Posted by: Kathy Temean | August 11, 2017

August Featured Agent – Larrisa Helena – Pippin Properties – Part 1 Interview

When Larissa Helena finally announced her decision to major in Literature, her family and friends were too polite to reply “duh”. But everyone already knew, even then, she had no choice but to keep exploring the magic of words. A few diplomas, translations and years working as an editor later, she packed her suitcases and ended up in a city so nice they named it twice. Larissa found her new literary home at Pippin, where she is now Associate Literary Agent & Manager of Subsidiary Rights, and feels lucky to be surrounded by words and people who understand and share her passion.

Larissa Helena, Agent, Pippin Properties. Larissa Helena’s passion is fiction: between Brazil, France and the United States, her only certainty is that she wants to be around books. Larissa has been an Executive Editor, a Translator, a Researcher, a Foreign Rights Manager and an Agent. She’s open to books for all ages, and wants diverse narratives of all kinds. Voices rarely seen in literature, unconventional stories, quirky characters. Her favorite kind of book doesn’t try to follow a pattern or play by the rules. Favorite genre? Genre bending.

For submissions, e-mail your first chapter along with a synopsis and query letter to Twitter: @larilena


Are there any genres that are less interesting to you?

I’ve just never learned to appreciate historical fiction… I’ve tried many times, but I only see myself enjoying it when the ghost of a famous writer appears in the story!

Do you have any story or theme that you wished someone would submit?

Yes! Since I moved to the US, I’ve heard so many adults who never learned to speak their immigrant parents’ languages as children. Their only memories of that language was of hearing their parents speak it when they didn’t want the kids to understand. In their haste to become Americans, these parents would make an effort not to teach their children much about their heritage, and all of the memories these kids have of the land of their parents is that Secret Language. I had a similar thing with my grandparents: they moved from a very poor city in the Northeast of Brazil to Rio de Janeiro. When I slept at their little house in the favelas, I would fall asleep listening to the musical whispering of their accents as they talked in bed. I would love nothing more than seeing a picture book about recognizing, cherishing and reconnecting to that Secret Language that speaks to our hearts and blood.

What do you like to see in a submission?

I love it when there’s some mention as to why the author wants to work with me, specifically – maybe because they saw me on twitter, anything goes. A little personal note really counts!

How important is the query letter?

Very important, I’d say it makes 40% of a good submission (the most important part, of course, is the manuscript!). A good opening can make an agent stop and pay attention to the concept or the book. But careful: it can also trip you up! Make sure it’s not too long or confusing, or it will be bad publicity.

Any tips on how an author can get you to ask to see more?

Don’t try to cram as much as you can into the pages you’re submitting – instead, aim for the cliffhanger, make me crave to read the rest of your story.

How far do you normally read before you reject a submission?

I try to read as much as I can of everything, but I can usually tell when I won’t want to keep going within the first paragraph. Isn’t that often how people decide whether they want to read a book, too? After being lured in by the cover, the next step is to open it and read a little bit. And if I – the person who really wants to find new clients – am not crazy to keep going, who will?

Would you lose interest in a submission if the writer missed correcting a few misspelled words?

A few as in a couple, or as in a dozen? I think a lot of misspellings will discourage any reader, but I am a foreigner myself and I know good writing does not necessarily mean perfect grammar. I’ll definitely keep reading if it’s an incredible story!



In the subject line, please write “August 2017  Critique” and paste the text in the email, plus attached it as a Word document to the email. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it’s a picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top on both the email and the Word document (Make sure you include your name with the title of your book, when you save the first page). REMEMBER: ATTACH THE WORD DOCUMENT AND NOT GET ELIMINATED!

Your First Page Word document should be formatted using one inch margins and 12 point New Times Roman font – double space – no more than 23 lines – only one page. Send to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com.
PLEASE FOLLOW THE GUIDELINES: Your submission will be passed over if you do not follow the directions for both the pasted email and the attached Word doc. This is where most people mess up.

DEADLINE: August 24th.
RESULTS: September 1st.

Please only submit one first page a month, but do try again if your first page wasn’t one of the pages randomly picked. Thanks!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Looking forward to sharing two PB book manuscripts with Larissa…my name is Larissa too and I already feel a kinship 🙂 Thanks for the wonderful info and tips!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: