What excites you about being an agent?
Two things excite me about being a literary agent. The first is the freedom to pursue projects that I feel passionate about and the second is to help an author navigate the publishing world. Being an agent lets me combine these two aspects into an amazing role. As an agent, I can pursue anything from commercial young adult titles to literary middle grade novels to romance novels. Anything is possible as long as it fits my editorial brand. I’ve experienced so many different aspects of our industry from agenting, editorial, digital marketing, and trade journals, and I look forward to helping an author grow their literary career. Publishing can seem like its own secret world. My job is to help an author navigate that world and to be your best advocate. What could be more exiting?
Who are some of your favorite books or authors?
This is always the hardest question to answer for any book lover. Some of my favorites are Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, An Ember in Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, anything by Stephanie Perkins or Meg Cabot, and J. Anderson Coats. There’s too many to list.
What would you never want to see in your submissions?
I’m a die-hard children’s book lover. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t be open to some adult titles, but I’m picky when it comes to adult titles. I’d never take on adult literary fiction, horror, true crime (though I do love watching true crime shows), and serious non-fiction. Potential clients should check out my Pinterest to see what books I love and wish I had worked on https://www.pinterest.com/nataschamorris/. It’s the best way to see my taste in a glance.
Glass ½ full or ½ empty?
HMMM. I’d say ½ full. I’m a bit of a dreamer, but I also prepare for the worst. Can I be both?
Starbucks drink of choice?
I’m not a coffee or tea drinker. I need ice-cold water and that is probably my single favorite thing. Even when there is a blizzard, I can’t live without ice water.
eReader or Print book?
Actually, I like both. Nothing beats the smell of a new book, and I love seeing all the design work that went into making physical books. However, sometimes, like when I go to the gym or when I am traveling, eBooks are just better. I read a lot of self-published authors on my eReader. I’m living for the day when publishers start bundling so I can get both the print and eBook at the same time.
Morning person or evening person?
I’m not a morning person. I would rather sleep in then be up with the birds. Yet, I’m not sure I qualify as an evening person; I like to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. So maybe I’m a midday-afternoon person. I do my best work right around lunch and in the afternoon.
I’ve so many playlists and for different occasions! When I need to read or really focus, I play classical music or religious music, like the work of Hildebrand von Bingen (my roommate dubs it “fairy music”). However, when I am doing admin work, I listen to malt shop classics, Disney, top 40, or any soundtracks. I’m currently listening to the soundtrack of Moana as I answer these questions. And from November 8th to January 6th, I listen to Christmas music. It’s really depending on the work and my mood.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading three books. In middle grade, I’m reading The Silver Gate by Kristin Bailey. The representation of disability and sibling relationships resonates with me and I love the fantasy element. I’m also reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth. It’s a great read for anyone who needs a little reminder that talent isn’t enough to be successful; determination and the desire to succeed are critical. This week I picked up Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff, which I will probably start Saturday night.
What do you do in your free time?
There’s the usual: gym and watch Netflix, but I’m interested in cooking and urban farming. I love to make my own bread, cheese, and butter, and I’m learning to pickle. My dream would be to have a small rooftop garden or yard in order to have a working garden with fruits and vegetables. I might even consider having some chickens and ducks. Hard to do in New York, but that is the dream.
Top 3 #MSWL?
My current top three are as follows:
• As the child of an immigrant, I would love to see a middle grade that addresses that. There were times I didn’t feel a part of either culture: too German for America and too American for Germany. Many children from mixed cultural backgrounds experience this. Even if it is not about immigrants, it needs to speak to this internal feeling of exclusion outside of the normal experience.
• I’d love to get a young adult novel as brutal, intense, and morally complex as The 100 TV show.
• Not many people know I grew up very poor in Texas. My mother was going back to school and we lived in government housing. That experience shaped who I am today, but many of my friends never experienced that life. I’d love to find a middle grade novel that speaks to the struggle of the working poor (living paycheck to paycheck, having your clothes come second hand, etc.) but does so in a way that is not depressing.
Search #MSWL @socalledyalife to see a complete list of what I’d love to see come in my submissions.
If you could move your office anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would probably work out of Germany. My family lives there and I would love to be closer to them. Not to mention there is something about castles and quaint German villages that sparks my creativity.