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Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Kathleen Rushall

This week's Agent Spotlight features Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc..
Status: Open to submissions. 
Update on 1/6/2022: Kathleen as been promoted to a senior agent.
KatRushallAbout: “Kathleen joined the Andrea Brown Literary Agency in 2016 after agenting for five years with the Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. She represents writers and illustrators for picture books (both fiction and nonfiction), middle grade, and YA.
"When it comes to picture books, Kathleen loves to laugh, have her heartstrings pulled, and enjoys quirky, character-driven stories with heart. She would be happy to find more biographies and what some call “ficinformational” picture books (books with a fictional story that ties into the Common Core). She's always interested in picture books that inspire emotional intelligence, self awareness, and empathy.
"Kathleen is excited to find middle grade novels across all genres. She has a soft spot for heartfelt stories with depth, as well as humorous stories with a relatable voice. She particularly enjoys middle grade with strong friendship and family themes. She would love to find more spooky middle grade and always enjoys a good mystery.
"For YA novels, Kathleen loves voice-driven contemporary (and is especially fond of magical realism), compelling fantasy with unforgettable characters, and historical fiction. She's keen to find a contemporary romance with humor and depth. She is always on the lookout for something smart and edgy that pushes the envelope. She would love to see more YA horror, particularly if it has a feminist bent or social commentary.
"Kathleen’s YA list includes Lisa Maxwell’s NYT bestselling, captivating tale of time travel and magic, THE LAST MAGICIAN (Simon Pulse/S&S); Gloria Chao’s hilarious and heartwarming contemporary, AMERICAN PANDA (Simon Pulse/S&S); Laurie E. Flynn’s boundary-pushing contemporary, FIRSTS (St. Martin's/Macmillan); and Breeana Shields’s gripping fantasy, POISON’S KISS (Random House/PRH). Some of her middle grade titles include Lois Sepahban’s moving historical, PAPER WISHES (Margaret Ferguson/Macmillan); Jess Keating’s humorous My Life is a Zoo series (Sourcebooks); and Lindsay Currie’s smart, mysterious THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET (Aladdin/S&S). Recent picture book releases include Josh Funk’s riotous LADY PANCAKE AND SIR FRENCH TOAST (Sterling); Lori Alexander’s charming FAMOUSLY PHOEBE (Sterling); accessible nonfiction with personality such as Jess Keating’s clever PINK IS FOR BLOBFISH (Knopf/PRH); and empowering female biographies like Jess Keating’s SHARK LADY (Sourcebooks) and Annette Pimentel’s GIRL RUNNING (Nancy Paulsen/PRH).
"Some topics that are close to her heart (and that she’d love to find incorporated into picture books or novels) include environmentalism, animal welfare, social justice, women in science, literature, technology, and little known events or people in history. Kathleen is always interested in anything witchy, whimsical, or feminist. She’d love to find more stories (in any genre) by diverse creators and underrepresented voices.
"In addition to her children’s list, Kathleen also represents select adult nonfiction and is interested in mind/body/spirit books.
"Kathleen earned an MA in Children’s Literature at San Diego State University. In addition to her passion for children’s literature, she loves animals (especially dogs!), crystals, tarot cards, and would never say no to Mexican food.” (Link)
About the Agency:
“The Andrea Brown Literary Agency was founded in August 1981 and has offices in the San Francisco Bay area, San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago.
“Our agency works to bring to light the voices and perspectives of new writers as well as to nurture and develop the careers of experienced authors. Our goal, whether seeking to secure a publishing contract for a first book or a fiftieth book, is to make sure that clients are not only published, but published well.
“Our philosophy is to remain a ‘small’ agency at heart. We invest a great deal of personal care and attention in each project, and we are hands-on in all aspects of our interactions with clients. We work closely with clients in an editorial capacity and we devise a strategy at every stage of the writing process that will enable us to find the best publisher for each book. In doing so, we think about both short term and long term goals for our clients, always keeping the trajectory of a successful career in mind.
“Our agents have backgrounds in New York publishing, editing, academia, business, teaching, writing and film, and one of our strengths as an agency is that we work collaboratively. Our clients have the benefit not only of their individual agent's expertise but of the combined experience and vision of the group.
“As a West Coast based agency, we follow a tradition of West Coast innovation in our passion for discovering new voices, in our efforts to make New York publishing more inclusive of voices from other parts of the country, and in our attempt to see publishing trends that result from this broader perspective. We combine this approach with access, standing, and visibility in the publishing community at large. Our agents make regular trips to New York, attend industry conventions, and participate as faculty at writers' conferences all over the country. We ensure a high profile for our clients and actively keep our fingers on the pulse of publishing.” (Link)Web Presence:
Andrea Brown Agency website.
Personal website.
AgentQuery, QueryTracker.
What She's Looking For:
Picture book through YA and select adult nonfiction. See her bio above when she discusses what she's looking for.
From Her Manuscript Wish List:
"I’m looking for picture books, middle grade, and YA (no chapter books please).
"For picture books, I love to laugh. I love irreverent character driven stories with a surprise ending or twist. And, on the other side of things, I’d like to find something sweet with a deeper meaning and beautiful language. I'm looking for picture books that inspire emotional intelligence, self-awareness, and empathy in a non-didactic way.
"I’m also on the hunt for nonfiction picture books. (Science! Biographies! Common Core topics made fun!). I’d love to find more biographies and what some call “ficinformational” picture books (books with a fictional story that ties into the Common Core, or with a true-life story that has been fictionalized but includes factual back matter), a la Jess Keating's EAT YOUR ROCKS, CROC! and Karen Jameson's WHERE THE WEE ONES GO as examples of the former and Carole Lindstrom's WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS and Laurel Neme's THE ELEPHANT'S NEW SHOE for the latter. I would especially love to see more biographies about young climate activists.
"I'm particularly passionate about the environment, conservation, animal welfare, and social justice and these are all themes I'm always happy to see in picture books. Climate change and pollution (still looking for a great book about plastic) are topics I very much want to see more books about across all ages. Let's nurture the next generation of activists and advocates!
"I'm especially hungry for more middle grade. Please send me your middle grade!
"For MG, I’m always looking for heartfelt stories, as well as contemporary ‘coming of age’ stories with a relatable voice.
"I’m happy to see atmospheric spooky MG or truly scary MG. I represent Lindsay Currie's THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET and it's a fantastic example of the kind of voice-driven, fast paced fright with atmosphere that I enjoy. I also love middle grade mysteries.
"It's all about voice! I love middle grade with a memorable narrator, and especially when the story dives into themes of family, culture, and friendship like Supriya Kelkar's AMERICAN AS PANEER PIE and THAT THING ABOUT BOLLYWOOD.
"Another example of MG on my list that I'd love to find more of is literary MG such as Aimee Lucido's gorgeous novel in verse, EMMY IN THE KEY OF CODE, which weaves together friendship and coming of age with music and coding. And, of course I love high stakes adventures with clever kids at the helm a la Jess Keating's Elements of Genius series.
"Friendships and family relationships are something I particularly enjoy in middle grade. I always admire when parents (and other mentor family members like grandparents) are present as opposed to "off stage" throughout the book. I also love a dash of magic in contemporary MG. And again, I am always interested in wildlife, nature, conservation, climate themes.
"For YA, I’m especially interested in voice-driven contemporary. I'm especially looking for a fresh, diverse YA rom-com with depth and heart like Gloria Chao's RENT A BOYFRIEND. I'd love to find more light-hearted contemporary YA. I also enjoy YA that tackles big picture topics with nuance and heart (bonus points for humor).
"I would love to find more YA horror, especially if it has a deeper message or smart underlying social commentary. I'm a fan of thrillers and would like something dark and twisty that makes me think.
"I’m looking for voice-driven, compelling, high stakes fantasy and am especially interested in contemporary fantasy. A great example of my taste is Isabel Sterling's THESE WITCHES DON'T BURN. I enjoy characters that are clever and secretive with the capacity to outwit each other (or the reader). I’m always interested in unreliable narrators or characters who turn stereotypes on their heads. Characters and voice matter most to me.
"I also have a soft spot for historical novels, both MG and YA. Especially if it takes place before WWII. (Take me baaaaaack farther than the 1940s!) I’d love to find historical fiction in the vein of Sharon Cameron or Elizabeth Wein with heart-wrenching choices and fascinating historic detail. And I'm always on the lookout for Celtic or Viking inspired YA such as Adrienne Young's SKY IN THE DEEP.
"I adore magical realism in both MG and YA. Bonus points for complex family relationships (or secrets!) and unique, atmospheric locations that can be considered a character themselves.
"For everything I acquire, from picture books through MG and YA, I’m passionate about championing diverse creators and underrepresented perspectives. LGBTQ voices are always welcome.
"A few elements I'm always excited to see in YA include strong female leads, great rapport, small towns, lesser known mythology, unexpected circumstances, humor, and romance.
"I'm always looking for novels that explore identity, finding yourself, and feeling seen for the first time. Try me!
"I’m also looking for mind/ body/ spirit or metaphysical adult nonfiction (and I also love these topics when they pop up in fiction). I would be thrilled to find a fresh nonfiction project about any of the following: tarot, crystal healing, feng shui, mindfulness, meditation, intuition, astrology, energy healing, reiki, acupuncture, or yoga."
There is more detailed information on what she is looking for on her Manuscript Wish List. You can also find helpful resources for writers on her personal website.
What She Isn't Looking For:
Religion politics, science, nature or overtly spiritual self help (Link)Editorial Agent?
“Each manuscript is different, and requires different levels of edits, but there are always revisions. One of my favorite parts of my job is brainstorming with my authors. Honestly, I think the days when fiction agents didn’t need to be editorial have passed. Editors are looking for a project to be polished and sparkly by the time it reaches their desk, now more than ever.” (Link)
“I think this is probably everyone’s pet peeve that receives queries, but please don’t send a mass query with no personalization. Or one that is outside of my scope of genres that I represent (no poetry, no adult novels, etc.).” (Link)
There is a list of Ms. Katheleen Rushall's clients on the agency and her personal website as well as those listed in her bio above.
Query Methods:
E-mail: No.
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: Yes.
Submission Guidelines (always verify):
“We accept email queries only. Please direct your e-query to ONE agent at our agency, and include the following:
“Fiction: query letter and first 10 pages.”
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines as well as the agency's Submission Advice, Dos and Dont’s, and Tips.Query Tips:
“For me personally, the perfect query demonstrates the author’s research (why did you choose me to query?), plot points and character intro (what’s the hook, why do I care about these characters - why do I want to open your sample?), and a brief bit about the author (relevant information – are you a member of SCBWI or any writing groups, published before, writing experience, etc.). Bonus points if you can cite comparable books already on shelves and why yours is different.” (Link)
Response Times:
She only responds if interested. If you have not heard from her in six to eight weeks, consider it a rejection.
Worth Your Time:
Featured Agent: Kathleen Rushall at 12 x 12 (11/2016)
Interview with Agent Kathleen Rushall at Fantasy, Futuristic Paranormal (04/2015).
Query Questions with Kathleen Rushall at Michelle Hauck (02/2014).
7 Questions for Literary Agent Kathleen Rushall at Middle Grade Ninja (06/2013).
Interview with Literary Agent Kathleen Rushall at YA Fushion (07/2011).
Interview and Pitch Contest winners with Kathleen Rushall at Operation Awesome (07/2011).
Friday Firsts: Interview with Kathleen Rushall at Deana Barnhart (06/2011).
Friday Firsts: Kathleen Rushall Interview Part 2 at Deana Barnhart (07/2011).
Interview With My Awesome Agent: Kathleen Rushall! at client J.R. Johansson’s blog (04/2011).
Please see the Andrea Brown Literary for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 5/27/2020.
Agent Contacted For Review? Yes.
Last Reviewed By Agent? 9/15/11.
Update 3/5/2017: As of 2016, Kathleen Rushall is an agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Please check their website for details on what she's looking for and how to submit to her.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.


Becky Mahoney said...

Kathleen is THE BEST. She's so sweet and enthusiastic. I had a partial with her in July, and while she ended up stepping aside because things were moving pretty fast with the manuscript, she couldn't have been more gracious. She even read my blog!

Beth said...

This is a terrific profile. It's hard to believe that you keep coming up with new agents to research. Although I haven't been commenting as much lately, I still use this blog as my #1 agent resource.

Priscilla said...

Another amazing profile, Casey. Thanks so much!

Angela Brown said...

I agree with Beth. Another great agent spotlight. I, too, love this place for researching agents and getting a good feel on the direction to take.

Anonymous said...

Shelly great post! great profile, such as exciting stuff here. Thank you for the posting.

Sample Cover Letters

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks Casey. Kathleen sounds like an awesome agent. I'm definitely adding her to my list to query. I'm loving how you're spotlighting so many agents I don't know about.

Creepy Query Girl said...

wow, awesome! Thanks so much for all of this info on Kathleen! She sounds top-knotch!

Angie Sandro said...

Kathleen is extremely professional and courteous. She always has time to respond to my questions and gives great advice.

Plus, she's hilarious and a wonderful person to have as an agent/friend. I love her to pieces.

Laila Knight said...

There sure are a lot of YA agents. Of course there are a lot of YA being written. Thanks for the info. :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Great profile! It's nice to see an agent taking picture books. :D

Theresa Milstein said...

Thanks for the info. I think she'll be a good fit for my manuscript and me!

Casey McCormick said...

Thanks, everyone. I'm so glad you enjoy this feature.

Becky and Angie, thank you for the feedback. Kathleen seems really great!

Ishta Mercurio said...

I love it when clients or people with experience with an agent comment. It adds a lot to the profile.

Thanks for this, Casey. Your blog is so helpful - I can't thank you enough for all the work you do.

Thermocline said...

I'm still running behind. Thank you for this Spotlight, Casey.

Tyler Jones said...

Yet another awesome profile. Well done!