Interview: Bree Ogden, Literary Agent at D4EO

Bree Ogden joined D4EO in November 2011, after having been an associate literary agent at Martin Literary Management for nearly 2 years representing children’s, YA, and graphic novels.

Bree graduated with her BA in Philosophy from Southern Virginia University where she served as editor-in-chief of the University’s newsmagazine. She was awarded Most Valuable Player and Editor of the Year, as well as SVU’s Pioneer Award, an honor the University awards to two students each year. She then received her MA in Journalism with an emphasis in editing and expository writing at Northeastern University where she worked on both the New England Press Association Bulletin, and also served as the features editor of the premier campus music magazine, Tastemakers Magazine.

Over a year ago, Bree and her partner-in-crime cum best friend, Rebekah Joy Plett, started the macabre children’s magazine Underneath the Juniper Tree (named after the Grimm fairy tale, Juniper Tree) where she serves as Editorial Director. This labor of love has gained a nice little following––read the issues here––and they are in the process of creating and fundraising for a printed Anthology (donate through their IndieGogo account).

Bree is also an instructor and columnist for the Web site LitReactor.com where she teaches Intro to Graphic Novel Writing. Bree is also the newest judge for the Ghastly Awards–Honoring Excellence in Horror Comics.

She loves Frankenstein’s monster, heels so high she can’t walk, and honey bees.

Let’s see how Bree answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Success. Not just in work or achievements. But in all aspect of life. Even in little things like having a successful hair day. Making a successful meal. So I guess what I am trying to say is I can only be happy if I’m perfect, haha. No, really, I just find it incredible pleasing to work at something and have it be a success. Love probably being one of the most important successes in life.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
Brighton Rock by Queen. The first compact disc I ever bought was Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack at Zia Records (the coolest place because they sold Manic Panic hair dye and tongue rings). I threw that puppy in my Discman, and Queen has been my favorite band ever since. Brighton Rock being my favorite song. I know it must be the sensory and emotional association, because it’s not their best song.

Which talent would you most like to have?
So many. Too many. I’m talent greedy. I used to be in a few garage bands… I think if I had to choose a talent it would be to have been in a successful band? Though I’m not sure that qualifies as a singular talent. Okay, how about this: I choose harp. And not like orchestral harp, like Joanna Newsom harp. Have you watched her play? Oh. My. Gosh. She may not be the best harpist, but she knows how to evoke so much emotion when playing. Such an amazing talent. Can being Joanna Newsom be a “talent”?

On what occasion do you lie?
When my mom asks me if I like her hair.

What is your present state of mind?
Pensive. A bit plaintive. I just saw the film Looper (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis) last night and my heart hurts a bit, in that (kind of) good way, you know? Sometimes I feel too deeply. It’s the curse of being the baby of the family. Anyway, that film made me feel deeply. I’m still shaken up.

What is your motto?
Creativity is just another word for courage.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Loyalty. I’m quite ridiculous and selfish in this regard. I expect my best friend to be loyal to me even if I am being completely ridiculous. I will ALWAYS ultimately realize when I am being ridiculous. But when I am in the moment, and I want to pout, and be unreasonable, I want to know my best friend will stick by me.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Literally” (who doesn’t overuse this?), “seriously,” “that’s the most ridiculous thing in the entire world,” “I will stick forks in your eyeballs if you don’t ____” (Yea I really use that one WAY too much. Ask my poor boyfriend.)

Your favorite painting?
This is quite literally an impossible question to answer. I am a visual art fanatic. I absolutely cannot choose one favorite. I CAN tell you that my favorite types of art are Tudor art, 18th-century French art, Pop Surrealism, Installation, and Low-brow. Right now, I love love love “The Fountain” by Mr. Ryden.

The Fountain
Mark Ryden

What is your favorite journey?
Literally? Well, I live in a bay on a little island off the west coast of Seattle. My favorite journey is to take one of my kayaks and travel down this narrow, wooded, creepy little passage that takes about 40 minutes round trip. If you go right when the sun is going down, when it is a little cold outside, bring your iPod and listen to some Max Richter… it’s chilling (figuratively, sometimes literally, too), stunning, and creepy. My figurative favorite journey is starting a new book. Cliche? Sure. But it’s true.

What is your favorite time of day?
It varies. It’s always at dusk. But dusk can be at 10 pm or at 3 pm (seriously). I work better with the promise of nightfall. I come alive at night.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Shannon McFarland from Chuck Palahniuk’s Invisible Monsters. She’s a very complex character. A contradiction in every way. A beautiful thinker. Wanted what she never had, but in an anti-selfish way.

I wanted the everyday reassurance of being mutilated. The way a crippled deformed birth-defected disfigured girl can drive her car with the windows open and not care how the wind makes her hair look, that’s the kind of freedom I was after. I was tired of staying a lower life form just because of my looks. Trading in on them. Cheating. Never getting anything real accomplished, but getting the attention and recognition anyway. Trapped in a beauty ghetto is how I felt. Stereotyped. Robbed of my motivation.

There are too many people that could be described by the attributes of her quote above. None of them have the guts to admit it, or take responsibility for it. And that about sums up why I’d want to meet Shannon McFarland.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I can’t answer this questions because I won’t know what it is until I achieve it.

Who or what is your first love?
Here’s a cliche for you. My first love was this tortured, philosophical, totally-brilliant-with-no-ambition musician. He was so messed up but so beautiful inside and out. He’s still my best friend so I can say that about him. He had this dark curly hair and bright blue eyes. Wrote messed up songs about his messed up mind. Looked down when he walked around campus. That sort of thing. When he was younger he carried a rolled up copy of a magazine with Bob Dylan on the cover in his back pocket and re-read the article over and over again. I remember finding this so out-of-touch that it was so insanely in touch. He’s a lovely human being. My first love.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I think I was making out with Shia LaBeouf. He often makes sexual appearances in my dreams.

What’s your madeleine?
I don’t enjoy ones dipped in chocolate. Or lemon madeleines. But dipped in espresso like a tiramisu, or once I had madeleines with fruit and clotted cream (a little bit of England and France). That was probably my favorite.

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

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