I started out at Andrea Hurst & Associates, but the agent I was working for left publishing. After a few months of rejections from other agencies, I got creative and emailed all of the publishing people I could find in the Saint Louis area asking if they needed help “wading through the slush pile.” I landed internships with Amphorae Publishing Group and Whitley Abell from Inklings. However, with no room for growth in these internships I started applying again six months later and found a position as an assistant at Holloway Literary. After a couple of years there I transitioned over to my home at Corvisiero Literary Agency.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Carlyle, Illinois. Population: 3,000 or so. It’s the kind of place where leaving your keys in the cup holder overnight isn’t a big deal. Shoot, it’s pretty much expected. Every time I drive into town, I can’t help but smile to myself. It’s warm and welcoming, friendly and full of memories. It’s where my family is. It’s my home.
Where do you live now?
I moved to Saint Louis, Missouri about three years ago for work. I absolutely love the “world’s biggest small town” vibe to the city. It’s also a wonderful place for artists of any medium and the book/writing community here is amazing!
Most agents and writers hold day jobs. Tells us about yours:
My day job is as a receptionist at a commercial real estate development company. It’s pretty dull, which works out super well for me since I get to work on my agenting projects while I’m there.
Otherwise I’m the Social Night Coordinator for Team Activities for Special Kids. One night a month we throw a party for participants ages 15 and up with special needs across the board. It’s not a huge time commitment, but planning these events is something that really helps me to de-stress. It’s a creative outlet where I get to see my ideas and work put smiles on the participants’ faces. January’s is going to be a “Game night” but a bit more extreme. I have four words for you: Life Size Angry Birds .
Childhood story that sparked your desire to be in publishing:
Not necessarily a childhood story, but during my junior/senior year of college, I was a Biology major and-with med school applications and the MCAT looming-super stressed out. I took a creative writing class to blow off some steam, fell in love and switched majors. I had no idea what I could do in publishing, but I knew I wanted to be there. I’ve never once regretted that decision. Especially once I landed that first agency internship and got to experience the “treasure hunt” that is the slush pile.
My favorite books are always shifting around. A few that have stuck around the longest are Austenland by Shannon Hale, Ransom by Lois Duncan, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Fantasticland by Mike Bockoven, and of course, Harry Potter. I like books that make me think, books that I can see a piece of myself in, and books that make me laugh. I read across genres and categories a lot.
Lois Duncan: Her books were my introduction into the thriller genre and her ability to create relatable characters is amazing. I reread at least two of her books every time the weather changes from Summer to Fall.
Brian Rowe: He has an amazing ability to create movie-like stories that are beautifully paced and full of action with wonderfully dark horror elements.
Ellen Mulholland: She has a beautiful knack for making big impact with quiet stories. Her stories create a fun atmosphere that pulls the reader in while subtly showing the big topics she tackles.
Tiffany Elmer: She has a way of painting beautiful worlds with dynamic characters that will absolutely rip your heart out while you cheer for them. Her young adult fantasy is so beautifully dark but leaves you feeling that small flicker of smile-inducing hope. Yes the last three are my current clients #noshame #they’reawesome
My main wish list right now would be…
Middle Grade: A modern day survival story. Think Hachet or Gordon Korman’s On the Run, Island or Everest
Young Adult: A super atmospheric historical mystery with elements of horror. I ADORED Madman’s Daughter by Meghan Shepherd
Adult: A super light hearted, humorous romance. Austenland by Shannon Hale is seriously one of my favorite books of all time and I'd love to find something in that vein
Walk us through a typical day for you when agenting:
I usually start my day with my email. I read through the industry news for the day, catch up with the various blogs I follow and respond to any new emails. After that, I might dive into submissions, edits, or whatever projects I have lined up for the day. Generally, I prioritize different tasks based on what day it is, i.e. I read submissions on Monday/Tuesday and Queries on Wednesday, etc. If I have something with my clients pop up, however, that will take priority. I am a list person and so at the end of each day I will make my list of tasks for the next. No two days are ever the exact same, which is something I love about this job.
Share what you believe is ONE common misconception about agents or publishing:
I think agents can sometimes get pegged as “distant” and “cruel,” and I can totally see why that happens. We send out a lot of rejections on almost a daily basis and rely heavily on form responses. In reality, we’re just super swamped. We get hundreds of queries a month and a personalized rejection for everyone is just not something we have time to do. Every time we open a query, we’re rooting for you to blow us away with your spectacular concept and flawless writing. We became agents because we love to help and encourage our authors.
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