Ann Leslie Tuttle joined DG&B in 2017 after working for 20 years at Harlequin Books where she worked on an extensive and varied list of bestselling and award-winning titles in romance and women’s fiction. She received her B.A. degree from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. from the University of Virginia. Helping to grow the careers of established and debut writers has always been Ann Leslie’s passion. Ann Leslie is especially seeking women’s fiction (e.g. relationships, family sagas, historical fiction and psychological thrillers) romance (e.g. romantic comedies, medical romance and contemporaries) and Southern Gothics on the adult fiction side as well as Middle Grade fiction and narrative nonfiction. Ann Leslie lives in New York City with her husband and young daughter, who is just discovering the magic of books and writing.
Ann Leslie wants to see more…Romance
Ann Leslie says...
As a child, I could imagine no more magical world than working with books and authors. My fondest memories were of curling up on a snowy day (which used to virtually shut down the South) or a steamy summer day and reading the Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames series of books and much later my mother’s latest Sydney Sheldon and Mary Higgins Clark books. Watching shows like “Mary Tyler Moore,” hearing about my mother’s days at NBC in Rockefeller Center, and meeting representatives of the NY publishing world who traveled to Williamsburg for the College of William and Mary’s biannual publishing seminar, I wanted nothing more than to move to New York and have a career in the “glamorous” field of book publishing.
I still remember taking the Amtrak train from Charlottesville and moving into a hotel for women so I could start my first job in publishing. There I got to work at Charles Scribner’s Sons, get to know the Scribner family and even work on a collection of essays by Charles Scribner, Jr., on his own reflections of a lifetime in publishing.
Graduating with my masters from the University of Virginia, I’d always thought that I needed to work on “important” books—books that would shape ideas and educate people. Books about ancient civilizations, the original colonies and biographies of famous historic figures. But it wasn’t until my mother was dying and I was sitting beside her with all the prayers I could imagine said that I finally realized that any book that could transport someone from the worst situation imaginable was important. Especially if it took the reader from that moment when they felt most alone and most full of despair or anxious. Any book that left them feeling uplifted and stronger. Any book that promoted a sense of community and showed the world as a better place. That was when I made my decision to finally work with the romance and women’s fiction books I’d always loved, and I’ve never looked back.
At the heart of every good romance is the sense of finding family, that identity and connection that gives purpose, hope and love to someone’s life. To me, the best romances have well developed protagonists who’ve truly been to hell and back and now must overcome their greatest fear, which usually involves an issue of trust or willingness to put their heart on the line again after a gut-wrenching loss. It’s these characters that the reader connects with and roots for as they find love. Even though these characteristics are central to the romance genre, some aspect of them are also at the core of what often draws me to a project.
When I first moved to New York, I don’t think I’d even heard of literary agents—let alone knew what they did. But the more I worked as an editor, the more respect I had for the ones who could successfully and realistically champion for the best deal for their client, knew when to get involved in editorial matters and how to best represent their client in sensitive conversations when emotions might be running high on both sides. Now I can’t envision any more thrilling—and challenging-- opportunity.
As an agent at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, I’m looking romances--from contemporaries and medical romance to romantic comedies—as well as all types of women’s fiction from psychological thrillers, Southern Gothic, and historical fiction to multigenerational family sagas and titles that explore the nature of relationships between friends and family. I’m especially drawn to stories with a strong sense of place and that are beautifully written.
I’m also excited to expand my list to include Middle Grade. These wonderful books help young people start to understand a world and emotions they’re just discovering. Be it related to bullying at school, coping with a family drama, living with a medical condition or finding friends. I’m especially seeking stories about fearless and sympathetic female protagonists that embody a range of diversity and underrepresented voices.
And, finally, I’m looking for Nonfiction, especially narrative nonfiction projects that are stories from underrepresented voices and show how that individual has overcome tremendous personal and/or physical odds.
In all the projects I’m seeking, I want to find authors who are as passionate about their stories and craft as I am about representing them. It is a privilege to help matchmake these talented writers with the perfect editor.
For a young girl growing up in rural Virginia who loved books, what could be more fabulous than making an author’s own childhood dreams into a reality.