This post is actually inspired by a series of tweets agent Deidre Knight (@DeidreKnight) did a while back.
What book or author do we wish we had discovered?
When I first read her tweet there was one person who immediately popped into my mind and that's Sarah Addison Allen. I've read all of her books and I can say I have loved almost all of them, the other one I just liked. I love the way she weaves mysticism into women's fiction, creating almost a genre of her own. This is someone I would love to have found in a slush pile somewhere.
Just one? Of course, I wish I had discovered J. K. Rowling and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Other dream books are Megan Hart's Dirty and Mary Roach's Stiff. Three very different books, but three I never get tired of rereading.
R. L. Stine. I know that sounds weird, since I don't represent horror for any age group, but I admire Stine (and his 350 million books sold) because he's been writing for decades, has churned out one fun, cool title after another, created a middle-grade series (Goosebumps) that became a television series and selection of movies, and most intriguing and valuable to me, he writes in several age groups from middle-grade to adult—and he shifts with changes in publishing. Aside from all that, I still read his books . . . and I'm still scared. If R. L. Stine suddenly queried me, I'd represent horror.
While it may seem like too obvious or easy an answer, I have to say Suzanne Collins. Honestly, even though I first read The Hunger Games as a book and not a submission—and even though millions of readers had already found her before me—when I was turning those pages I felt like I had made an amazing discovery. That trilogy—especially the first book—really is the whole package: characters we care about, edge-of-the-seat suspense, and an always-keep-us-guessing romantic triangle. When I finished it, I really felt like I'd just ridden a roller coaster and experienced a true classic at the same time.