship break-ups, such as WE USED TO BE FRIENDS and WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING.

Explorations of toxic relationships, platonic or romantic, like NOTHING BURNS AS BRIGHT AS YOU or BAD ROMANCE.

Grounded fantasy/realism that is lyrical and heart-wrenching, like BLANCA & ROJA or THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS.

Twisty, gripping stories, like THE CRUEL PRINCE, ACE OF SPADES, or ONE OF US IS LYING.

I’d also love a contemporary drama along the lines of “Do Revenge.”

I’m picky about high fantasy, but I’d love to see high fantasy that tells us truths about ourselves, a la SERAPHINA and TESS OF THE ROAD, or has a strong emotional core, like GRACELING and FIRE.

Emotional character studies, such as WE ARE OKAY and DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY. Quiet books, basically, that may not have a lot of action but still grip the reader’s soul. Break my heart and put it back together again!

Rom coms! I’m especially interested in slow burn romances and books that play with format by including texts, tweets, and chat rooms, like in EMERGENCY CONTACT and TWEET CUTE.

Witch books! I devoured Cate Tiernan’s SWEEP series multiple times as a teen and felt the same joy reading THESE WITCHES WON’T BURN. I am absolutely here for the resurgence of witchy YA.

Books that talk about mental health in a destigmatizing way, like LITTLE & LION.

Adult fiction wishlist:

Zeitgeisty mystery/thrillers that critique modern society along the lines of the Knives Out movies or “White Lotus.”

I’m hungry for fresh and hilarious rom coms, like RED, WHITE, & ROYAL BLUE and THE EX TALK. As with YA, I’m interested in playing with format, like the romance that’s built upon post-it notes in THE FLATSHARE, and I’m open to heavier rom coms like those by Emily Henry. I’d also love to see more queer rom coms!

Young millennial/Gen Z stories about coming of age, like NORMAL PEOPLE and QUEENIE.

I’d love something along the lines of THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO but inspired by Taylor Swift’s “The Last Great American Dynasty.”

Deconstructions and examinations of uncomfortable modern cultural dynamics, like in SUCH A FUN AGE, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, or EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS.

Grounded family sagas, like EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS.

A friendship thriller in the vein of “Dead to Me.”

Weirdly specific things I’d love to see in any age category:

Stories with a narrow scope set against the backdrop of a soft apocalypse. In a similar vein, speculative climate fiction that draws on the current state of our world.

Something about crows? Crows are fascinating and loyal and also vengeful if you cross them. Bring me your contemporary or fantasy crow story!

Seattle and/or Pacific Northwest settings.

Forest magic! Tea magic!

Something with the wit, humor, and emotional range of Veronica Mars (season 1 through the movie, we don’t talk about season 4).

Something with the hilarity and incisive remarks of the first half of Swan Princess.

A vibe that evokes threatening orchestral music.

Novels in verse.

Anything inspired by Taylor Swift’s lyrics.

I am NOT looking for:

Picture books

Grimdark

Non-fiction

Graphic novels

Military science fiction