Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting to Know Elana Roth (and David Patneaude)

Sept. 8 will be here before you know it (and it's a Tuesday, people. TUESDAY!). Prepare for the meeting by getting to know our special guest Elana Roth, an agent at the Caren Johnson Literary agency.

Elana has a big Internet presence:

Here's the Caren Johnson Literary Agency site and blog

On AgentQuery

And an interview on Alice's CWIM blog

Here's her own blog

And she's also on Twitter

Our very own David Patneaude is one of her clients. He gave us the inside scoop on what she's like, what she likes and what he's working on.

- What are you working on these days?

I'm working on several things. Among them are a YA mystery, a YA coming-of-age written in verse, some preliminary ideas for a speculative YA, a short sports story, a short SF novel that may get longer, and an early reader. Which one of these eventually gets most of my attention is up in the air right now, but because I've pretty much finished my work on EPITAPH ROAD, which is due out in March, I do have time to devote to the next project or projects.

- How did you and Elana Roth come to work together?
I was looking for a new agent, going through some possibilities online, and came across Elana while she was still at her former agency. According to her bio, she was looking for the exact kind of story that I had recently completed and was hoping to place. I sent it EPITAPH ROAD to her, and the rest is history.

- What’s your working relationship like? Does she give a lot of feedback? Encouragement? Or are you past such things?
I think we have a good working relationship. She's not afraid to give me her opinions, but she's not a micro-manager. She'll tell me what she thinks needs revising without telling me exactly how to make the change. And I have enough confidence in her opinion that I'll go ahead and revise without dragging my feet (much, anyway). I appreciate the fact that she's prompt and accessible. If I call or e-mail her, which I try not to overdo, she gets right back to me. She's also not timid about expressing her ideas to the publisher, and she's knowledgeable enough and respected enough that the publisher listens. She's a strong advocate for both me and my book.

My experience so far is that she gives the right amount of feedback--not a lot, but enough to be useful. Enough that I don't feel like I'm lacking guidance. Fortunately, she has given me encouragement, because there are times when every writer needs it.

- What sort of person is going to be a good potential client for her?
A good potential client would have to pay attention to Elana's likes and dislikes and have something that would fit solidly in the "likes" category. I'm speaking for her here, but she has a strong interest in big-picture, high-concept stories, and by that I mean stories in which something significant, something that goes beyond just the everyday personal kind of conflict, happens. And the writing has to stand on its own. If a writer has something on the quiet side, I would guess Elana wouldn't be a good match for that writer.

Be sure to check out Dave's site--you can see all his fantastic books there. Meanwhile, here's the cover for EPITAPH ROAD. March 2010 feels like an awfully long way away.

1 comment:

Kirby Larson said...

Dave's book is just as cool and thought-provoking as the cover. It's the next Hunger Games!

You heard it here first.