Cecilia (Cece) Lyra, Agent
Contemporary fiction in the vein of Curtis Sittenfeld, Meg Wolitzer, J. Courtney Sullivan, and Delia Ephron is something I’m always looking for. Liane Moriarty is an all-time favorite author. (And, yes, Delia is my favorite Ephron. Sorry, Nora.)
I’m a sucker for short story collections, particularly those with a hypnotic, slice-of-life feel. THE OFFICE OF HISTORICAL CORRECTIONS by Danielle Evans and TELL ME WHO WE WERE by Kate McQuade are favorites of mine. Bonus points for voice-driven, idiosyncratic writing.
I enjoy provocative humor—humor that challenges the intellect. I am open to comedy of manners, satires, surrealist stories, dark comedies, etc. Humor that’s also a little sad is my sweet spot. MARRYING THE KETCHUPS by Jennifer Close is a great example of a wickedly witty story.
I enjoy select historical fiction, particularly those with a contemporary feel that lean into setting as a character, whether that’s a dwelling (THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett) or a country (THE HENNA ARTIST by Alka Joshi).
I am eager for more high-concept sci-fi and fantasy with literary and upmarket feel. Examples of my favorites in this space include THE POWER by Naomi Alderman, THE AGE OF MIRACLES by Karen Thompson Walker, and THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern.
For romcoms, my taste veers towards genre-blends, i.e., a romcom that’s also a family saga or a romcom com that’s also a thriller. DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto is a great example and my all-time favorite romcom.
Stories about best friends set against the backdrop of competitive, high-stakes, art-based industries: this is what I live for! Think THE BALLERINAS by Rachel Kapelke-Dale and SMILE AND LOOK PRETTY by Amanda Pellegrino.
I would love to see stories that feel like straight-up contemporary fiction only to surprise the reader with a speculative twist. THE OTHER BLACK GIRL by Zakiya Dalila Harris is a favorite of mine!
I’m hungry for horror that leans on eerie, atmospheric, and unsettling. MEXICAN GOTHIC by Silvia Moreno-Garcia will forever be a favorite in this space. I don’t mind gore, but I’m typically not drawn to it. I prefer to feel scared, not grossed out.
Psychological dramas in the vein of THE PUSH by Ashley Audrain are high on my wish-list, as are high-concept thrillers that keep me guessing. I devoured WE WERE NEVER HERE by Andrea Bartz and WHO IS MAUD DIXON? by Alexandra Andrews.
Family stories are like catnip to me, whether family of origin, family of partnership, or found family. I adored L.A. WEATHER by María Amparo Escandón and THE MOST FUN WE EVER HAD by Claire Lombardo.
For fiction, I am open to all genres. I <3 stories with dysfunctional, messy, and flawed protagonists. My taste gravitates towards literary and upmarket fiction (in the vein of EXCITING TIMES by Naoise Dolan, WHITE IVY by Susie Yang, THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett)…
I find that the best nonfiction books both educate and entertain. A recent favorite includes GIRLY DRINKS by Mallory O’Meara, and an all-time favorite is INVISIBLE WOMEN by Caroline Criado Perez.
The human brain is an endless source of fascination. I’d welcome paradigm-shifting nonfiction with a neuroscience bent, particularly titles exploring the nexus between neuroscience and other fields, e.g., neuropsychology, neurosociology, neuropharmacology, neuronutrition, etc.
…culminates in paradigm-shifting takeaways. I am a fan of books that expose what’s hiding in plain sight, whether it’s an untold story, the unseen side of things we think we know everything about, and/or projects that unlock unexpected and enlightening patterns/connections.
A clear, original, and preferably surprising conclusion should be included in a nonfic proposal, meaning that it can’t just be 50 pages of thoughts & feelings—a sharp, unique, and curiosity-inducing through-line must be present from the beginning w/ supporting research that…
For nonfiction, I am open to most categories, across the spectrum, including psychology, history, current affairs, science, politics, narrative journalism, nature & the environment, wellness, spirituality, business & economics, mathematics, parenting, lifestyle, and pop culture.
Cecilia (Cece) Lyra, Agent @ceciliaclyraAll right, #amquerying writers—let’s talk #MSWL because it’s a new year! What follows is what I’m looking for as an agent, i.e., my tastes, opinions, and impressions, as well as examples of some of my favorite books. It’s all subjective, of course. (A 🧵) #WritingCommunity
I rep adult fiction & nonfiction. For both, I am on the hunt for stories that explore *power* (imbalance, struggle, rise & fall), *identity* (perception, exploration, intersectionality) & *dysfunction* (familial, societal, cultural) told with originality, nuance, & authenticity.