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?

5 thoughts on “Interview: Rachael Dugas, Literary Agent

  1. Pingback: Moving Forward — with Literary Agent Rachael Dugas | By Word of Beth

  2. FUN, FUN, FUN!!
    Like you, it’s hard for me to pin-point a favorite song ♪♫♪ … American Pie is a great one, though the title makes me think of American Girl (Tom Petty), which makes me think of SILENCE OF THE LAMBS, and then I get all creeped out so…yeah, I’ll just stop now.


  3. Rachael is such an adorably amazing soul. I found myself smiling upon reading each answer, and I was also reminded why we mesh so well. Love Billy Joel. Love Monet. Love Bhaer and Christmas Carols, cookies, sales, and sunshine. This made my day.

  4. It amazes me, in a good way, how many women in the literary world grew up loving Little Women. No doubt Louisa herself would be astonished. And unexpectedly finding $ in a pocket? Yes!

  5. Love this! Great interview questions – I learned lots of new things about my lovely agent, Rachael! And will probably dream of Barefoot Contessa tonight. And possibly Professor Bhaer. Thanks for sharing!

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