Name: Sana Rafi
What you Write: Picture books
Agent: James McGowan
Why BookEnds? Such a fantastic agency with amazing, friendly agents! There’s also much to learn from the agency’s YouTube channel!
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
“Where the Crawdads Sing,” not just because the whole book is beautiful and suspenseful but because that ending. That ending. It blew me away. It might blow you away too. Also, the title. Also, the whole plot. In picture books I wish I had written “Dear Juno” by Soyung Pak. This book is incredibly moving and I love the serious and quiet tone the author uses.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Hanging out with my son and husband, hosting brunches, forcing myself to drive to my Pilates class and online shopping, of course.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
My twitter handle is @sanarafiwriter where I’m trying to be more active.
What’s the last book you read?
Currently reading, “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. I also loved “Pachinko” and “Love Warrior.”
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location? Honestly, I love libraries and find them both magical and homey. I could live in one, sleep in one, work in one all the time. Give me any library with reading nooks by the window or dimly lit rooms with bookshelves and I’m there.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
“Write the book you want to read,” is something my creative writing professor used to say when I was an undergrad. It always stayed with me and made me write the stuff I truly wanted to read.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
Absolutely thrilled about joining the BookEnds family! I have queried BookEnds relentlessly over the last couple years because of the agency’s collaborative nature and because it seems to be comprised of friendly and advice-giving agents. I feel so honored knowing that James believes so enthusiastically in my work.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
I think it’s important to develop self-belief while continuously looking at your work from a critic’s point of view. Read as many new books as you can in your specific genre, especially the new releases. Go back to the revision board over and over again. I queried with pieces that weren’t quite ready yet and while that may not be the best thing to do, it did give me the drive to continue writing and revising because some agents responded with advice. Among the rejection emails, sometimes, there was an agent who said hey this isn’t for me but I liked this and that about your work. And that was enough to keep me going.