I am thrilled beyond belief to introduce you to Hilary Harwell. Full disclosure, she’s one of my dearest friends, a long-time critique partner and a member of The Winged Pen critique fellowship. NOW SHE’S AN AGENT TOO–for the renowned KT Literary agency. I’m also excited to share that Hilary will be a participating agent in Pitch Wars this year. She’s opening up to queries at the start of August, and here’s your chance to get to know her!
G: Hi Hilary. *grins*
H: Hi Gab. *grins*
G: So, what made you want to become an agent?
H: Besides loving the art of storytelling, I’m in love with being able to bring amazing, impactful stories into the world and into the hands of children just as they’re opening their minds to the power of story. To help all children and young people find themselves inside the pages of a book, I mean, how incredible is it to be a part of that?!
G: What would you say sets KT Literary apart from other agencies?
H: Well, first of all, we have a ton of knowledge and talent amongst all of our agents. Kate, Sara, Renee, and Hannah are all brilliant and well-connected, and all around great people. Then, of course, there are our amazing clients. I had the privilege of meeting many them on our annual KT Literary retreat this past February in Lake Arrowhead, California (and yes, our agency hosts an annual retreat – that in and of itself sets us apart!). They are all such wonderful, supportive, talented folks and we’re lucky to have them!
G: Talk a little about what you’ll be looking for in the slush? What kind of books are you hoping to find?
H: At the present moment I’m focusing on middle grade and young adult projects. I’m interested in all genres – dark fantasy, thrillers, psychological horror, contemporary, mystery – though I’m probably not the best choice for slasher horror, suicide stories, or high fantasy unless it’s 100% original. I’m generally not a huge fan of elves, fairies, and their ilk. I especially love heartfelt contemporary, and though I recently signed an amazing author and her Chinese adoption middle grade contemporary, I still have a soft spot for these types of stories, especially if they’re told from diverse perspectives.
G: What are some of your favorite books?
H: So many! My more recent faves are: The Hate U Give, Exit Pursued by a Bear, Frost Blood, Caraval, The Diviners, The Blackthorn Key, Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Out of My Mind, The Thickety, Anna and The French Kiss (and ISLA and LOLA), Open Road Summer, The Duff, We Were Liars, The Night Gardener, Rules for Stealing Stars, Salt to the Sea, The Wrath and The Dawn, The Scorpio Races, A Curious Tale of the In-Between, Seraphina and the Black Cloak, The Grisha Trilogy, I’ll Give You The Sun, Splendors and Glooms, A Snicker of Magic, The Graveyard Book, The Mysterious Benedict Society, An Untamed State, The Bourbon Thief, The Girl on The Train, and Crank (anything by Ellen Hopkins)
I don’t want to leave out the older faves though, because they’re such classics and I find myself returning to them again and again. I love books like: Bridge to Terabithia, The Hobbit, Black Beauty, The Black Stallion series, Hatchet, The Call of the Wild, White Fang, Island of the Blue Dolphins, The Westing Game, James and the Giant Peach, THE BFG, IT, A Wrinkle in Time, and The Secret Garden.
G: Okay. When do you open for queries, and how can authors submit to you?
H: I open to queries August 1st. Authors can find our complete submission instructions on the KT Literary website (www.ktliterary.com). But for the sake of convenience, you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send me your query letter and the first three pages of your manuscript. I’m looking forwarding to reading your work!
G: Okay, Pally. are you ready for this? *hands Hilary mirrored sunglasses*
H: Let’s do it.
G: Coffee or Tea?
H: Both, but usually coffee.
G: Sweet or savory?
H: Both, but usually savory.
G: Cats or Dogs (or other)?
H: Both. And horses. And fish. And toads. And salamanders. (I grew up in the woods. Catching things was kinda my thing. As was climbing trees.)
G: Curve Ball! Lynda Carter or Gal Gadot?
H: I don’t know? I guess I have to go with Lynda Carter because I have a thing for originals.
Thanks, Hilary, for joining us today (and everyday) at the Winged Pen!
Hilary joined the KT Literary team to support office operations and assist with queries and manuscripts, and now acts as Associate Agent with clients of her own. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in Anthropology and went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading or editing or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses. Connect with her on Twitter and check out her blog.
—Gabrielle Byrne (G.K. Byrne) writes fantasy for middle graders. Gabby has a Master’s degree in literature and a second bachelors in environmental studies. When she’s not writing, you can frequently find her fishing spineless critters out of the Salish sea with her husband and two daughters. She is represented by Catherine Drayton at Inkwell Management. Gabby is also a Pitch Wars mentor. Her web site is here.