Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

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! Today I'm excited to have debut author Emily Bain Murphy here with her agent Peter Knapp to share about Emily's YA fantasy THE DISAPPEARANCES. I'm attracted to the intriguing fantasy world and the mystery. It sounds like a real page turner.

Here's a blurb from Goodreads:

"Thick with mystery, buried secrets, and magic, nothing is safe in The Disappearances. Be careful, or you might lose yourself in this strange and wondrous world, where stars go missing, reflections don’t exist, and the question, how much would you sacrifice for love? is given entirely new meaning. I adored this book!" – Stephanie Garber, author of Caraval

What if the ordinary things in life suddenly…disappeared?

Aila Quinn’s mother, Juliet, has always been a mystery: vibrant yet guarded, she keeps her secrets beyond Aila’s reach. When Juliet dies, Aila and her younger brother Miles are sent to live in Sterling, a rural town far from home--and the place where Juliet grew up.

Sterling is a place with mysteries of its own. A place where the experiences that weave life together--scents of flowers and food, reflections from mirrors and lakes, even the ability to dream--vanish every seven years.

No one knows what caused these “Disappearances,” or what will slip away next. But Sterling always suspected that Juliet Quinn was somehow responsible--and Aila must bear the brunt of their blame while she follows the chain of literary clues her mother left behind. 

As the next Disappearance nears, Aila begins to unravel the dual mystery of why the Disappearances happen and who her mother truly was. One thing is clear: Sterling isn’t going to hold on to anyone's secrets for long before it starts giving them up.

Now here's Emily and Peter!

Thank you so much, again, for thinking of me and The Disappearances for this post! Pete and I had a bit of an informal back-and-forth conversation about the book and our working relationship that I hope will be informative for querying writers! I remember absolutely *scouring* Literary Rambles from top to bottom when I was querying, so it feels very full-circle to be contributing this post, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity! Without further ado--a little peek into a conversation between Peter Knapp and me:

Peter: I can still remember when I first read the manuscript for THE DISAPPEARANCES—then
called Between Sand and Glass—after you had submitted it to me. It was a different book then: Aila’s chapters were in third person, the time period and setting were both different, the way the mystery unfolded was different. And yet, I knew then what I know now, which is that it has so much heart. You write with such a deep appreciation for the beauty of the world, and a respect for the way grief weaves its way into that beauty. I could try to tell you what my favorite thing about THE DISAPPEARANCES is, but I would end up just summarizing the entire book back to you. So, I’m curious to know: do you have a favorite moment or scene (without giving too much away!)?

Emily: Oh gosh, this is hard! Yes. I have a handful of favorite moments and lines sprinkled through the book that I hope will make readers feel happy and uplifted when they reach them. Without giving too much away—they involve riddles being solved that lead to romance or redemption. But my favorite moments are quickly becoming the ones other readers have told me they loved, or parts that made them cry. For instance, there’s a certain scene where Aila is remembering her mother that will always make me think of you, because it was a scene I added later in the process, and I distinctly remember the first time you read it and told me how it made you feel. We worked so closely on this book through editorial revisions and plot changes, and I absolutely love how our working relationship was forged during those months. What was your favorite thing about working on this book, and what, in your opinion, are some of the elements that make an agent and writer a good match for each other?

Peter: What wasn’t my favorite thing about working on this book? Seriously, it was such a pleasure to get to talk with you about The Disappearances as you were revising it because you are so intentional in all the choices you make. If I had to pick, though, my favorite thing about working with you on The Disappearances was discovering some of the themes that were emerging in the earlier draft and helping you really unearth them entirely. As you know, my editorial thoughts begin from a very theme-driven place, so watching the way you explored the ideas of grief and family history by showing how Aila discovers her mother Juliet in an entirely different light after Juliet’s death was just astonishing. As for what makes an agent and a writer a good match for each other: I think part of it is the agent must understand what the author is trying to achieve. It’s important that an agent not only understand what an author’s book is, but what it could be. And then the agent and the author must have a similar vision for how to bring out the book’s full potential. This is part of the challenge of being an author—you must always push your craft with every book. I’m curious to hear: is there any element of craft you learned while revising The Disappearances that you’ll be glad to have in your arsenal as you write your next novel?

Emily: I feel like I learned so many things working on The Disappearances. Most of all, I had no idea how much I still didn't know! Things like momentum and how events can't just happen one after the other but need to string together in a more interconnected way, so that the reader almost feels like they're being swept along by a wave. I learned so much about character agency and writing scenes where the action is happening on the page instead of off. For example, I remember we even moved the beginning of the story slightly back in time, so that instead of Aila being on a train, describing the prior scene to us, we could show it unfolding in real-time and sort of live it alongside her. As part of my earliest drafts, I remember studying Save the Cat and a screenwriting book by John Truby called The Anatomy of Story just to start understanding the most basic building blocks of telling a story. You recommended The Magic Words by Cheryl Klein, which I absolutely loved, and I will probably read it every time I'm sitting down to write a new book. I'm always on the lookout for more, and I know I already stole one of your favorites, but do you have any other go-to's that you would recommend for studying craft--whether it's a book, website, podcast, or conference?

Peter: One of my favorite resources is Mary Kole’s website and blog, kidlit.com, as well as her book
Writing Irresistible Kidlit. The blog has so many amazing posts about both the craft, the revision process, the business, and anything and everything related to middle grade and young adult fiction—it’s so excellent. I think of much of her advice as the tools in my editorial tool kit. I have started sending clients this great post Mary did about “Big Revision” [link: https://kidlit.com/2011/12/07/big-revision/] along with my edit letters to encourage them to take larger leaps of faith in the editorial process. Something that I really loved about working with you was the way you were so unafraid to make big changes in your revisions—you even changed the book from third person to first person! I’m curious: is there anything that (forgive this) “disappeared” from an earlier draft that you miss?

Emily: Bah! Our Disappearances humor. Hmm… You know, it’s funny, because I remember it being so hard to kill some of my darlings along the way (and I ended up killing a lot), and now I honestly don’t miss any of them very much. There was one fun, eccentric, quirky character I had to cut who I hope might be resurrected in an entirely different book somewhere down the road. But other than that, no—thankfully, I don’t, because I’m just so happy with the way the book turned out in the end, and I know you are, too—and after all the work we put into it, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Peter and Emily!

You can find Emily and Peter at:



Emily has generously offered a copy of THE DISAPPEARANCES for a giveaway and Peter is offering a query critique 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 July 8th. If you do not want to be included in the critique giveaway, please let me know in the comments. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter either contest.

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 years old or older to enter. The book giveaway is U.S. and Canada and the critique giveaway is international.

Here's what's coming up. FYI I will be taking some weeks off in July and August since the summer tends to be slow and I use this time to start preparing my schedule for 2018.

Saturday, July 1st I'll be participating in the Freedom to Read Giveaway Hop

Wednesday, July 5th I have an interview with debut authors and sisters Heidi Lang and  Kati Bartkowski and a giveaway of their MG fantasy A DASH OF DRAGONS and my IWSG post

Monday, July 17th I have a guest post by debut author Corabel Shofner and a giveaway of her contemporary ALMOST PARADISE

Hope to see you on Saturday!


mshatch said...

The Disappearances sounds magical and mysterious :)

Karen Lange said...

It's nice to meet Peter and Emily. Appreciate the intro and interview, Natalie. It's fun to hear about their process together to get the book to publication. Love that book cover!

I'll pass on the giveaway this time. Have a good week! :)

Rachna Chhabria said...

The Disappearances Sound amazing. Nice to meet Peter and Emily.
How have you been Natalie?

Tamara Narayan said...

Sounds like the ideal author/agent-editor relationship. I'd love to win a copy of this book. It reminds me a little of a short story I wrote about vanishing items.

tamara (dot) narayan (at) gmail (dot) com

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Peter really did spend a lot of time working with Emily and that story. So many changes.

Unknown said...

Nice. The book sounds intriguing.

I would like to participate in the query critique giveaway. I mentioned the contest in my twitter feed for the extra entry.

My email is: moniquesanchiz@gmail.com

Darlene said...

The Disappearances is a 2017 release that I have been looking forward to! Please enter me for the book giveaway, not the critique giveaway, thanks.

+1 for sharing on Twitter:


darlenesbooknook AT gmail DOT com

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Thanks for coming and congrats.

Stephanie Faris said...

Oh wow. What a compelling premise. I can already tell I'd like it!

Julie Abe said...

This was a really fun and informative interview. Congratulations on your success, Emily! Thank you both, and thank you, Natalie.

Shelly Steig said...

What a great interview! Thank you Peter and Emily. I look forward to reading the book!

Shelly Steig said...

What a great interview! Thank you Peter and Emily. I look forward to reading the book!

Emily M. Bailey said...

This kind of author/agent relationship must surely be the dream of every writer out there...I simply can't wait to read this book. Thank you for putting it on my radar!

Emily M. Bailey: richandembailey@gmail.com

Unknown said...

The Disappearnces sounds intriguing. As well as the breadth of work that went into its revisions.
Congrats to you both.

Greg Pattridge said...

A great story line, both for THE DISAPPEARANCE and in how Pete and Emily worked together to make it happen. I also enjoy Mary Kohl's website and book. Thanks for the interesting interview.

Unknown said...

Great interview! I'd love to win both the book and the query critique. I've mentioned the contest on Twitter. monicachess26(at)gmail(dot)com

lindalou said...

This sounds to be a read that I would enjoy! Thanks for the giveaway! Please don't include me in the query critique giveaway. I've mentioned the contest on twitter too: https://twitter.com/linda_lindalou/status/879683144663924736 Email: lindalou (at) cfl (dot) rr (dot) com

Susan Thumm Paxton said...

I love the exchange between Peter and Emily about the editorial process. they make it seem like a dance of worods.

abnormalalien said...

Sounds like both the novel and the pair have a great story to tell.

Jill said...

I love when these interviews include helpful resources (books, websites) for writers. I'd love to win the book or critique. Posted this to Twitter, as well. Thanks!

Suzi Guina said...

Feeling all starry-eyed and buoyant reading about your journey together, Emily and Pete! I'd love to be entered for the book: bonecabela(@)yahoo(.)com

cleemckenzie said...

Isn't it wonderful to connect with someone that you can work with so well? Congratulations to you both and I'd love to read this enchanting story.

Danielle H. said...

Mysteries are my favorites and this one sounds so unique. Thanks for the interview today and chance to win a copy of the book. Please do not put me in for the critique this time. I shared this post on my tumblr: http://yesreaderwriterpoetmusician.tumblr.com/post/162323445202/agent-peter-knapp-and-emily-bain-murphy-guest-post

Angie Dickinson said...

This book sounds so fascinating and original! I'd love to be entered for the giveaway and query critique. I've shared on Twitter :)

MeganC said...

I loved hearing the writing process from the author/agent POV. I would love to be entered in your contest. Thanks!

Chrys Fey said...

Peter is on my list of agents. :)

Natasha said...

The Disappearances sounds like an amazing read!
I would love to be entered in for the chance to win the book.
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Sara Dorsch said...

Thanks for sharing your insight and thoughts.

Rosi said...

Very informative interview. Thanks for the post.

M Pax said...

Intriguing book. Congrats to Emily.

Carl Scott said...

What a great conversation! It's obvious how much these two like, respect, and appreciate each other. Great to see a bit more about the inside of publishing. I'm not an author so the critique would probably be better suited to someone else but I'd love to win the book.
I follow by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com
+1 entry - I did tweet a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/880140516800602112

Laura said...

This book sounds magical and awesome and I would love to win a copy and would also love a shot at the query critique!

Judith L. Roth said...

Peter sounds like an amazing agent to work with editorially. I'd love a query critique!

Leah Henderson said...

This book is brilliance on the page! And you two are equally magical!!! Great interview. 💕

Anonymous said...

I'd like to enter to win the book, but not the critique. Thank you! :)

SavingsInSeconds said...

I'm a GFC follower (Savingsinseconds). Would love to read this book but do not know what the query critique is, so I don't need that.
Dianna (dedezoomsalot at yahoo.com)

Rebecca E. Bailey said...

I'd love to win the book and query critique. Thank you for entering me!

Raimey Gallant said...

I've been meaning to read Caraval, and Disapearances sounds great as well. I'd love to win a copy of the book or a query critique with Peter Knapp. Thanks! There's a contact form on my website if I win. :) http://www.raimeygallant.com

Unknown said...

Would love to enter in the query critique giveaway (or win a copy of what sounds like an amazing book!).


caroline yu said...

I would love to be entered in both contests and mentioned it on facebook. My email is c.roberts.yu@gmaildotcom. Thanks!

Unknown said...

This is good! Thank you both for sharing these helpful resources as well! We will be using them! I would love to be a part of both giveaways!

Bonnie said...

How neat to read about the full circle. Thank you to Emily and Peter! I'm excited to be entered in both. bonnie at bonnieauslander dot com