For #MSWL for all that is holy, bring me a Charlie Cale ( Poker Face) or Nadia Vulvokov (Russian Doll) mystery.
I'm also looking for indie bestselling mystery/suspense/thriller authors who would like to go hybrid or who would like to continue self-publishing but have me shop their sub rights. #MSWL #WritingCommunity
I like my thrillers character-driven & atmospheric, like Courtney Summers in YA and Tana French in adult. Voicy YA mysteries with a classic whodunit feel like TRULY DEVIOUS & PREP SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL are also up my alley. I'm not a good fit for commercial action/adventure novels.
For YA fantasy, all of the above applies & I am super open to intricate worldbuilding. I love stories with strategists & characters and narratives that fool the reader: STRIKE THE ZITHER & LITTLE THIEVES are recent faves in this vein. Give me mystery too a la YEAR OF THE REAPER!
Helen Lane is hibernating for winter. @HFLane_writingI will be reopening to queries on the 15th March.
I am having to make a few changes (partly for my workload and partly to make sure I am balancing my list).
The delay also gives me time to finish my remaining fulls before then.
1. I will open for a month only. (By doing it in controlled bursts I can make sure it doesn't overwhelm me).
2. Genres. I will be only opening to a few genres:
Action & Adventure (adult)
Thriller/ mystery: Adult and YA.
Fantasy Romance Adult and YA.
Dark speculative work. Thrillers. Academies. Murder mysteries. Occult studies. Haunted museums. Gothic mansions. An atmosphere to fall in love with opulent richness of the dark.
MIDDLE GRADE—I’d love to find more middle grade. I love mysteries, historical, magic-tinged, verse novels. Some of my favorites: NO ORDINARY THING, THE ELEPHANT’S GIRL, BROWN GIRL DREAMING, and THE DOLLHOUSE MURDERS. #MSWL
THRILLERS—gosh I love thrillers. Give me all the twists and turns! I’m looking for something that really grips the reader. Some favorites: LUCKIEST GIRL ALIVE, THEN SHE WAS GONE, THE WOMAN IN CABIN 10, VERITY, and FINAL GIRLS. I’d also love a cheeky mystery like THE MAID. #MSWL
Quirky That 70s Show but the kids are brought together as adults to solve a mystery from their past #MSWL
Romance & cozy mysteries centering BIPOC &/or queer casts,
embracing queer identity late in life,
action-adventures that comp to The Lost City,
sunshine-grumpy trope (or grumpy-grumpy, anything w/ a snarky, lovably cranky protag who might be a cinnamon roll underneath it all)
Thrillers with martial arts (esp women in martial arts),
Gothic atmosphere (a la Laura Purcell),
protagonists solving mysteries in careers other than law enforcement,
narratives that explore the dark corners of the human psyche without stereotyping mental illness
I'm still dying for projects by Indigenous authors in PB, MG, YA, or adult: contemporary romance, romcom, thriller, mystery, or suspense. #MSWL #WritingCommunity
#amquerying writers, I'd love to see:
✨️A cosy fantasy like Legends and Lattes - magic meets the mundane in mythical wedding planners or dragons at drama school
💖A dreamy fairy-tale inspired romantasy (soulmates are a plus)
🔎A twisty Knives Out-esque murder mystery
-YA historical that features underrepresented experiences/time periods
-Unsettling YA horror/thrillers, especially with unreliable narrators
-YA high fantasy with innovative or unusual magic systems
-YA sci-fi, especially if it crosses genres (sci-fi horror/thriller/mystery)
In MG & YA (incl GNs by Author-Illustrators):
•Diverse contemporary stories and romcoms
•Grounded sub-genres like horror or mysteries
•Novels by marginalized writers w/ stories yet told
•Stories that take you on an adventure and an emotional roller coaster all at once
Try me on unusual genre mash-ups - think mysteries in space or epic fantasies in frontier settings. I've been enjoying the Solaris novels by Alice James, which are pitched as Sookie Stackhouse meets Bridget Jones!
Thriller/mystery/suspense: Murder mysteries, especially with dual timelines (WHERE SECRETS LIE by Eva V. Gibson). I like more focus on character than is typical for these areas (Maureen Johnson’s TRULY DEVIOUS series) and very literary writing (I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU again).
#MSWL In general I’m gravitating toward stories with mysteries. Whether it’s a literal mystery investigation or a thriller or a fantasy with a big secret – give me that overarching thing tugging me through the pages. BUT make sure there isn’t just one big reveal at the end!
#MSWL While I’ll rep any genre, I am particularly drawn to fantasy, speculative, magical realism, and fabulism. I love stories that marry a fast paced plot with literary writing and strong emotions (who doesn’t, I know, sorry). A great mystery also always gets my attention.
-Secrets and lies—and the aftermath when the truth comes out!
-Ensemble cast comedies like OUR FLAG MEANS DEATH (but not pirates)
-Stories that mix magic & mystery (HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE)
-Family bonds, especially sisters