So, this is one of the things I know all you writerly types out there are itching to get your little mittens on – Agent Interview details. I, like you, know just HOW keen writers are to hoover up any morsel of information about agents that they can in order to hone their submissions to get the best chance of snagging representation. Well, in the spirit of passing it forward, I have interviewed the FANTABULOUS agent JAMIE BODNAR DROWLEY of the equally fantabulous Corvisiero Literary agency.
But wait! That’s not all! Not only am I interviewing this rock-star lady as an agent, I’m also interviewing her as a writer, because believe it or not this agent knows the game from both sides of the fence! Wow. So, without further ado… WAIT! One more thing…just because I can…I’ve added a special little bit at the end about why you should put Jamie right to top of your query wish lift. First, the agent questions:
1. What made you decide to become an agent?
It is important for me to not only be a writer but to also learn and have a full understanding of the industry as a whole. I want to be able to offer feedback and advice to aspiring writers. My goal is to help others achieve their dreams of becoming a published author.
2. Why did you choose to apprentice at the Corvisiero Literary Agency?
I met Marisa through some writing workshops and was immediately drawn to her expertise as well as her kindness. I also had the opportunity to meet face to face with Michelle Johnson. I was able to have a wonderful discussion with Michelle and noted her obvious professionalism. I knew instantly that this was the right fit for me.
3. What is the first thing you notice about a submission?
If the author has done their homework, meaning, they took the time to see who I am, what I am looking for, and to see if I would be a good match for their work. It may seem like a small detail but whether or not an author has followed the query guidelines quickly stands out. Believe it or not, you can tell a lot by an author’s query.
4. Any pet peeves on queries or submissions?
Not really. The query process is nerve wrecking. I get it. I want the author to succeed and to have a chance to have their work looked at. I overlook nerves and always try to look at each author for their potential
5. What are your favourite books of all time?
Harry Potter! I still have hopes that my letter to Hogwarts was just lost in the mail and should be arriving very soon. Such an amazing series!
6. Any guilty pleasure reads?
I loved the first few Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris 😉 I’m a big fan of the Sherriff of Area 5
7. Name three things you would love to see in your inbox…
I would love to see a MG series that is adventurous with a unique voice that makes me laugh. A truly romantic story: one that will take my breath away. I would also love to see something with a new and modern twists on old fairy tales.
8. What is the most common flaw you see in new manuscripts?
When the author tells the story rather than showing it. I think that is what JKRowling did so well in HP. I felt that I was physically in that world when I read them.
9. Who is your ideal author type to represent?
I don’t know if I have an ideal. I have to say that I really LOVE my clients that I am currently representing.
Now, the writer questions:
1. Okay, so the one we’re all dying to know…what is you book called and what is the storyline?
It is about a seventeen year old who struggles to understand her past and deal with the present once she learns the truth of who she really is. It is a really amazing coming of age story with elements of humor, action, love, friendships, and magic.
2. Where did you get your inspiration from for the book?
I wanted to write something that really shows what is in my heart and puts my interests on display. I have a lot of elements in this first book that are dear to me. I think my own wit and personality come out in several of the characters (I’m not sure if I should say which ones ). I also wanted to write something that wasn’t specific to a certain age group. I wanted my audience to be broad. My critique groups range in age from 11 – 70, male and female.
3. Who is your favourite character in the book and why?
Wow! That’s hard. I have put so much heart in soul into the book that I love all the characters, even the antagonist. But if I had to choose, it would be Jinx. It has to be Jinx. She is funny, vulnerable, feisty, and beautiful inside and out.
4. How long did it take you to write?
It is a planned series, so it took a few years.
5. Are you an outliner or a pantster?
Pantster! Definitely. Which makes writing a synopsis challenging.
6. What are your favourite pieces of writing advice?
Write about what interests you and don’t let people discourage you. This is a very subjective business. What may not work for one person may be exactly what someone else is looking for. It is also important to attend conferences, meet other writers, share you work with beta readers and have your work critiqued by a non-biased audience.
7. How do you find balancing being a writer and being an agent – do you find it helps you represent your clients better as you know both sides of the industry?
I think so. I am eager to give advice to the writer so that they have a direction to move forward in rather than just rejecting them without feedback.
8. If you could have written any book (other than your own) which one would you have liked it to be?
Order of the Phoenix. JKRowling.
Now onto the extra stuff, because I did promise, right? Indeedy I did. So, I’ve rounded up a few of Jamie’s clients to find out just why she makes such a brilliant agent and why she should be right at the top of your Christmas wish list. Here’s what they’ve got to say:
Jessika Fleck: “I am so very thrilled (an understatement because there really are no words!) that it was Jamie’s hands my manuscript eventually fell into! From the first amazing-shocking-exhilarating phone call when she offered me representation, her enthusiasm has been infectious and unwavering. It’s a beautiful thing to find an agent who believes in your work as much as you do and I consider myself a *lucky girl* to have so much support, knowledge, and passion in my corner. I really can’t say enough–I love my agent!”
You can find Jessika and learn more about her awesome witchy/ghostly novel THE CURSE here:
Jenny Morris: “From the moment Kelley and I accepted Jamie’s offer of representation she has made me feel like I’m part of a family. Her excitement about our book and even the things I’m working on as solo projects makes me giddy. I know she wants me to succeed and that we’ll have a long writer/agent partnership. And I can already tell she’s going to be one of my biggest cheerleaders, which is exactly what I wanted in an agent.”
To find out more about Jenny’s work (including awesome YA Contemporary ALREADY THERE) visit here:
Kelley Lynn: “Jamie makes me feel like my work is her number one priority, even though she has so many other things she’s doing as well: author, orthodontist, veteran, mom and wife. When she read our collaboration project, she connected with it on the level we always hoped our agent would. She is an advocate for us, another person in our corner, not only for this project, but for the many projects that are to come.”
Find out more about Kelley and her awesome YA Fantasy FRACTION OF STONE here: http://getbetweenthebookends.blogspot.co.uk/
Fiona McLaren (that’d be me!): “Jamie is the most enthusiastic, personable and wonderful person you could hope to meet. She has a razor sharp eye for editing and really cares about helping her clients follow their vision and making their novels the best they can be. She is a true champion of her clients and is especially good at making new writers feel right at home. I could not be prouder to call her my agent (which is why you will hear me trumpeting it from every mountain top!). I will say it loud and proud – I love my agent!”
In adult and YA fiction, Jamie is seeking fantasy, mystery, romance, paranormal, historical, mystery, contemporary, horror, light sci-fi and thrillers.
In MG, she loves stories that make her laugh and are imaginative with a clear voice. She loves strong characters with distinct voices and unique story lines that stay with her long after she is finished reading.
To see Jamie’s submission guidelines and tastes, visit her page on the Corvisiero Literary Agency website: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/Jamie_Bodnar_Drowley.html