When I reopen to queries I want to see those friend families of outcasts & weirdos around that terrible cusp of adolescence. The kids who are patently uncool & dealing with tough stuff, but can get through it because they have each other, & lots of humor & heart.
Erin Clyburn ~closed to queries~ @erin_clyburnI just finished watching The Orange Years, a documentary about the early years of Nickelodeon, & it really coalesced for me my forever #MSWL when it comes to middle grade:
I’m always chasing the feeling some of those early Nick shows (Pete & Pete, Salute Your Shorts, Doug, Clarissa Explains It All—but mostly Pete & Pete) captured: of being a nerdy kid, pretty anxious, always on the fringes, but with those friends who totally got you.
Julia McCarthy @thejumblesI would really love to final a YA novel that explores the relationship between deep, old nature, human connection, and the supernatural in the same unsettling manner as Twin Peaks.
Oh hell yes. #MSWL
Across the board, I will be prioritizing authors from marginalized communities. I'd love to see more Southern fiction by marginalized authors, think BOYS OF ALABAMA or BLACKTOP WASTELAND. Still dreaming of a sweeping multigenerational family saga by a Southern BIPOC author.
In adult nonfiction, I'm still looking for untold histories, memoirs with a big hook especially if they are extreme sports or adventure stories, pop science, cookbooks, & culinary histories. Again, send me your weirds.
Could you describe it as something like "upmarket fiction with a twist of weird"? That's my jam. Think NOTHING TO SEE HERE, CATHERINE HOUSE, THE AGE OF MIRACLES, THE RIVERMAN, THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER. Send me your weirds, please - MG, YA, adult!
I keep emphasizing grounded because largely I am not looking for fantasy or sci-fi unless it's something that's basically "our world with a twist." So elements of magic realism, elements of fantasy, elements of science fiction, but in our world.
In MG, I want to see contemporary of all kinds, creepy/spooky stories, & again, grounded fantasy or speculative. In YA, I'd love to see more thriller, horror, Gothic, grounded fantasy or speculative, contemporary, rom-coms, & really lush literary fic.
When I reopen to queries in Jan., my wishlist is going to look different than it does now. In adult fic, I am really going to want to see upmarket fiction & book club fiction, literary fic, rom-coms, mystery, domestic & psychological thrillers, horror, & grounded speculative fic.
I know the year isn’t over, but I’m calling it. My three favorite books I read this year were EVERY BONE A PRAYER by @ashleyblooms, CATHERINE HOUSE by @lissiethomas, & THE RADIUM GIRLS by @KateBooks. Those three books could also pretty much serve as a microcosm of my adult #MSWL.
Elizabeth Kilcoyne @eakilcoyneI talk a lot about how pretty WAKE THE BONES is but there's plenty of gore, too. I'm going through the line edits right now on a scene that makes my teeth ache... and not in a sweet, fluffy kind of way.
Not only is this very true, but also “very pretty with plenty of gore, too,” is my forever #MSWL.
This weekend I inhaled NOTHING TO SEE HERE by Kevin Wilson (TY @gracetowery for the rec!). It is SO MY BRAND. If you could comp your MS to it, please send it my way: a funny, dark, character-driven story with a weird twist (in this case, kids who spontaneously combust!). #mswl
I am listening to BOYS OF ALABAMA by @genhudson on audio, & it's just what I always dream of in Southern fiction: It explores everything that's beautiful & ugly about the South, with a touch of magic. It's stunning. #MSWL
I finished season two of Pen15 & I am shattered. I wouldn’t have gotten through middle school without my own ride-or-die, who is still my BFF today (check out these 7th grade math team nerds/soulmates). Please send me books about middle/HS friendships like Maya & Anna’s. #MSWL
I just finished WONDERLAND by @zooshka, & when I say on my #MSWL I’m looking for deeply emotional horror about family relationships, this is exactly what I want! The dread, the claustrophobia, the terror of the natural world. What a stunningly agonizing read.
Thought of another #MSWL: A rewatch of Palm Springs got me thinking about time loops & interconnected timelines. I’d love to see something that truly blows my mind in the way NEVERWORLD WAKE or MIDWINTERBLOOD did. Serious, funny, romantic, super dark, all of the above?
Julia P. McCarthy @thejumblesI want a YA novel that reads like a Joanna Newsom song.
My eyes bulged at the thought of this.
“There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road
There are some dragons who were built to have & hold”
“Your skin is something that I stir into my tea
& I am watching you
& you are starry, starry, starry”