Interview: Sarah LaPolla, Literary Agent

CB picSarah LaPolla is an associate agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She studied creative writing at Ithaca College, and has an MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School. She joined Curtis Brown, Ltd. in 2008 as the assistant to the foreign rights department, and became an associate agent in 2010. Sarah represents both adult and YA fiction. For adult books, she is looking for literary fiction, urban fantasy, magical realism, mystery, literary horror, and has a soft spot for short story collections. On the YA side, she welcomes contemporary/realistic fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, mystery, thriller, and horror. No matter the age of the intended audience, Sarah is drawn to voice-driven narratives and strong protagonists.

Sarah runs a literary blog called Glass Cases (http://bigglasscases.blogspot.com) and can be found on Twitter at @sarahlapolla.

She is very proud to have worked on K.M. Walton’s latest contemporary YA, EMPTY, which was published by Simon Pulse this past January. Two more upcoming publications include more contemporary YA from debut authors Christa Desir  and Jennifer Mathieu.

What is your idea of happiness?
Doing something I’m passionate about, having good people in my life, and traveling as often as possible.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
Favorites tend to vary, but I think my first favorite song was probably Happy Just to Dance With You by The Beatles. I think I was five or six the first time I heard that one, and it just stuck with me. Now it’s not even my favorite Beatles song, let alone favorite song.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Singing! I’m not terrible, but no one would ever call me good. I wish I could sing.

On what occasion do you lie?
I don’t really lie because I rarely see a point to it. I’m often quite blunt, but I do know when to show restraint and be polite. But, that’s more “tact” than “lying” I guess.

What is your present state of mind?
Prepared.

What is your motto?
Don’t worry about things you have no control over (and accept when you have no control).

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Reliability, honesty, knowing when to bring me chocolate.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Also,” “but um,” “probably,” and I’m sure there are more.

Your favorite painting?
I can’t say I have one, but my favorite artist is Keith Haring.

Untitled, 1982Keith Haring

Untitled, 1982
Keith Haring

What is your favorite journey?
Is it cliche to say “an unexpected one?” Oh well!

What is your favorite time of day?
Not morning.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
My imaginary ex-boyfriend, Holden Caulfield, because he should just sit and talk to someone for a bit.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
As long as I’ve accomplished something I can be proud of, not settle for anything less than 100% satisfying, and be a generally good person, I can die happy.

Who or what is your first love?
Raphael (from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).

What’s the last dream you remember?
I hardly ever remember my dreams. I wish I did. Once I vaguely remember being part of a heist with Spike from Buffy. No idea what we were stealing or why he was there.

What’s your madeleine?
If there’s a smell that combines cigarettes, burnt coffee, and tomato sauce, it would be that. I’d be seven years old and in my grandparents’ house on a Sunday afternoon.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Amusing.

Interview: Michelle Painchaud, YA Author

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Michelle Painchaud is a 22-year-old YA author who watches too much anime and writes sad-happy stories about imaginary teens who are incredibly awesome and cooler than her. She spent her growing years equally split between the florid beaches of Hawaii and rainy suburbs of Seattle. There were a lot of heartbreaks and wedgies involved.

PRETENDING TO BE ERICA, her young adult thriller about a teenage conman in Las Vegas, is forthcoming in 2014 from Viking Children’s.

In her spare time she likes rolling around on the floor with cats and baking and yoga. Her current project is a bit of a secret since it’ll be subbed under a penname, but it’s a YA/Sci-Fi pitched as Memoirs of a Geisha meets Legend of Korra in space, and she’s super excited about it!!

Let’s see how Michelle answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Cats and tea and a little shack on a cliff by the sea.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
I keep coming back to Lost Love, from the Gyossait Soundtrack. It’s a little indie video game that’s had a profound impact on me. I heard the song when I played the game, about a year ago.

Which talent would you most like to have?
Sword-fighting ability, without a doubt.

On what occasion do you lie?
When I feel it’ll make someone more comfortable.

What is your present state of mind?
Grateful and BUSY.

What is your motto?
“We are here, and then we are not.”

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Honesty and communication are tied, really.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Literally”, “Fixed it for you”, “oh my god”, “k bye”

Your favorite painting?
The Return of Persephone (1891), by Frederic Leighton

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Frederic Leighton, 1891

What is your favorite journey?
The one that never ends!

What is your favorite time of day?
Dusk! Everything changes right then. Everything is softer then.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Alanna, from the Song of the Lioness books

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
Getting the important stories in my heart on paper.

Who or what is your first love?
The bildungsroman.

What’s the last dream you remember?
Benedict Cumberbatch and I were at a carnival and I told him his shirt looked ‘gay’ and I hid on the tightrope because he was mad and then we held hands and I was super flustered. All in all, pretty good dream.

What’s your madeleine?
The PS1 logo on a TV. Some of my best memories, and tenderest realizations, were made playing old-school video games.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Crack.

Interview: Fiona McLaren, YA Writer

Fiona_McLaren_2Fiona McLaren is a full time, freelance writer, who ghost writes children’s books, historical fiction, DVD narrations and webcontent. She has published over 300 seperate works, including articles, short stories and books. Fiona spends her time split between Scotland and Cyprus. She is represented by The Corivisiero Literary Agency under her own name and writes YA fiction.

Her current, agency represented, work is titled Starting With Amber and is a YA Contemporary novel. Check out her website here.

Let’s see how Fiona answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
My horses, dogs, writing and home.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
I actually have three favourite songs (I really can’t choose between them). I love Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones, which I heard for the first time when a friend recommended it during an online chat. However, I also dearly love Liza Radley by the Jam, which a close friend introduced me too. And I also adore listening to The Queen and The Soldier by Suzanne Vega. It was the same friend who introduced me to The Jam who opened me up to Suzanne Vega’s songs. I’m blessed with friends with good taste!

Which talent would you most like to have?
I would love to be multi-lingual! Communication is so important!

On what occasion do you lie?
When it is to stop someone being hurt.

What is your present state of mind?
Thoughtful.

What is your motto?
Treat people as you would like to be treated.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
The ability to be easy-going and let time pass. I like my own space a lot, so I need friends who can appreciate that.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“no problem”, “no worries”, “yeah sure” and “anything I can do to help”.

Your favorite painting?
The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh (1889).

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Vincent van Gogh, 1889

What is your favorite journey?
My favourite journey so far was a cruise around the Baltic capitals, particularly St Petersburg in Russia. It’s just full of history, amazing architecture and culture there. However, I think the best journeys can sometimes be those crafted on the page!

What is your favorite time of day?
Anytime after midnight. I’m a total night owl and love the peace and quiet the small hours bring.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Robert––the main character from the Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner. He is an anti-hero though. I tend to like anti-heros most of all. The other anti-hero I’d love to meet would be Thomas Covenant from The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
A calmer mental state!

Who or what is your first love?
My writing, my horses and my dogs are all equal loves in my life and I’d be hard pressed to say which one came first. I did have a man who was my first love in terms of a person, but sadly that was left behind.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I dreamed of my sister in a previous life. I was cooking meat in a cookpot and being told I should marry a vet!

What’s your madeleine?
My madeleine is hard to define, but I would say that a very intriguing pen that I own, which looks like it is made from carved silver, would be the closest thing. It reminds me of where my heart has always lain and what my dreams have always been.

Without thinking, in one word: what is life?
Experience.