WHAT’S ON MY MANUSCRIPT WISH LIST?
These are the categories, age groups, and genres I’ll soon be seeking. (It’s very detailed!)
Image Credit: Layne Beckner
When I open to queries, I’ll be interested in Adult and YA commercial and book club fiction and some Upper MG fiction as well as some very specific nonfiction topics. Content warnings are appreciated if applicable in your manuscript. Please do not send me any AI-generated manuscripts.
Use the guidelines below when considering submitting to me. If you have something that isn’t listed below, reach out and ask. Often, a person won’t know they like something until they read it, and I do enjoy such pleasant surprises! Content warnings in query letters are always appreciated; don’t think of them as a deterrent. Think of them instead as a common courtesy to prepare someone for something that might be difficult to read so they can be in the right headspace to read it. I’m generally down to read almost anything, but my “hard pass” categories below should help with any uncertainty. I prefer the “book, cook, hook” (or “hook, book, cook”) method in a query letter: tell me about the specifics of your manuscript (metadata, comps, content warnings if applicable). Then, show me the plot; the heart of the story; the central conflict and what the character risks losing. Then, tell me a bit about yourself outside of writing. Aim for 350 words!
ADULT AND YA COMMERCIAL AND UPMARKET FICTION
- Thrillers: particularly domestic, psychological, and anything twisty and jaw-dropping. I’m good with dark!
- Mystery and Suspense: well-paced with lots of clues. Keep me theorizing!
- Romantic Thrillers or Suspense: low on the spice, high on the suspense
- Horror: think more supernatural and spine-tingling and less violence and gore. Ghosts!
- Historical Fiction: particularly pre-WW1 era; I have a soft spot for 18th and 19th centuries
- Fantasy: think witches, ghosts, magic, and time travel
- Romance: especially if it incorporates past lives, soulmates, and reincarnation. Light spice.
- Romcom: lighter on the rom, heavier on the cute com (but not too heavy!)
- Speculative: more or less our world with one or two differences
- Fables, Fairy tales, and Folklore: re-imaginings with a unique twist!
UPPER MG FICTION
I’m open to all genres provided it’s cute and well-written according to the target age group. I particularly enjoy adventures with pirates, animals that can communicate, an underlying moral lesson learned by the main character, strong friendships, and stories of courage, overcoming obstacles, or shining in the face of adversity. Also stories that normalize blended, single-parent, adoptive, racially and/or culturally diverse, and same-sex families.
When querying me with your memoir, remember that a good memoir reads like fiction. This means that, although the “story” is true, it should still contain all the same elements as a novel; you are the protagonist of your story. We need to meet you and see your norm, see the inciting incident, meet the antagonist or antagonistic force, we need to know what your goals are, how external circumstances are affecting your internal struggles and ability to meet your goals, what stands in your way, and what’s at stake. This all must be woven together with tension, emotion, and voice. If you haven’t taken literary agent Cece Lyra’s course on memoirs, I highly recommend it!
- Memoir Plus: your intense internal/emotional journey affected by a universal external circumstance (and remember, a good memoir reads like fiction!)
- I’d really love to see a memoir depicting the impact of the paparazzi and other intrusive behaviour on high-profile celebrities and their families.
- I’d also love to see something in the vein of Wildcat (how saving animals can positively impact our mental health) in an exotic location
FAVOURITE ELEMENTS AND TROPES
Locked-room mysteries à la Agatha Christie, high-tension clue-driven stories à la The Da Vinci Code, thrillers in isolated and exotic locations à la The Hunted (Roz Nay), thrillers with a bit of sarcasm mixed in à la Hannah Mary McKinnon, past covered-up crimes in the family, twins, adoptions, the manipulation seen in Behind Her Eyes, based-on-true-crime stories, ancestry, soulmates, friends to lovers, fauxmance, enemies to lovers, second-chance romance, international travel (let me live vicariously through your characters!), small town romance, unequal social status relationships (bonus if one of them lives in a castle!).
FAVOURITE BOOKS AND FILM/TV
Outlander (books and tv series), The Time Traveler’s Wife, Behind Her Eyes, The Soulmate (Sally Hepworth), Every Summer After (Carley Fortune), You’ve Got Mail, The Haunting of Hill House, The Haunting of Bly Manor, the Jack Ryan tv series, The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova), A Discovery of Witches, Steel Magnolias, Little Fires Everywhere, Yellowjackets, Dexter, Forrest Gump, This Is Us, Parenthood (tv series), YOU, Jason Bourne, The Notebook, Just Friends, Indiana Jones, Man on Fire, Salem’s Lot, The Shining
AUTHORS I ENJOY
Diana Gabaldon, Ruth Ware, Roz Nay, Christina McDonald, Hannah Mary McKinnon, Bianca Marais, Carley Fortune, Sally Hepworth, Susan Kay, Erica Waters, Rae Knightly, Caroline Kepnes, Wendy Webb, Kelley Armstrong, Darby Kane, B. A. Paris, J. T. Ellison, Samantha M. Bailey, Jennifer Hillier, Amy Tector, Marissa Stapley, A. G. Riddle, Chevy Stevens, Stephen King, Julie Carrick Dalton, Anne Rice, and so many more!
I’D LOVE THE NEXT
- Behind Her Eyes (the astral projection! the ending!)
- Past lives-centred romance
- Haunted house masterpiece
- Discovery of Witches
- Anne of Green Gables
- Back to the Future spin-off
- Indiana Jones meets Robert Langdon
- Jumangi (the new movies)
FICTION I’M NOT CURRENTLY SEEKING
Picture books, political thrillers, space operas, graphic novels, poetry, epic fantasies, hardcore sci-fi, werewolves, vampires (unless they’re like ADOW or human-friendly), or high-tech stories.
Please do not send me, under any circumstances: religion, erotica, gore horror, extreme violence or torture, explicit/repeated on-page r*pe, intentional on-page harm to children or animals, vaccination debates, or heavy politics (including anything in support of Trump/his followers or the freedom convoy).
MY THOUGHTS ON AI AND STORIES
It is my genuine wish to work with original, authentic authors with a passion for what they create. Someone who treats their characters like real people who they know and love on a deeply intimate level. AI cannot do this. I feel very strongly that AI has no place in creativity; an author writes their stories themselves. Writing a story takes hard work, dedication, confidence, perseverance, time, relentless revisions, and often at times, tears of frustration. The end result is something a person is so proud of. Can AI do any of that? No. Authors create; AI generates, and there’s a big difference. Therefore, if you have an AI-generated manuscript, please do not send it to me—I am not the right fit for you. It’s ok to use it to research or spark an idea, but the writing needs to come from the (human) author.
I’m quite specific in what I’m seeking in nonfiction. Bonus if a bit of humour appropriately fits into some of these categories. I’m interested in hearing from you if you have a voice-y nonfiction proposal about:
- Motherhood, natural pregnancy and childbirth, midwifery, planned unassisted births (in the vein of Teresa Palmer and Sarah Wright Olsen’s The Zen Mama or Ina May Gaskin’s infinite wisdom)
- Topics exploring women living in and overcoming a historically male-dominated world
- A light-hearted (humorous) look at what males get wrong about females and vice versa
- The intersection of motherhood vs societal expectations & the physical/mental/emotional implications on moms
- Spiritual explorations of past life regression sessions and reincarnation beliefs (spiritual ≠ religious)
- Tarot, palm reading, tea leaf reading, astrology
- The negative impact humans (population, industrialization, sport hunting, environmental changes, etc.) have on animals
- Large families (whether multi-generational households or families with many children)
- The intersection of cults vs societal “norms”
- The “brotherhood” mentality of law enforcement and the impact it has on victims of abuse/flawed justice system
- Narcissism and narcissistic sociopathy
- True crime, except if related to hard-no topics above
- Wine and Wineries
- Cookbooks, especially something that pairs wines; perhaps various international cuisines/wines
- Travel writing
- Empathic studies and the emotional toll on empaths
- Children’s nonfiction: plants, animals, geography, geology, etc.
- A history of witches and witchcraft (who society thinks they are/were vs who they actually are/were)
- Puzzling ancient locations/peoples/legends and resulting theories (have you seen Ancient Apocalypse on Netflix? Bingo!)
NONFICTION I’M NOT CURRENTLY SEEKING
(In addition to the hard no’s above) biographies/autobiographies, academic works, self-help, health and fitness, science or high-tech, DIY, religious works.
I’m always seeking works from BIPOC or historically underrepresented writers and would love to see more LGBTQIA+ stories.
One last thing: If John Krasinski, Ryan Reynolds, Tom Hanks, Reese Witherspoon, or Meg Ryan are working on literary projects, someone *please* send them my way 😉 (#jokingnotjoking 😅👀)
Please know that I’m unable to represent a manuscript I’ve worked on as an editor due to a conflict of interest. If you hire me for professional edits, you won’t be able to query me with the same manuscript (even if it’s been extensively revised or rewritten). I would not put my professional reputation at stake in either capacity and ask that you decide ahead of time whether you’d like to query me with a fully polished project or hire me for professional edits.