Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/24/2024

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.


Happy Monday Everyone! Hope you have a great start of the week. I just finished my four weekend project of cleaning my basement. I didn't get rid of everything I wanted but it feels so good to see space on the shelves and see my floor again without a bunch of junk all over the place. And after this week at work, things should settle down a bit.

I've got some exciting news! As part of a debut MG author Skilar Brown's guest post with her agent Tina Wexler on revisions on Wednesday, April 16th, Tina Wexler is offering a query contest. One winner will receive a query critique from her. The winner will be selected by random.org. So get your queries ready. So excited to offer this for you all.


Marcy Hatch's first book, WEST OF PARADISE, releases tomorrow. Here's a little blurb:

When Jack McCabe gets the opportunity to go back in time, he jumps at it; it's
the adventure he always dreamed of - until he meets a beautiful but
deadly train robber. Katherine Kennedy can't believe an ignorant bounty
hunter has mistaken her for a criminal – until she sees the picture, which
looks exactly like her. Neither of them can imagine how the past has a way
of catching up with the present.

Go HERE to find out more. Congrats, Marcy!

Next I have two winners to announce.

The winner of my Lucky is Reading Giveaway Hop is Diah Didi who selected ALIENATED!

And the winner of GUILDED is Kristina Vallaste!

Congrats! E-mail me your address so I can send you your book. Please e-mail me by the end of Wednesday or I'll have to pick another winner.

Today I’m excited to have Elle Cosimano here to share about her debut YA thriller NEARLY GONE that releases tomorrow. This sounds like a fantastic crime thriller that I’m looking forward to reading.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Bones meets Fringe in a big, dark, scary, brilliantly-plotted urban thriller that will leave you guessing until the very end.

Nearly Boswell knows how to keep secrets. Living in a DC trailer park, she knows better than to share anything that would make her a target with her classmates. Like her mother's job as an exotic dancer, her obsession with the personal ads, and especially the emotions she can taste when she brushes against someone's skin. But when a serial killer goes on a killing spree and starts attacking students, leaving cryptic ads in the newspaper that only Nearly can decipher, she confides in the one person she shouldn't trust: the new guy at school—a reformed bad boy working undercover for the police, doing surveillance. . . on her.

Nearly might be the one person who can put all the clues together, and if she doesn't figure it all out soon—she'll be next.

Hi Elle! Thanks so much for joining us.

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

I wanted to be a biologist, but after three failed years in the hard sciences, I conceded defeat to the Gods of Math and successfully graduated with a liberal arts degree in psychology. I fumbled for a while after college, and finally settled into a long and profitable career in real estate, which I wouldn’t realize until fourteen years later, was deeply unsatisfying. I joked to my colleagues that one day I would have a midlife crisis and leave work to write a novel. I did just that in the summer of 2010, when I took a two-month sabbatical from work to write NEARLY GONE. I never went back.

2. Funny that you joked about it and then did it. Where did you get the idea for your story?

The idea for the mystery came from watching a co-worker read the personal ads at work. She was in the middle of a painful divorce, and she spent her free time making fun of the Missed Connections ads in the local paper. But when she thought she was alone, I couldn’t help but notice how lonely she looked while reading those ads. Like she was hoping that one of them might be searching for her. Nearly Boswell’s character grew from that image, of a lonely woman who was too ashamed to admit that she yearned not to be. And from there, both the character and the mystery were born.

3. That’s a cool way to come up with a story idea. And show how ideas are all around us if we look. I read that you did a lot of research for NEARLY GONE. Share a bit about it and any advice you have for other authors on research for a crime thriller.

Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! It’s so easy (and tempting) to stay home and do all our research
online. Google is safe. Wikipedia is thorough. Online means we don’t have to put ourselves out there and ask questions that make us feel naïve or foolish. I did a lot of my research for book 1 online… probably too much… and it wasn’t until I started to get out of my own head and in front of real people – standing in real places and asking real questions (yes, even the foolish ones) – that I really started to grasp the joy of it. Research is FUN! It’s the frosting! It’s the difference between having to write what we know, and being able to truly know what we write. My advice? Pick up the phone, or drop someone an email. Take a tour, make an appointment, ask permission to audit that class you wish you’d taken. Most people are THRILLED for the chance to help an author write a book.

4. That’s great advice to contact people when you need to for hands on advice. Because this is a thriller, the plot has to keep moving and raising the stakes is important. What did you learn about plotting out a thriller from writing this?

I learned that tension has to come from every direction. It has to be internal, as well as external. It has to be counterbalanced by the desires and needs of an antagonist with his/her own internal and external tensions. It has to be tested by the needs and desires of love interests and friends and red herrings, each with their own internal and external tensions. And I learned that to dig deep enough to find and reveal all these taut threads, I had to give myself permission not to hold back.

5. Awesome advice. Nearly sounds like a fantastic character with secrets to hide. Share a bit about her and what her character development was like for you.

Nearly wasn’t always named so. She had a different name. Maybe a more normal one. But when I sat down and thought through her character – who she was and how she felt about herself – the words almost, just about, and nearly kept coming up over and over again. Nearly had a beautiful ring to it, and a heartbreaking connotation that made me feel for her. Because, let’s face it, we’ve all felt nearly at some point in our lives. We all long to be whole, we all want to be enough, we want to exceed someone else’s dreams and expectations. And so her name began to shape the rest of her character. “Nearly”, and her vehement rejection of her own name, became the microscope through which I began to understand her motivations and self-doubts.

6. Yes, we’ve all been at that “nearly” stage at times in our lives. Your agent is Sarah Davies. How did she become your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I queried Sarah in the usual fashion, and she pulled me from her slush-pile. I had never met her, but I’d done my homework and I knew she was high on my list of dream agents. Sarah read quickly, and offered representation within a week. But she was clear that the manuscript needed work. A lot of work. It needed a full re-imagining. I spent the next year re-writing NEARLY GONE. Twice. After a third deep revision, Sarah declared it was ready, and we went on submission right before the winter holidays in 2011. Kathy Dawson at Dial/Penguin pre-empted a deal for the book, plus a sequel, in the early weeks of 2012. Since then, my editor started her very own imprint at Penguin, and NEARLY GONE has been included in the inaugural launch list for Kathy Dawson Books.

7. That must have been a great experience editing your book with Sarah’s advice. How are you planning to market your book? What advice do you have for the rest of us on what to do market-wise in the year leading up to a book release?

So much of the debut experience is trial by fire. There is no Debut Year For Dummies manual. The best thing I ever did was to spend my debut lead-in time building relationships and supporting other authors. I cultivated exceptional critique partners, became involved in several debut online communities, attended retreats and professional events, and I had a lot of great conversations with people who knew more than I did. Then I shared that knowledge with those who were a few steps behind me. We are so lucky to have such a supportive and open writing community in kidlit. The debut year does not have to be a lonely one, and there’s great advice all around us.

8. I’ve heard many debut authors mention the importance of connection with other writers. What are you working on now?

I just wrapped up the first draft of the sequel to NEARLY GONE. NEARLY LOST (working title) is scheduled to release in 2015. I’ve also completed a separate book I’m super-excited about. It will appeal to fans of NEARLY GONE, but it’s too soon to share details yet.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Elle. You can find Elle at:

Elle has generously donated a copy of NEARLY GONE for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through April 5th. I’ll announce the winner on April 7th. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, please leave it in the comments.

If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. You must be 13 or older to enter. International entries are welcome.

Here’s what’s coming up:

On Wednesday I’ve got a guest post by MG Buehrlen and giveaway of her YA novel THE 57 LIVES OF ALEX WAYFARE about a girl who has visions of living in times in history. It’s another one I’m hoping to read and MG blogs at YA Book Central, a fantastic blog that helps promote authors and their books.

Next Monday I’m interviewing Maureen McQuerry and giving away a copy of her MG fantasy,
BEYOND THE DOOR. It sounds really good and I hope to read it.

Next Tuesday I’ll be participating in the Fool For Books Giveaway Hop. I’ll have lots of great newly released YA choices and I’m going to add some newer middle grade books as well for my middle grade book lovers.

Next Wednesday Louise Caiola will be here sharing a guest post on writing NA fiction with a giveaway of THE MAKING OF NEBRASKA BROWN, a NA story about a girl who must reclaim her memory that has gotten fantastic reviews.

And don’t forget Casey’s Agent Spotlights.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Old Kitty said...

Hello Elle! Wishing you all the best with Nearly Gone. Nearly sounds like a most intriguing and very mysterious character - but vulnerable! To taste emotions! That's just amazing!

Me and the God of Maths have never gotten on! LOL!
p.s. yay for basement cleaning!

Take care

Barbara Watson said...

What a great sounding story, Elle. I especially love how you explained Nearly's name.

Donna K. Weaver said...

A time-traveling western. I kinda love it. Being old enough to have been raised on westerns, it's fun to see that time period making a bit of a comeback. With a twist. Congrats!

Vivien said...

Some really excellent advice!! Plus, I love reading the story behind the book. So excited to hear about the sequel and another book!!! So eager to read them all :D

GFC: Vivien

kellis_amberlee at yahoo dot com

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Congratulations to Marcy and Elle! Nearly gone sounds so good and creepy. LOVE books like this! I'll have to put it on my wish list. Great interview, too. Research scares me, but it really can be fun.

S.P. Bowers said...

That's a haunting image that prompted your book. And a universal one, one I think every reader could identify with. Congrats on the book, it sounds like an interesting one!

Danielle H. said...

Wow! I've never heard someone talk about research like that before--inspirational way to think about it. thank you! And thank you for the chance to win your book. I have posted to Facebook.

Carina Olsen said...

Yay! This book sounds awesome :D And I love the post. <3 thank you both so so much for sharing. I would love to win a copy of Nearly Gone. <3

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

GFC - Christy M


Angela Brown said...

Another great interview, Natalie and it was wonderful making online acquaintance with Elle. The book sounds suspenseful and intriguing. Wishing you the very best with it and follow up publications.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If there is a Debut for Dummies book, I think I still need it.
Cool that you started writing and never went back.
And big congratulations to Marcy!

Jemi Fraser said...

Good for you on cleaning out the basement - never EVER an easy task!!!

The book sounds great and I love Fringe and Bones so it must be right up my alley!

Nicole said...

Ooh, Bones meets Fringe! I could definitely get into a book like that. Thanks for a great interview.

Karen Lange said...

Congrats on getting some things done on the to-do list! I love that feeling. :) My big accomplishments this weekend were cleaning and scrubbing the tub. Life on the edge in KY. :)

Thanks so much for the interview. Always enjoy them; it's so nice to get to know other writers. I'll pass on the giveaway since I won recently.

Hope your week goes well!

Jaime Lester said...

Thank you so much for the interview and giveaway. I am very interested in checking out Nearly Gone. IT sounds wonderful, and I am crazy about the cover!

GFC- Jaime Lynn
Tweeted- https://twitter.com/JaimeLLester/status/448318908299104258
email- jeepgirl529(at)yahoo(dot)com

Britt said...

I can't wait for this book. Thank you for the interview.

Carl Scott said...

This sounds like a wonderful story and a great main character. I'd love to win a copy, thanks for the chance. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

Carl Scott said...

I also tweeted a link to this post : https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/448344333263974400 Thanks again!

Jen R. said...

Ooh what an interesting interview! Such a cool way to come up with this story. I love books about serial killers, and I can't wait to read this!

I tweeted too!

jenelleriane at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

I'm looking forward to reading Nearly Gone ! I love the synopsis!

Christina Fiorelli said...

Hi Elle!!

That was an awesome awesome interview, because it was so helpful to writers!!

I think that one moment that gave you inspiration and how it ties into the plot with the personal ads really shows how you can find a book idea even during lunch at work.

You're so right about going out there to do research, especially auditing classes. That's such a good idea, and easy to do too if you're close to a college or university.

That's perfect advice about plot - about it being on many levels and that the villain and other characters have their own objectives that bring forth conflict for the main character. I read an amazing blog post on Martina Boone's blog Adventures in YA Publishing about how all plots are either vampire or zombie, because a vampire plot means you're up against another person, who changes things, and a zombie plot means you're up against something impersonal/ a given, like a storm. I think Nearly will be up against a very interesting "vampire" plot, and that one insight about her, how she wants someone to be looking for her, shows that she's also a caring person.

Natalie, thank you for this giveaway and for the very helpful advice your blog posts always give us!! Hope your basement is ready to be filled with lots more things that are full of wonderful memories!! ;)

I'm an email subscriber ccfioriole at gmail dot com and I follow on Twitter @christinafiorio and I'm a Goodreads follower of your Christina Kitroeff

I tweeted it! https://twitter.com/christinafiorio/status/448427322673491968

Thank you again! :)

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Christina Fiorelli said...

Oops! I think the tweet has to be in a different comment, sorry!!

I tweeted it! https://twitter.com/christinafiorio/status/448427322673491968

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Ruth Schiffmann said...

Great interview, Natalie and Elle. Can't wait to read Nearly Gone!

Mary Preston said...

"Nearly" sounds like such a good fit for the character & the story. I always enjoy a great thriller, even if I do have to read them during the daylight hours.


Anonymous said...

Happy Book Birthday to Elle!
Nearly Gone sounds like a cool book.


Unknown said...

Elle's book sounds fascinating and creepy -- I love that! The part about Sarah, Penguin, and the pre-empt must have been so exciting for her. Wishing her much success! :)

Anonymous said...

I am cautiously interested in how this book's gonna turn out!

Patchi said...

This book sounds great and the cover is amazing. I'll add it to my wishlist.

Rosi said...

I hadn't heard of this book before, but I really want to read it now. Great interview, too. Thanks for a chance to win. I tweeted: https://twitter.com/rosihollinbeck/status/448541325055377408

_Sandra_ said...

Great interview! :) Super excited to read this one, sounds really great. Also, happy book birthday Elle! :)Thanks for a giveaway!

* following via GFC - Sandra K
* email - sandra.zg.13 @ gmail.com
* twitter - https://twitter.com/_Sandra_R_/status/448546298849800192
* Google+ - https://plus.google.com/107598100375357110332/posts/7ntnX4q2X3V

Theresa Milstein said...

Good luck with your book, Marcy!

Nice to meet Elle. So interesting about the research. And I like your book premise.

Christine Rains said...

Congrats and good luck to Marcy! This was a great interview. I would've loved to get into the sciences, but math booted me out too.

Denise Covey said...

I wish Marcy every good wish with her book! Congrats to the winners!

Stephanie Faris said...

Congrats to all the winners and to Elle and Marcy for their new books! Hope they're both bestsellers!

Heather said...

Happy late Monday! Congrats on finishing cleaning your basement. And congratulations to Marcy, I hope her sales soar!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Elle. I couldn't take two semesters of being a Biology major and I switched to a double major of Psychology and English.

I would love to do more hands-on, real life research.

Congrats to the winners.

Crystal Collier said...

TBR list. I did read the blurb for Nearly Gone before and decided I'd have to read it, one day. Yay, Marcy!

PK HREZO said...

Wow what a great story to publication. So awesome that Sarah saw the diamond in the rough. Not all agents will take the time to do that.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's wonderful her book will be one of the first from Kathy Dawson Books.

Nas said...

Congratulations to the winners! Great story to being published!

Jocelyn Rish said...

Congrats on getting the basement spruced up - I bet that's a big relief to get it off your ToDo list.

I've been seeing Nearly Gone in a bunch of places, and it sounds like just the type of book I love to read. Can't wait!

Cherie Reich said...

You completely had me on the "Bones meets Fringe." Sounds like a great book, Elle! Congrats!

mshatch said...

Fabulous interview and I love the premise for Nearly Gone.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm always amazed at where writers come up with their story. Her anecdote really says, "Pay attention, people!" There are stories just about everywhere.

Stephanie Garber said...

I can't remember when I first heard about this book, but I've been wanting to read it ever since--I think NEARLY GONE sounds awesome! Congratulations Elle, and thanks for the giveaway!

Natasha said...

I can't wait to read Nearly Gone!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Nas said...

Great inspirational journey! Thanks for sharing!

Bube said...

Thanks for the great interview! :)
Thanks for the awesome chance!

And shared via:

And facebook:

Thanks :)

Casey B. said...

This book sounds amazing! I would love to win it:) I follow via Bloglovin and my email is cjbergman1(at)gmail(dot)com Thanks!