Back to blogging

Happy 2011. It’s terrific to return from maternity leave to this lovely new online home. By way of catching up, I am pleased to report that the newest addition to my family, baby John Gabriel, is settling in nicely.  That his four-and-a-half-year-old brother has only once inquired whether we’ll be returning him to the hospital strikes me as a good sign.

As I rejoin the agenting fray, I look forward to additions of a different sort–these to my list, and not my household. I’m looking for a few good projects, so keep the material coming. I’m especially interested in the following: literary fiction with a strong storyline, narrative nonfiction in history, business and science, including projects that incorporate a personal voice. Annie Murphy Paul’s ORIGINS: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives is a good recent example of a blend of science and personal narrative, but I am open to themes unrelated to babies.

I’m also interested in historical fiction. While on leave, and before my newborn evinced the first noisy signs of colic that would then occupy my evenings between 9:30pm. and midnight, I read Hilary Mantel’s superb Wolf Hall. Monumental in scope, dazzling in detail, and animated with a protagonist as believable and well-drawn as any contemporary narrator, Wolf Hall reminded me that good historical fiction accomplished a feat no less wondrous than time travel. (Post-colic, I reread Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block, which was as effective with colicky baby number two as it was with colicky baby number one).

It’s probably worth noting that I am not in the market for inspirational books, Christian or otherwise. I get several queries a day regarding works of Christian inspiration, so I suspect that a website somewhere lists it as an interest, nor do I do much in the way of straight genre fiction, science fiction, fantasy or mystery. Some quirks; I rarely fall for experimental fiction, hallucinatory prose, or even, weirdly, comic novels. I read Gary Schteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story, and while I admired how smart it was and his flair for satire, I didn’t love the book. I enjoy working with academics who are interested in (and able) to write for a broader audience, so if you’re a professor convinced that your area of expertise can be the next Freakonomics, drop me a line; I’m feeling leery of memoir, so much that I’m tempted to say that I won’t be taking any on (though I’d love to be proved wrong). In any case, I look forward to hearing from you, and working with you in 2011.

3 Responses to Back to blogging

  1. EEV says:

    Hi Jessica, welcome back. I hope everything have been good for you and your baby, colics aside.
    The response from the older brother was classical, my sisters did the same enquire to my mother when I arrived (obviously I’m the last one). They were happy being only two. But they always end loving each other! At least until their teens…
    Thank you for letting us know your interests in this moment. It’s a pity that I don’t have what you’re looking for, but again, DGLM is a large house and there’s plenty to query, right?
    By the way, a few of you are listed as looking for fantasy. Is it just Urban Fantasy, or there’s a chance for some kind of High Fantasy as well?
    Thank you very much!

  2. gmf says:

    Welcome back! I’m only just recovering from the long series of activities I’ve had to undertake since reading Wolf Hall (wrote a review, watched the entire BBC series “The Six Wives of Henry VIII,” then “A Man for All Seasons,” then worked backwards to read about previous Henrys, and only barely managed to draw line by NOT starting the series “The Tudors”). Looking forward to your 2011 blog posts!

  3. Interestingly, at amazon.com, ratings for Wolf Hall are pretty evenly distributed – seems like for most books, the ratings are either top heavy (love it!) or top AND bottom heavy (love it!/hate it!).

    I’m looking forward to digging into Pillars of the Earth – Wolf Hall seems like a good followup to that.

    Right now, I’m reading translations of Goethe’s poetry – I didn’t know the *cultural behemoth* of Goethe could be so funny! Also Pushkin’s narrative poetry – a host of gender/religious/ethnic tensions at play, beneath the “playful” surface (Pushkin was exiled, after all).

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I’ll try to refrain from suggesting cute bookworm baby jammies :)

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