WriterLife · Writing

An Interview with Mary Kole on the BBCHAT

Today BBCHAT continues! Bigblackcat’s Humane Agent Talk: In Which A Particularly Agreeable Agent Answers a Series of Questions that Have Nothing to do with Queries or Submission Guidelines. Yeah, don’t try to make an acronym out of that last bit.

The BBCHAT is designed to get the personality of the agent in the spotlight, and an enterprising querier can use this information to figure out if the agent is a good fit for them, rather than just another agent who happens to cover their genre.
The last question involves something that oddly resembles a contest, and ties in with the blog name. Note the rules: to participate you need to follow the blog (so include your screenname in the email so that I can identify you), and your answer must come in an email to me, not a post in the comments section. First person to email me with the correct answer wins. You’ll notice the “email me” link above my followers box to the right. Or maybe you won’t notice it. In which case, you’ll be totally flummoxed.
Today’s guest is the highly affable Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, whose blog – KidLit – is a treasure trove of information on the market, the industry, and highly helpful hints for aspiring writers. KidLit also serves as an excellent resource for those burning query questions; many of Mary’s posts address our insecurities as querying writers and how to overcome that first hurdle.  It’s a must see – don’t miss out!
BBC: What are you reading right now and why do you like it?
MK: I’m taking a small break from children’s and YA and reading a lot of food and cookbooks, because I’m also starting to represent food memoir and other food-related titles. So right now I’m reading the MOMOFUKU cookbook by David Chang and Peter Meehan actually. And yes, I do read them cover to cover, like novels. I love the no-nonsense voice here. 
BBC: Paper or plastic?
MK: Plastic for manuscripts and full requests, paper for curling up and really reading. I’m still very much a print fan.
BBC: What’s on your bucket list?
MK: Mostly places to go and things to eat. I want to go to Australiza, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Tibet, Africa, Brazil, Spain, Japan, and China. (Not that I want to be any closer to the bucket, but I’ll be hitting up some of those locations later this year.) I also want to eat at a Ferran Adria restaurant, meet Lady Gaga, cook in a professional kitchen (again), publish a book, and go on an epic American road trip. I’m not really into danger junkie stuff like skydiving…I’d rather stay inside the plane and let it take me somewhere interesting. 🙂
BBC: Have you ever ridden a mechanical bull?
MK: It’s funny…I went to Texas a few weeks ago and got a tattoo, which was on my bucket list. My colleague, Jenn Laughran, is impossible to faze. When I sent her a picture of my ink, she immediately wrote back, “Yeah, but did you ride a mechanical bull?” Since it was Texas and all. Ha! I haven’t…it seems like a great way to break your neck.
BBC: What type of agent are you?
 a) Cheerleader
 b) Therapist
 c) Bushwhacking Guide
 d) Red Ink Saturation Committee Member
MK: All of the above. If you can’t cheer for your clients, you’re with the wrong clients. And the creative process is fraught, so you have to be willing to play therapist…and enjoy it. I’m not sure what you mean by bushwhacking guide, but it sounds intense! As for editorial work, I am highly, highly editorial. Clients have fired me for my really high standards. It’s true that I will not go out with something unless it is absolutely the strongest it can be. But I want clients who strive for that standard too, so my best agent/client matches can understand why I go so heavy on the editorial and why I am so strategic in planning submissions.
BBC: If you had a guaranteed sell, what type of story would you like to represent?
MK: This is a really great question. I’d love to find an amazing, off-the-wall voice, a contemporary realistic story that’s really dark, and an intensely emotional experience like Natalie Standiford’s HOW TO SAY GOODBYE IN ROBOT. Today’s marketplace is finally coming back around to contemporary realistic.  That’s how I got into YA reading, so that’s exactly what I’d want to place without the guys in sales and marketing pushing back on the acquisition.
BBC: Tell me three things about yourself, one of them being a LIE! First person to email me with the correct guess as to the lie gets… something awesome.
MK: 1)I’m a Google employee.
2) I once shared a plane with Vanilla Ice on a flight to Minneapolis.
3) I live above a burger joint and I’m a vegetarian.

9 thoughts on “An Interview with Mary Kole on the BBCHAT

  1. Wow! That is a chock-full bucket list! Good luck on getting it done.

    Also, being a Bushwhacking Guide (whatever it may be) might be helpful for Australia, I'm thinking. =P

  2. Good interview, Mindy.

    You got a lot of good info out of Ms. Kole that could be applied to any genre.

    Pity she only works in YA… I've a feeling she would be an awesome agent to work with.

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