After a few months of aimless freelancing after leaving the UK, I at last have something concrete to show for it: I’ve signed with an agent! In the UK, I’m represented by the wonderful Daisy Parente at Lutyens & Rubinstein, and in the States I’m represented by the equally incredible Kim Witherspoon at InkWell.
Like so many people I wrote a lot when I was a kid, but somewhere in high school I lost sight of it. When, at the end of college, I attempted to write a novella for my undergrad thesis, it went about as well as you’d expect (which is not at all). I graduated in 2014 with a massive chip on my shoulder, and that wound up being the best thing that could’ve happened to me.
I started a job as an editorial assistant and it was during my year at that company that I wrote the first draft of Wildergirls. It was a mess from beginning to end, focused on the wrong character, but it felt like me.
I quit my job, went to England to get my MA at the University of East Anglia. Took a break from Wildergirls and had the best year of my life. And when classes had finished and we all began to work on our dissertations, I opened a new Word doc and started Wildergirls over from scratch. (You can read an excerpt from that second draft here.)
Each fall, UEA publishes an anthology of work from each MA cohort. I chose a section from my draft and hoped it would get someone’s attention. In the months after the anthology’s publication, a few agents contacted me and asked to see Wildergirls when it was finished. Daisy was one of them.
I finally sent the manuscript out to those agents in March 2017, and queried a handful of American agents as well, which had always been my plan. I was lucky enough to have a phone call with some agents I hugely respect and admire. They had great feedback and were so sharp and on top of their game. But I kept coming back to Daisy.
I hadn’t expected to go with a UK agent, and I was afraid there would be complications involved, but Daisy shared the book with Kim Witherspoon at InkWell in the States, and I’m thrilled to say I’ll be working with both of them. They both have such clear, incisive minds and I feel so surely that they understand the book for what it is and will help me make it as good as it can be.