Safe And Sound… A Q&A with Philippa East

Hi everyone, and today on the blog I’m delighted to welcome Philippa East. I’m chatting to Philippa about her new novel Safe and Sound which is released TODAY!!! Today, people!! Go to Amazon!

I was delighted when Philippa agreed to answer some questions on her writing approach.

Over to you, Philippa…

1) Where did the idea come from and how did you first begin to flesh it out?

Safe and Sound centres on the discovery of a young woman’s body in a flat in the middle of London. All indications suggest this tenant was pretty, charismatic, sociable. But somehow, her body has lain there undiscovered for ten whole months.

Through my protagonist, Jenn, the book explores how such a heartbreaking situation came to be.This book was actually inspired by the true-life story of Joyce Vincent, a charismatic and attractive woman in her late thirties who died and lay undiscovered in her bedsit for almost three years. A very moving docu-drama (called Dreams of a Life) was made about her by Carol Morley; the film stayed with me for years, and eventually became an idea I wanted to explore in my own writing. However, fleshing out the idea has involved a lot of trial and error, and false starts! I ended up writing three completely different outlines, and the manuscript has already gone through at least one major rewrite. I think I had to work out what themes I was trying to explore in the novel in order to settle on the shape the story would eventually take.

2) How did you create your main character Jenn? Did you enjoy writing her?

My protagonist Jenn is the housing manager who discovers Sarah Jones’ body in the bedsit, and takes it upon herself to investigate the circumstances around this tenant’s life and death. In doing so, she finds her own life unravelling as she is drawn to confront her own painful past. Jenn’s character developed over a few drafts, as I tried to work out exactly what made her “tick” (lots of brainstorming and musing and trying-on-and-scrapping ideas). But I remember writing one scene where Jenn deals with her feelings of guilt and anxiety in a rather extreme way – and that’s when she came alive for me. I have enjoyed writing her, though she is a complicated character, so it has been challenging at times.

3) How is Safe and Sound different to your previous novel, Little White Lies?

Both books focus “one step to the side of a crime”, exploring on the fallout of an event on the characters surrounding it. My focus in both is the psychology of the characters, their relationships, and the way they handle the most difficult aspects of themselves.

In terms of differences though, Little White Lies (which is about a missing child being found alive and coming home) is set in Lincolnshire in the claustrophobic environment of the family unit, whereas in Safe and Sound is set in the anonymity of London, and Jenn is a fairly isolated character, who struggles to make connections in the world. Hopefully though both are exploring complex situations and characters while also having that great page-turning quality!

4) What was your research process like? Did any of the research surprise you at any point? Did you refer to it during the process of writing?

I got a lot help on the police procedural side of things from a local ex-police Detective, which was extremely helpful. I also had to do a lot of Googling into what exactly happens if a tenant dies in a property – something that happens more often than you might think. For Jenn’s character, I drew on my own background as a Clinical Psychologist: Jenn suffers from an anxiety disorder and must grapple with this as she is drawn deeper and deeper into the mystery surrounding Sarah’s fate.

5) How did your writing process for Safe and Sound differ from Little White Lies?

To be quite honest, with Little White Lies, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing! I wrote completely blind, created a horror of a first draft, and had to go through about 20 further drafts before it was finally ready to publish. I really didn’t want to go through the same pain with Safe and Sound – plus I now had a deadline. So, as mentioned above, I wrote a detailed outline for Safe and Sound before embarking on the writing itself.

However, when I showed that draft to my agent, we both agreed that it wasn’t working, even though it matched the outline! Cue a major rethink and rewrite… I’ve come to accept that I can only really discover the story I’m telling by exploring it on the page, so multiple rewrites will probably always be inevitable for me.

6) Lastly, do you use Scrivener or MS Word? Which do you prefer and why?

I use both actually. I often use Scrivener for a first draft, because it is so easy to move scenes around. For example, with Safe and Sound, I wrote 2,000 words – roughly one scene – per day and plugged each day’s writing into Scrivener, without worrying too much about their order. Once I have a complete Scrivener draft, I generally work in Word from then on. I still haven’t worked out all the functions on Scrivener, and tend to do things like my scene index cards, character profiles etc. by hand – lots of scribbles and crossings out 🙂

Thank you for visiting the blog today Philippa, it has been a pleasure to interview you! Happy Publication Day for Safe and Sound! I can’t WAIT to read it!!

Bio: Philippa East is a fiction writer who lives in Lincolnshire with her husband and cat. Her debut novel Little White Lies was published by HQ/HarperCollins in February 2020 (http://b.link/littlewhiteliesamazon) and her second novel, Safe and Sound, will be released in February 2021. In her day job, Philippa works as a Clinical Psychologist and therapist, and her writing draws deeply on this psychology background. You can find her on Twitter: @philippa_east.

Little White Lies:

An Interview With… Joanna Swainson

Hi everyone and today on the blog, I’m delighted to welcome Joanna Swainson. Joanna is a co founder and literary agent at Hardman Swainson.

I was delighted when she took some time to divulge what she looks for in submissions, as well as what she has been up to during lockdown.

Over to you, Joanna…

1) How did you first become involved in the publishing industry? Did you always want to be a literary agent when you left school? Did you have any other career plans?

I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do when I left school. While at university I’d done some summer holiday work at a publishing company, Boxtree, which mainly did TV tie-ins (I’ll never forget the day Ricky from Neighbours walked through the door) but it never really occurred to me to work in publishing after I left university. I thought film might be an interesting area to go into so my first job was as a runner but I soon realised that it wasn’t the career for me. There are so many people involved in making TV and there was an awful lot of hanging about. I had my family quite young and I was getting by doing copy editing jobs, but it wasn’t until my youngest was in primary school that I started thinking seriously about a career again. I’d always been a big reader, so something to do with books appealed to me and I was interested in writing, too, so it made sense to go into the agenting side of things. I wrote job-prospecting letters to some agencies, sent them off and was lucky enough to get a reading job quite quickly. All in all I was quite a latecomer to the business but have been here for 12 or 13 years now, with my own agency (with Caroline) for getting on for nine years.

2) How did you find your degree in French? What was your experience at university like?

I loved my degree! I spent a lot of time partying (or let’s call it raving. It was the ‘90s!) at university and if I were to do it again, might concentrate a bit more on the degree itself. We covered a range of French literature, history, politics and philosophy as well as translation and linguistics. It was a single honours degree which allowed me to study a number of modules in another subject, so I chose some English literature ones, including a crime fiction module. Doing a language course meant I had a third year abroad, which I spent in Aix-en-Provence, but the highlight was venturing off (with a backpack and very little money) to Senegal. I had the Lonely Planet Guide to West Africa and it seemed like the only French-speaking West African country that was a safe bet. An absolutely incredible experience.

3) What attracts you to a submission? Is it the cover letter, the synopsis or the sample writing? How does an author leave you wanting more?

The cover letter is important – it’s the first thing we see so if it’s professional and well-written it’ll make us well-disposed to reading the chapters. There does seem to be a correlation between a good cover letter and good chapters. Ultimately, though, it’s the chapters themselves that matter. It can be any number of things that leaves you wanting more – an interesting character, a question raised that you have to know the answer to, good insights, brilliant writing etc. The synopsis is the last thing I look at – they’re hard to write and hard to read but important to get an overview of the book if I’m interested in the submission.

4) When you take on a full manuscript, what is the editing process like with the author?

It really varies. Most authors appreciate a fresh set of eyes on their work and are open to editorial suggestions and discussion. Sometimes there’s a lot of work to do, sometimes it’s just tweaks. Sometimes there’s nothing to do but that’s rare. I’m really open to working in whatever way the author prefers – whether that means working on the book in sections or whether they just want to crack on with it and send over the revised version at the end. If you take something on, even if it’s not quite ready for submission, it’s because there was something good there and it’s incredibly satisfying seeing a manuscript come together into something you think you can finally sell.

5) How many rounds of editing do you do with an author before pitching to publishers? Does the approach vary from book to book?

Again this varies from book to book. But whether it’s fiction or a non-fiction proposal, it’s as many rounds as it needs to knock it into shape to give it its best possible chance. It’s a really tough market and editors have all sorts of hoops to jump through in order to buy something, too, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. We want to make the editor’s job as easy as possible and, as much as we can, minimise the opportunity for them to say ‘no’.

6) Do you have a view of the crime/thriller market at the moment? Is there anything that you haven’t seen in a book before?

I saw somewhere that crime and thriller is the widest read genre. I also get a lot of submissions in this area and represent a whole range from stand alones to series, from police procedurals to amateur sleuths, from cosy to psychological to speculative. It’s quite rare to come across something very different but ultimately the genre is a backdrop to exploring human nature. So even if most stories have been told in one form or another, something can really stand out by having an unusual character and/or setting. A distinctive voice helps, too. If you’ve got an original turn of mind there’s so much scope for really carving out your niche.

7) When you leave your desk on a Friday, what’s the first thing you do? On a Friday evening/the weekend, what do you do to relax?

At the end of every working day I take the dog out for a walk. It clears my head and is a good break between the working day and the evening / weekend. A big part of my weekends and free time is spent out and about, walking, soaking up the landscape and when possible visiting Neolithic sites, stone circles, Iron Age hill forts and so on – all these really special places with so much history and energy. I live in Oxfordshire close to the Ridgeway so go up there a lot, or just walk by the Thames. Last summer, when we didn’t have such stringent lock down rules, I took off in my camper van – it was my home office! Little did people know whilst I was emailing them that I was gazing out over a Dartmoor tor or a Scottish loch! I also have a little folky electronic music project on the go with my husband – we do that on weekends and sometimes in the evening. I love the day job but it’s nice to have a hobby doing something completely different. I read to relax, too, if you can believe it.

8) In lockdown, what are you currently reading? Are you going back to old favourites or reading new books?

I rarely re-read books, although perhaps will listen to an old favourite on audio. For some reason I’ve been turning more to non-fiction in lockdown. My most recent read was Steve Roud’s Folk Song in England – a huge tome, relevant to a book I sold recently about folk song collecting. I’d been meaning to read it for ages. I’m currently dipping into The Time Traveller’s Guide to Regency Britain by Ian Mortimer. Other than that, a range of commercial and literary fiction. I do a lot of podcast listening, too and am currently working my way through The Fall of Civilisations podcast. It’s really good.

9) In lockdown, what are you currently watching on television? Do you have a favourite drama that you watch religiously?

I’m not a huge telly watcher but we did recently get sucked into Vikings so that’s the one on the go at the moment. I’m definitely susceptible to the odd binge watch of something (Line of Duty springs to mind) but I don’t really watch any telly religiously. There is one thing I have gone back to time and again, though, and that’s Detectorists. I absolutely love it.

10) In lockdown, have you been missing live music? What is the best band or artist you last listened to or wish you had seen live?

I’ve very much been missing live music! We go to a good few gigs and festivals every year, and we’re really missing them. Obviously it had to be done but it was horrible seeing festival after festival cancelled last year (not least because both my son’s and sister’s livelihoods depended on them), and likely this year too. I love a wide range of music but especially folk music in all its guises. If we’re talking a banging set then Depeche Mode headlining the Isle of Wight Festival a few years ago was particularly memorable. For totally weird, wonderful and spine-tingly, I loved Current 93 at Shepherds Bush Empire when they performed their album The Light Is Leaving Us All.

Thank you for your time today Joanna! 🙂 It has been a pleasure to interview you!

Bio: After a degree in French I ran a business for several years, providing a range of copy writing and editing services. My love of books and an interest in writing led me to freelance for a number of literary agents, including one of the most commercial agencies in London.

Submissions are the life blood of publishing but many need further work and development. I really enjoy the editorial side of agenting and am endlessly fascinated by writing – what works and why.

I met Caroline while working as a reader and in-house editor for Christopher Little. When the opportunity arose to set up Hardman & Swainson it was too good to miss.

Growing up I read an unhealthy number of Agatha Christies and hard-boiled detective novels and I love crime fiction from both sides of the Atlantic. After school, while travelling through France and Spain and living in a tent, I read all the novels of Charles Dickens. So I guess I’ve always been a bookworm.

What I’m looking for:
I read widely and aim to reflect that in the authors I represent. In fiction, I’m looking for complex, larger-than-life characters and stories that will stay with me forever.

Some of my favourite recent reads are Booker winner Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain, Sarah Moss’s Ghost Wall, Patrick Gale’s A Place Called Winter and Andrew Michael Hurley’s three novels, The LoneyDevil’s Dayand Starve Acre. I found Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other exhilarating. And Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven will always be a favourite (I didn’t want it to end!) I adore the work of Ali Smith and Kate Atkinson never fails to entertain me. It’s a lot to do with humour and heartbreak.

I love crime and thrillers at both ends of the commercial / literary spectrum. I’ve recently been enjoying Elly Griffiths’ Ruth Galloway series and Cara Hunter’s  DI Fawley novels and I’m always on the look out for a hero like Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole

I also love a good ghost story and accessible speculative fiction, as well as a bit of horror, especially folk horror. Michelle Paver’s novels, Dark MatterThin Air and Wakenhyrst are amazing.

Whatever the genre, whether literary or commercial, historical or contemporary, thriller or crime, I’m looking for originality and distinctive voices. I especially like fiction threaded with humour – not necessarily of the laugh out loud kind, it’s often much subtler than that, but you can’t have too many arresting observations and insights.

On the non-fiction front, I enjoy narrative non-fiction, especially popular history (and prehistory) and science. I’m very partial to a memoir. I also enjoy nature writing and am interested in folklore.

While it’s all very well drawing up a wish list, ultimately I’m a fisherman. So send me what you’ve got. Take me by surprise, and keep on surprising me. I’ll know what I’m looking for when I see it.

An Interview With… Kate Burke

Hi everyone, and on the blog today I’m delighted to have Kate Burke, a literary agent at Blake Friedmann. Kate answers my questions on how she started out in the industry and what she looks for in submissions.

Over to you, Kate…

1) How did you first become involved in the publishing industry? Was it something you wanted to do when you left school? Did you have any other career plans?

I never really considered publishing as a career until I was at university. I went to a Media Careers Fair in my last year (up until this point, I thought I would go on to do an MA in journalism!) and heard about the industry and thought that it sounded amazing. Working with books, my favourite things – what could be better?

2) You have a background in being an editor. What prompted the move to becoming a literary agent?

After ten years of working at big publishing houses, I felt experienced enough to try something new and moving to the other side of the business didn’t seem so radical! I knew the publishing process inside out, I had worked with authors for many years, I enjoyed editing but I started to feel as though something was missing. Becoming an agent and starting a list from scratch put the pep back in my step and I haven’t looked back since!

3) When you read sample chapters from a perspective new client, what do you look out for?

This is a tough one to answer! I suppose I look for something that engages me immediately in that first chapter – it could be the voice of the character, the tone of the writing or just an exciting, attention-grabbing plot incident – but it has to be something intriguing and different. If opening chapters are just full of description then I find that hard to connect with – there needs to be an incident or a character, something or someone to hook you in and make me want more. It’s so hard to describe! I just know it when I see/read it (sorry if that’s a waffly answer!).

4) Can you describe the first initial phone call with a client? What would lead to you offering representation?

I always have that call before offering representation as this job (and this industry) is so much about personal connections and relationships.

If I’m going to invest my time into developing someone’s book and, of course, their writing career, then we need to be on the same page about most things. If an author is receptive to edits and constructive criticism is prepared to put in the work and to work together, then that’s usually a great start to a call. We also need to have a shared vision about the book and the future, as well as just clicking on a personality level as we’re going to be spending a lot of time chatting over the next few years!

That first call is usually full of excitement and promise – I love it! – but I’m also a straightforward and honest person so I will share my editorial thoughts or concerns in that first call in order to put all my cards on the table. If an author is receptive to my ideas and feedback, and is willing to put in the work, then it’s that attitude that usually leads me to offering them representation.

5) Is there anything in the crime/thriller genre that you haven’t seen before? What would make you keep turning the pages?

I get so many crime and thriller submissions, and it’s quite rare that I see something truly original and different.

If something has an unusual setting or a unique character then I’m definitely going to be turning those pages!

I see a lot of novels with an alcoholic/divorced/messed-up lead detective with lots of emotional baggage who is searching for a missing child and, while I like those types of novels, I think the market is ready for a different type of hero or heroine. For me to turn the page, the novel has to offer a great character, a strong sense of place and a great plot.

I realise that I’m asking a lot but it’s a competitive market and, for books (especially debuts) to stand out, they must have a point of difference! On a personal note, I would like to see more diverse characters being represented in crime fiction (be that cultural, religious, racial or sexual backgrounds) and for a plot twist to truly catch me off guard.

6) What would make you reject a submission and not progress to reading the full manuscript?

Manuscripts with no clear plot or hook, long, descriptive pages about very little and bland characters are usually the reason I don’t call in the full manuscript. Also, if the submission is not within a genre I represent (ie, children’s fiction, science fiction or fantasy), then it’s not something I would usually call in to read more of. My and my colleagues’ areas of interest and representation are on our website so, if someone hasn’t taken the time to read those, then it’s unlikely that we’re the right fit!

7) What is the editing process like with an author, before you send it out to publishers?

It varies from author to author and depends on how much work and polish I think the novel needs before I put it on submission to publishers.

For some authors, it’s a couple of rounds of edits (usually done on screen after an initial phonecall or two, discussing them) and, for others, it’s a bigger and longer process or deconstructing the novel and replotting or restructuring it. Every book I work on is different – that’s what keeps my job so interesting! – and some books just take longer to polish than others.

On the whole though, the editorial process is done over the phone and on the screen (Word), and, once the author and I have got it to a place where we feel confident about it, that’s the time to put it on submission but there’s no precise timeframe for this process. All the hard graft pays off though!

8) When you leave your desk on a Friday, what’s the first thing you do? On a Friday evening/the weekend, what do you do to relax?

At the moment, with homeschooling and work, there’s very little downtime, I’m afraid but, in a normal, non-pandemic year, Friday nights would involve a nice meal with my husband, a glass of wine, catching up on our weeks and watching an episode of something on Netflix/Amazon/Disney Plus! I love TV shows (my other great love aside from books) and watch everything from crime/detective shows to romcoms.

9) Through lockdown, what have you been watching on television? Do you have a favourite programme that you watch religiously?

My subscriptions to Netflix, Prime Video and Disney Plus have been a godsend during lockdown! I have loved thriller shows such asMoney Heist, Criminal and the first two series of Sinner, as well as enjoyable, escapist romps like Bridgerton, Home for Christmas andYounger. I have been waiting two years for the return of Call My Agent (one of my all-time favourites) and I’m really enjoying WandaVision at the moment.

10) If you had to choose any favourite song between Rod Stewart, Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Brian Johnson (AC/DC), who would you pick and why?

I would go for Under Pressure by Queen (I know, I know, it features David Bowie too!) as it’s just a brilliant song with two of my favourite singers (Freddie and David) which I have loved since I was a kid. Also, the bassline is the basis for Vanilla Ice’s Ice Ice Baby as song that I was obsessed with (and owned the tape album of) when I was ten! How embarrassing…

Thank you for your time today Kate. It has been a pleasure to interview you.

Bio: Kate Burke was born in Dublin but grew up in Brussels. She joined Blake Friedmann as Senior Agent in January, 2019, and was previously at Northbank Talent Management for six years where she worked with many award-winning and Sunday Times bestselling authors.

Before becoming an agent, Kate was an editor at Headline and HarperCollins, and an editorial director at Penguin Random House. After ten years of publishing fiction, she moved to the agency side to pursue her passion for discovering new writers. She still loves to edit and works very closely with her clients on all aspects of their writing and publishing.

Her clients include Will Dean, Will Carver, Dani Atkins, Paul Finch, Mary Torjussen, Kate Thompson and Allie Reynolds. Kate is open to submissions from authors anywhere in the world and is particularly looking for crime and thrillers, romantic women’s fiction and historical fiction (but no children’s/YA, science fiction or fantasy, thanks).

An Interview With… Juliet Mushens

Hi everyone, and this evening on the blog I’m delighted to welcome Juliet Mushens. Juliet is a literary agent at Mushens Entertainment, and kindly accommodated some time to talk about what she looks for in submissions.

Over to you, Juliet…

1) How did you first become involved in the publishing industry? Did you always want to be a literary agent when you left school? Did you have any other career plans?

I studied History at University and had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. A friend said to me, ‘you read faster than anyone I know, what about publishing?’ I googled the industry and found a paid summer internship at HarperCollins.

I applied to work in their children’s marketing team as the summer intern and didn’t get the job, but they passed my CV to the fiction marketing team who took me on. It was a two-hour commute for me each way (Essex to Hammersmith!) but because it was paid I could afford to do it, and I absolutely loved the job. At the end of the internship, their assistant was leaving, and they offered me her fulltime role.

I took on a dual marketing/editorial position, and whilst I enjoyed it, as I started to come into contact with agents and understand more about their role, I realised that that was what I wanted to do. As an agent you can work across fiction and non-fiction, and that appealed to my broad reading tastes!

I applied to be an assistant at an agency and I worked my way up from there. I have now been a literary agent fulltime for ten years.

2) How did it feel being shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year?

It was extremely exciting to be shortlisted! I was 27 at the time so it was early in my career, and it felt like a wonderful boost of confidence around the authors I was signing and selling.

3) What attracts you to a submission? Is it the cover letter, the synopsis or the sample writing? How does an author leave you wanting more?

I’m a sucker for a high-concept hook! I’m drawn to plotty novels, with pace and suspense, but I also want to see characters I believe and invest in, and quality writing. I’d say a cover letter should focus on the hook or pitch of the novel, to intrigue me and make me want to read on. The writing needs to establish character and suspense – whether that’s ‘will she get back with her boyfriend?’ or ‘what is she running from?’

4) If you have asked to see a full manuscript, what would make you ultimately reject it? Would you offer editorial feedback at all?

My most common reason to pass on a full manuscript is that the plot didn’t feel ‘big’ enough. I don’t mean by that that every novel needs to be about saving the world, or stopping a killer – but each novel needs to set up questions which will be answered by the end of the book, to keep us reading on.

I want to feel as if I have gone on a journey with the characters, and that they have been changed by the events of the novel. I do offer editorial feedback if I pass on a full manuscript.

5) Can you describe the feeling of ‘I really want to represent this author’? How do you feel when you offer representation?

I feel very excited when I think I want to represent something. It’s a heart response first, an ‘oh I love this, I’m so gripped, I can’t put it down!’ then it’s a head response of ‘do I know how to sell this? Does it need edits? Can I fix it?’ But heart is crucial: I’m really passionate about the novels I take on. It’s nerve-wracking to offer representation, especially if they have other offers from agents, but it feels amazing when someone says yes. Then, of course, the hard work begins.

6) Do you have a view of the crime/thriller market at the moment? Is there anything that you haven’t seen in a book before?

Two of my crime/thriller authors are topping the charts at the moment: Richard Osman’s THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB is the number one Sunday Times bestseller and GIRL A by Abigail Dean is the number two Sunday Times bestseller this week. They’re both very different takes on the genre. THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB is very much a golden age murder mystery.

GIRL A has a very interesting structure: you know they escaped from page one, but it’s more about the psychological ramifications after a crime rather than the crime itself. So, in short, the genre is thriving, but I think authors are developing very different takes on it.

7) When you leave your desk on a Friday, what’s the first thing you do? On a Friday evening/the weekend, what do you do to relax?

I love working out and I usually do an hour of weights on a Friday as a way to switch off from work. I then cook dinner and we always play a board game or watch a film afterwards. I’m a big fan of games like Splendor and King Domino. Before the pandemic I could normally be found at a jazz club on a Friday night, swinging out (I’ve been dancing lindy-hop for around ten years), or karaoke with friends. I also, unsurprisingly, read a lot of novels.

8) In lockdown, what are you currently reading? Are you going back to old favourites or reading new books?

I’m currently reading ‘These Women’ by Ivy Pochoda, which is a literary thriller told from the perspective of the women impacted by a series of murders in their neighbourhood. I’ve recently set up a book group with a friend which means I’m reading books I would never have picked up: which I love.

9) In lockdown, what are you currently watching on television? Do you have a favourite drama that you watch religiously?

I watch a lot of TV! Currently I’m watching The West Wing and we recently finished The Americans, which is now my favourite drama series of all time. I also loved Selling Sunset, Last Kingdom, The X Files (which I’d never seen before!), Queen’s Gambit… okay, maybe I watch too much TV.

10) What music do you like to listen to? Have you missed live music in lockdown?

I love 1950s RnB, jazz, swing and soul. Little Willie John, Django Reinhardt, Fluffy Hunter, Amos Milburn…. I hugely miss live music and especially dancing to live music. I can’t wait until it’s safe to do so again!

Thank you so much for your time Juliet. It was a pleasure to interview you!

Bio: Juliet Mushens started her publishing career in 2008 at HarperCollins, and became an agent in 2011. She has been shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year four times and is currently the number 1 ranked UK dealmaker on Publishers’ Marketplace.

She represents a bestselling and critically acclaimed list, including million-copy no. 1 bestseller Jessie Burton, multi-million copy NY Times bestseller Taran Matharu, record-breaking no. 1 bestseller Richard Osman, and Sunday Times bestsellers Ali Land, Claire Douglas, Debbie Howells, Stacey Halls, Laura Lam and James Oswald.

Her guide to YA creative writing was published by Hodder in 2015. You can find her on twitter as @mushenska.

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