Interview: Victoria Marini, Agent

Tor_MostRecentVictoria Marini is a literary agent who represents adult fiction, narrative non-fiction and young adult fiction of all sub-genres. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and cats.

Check out what Victoria’s looking for on her website.

Let’s see how Victoria answers the Proust Questionnaire!

LifeByCommittee-1What is your idea of happiness?
A state free of worry.

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to have perfect pitch.

On what occasion do you lie?
When the truth would needlessly hurt. When I absolutely must.

What is your present state of mind?
Cozy and comfortable and calm. It’s quite nice.

What is your motto?
I don’t suppose I have one of my own. I borrow them from songs and books and Disney movies. I quite love “just keep swimming!”

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
It’s not possible to pick a favorite song. Currently, I’m thinking about Johnny Cash’s cover of Personal Jesus, which I heard for the first time in a car.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
Just one?!?! I really value a sense of understanding, someone who is generous with their spirit.

GoWithMeWhich words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say “Dope”, “Awesome,” and “f**k off” too much.

I also proclaim that “I’m dying” every time I feel even a little unwell. It’s a mix of hyperbolics and genuine fear.

What is your favorite journey?
A road trip with a good playlist and good company. A solitary walk by water.   Oh,oh! The steps to my favorite chair.

What is your favorite time of day?
The minutes between when I wake up and get up.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Atticus Finch.

Pablo Picasso, The Dreamer (1932)

Pablo Picasso, The Dreamer (1932)

Your favorite painting?
This is like choosing a favorite song. I can’t. I love Andrew Wyeth’s Pennsylvania Landscape, A Public Sale and the Helga Pictures. I love Picasso’s The Dreamer. I own a lot of paintings from street fairs and flea markets that I love. One is called “Ice Capades.” It’s a watercolor of a dancing figure skater skater surrounded by penguins drawn in ink. The artist’s name escapes me at the moment! I love that one.

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
I think I’d die happy now, but I’d love to see a midnight sun before I go.

Who or what is your first love?
Plays. Reading them, Performing them, seeing them peformed. I still love it.

What’s the last dream you remember?
I dreamt Jessica Lange was driving me to the airport, but I’d forgotten my passport and was going to miss my flight.

What’s your madeleine?
Flowering Magnolia trees.

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

Interview: Rachael Dugas, Literary Agent

rdugasRachael Dugas joined Talcott Notch Literary in 2011. During her tenure as associate agent, Rachael has judged contests and attended conferences in New York and beyond, working with groups such as Writer’s Digest, ASJA, YA Lit Chat, the National Publicity Summit, and the Hampton Roads Writers. Recent sales include titles in young adult and romance to imprints at Hachette, Perseus, and Month 9 Books. Rachael is a former Sourcebooks editorial intern and a proud Ithaca College graduate. She works with YA and MG fiction, romance, women’s fiction, general commercial fiction, historical fiction and cookbooks.

Outside the office, Rachael is a passionate musical theater geek, accomplished home cook, and lover of bad television, sweets, and all things retro. She has a slightly unhealthy obsession with her badly-behaved Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mix, Hailey, and is guilty of smothering her with affection. Rachael runs on coffee and Diet Coke and couldn’t live in a world without chocolate, bacon, or carbs.

You can find information about my latest deals on my agent page at our Talcott Notch website.

Let’s see how Rachael answers the Proust Questionnaire!

What is your idea of happiness?
Small things: freshly baked cookies; an unexpected discount at the register; the first warm and sunny day of Spring; laughing with friends; finding $5 in an old pair of pants; catching a great movie on television.

To get a little more meta, loving who you are and what you do and being surrounded by people who care about you and accept you as you are. I don’t think we can ask for anything more in life.

What is your favorite song? When do you first remember hearing it?
This is the question I always hate, because I have fairly eclectic taste in music and listen to all kinds of things–I am not sure I can even pick one song per genre that’s my #1 favorite. Also, my taste tends to change dramatically over time, so something I used to play on repeat is probably something I mock now. That being said, if I have to pick one song I’ve known for years that I can listen to again and again and never get sick of, I would have to go with Don Maclean’s American Pie. I first remember hearing it when my family was driving somewhere in the car at night. I remember my parents singing along and knowing an impressive percentage of the lyrics. That or something by Billy Joel, like Piano Man or Lullaby, or Konstantine by Something Corporate, which is just the essence of unrequited love and teenage angst and so, so good. (Clearly, I like wistful songs.)

Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to fly! Is that more of a super power? If we’re being more earthly, I wish I could sew and that I wasn’t so dreadful with numbers.

On what occasion do you lie?
When it will spare somebody’s feelings or smooth over a tense situation. I try to be honest at all times, but I do think there are some things that are better left unsaid.

What is your present state of mind?
A little sleepy, but fairly mellow and content.

What is your motto?
Life’s too short–do what makes you happy.

What character trait do you most value in your friends?
I value friends who are honest and “real”. I also value friends who you can leave for a while and then pick up with again, as though you just saw them yesterday.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Cool”, “Awesome”, “Yeah, no…”, “but”, “um”, “What?”, “seriously” and perhaps “literally”. (#TypicalFirstWorld20-Something)

Your favorite painting?
I am really partial to Monet’s Japanese bridge and water lily paintings. I went to his home in Giverny once–it was amazing.

The Japanese Footbridge, 1899

The Japanese Footbridge, 1899

What is your favorite journey?

The journey from raw ingredients to a successful, finished dish.

What is your favorite time of day?
I love golden afternoon sunshine in almost any season and, also, that amazing extended twilight hour we get on summer evenings.

With which literary hero or heroine would you most like to share a coffee?
Professor Bhaer from Little Women. I’ve always had a literary crush on him!

What do you need to achieve before you can die happy?
Honestly, there are a million things I’d like to do still, both big and small, but if my life ended tomorrow, I can honestly say there isn’t anything I’d need to go back and accomplish in order to feel like I’d completed it successfully.

Who or what is your first love?
Well books, of course! And music. And, later on, a very literal person, who I am lucky enough to still have in my life today.

What’s the last dream you remember?
Actually, this was awesome–I dreamed that I was friends with the Barefoot Contessa the other night and that I was at her beautiful beach home somewhere fabulous and we were cooking an upscale, gourmet meal for the President of the United States and his guests. It was kind of amazing.

What’s your madeleine?
Christmas carols, definitely. All it takes is a few notes to put me back under the Christmas tree, writing my list to Santa.

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

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.