Jessica Faust’s #MSWL Madness

  • By: Jessica Faust | Date: Mar 06 2018

As a reader, I always have dreams for my #MSWL or what I’d like to find on my bookshelf. Some of it is inspired by books I’ve read and loved, sometimes it’s inspired by life and passions outside of BookEnds. This list is fluid and changes with my moods, but often there is an idea or two that I can’t let go of, something I strongly believe I need to be a part of.

  • For 2018, my number one #MSWL goal is a book featuring a transgender character. I’m not sure yet what form it will take, I like to be surprised. Maybe a suspense/mystery featuring a transgender sleuth or women’s fiction featuring the mother of a transgender child, or maybe a transgender mother. I tend to gravitate toward women’s fiction, thriller, suspense, and mystery, but I’d also be open to nonfiction that wasn’t necessarily about a journey of transition, but maybe just life when you happen to be transgender.
  • I’m always looking for more suspense to add to my list. I was so excited two years ago to sell Susan Furlong’s Splintered Silence and I’d love to find more of that on my list. Unique female sleuths living unique situations.
  • Magical Realism is a favorite for me. I have Heather Webber’s upcoming Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe, but that doesn’t mean I can’t desire more.
  • One #MSWL I don’t see enough of in my submissions, and that I’ve been asking for, but maybe not hard enough, is single title mystery/suspense. I’ve been a huge fan of David Bell and Lisa Unger for years and while I don’t think the two are all that similar in style, they are two authors I admire greatly and would love to share the shelf with.
  • There are still a lot of editors looking for domestic suspense/psychological thrillers. I’m among them. I would love one involving a kid or a new take (of course) that hasn’t been done before. I’m a little tired of the husband/wife scenario. How about another The Woman in Cabin 10? The brilliance of the cruise ship is what got me.

And with any #MSWL there are always certain subjects or topics that grab an agent. Subjects in a book that usually make me want to ask to read more include:

  • Magical realism meets food
  • Crazy mom/PTO stories, or just crazy moms without the PTO (think Liane Moriarty)
  • Wilderness survival (ala Black Ice)
  • Survival/escape from a kidnapping
  • Cults (preferably after one leaves or getting someone out)
  • A return to childhood trauma to discover the truth
  • A school shooting, but from a unique perspective

As I try to wrap this up I’m sure I’ll find a million other ideas I’d love to tell you about, so watch Twitter. Throughout the month of #MSWL Madness, everyone at BookEnds will be dropping lots of #MSWL tweets. And, as always, what I’m really looking for is a great book, whether it fits my #MSWL or not.

4 responses to “Jessica Faust’s #MSWL Madness”

  1. Avatar Hollie Glover says:

    Magical realism meets food? That sounds amazing, I don’t know a lot about magical realism, but I’d like to bet writing that book would be fun.
    It’s magic, that’s always fun and food, do I need to say more?

  2. Avatar L. L. Burnham says:

    Hi Jessica,
    Not a 100% match but what about the following:
    1. No transgender child but a partially-blind teenager tormented by a recurring dream
    2. Two women, a man, and a teenager; no husband/wife tale here.
    3. No magical realism but definitely a single title mystery/suspense.
    4. A very crazy mom.

    A fully completed MS is ready. Are you interested? I could query, let me know.

  3. Avatar AJ Blythe says:

    It’s so interesting to hear what agents want, but when I read them I have to remind myself they aren’t exclusive (because I don’t tick any of the boxes).

  4. Dear Jessica,

    I wanted to tell you that you wrote to me the most thoughtful and kind note regarding my query. You mentioned my title and my name and encouraged me to continue writing, which I have no other choice but to do. It may seem a small thing to you, but it is a gracious and unfortunately unusual act which I greatly appreciate. Aspiring authors rarely receive the kind of response you gave me.
    Consider me a grateful and admiring aspiring author. I wish continued success to you and your agency.

    Randall Moore

    P.S. I think your search for a transgender topic might net less general market success than you and your customers hope for. Like it or not, people suffering from gender disphoria are a tiny demographic and do not offer broad market appeal in my opinion . That’s my unsolicited 2 cents and I again want to wish to you the greatest success and happiness.