I'm thrilled to announce our September Mystery Agent Contest results!!!
But first, allow me to reveal our super awesome Mystery Agent:
Taylor Martindale from Full Circle Literary!
And here are Taylor's picks:
Full manuscript request: VEX, by Norma
Partial manuscript request: THE LATERAL LINE, by Anonymous, and WINNING THE WAR AT HOME, by Pamela Toler
Query letter request: CHASTE by Angela Felsted, and SO YOU DON'T WANT TO BE AN EVIL SORCERESS by Janice Sperry
Congrats to the winners!! Please email Taylor your materials with the subject line OPERATION AWESOME CONTEST WINNER. (Note: her agency email has changed, so please read the interview below for the new address!).
Taylor was also kind enough to answer a few questions!
1) If you could pick one book that every writer should read, which one would it be and why?
Wow, what a tough question to start off the interview! First of all, I'd like to say thank you to the wonderful hosts of Operation Awesome! You guys are great, and I'm excited to participate in the Mystery Agent contest. The pitches submitted were really strong and it was tough to decide!
The book every writer should read... If I had to choose, I'd say THE BOOK THIEF by Markus Zusak. That book is so incredible and I think it pushes readers just as much as the author pushed himself in writing it. He uses a unique and unconventional narrator, and readers' connections with characters are intense and real. Not to give details away, but I felt as though I'd lost close personal friends when deaths occurred. The way he builds connection between character and reader is something every author should know.
2) What are you dying to see in your slushpile right now?
I'd like to see some dynamic YA that I can fall in love with -- contemporary, character-driven stories; unique concepts in fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal, and some sci-fi; and dynamic multicultural stories. I'd love to see a ghost story that really gets under my skin. I love stories about real teens dealing with real life, and I want to hear new voices in this area. I am a very voice- and character-focused reader and agent, so if you can get my attention with compelling personalities, you've got my hooked. Overall, I'm just looking to go crazy over something, no matter what it's about.
3) Favorite TV show?My favorite show is definitely "So You Think You Can Dance." So much talent, every week!
4) Chocolate or candy?
Either dark chocolate (no milk chocolate!) or gummy candy like Gummi Bears. It's a pretty even tie for me! Although, I have to say, that if I were given the choice between one of these and french fries, salty food would win every time.
5) Any tips for writers struggling with their one-line pitches?
The one-line pitch is your elevator pitch. If you're in an elevator with an agent or editor, for just that short minute, what do you want them to know about your book? I'd suggest identifying what you feel is the strongest/ most interesting element about your novel, and build your pitch around that. I don't need to know what the plot arc is going to look like; I need to know the very base detail of why I should be interested.
6) Do you have any exciting client/agency news to share?
I do! I am SO thrilled to announce that I have recently transitioned agencies and I am now an agent at Full Circle Literary in San Diego! I am really excited about this move and am lucky for the chance to join this team. I am representing primarily young adult (all sub-genres!), some children's picture books, and I have interest in finding women's fiction and multicultural fiction. For more information about Full Circle and myself, please visit our website at www.fullcircleliterary.com.