Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kenzi Nevins of CYLE Literary Elite

Screen Shot 2019-11-15 at 4.23.30 PMKenzi Nevins is a junior literary agent with CYLE Literary Elite.

Kenzi personally seeks picture books (text only is fine, but author-illustrators are her favorite), middle grade (all kinds), young adult (all kinds, including graphic novels with images), and adult fantasy. She is also happy to take pitches on behalf of her many co-agents, and pass on great submissions to them after the event. That means she will take pitches for romance (all kinds), literary fiction, mainstream fiction, science fiction, high & low fantasy, historical, mystery, thriller, suspense, women’s, and Christian/inspirational. For nonfiction, she will take pitches for parenting, leadership, ministry, devotionals, and self-help. She will also take pitches for board books and chapter books

“My personal interests lie in mythology and retold fairy tales, so I would say that fantasy and magic realism generally get me the most excited, but I will look at anything.”

Kenzi is an award-winning writer with a passion for magic realism and mythology. A graduate of Taylor University’s professional writing and theatre programs, she spent two semesters studying in the story-laden Wicklow Mountains of eastern Ireland. Previously, she won second place for theatre journalism and critique from the Kennedy Center for American College Theatre, and her short story, “The Last Freedom,” was published in eBook and paperback by StoryShares.

When she isn’t writing, Kenzi can be found watering her fairy garden, experimenting with little-known tea flavors, or wandering the aisles of her Kentucky library.

Get to Know a Literary Scout in Attendance: Brittany Smith of Metamorphosis Literary

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 2.59.47 PMBrittany Smith is a literary scout for Metamorphosis Literary. At the 2020 KY conference, she will be taking pitches on behalf of several of her co-agents (Amy Brewer, Patty Carothers, and Erica Christensen).

She is taking pitches for:

  • romance of all kinds; if your plot revolves around love or angst or both, that’s a good thing. Also looking for general/mainstream fiction, LGBTQ+, women’s fiction, book club reads, and quirky humor.
  • nonfiction, graphic novels, children’s book illustrators.
  • upper young adult, new adult and adult romance in most subgenres, ranging from clean/sweet to high heat in any pairings. Also seeks mysteries and thrillers (bonus points for cozy mysteries and psychological thrillers). Also, picture books with diverse characters that bring valuable lessons to children in an entertaining and lighthearted way.

For as long as she can remember, Brittany has had a book in hand and story ideas whirling in her mind. A voracious reader and lover of ice cream, she often dreams of owning a personal library to rival Belle’s. A former mental health counselor, Brittany is currently working on a nonfiction book and preparing to launch her blog Real Life Real Well. “A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kortney Price of Corvisiero Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-14 at 11.47.38 PMKortney Price is a literary agent with Corvisiero Literary.

Kortney specializes in books for children. This includes picture books, early readers, chapter books, middle grade and young adult works.

In picture books, early readers, and chapter books, Kortney is drawn to fresh ideas, humor, and diverse representation.

In middle grade, Kortney is desperately looking for adventure and survival stories, mysteries, science fiction, historical, fantasy and contemporary novels. Graphic novels are one of her favorite mediums.

In young adult, Kortney is looking for her perfectly “dark and stormy” stories. Magical realism, psychological thrillers, steampunk, historical, paranormal and science fiction are favorites of hers. Outside of these, she loves sweet and humorous “geeky” or “artsy” romances.

Some general things Kortney loves to see in stories that aren’t listed above include: an awesome sense of humor, art and artists, antiques and old buildings, strong and quirky families, and special needs representation. Stories featuring characters with developmental or physical disability are especially close to her heart. #OwnVoices and diverse books are always welcome in her inbox.

Kortney was (and still is) that person in the bookstore who recommends books to strangers based on what they’re buying. When she realized that she could make a career out of helping authors and getting excited over books, she decided to pursue a career in agenting. So, after graduating with a B.A. in English from Greenville University in 2014, she started out with her first agency internship. Since then she has interned with Andrea Hurst & Associates, Amphorae Publishing Group, and Inklings Literary Agency. She was an associate agent at Holloway Literary before finding her home with Corvisiero.

Outside of her world of books and publishing, Kortney can typically be found attending musicals, meandering through art museums, watching an absurd amount of movies, pretending she understands and can teach sports at her aunt’s special needs nonprofit, exploring the city, catering to her diva dog’s every whim, and trying to rein in her overly energetic corgi mix.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Brent Taylor of TriadaUS Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-08 at 11.00.58 AMBrent Taylor is a literary agent and subsidiary rights manager at Triada US Literary.

He is seeking: All kinds of books for children, including picture books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, graphic novels for kids and teens, and nonfiction for kids and teens.

In his own words:

“I focus on books for kids and teens and describe my taste as upmarket: I fall in love with books that are extremely well-written, robust with emotion, and appeal to a wide, commercial audience.”

Picture books: “I am seeking picture book projects from authors and author-illustrators. My taste in this category covers a wide range: I love picture books that are fun and bonkers, as well as ones that are more literary. I’m open to fiction, non-fiction, and picture books in unusual formats or styles—verse, rhyme, comics, etc. Some of my favorite picture books are Julián Is a Mermaid by Jessica Love, Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero and Zeke Peña, The Dress and the Girl by Camille Andros and Julie Morstad, and The Sound of Silence by Katrina Goldsaito and Julia Kuo. Some of the picture books I’ve worked on include Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, Seven Bad Cats by Moe Bonneau, and Pies from Nowhere by Dee Romito. Some forthcoming picture books on my list include Poultrygeist by Eric Geron, Test This Book by Louie Zong, and I’ll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca. I’m looking for picture books with an energy that pops off the page, that kids have never seen before, and that will turn them into life-long readers.”

Middle grade: “My middle grade list covers first kisses, demon-slaying, water dragon races, magical baking competitions, and everything in between. I love a wide range of middle grade, and the best way to describe what I’m looking for is to tell you about my favorite middle grade novels: Keeper by Kathi Appelt, The Best Man by Richard Peck, Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhhà Lại, The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Some of the middle grade projects I’ve worked on include the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series by New York Times-bestselling author Sayantani DasGupta, Free Lunch by Rex Ogle, and Smoke and Mirrors and the Silver Batal series from K. D. Halbrook. Being between the ages of 8 and 12 is so difficult. Kids are on the cusp of what feels like a vast, overwhelming, and unwelcoming world. I want to represent middle grade that enlightens kids to all the love and joy that the world has to offer.”

Young adult:” Though I lean more toward realistic/contemporary fiction, my interests encompass high fantasy and lightly speculative projects too. I love YA that captures the dichotomies of being young—how, as a teen, you yearn for freedom, but at the same time it’s incredibly scary for so many parts of your life to be changing. My favorite YA novels are bittersweet, authentic portrayals of what it’s like to be figuring out who you are, what this world is, and how those two things fit in with one another. Some of my favorite YA novels are The Vast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd, Dig by A. S. King, Ordinary Girls by Blair Thornburgh, and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Neal Shusterman’s novels (particularly the Arc of a Scythe series) are a great example of the type of smart, commercial, and high-stakes YA that I love. Some YA novels I’m proud to have worked on include Whitney Gardner’s Schneider Family Book Award-winning You’re Welcome, Universe, 500 Words or Less by Juleah del Rosario, The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel by Moe Bonneau, and Perfect Ten by L. Philips. I’m passionate about young adult fiction that helps teen readers discover, love, and live as their most authentic selves.”

Graphic novels (for kids or teens): “I’m open to both text-only graphic novel scripts and author-illustrated projects. My favorite graphic novels include The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang, Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks, and Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. Some of my graphic novel clients include Whitney Gardner, Tori Sharp, Rex Ogle, and Bre Indigo.”

Nonfiction (for kids or teens): “I’d love to see all sorts of nonfiction in the categories that I represent, including but not limited to biographies, memoir, narrative, history, science, and how-to.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Alice Speilburg of Speilburg Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-21 at 2.32.54 PM.pngAlice Speilburg founded Speilburg Literary Agency in 2012, bringing with her the editorial and business expertise she had developed in previous publishing positions at John Wiley & Sons and Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Society of Children’s Book Authors and Illustrators, and she is a board member of Louisville Literary Arts. She is currently building her client list and represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction.

Nonfiction:

She enjoys nonfiction in the areas of History, Journalism, LGBTQ, Pop Culture, Psychology, Science, Travel, and True Crime. “In nonfiction, I’m looking for cultural narratives, microhistory, nature, and pop science written by journalists and academics. I’d love to see more nonfiction proposals, so even if you think your nonfiction project is not quite what I’m looking for, please send it over so that I can take a look.” She’d love to see

  • Pop Science Narratives that inform some particular quirk of our human nature or the world around us, like STIFF, or ON TRAILS
  • Pop Science Narratives that tie closely with political discussions regarding the environment, social issues, etc., like INFERIOR, OVERRUN, or LOST MOUNTAIN
  • Nonfiction Narratives that weave history or science through memoir, like THE OREGON TRAIL, or SPINELESS
  • Nonfiction narratives that focus on the intersection of two — perhaps unlikely — subjects, like WAR AND WINE, or EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
  • Journalistic Narratives that focus on a specific place, thing, or circumstance to show something about our culture at large, like JANESVILLE, THE GOOD GIRLS REVOLT, GHOSTLAND, or WILD ONES

Fiction:

She represents women’s fiction, crime fiction, some fantasy (specifics below), historical fiction, mystery, thriller, action/adventure, and horror.

“In fiction, I’m looking for stories that sidestep into history, magic, mystery, horror, or adventure. My favorite sub-genres are feminism, narrative nonfiction, and upmarket genre fiction.” She would love to see

  • Historical Fiction that reimagines factual events, especially crimes or mysteries, like BURIAL RITES, THE BALLAD OF TOM DOOLEY, or THE LAST DAYS OF NIGHT
  • Women’s Fiction that oscillates between modern and historical perspectives like THE DOLLHOUSE
  • Historical Fiction that sidesteps into magic, like OUTLANDER, A SECRET HISTORY OF WITCHES, or THE MONSTERS OF TEMPLETON
  • Fantasy based on American folklore, earthy and magical, like THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH
  • Fantasy that contains mythical elements, like THE BIRD KING, THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI, or THE BEAR & THE NIGHTINGALE
  • Adventure Fantasy with fresh and unique magic, like A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC, THE BOOK OF DUST
  • Police Procedural Mysteries that are grounded in both a unique investigator and an evocative setting like the ARMAND GAMACHE series and the ALEX MCKNIGHT series
  • Psychological Thrillers that border on horror with smart female protagonists, like IN A DARK, DARK WOOD

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Chrysa Keenon of CYLE Literary

ChrysaChrysa Keenon is a literary agent with CYLE Literary.

She is seeking: For adult novels, she seeks humorous romance, LGBTQ+ romance, and low fantasy. In young adult, she seeks humorous/lighthearted contemporary romance, fantasy LGBTQ+, diverse romance, magical realism, and stories about characters from marginalized backgrounds. She also will consider fairytale retellings/spinoffs and middle grade fantasy.

Chrysa holds a degree from Taylor University in Professional Writing with minors in Public Relations and Creative Writing. She began her agenting career as an intern at The Seymour Agency and gained experience in the editorial world at GenZ Publishing. She is the recipient of the Blue Seal Award for 1st place YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy fiction and 1st Place News and Feature Story from the Indiana Collegiate Press, among others. She has over 400 publications and currently works as a content writer for a Midwest bridal magazine. Chrysa enjoys puns, coffee, and traveling to oceanside cities.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cate Hart of Harvey Klinger Literary

Screen Shot 2019-07-09 at 2.56.29 PM.pngCate Hart is a literary agent with Harvey Klinger Literary Agency.

Cate joined the agency in 2019 after 5 years with a New York agency. She specializes in historical, whether in young adult, women’s fiction and romance, or narrative nonfiction. She is particularly drawn to oft-forgotten stories of the past and underrepresented voices, and especially personal to her is unexplored Southern history and culture. She also loves high-concept fantasy in YA and Adult fiction.

A graduate of the University of Tennessee, studying Theatre and History, Cate currently lives in Nashville with her children.

Cate seeks the following nonfiction categories: narrative, history, film, TV, theatre, pop culture, and music. She also seeks the following fiction genres: historical, commercial, women’s fiction, romance, fantasy, mystety, psychological thriller, middle grade, and young adult.