Categories John is most interested in representing:
In fiction I am keenly interested in well-crafted novels of suspense, mysteries, and crime, as well as literary fiction, especially the kind that Sue Miller calls "domestic realism," and anything that might fit with the some of authors I've listed below.
Books by non-clients and authors that I've recently enjoyed include suspense by David Bell, Alan Furst, Harlan Coben, John Sandford, and Nelson DeMille, and literary novels by Edna O'Brien, Stewart O'Nan, Jay McInerny, and most recently the late Jim Harrison's final work, The Ancient Minstrel.
What makes the difference with me? It's the voice; someone who writes with a distinctive voice, who conveys a sense of authenticity, who writes immersively and with conviction -- that person's going to get my attention. And strong characters -- especially those who are resilient in unique ways -- those are the people with whom I want to spend my time.
In nonfiction I am looking for memoir and immersive narratives, sports narratives and biographies, pop science and psychology, and history.
Nonfiction by non-clients that I've recently enjoyed include Angela Duckworth's Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverence, Mary Karr's The Art of Memoir, Sebastian Junger's Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Bobby Orr's Orr: My Story, and Rich Cohen's Monsters: The 1985 Chicago Bears and the Wild Heart of Football.
As a parent, especially, books on recent developments in performance neurology such as Bounce, Focus, and The Talent Code have been revelatory.
If you are not sure if I handle your kind of writing please do send along your query, as I work with a wide variety of topics and am open to many types of manuscripts. A cycle through the cover cascade on the Home Page might help give you an idea of what I like to do.
There are no absolute necessities except for an author's passion, a desire to develop one's craft, and the goal of communicating through words.
Categories Gail is most interested in representing:
I am looking for wonderful new or established voices in commercial women's fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romance and narrative nonfiction. Narrative nonfiction can cover almost any subject, but history, food, and science are particular interests of mine. Newspaper and magazine experience is helpful; many books are generated from concepts first tried out in articles.
In fiction, I am looking for commercial fiction, beautifully written. It needs a voice that grabs me and a narrative that keeps me turning the pages. I like original voices. I like quirky novels with dual narrators, settings and time periods.
Books I love that I wish I had agented:
THE PARIS WIFE, Paula McLain
HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, Jamie Ford
BEAUTIFUL DAY, Elin Hilderbrand
MISSION TO PARIS, Alan Furst
THE EYRE AFFAIR, Jasper Fforde
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, Philippa Gregory
THE EIGHT, Katherine Neville
WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, Sara Gruen
SHOGUN, James Clavell
CITY OF SHADOWS, Ariana Franklin
THE PIANO TUNER, Daniel Mason
DON'T LET'S GO TO THE DOGS TONIGHT, Alexandra Fuller
THE RIVER OF DOUBT, Candice Millard
A HOMEMADE LIFE, Molly Wizenberg
What we're not interested in representing:
We do not represent children's books, science fiction, fantasy, Westerns, poetry, or screenplays.
Do you charge reading fees?
We do not charge reading fees.
What is the approximate ratio between fiction and nonfiction at your agency?
Right now it's probably about two-thirds fiction and one-third nonfiction.
How would you describe an ideal client?
Our clients put passion into their writing and are enthusiastic about what they do. They communicate well with their editors and forge strong and responsive relationships with them. They love to read as much as we do, and they're the kind of people you'd enjoy hanging out with.
How and why did you become an agent?
Becoming an agent was a natural progression from being editors. The work is similar, but we're able to spend less time in meetings and more time working with authors. We can also handle a more eclectic range of material, and we get to work with editors throughout the industry who share our passions and enthusiasms.
What if anything can a writer do to increase the odds of you becoming his or her agent?
Put your best efforts into your work and just follow the submission guidelines; we'd love to hear from you.
Do you have any particular thoughts about editors or publishers in general?
Editors are without a doubt the hardest working and most idealistic people in book publishing. Publishers represent the best opportunity for gifted writers to get wide distribution, readership, and money in what is an often difficult business.
Personal information and interests for John:
Favorite TV Shows:
The Americans, Burn Notice, Blackish, Brooklyn 99, Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown and No Reservations.
Any Given Sunday, Jerry Maguire, Risky Business, Slapshot, Chinatown, Working Girl, White Palace.
Interests: I like to cook when I have the time. I am a hockey dad. I am a Bruins fan going back to Bobby Orr, and a diehard Steelers fan. I enjoy traveling, and Quebec City, Prague, and Lake Placid are three of my favorite places. I am passionate about all things Russian. I am a fiend for good coffee. We have three cats, one of whom says "hello" to me every morning.
Personal information and interests for Gail:
When I’m not reading, I’m happiest in my kitchen cooking and listening to Sinatra. I love history and am a terrific armchair traveler. I’ve always been a Francophile and also have a fascination with Antarctica. Love old movies and binge watch Sherlock. I do needlepoint and love Pinterest. I always love to learn something new.