Tahereh Mafi, Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Veronica Rossi graced us with their great literary presence in Huntington Beach on Monday night. To celebrate the release of their new books, the four ladies answered questions and signed books from excited fans.
Before the event started, I had the opportunity to interview the authors, and I decided to ask them about their agents, so listen up, aspiring writers!
At many author events, fans ask about the querying process and how they got published. I recently finished my manuscript, and I am about the take the querying plunge, so I asked the ladies what qualities were most important to them when selecting their agents.
Tahereh had an agent before her current one, and she emphasized the importance of selecting an agent who loves your book as much as you do. Her first agent hated SHATTER ME, and she trusted her gut and decided to find someone who would fight with her.
Cynthia made a great point that a writer’s relationship with her agent is similar to a marriage. An agent needs to “really get the manuscript and really get you.” Having someone who can be honest with you and your work is important.
Brodi knew that her agent was the perfect fit when she learned that her agent cried when she finished reading the manuscript.
Veronica provided a really insightful look at the relationship between a writer and an agent and explained that everything starts with the two of them. If someone wants to make writing a career and not just a side gig, then it is important to find someone with whom you have great chemistry.
After that illuminating discussion, I asked Veronica, Brodi, and Cynthia whether they were Team Adam or Team Warner. Cynthia and Veronica fully support Adam and Brodi is backing them both.
Just before I left, I asked the ladies what they have been reading. Veronica recently read WARM BODIES, Tahereh has been reading Book Three, Brodi just finished ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS for the fiftieth time, and Cynthia read ROOM by Emma Donoghue and loved it so much that she sat on the edge of her seat and screamed at the characters.
I have met several authors, and I have to say that Tahereh, Brodi, Cynthia, and Veronica are the sweetest gals. They provide thoughtful answers and make an attempt to connect with their readers. I was really impressed with Veronica’s motivations behind an event that occurs in THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT. She said that Roar needed to go on that journey in order to get him to where he needs to be in INTO THE STILL BLUE. Tahereh’s careful observations struck me, and I am certain that she would write some really great nonfiction. Brodi is a riot and Cynthia’s intelligence is palpable. I would love to sit down with Cynthia and travel in her mind for a bit.
Some interesting bits of information:
Cynthia keeps a recorder hanging on her rearview mirror in case she comes up with a scene while she is driving. She thought of a scene in Boundless and had to pull over the car in order to cry. One mistake that writers often make is erasing their characters’ flaws. She made sure that Clara had flaws and kept them even she they drove her crazy.
Tahereh would love to write a Kenji novella! When writing her villain, she wanted to ensure that he was complex and not too easy to hate.
Veronica met her agent at a conference and took his contact information and stuffed it in her bra. To get her villain, Sable, Veronica looked at photos of Kelly Slater, the surfer.
Brodi said that Cole started out as a love interest and not a villain. She grew up reading myths and did not do a lot of research when writing.
I had a lovely time at the event, and I am so grateful to HarperCollins for the opportunity. Alison Lisnow is such a doll and she did a fantastic job moderating the event and looking fabulous. If you are not following her on Twitter, you should do so now! She is witty and charming.