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.
From a writer's perspective (especially one who is querying their novel), this is a very interesting and useful, exercise. I think every agent website should have a list of authors/books each agent wishes s/he had represented.
ummmm...me! You just don't know it yet because I've not queried! ;) PLJ
The job not taken, the one never offered, the lover turned down, the one who didn’t stay, the unborn child. Sometimes we are given the choice and sometimes not. Chance not offered is a slush-pile of what-ifs.
I was discovered forty-years ago through no effort of my own. They said I was going to be famous. That I am still unknown tells the end of that sad tale. If I had a do-over, would I change anything? No I would not.
Ladies…if any of you had those writers in your stable you would not be doing what you are doing right now. You make right the path for all of us. That’s worth all the Allens, Rowlings, Stines and Collins of the writing world...ah...maybe not Rowling, I mean jeez she’s bigger than big. And the others...well...I’m about to slice me a piece a pie. It’s called humble, bitter with just a hint of sweet.
It is now my goal to be on that list. There's still time...just saying.
Hmm, IF I was an agent, I would have loved to discover Marguerite Duras and her novel, The Lover. I'm a sucker for her poetic prose.
Great post, thank you for sharing,
Oooh - what a fun game! I wish I'd discovered Brunonia Barry. Love her writing!
Would you really have liked to discover J.K. Rowling as your primary choice? I understand the fame and fortune aspect, but I couldn't see myself sitting down with her over a nice cocktail and talking about anything other than wizarding and quidditch! I want a soulful, deep writer with a rather strange history,
Oh, Jessica, if only you were accepting queries that aren't referrals! (le sigh.) Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favs. My novel "Love & Cupcakes" falls under SAA's definition of "southern-fried magical realism". It's such a fun quasi-genre to lose yourself in.
I'm curious which one of her books you merely liked. Oddly, the one I like-not-love is the one I find myself thinking about the most.
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