Posted by: Kathy Temean | April 26, 2019

April Agent of the Month – Kristy Hunter – First Page Results

Kristy Hunter at The Knight Agency is April’s AGENT OF THE MONTH. Here are the four first pages and Kristy’s thoughts.

The Knight Agency, based in Madison, Georgia, is one of the industry’s leading literary agencies, specializing in a wide array of fiction and non-fiction. TKA’s diverse list boasts bestselling and award-winning titles in romance, women’s fiction, science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, self-help, finance, diet, parenting and inspirational genres, among others. The agency is known for personalized client attention and a comprehensive range of services, including editorial refinement, branding consultation and strategy, in-house subsidiary rights and publicity support.

As a graduate of Vanderbilt University and The Columbia Publishing Course, Kristy Hunter began her publishing career in New York City—first as an editorial intern at Bloomsbury Children’s Books and then as a book publicist at Grove/Atlantic and Random House Children’s Books. When she moved to the agenting side of the industry, she was closely mentored by Deidre Knight, president and founder of The Knight Agency, and her first co-agented project sold at auction soon after. As an associate agent, Kristy enjoys being able to bring a unique perspective to her clients thanks to her diverse publishing background. When she’s not curled up with a fantastic book or manuscript, she can be found kickboxing or hiking with her dog and is an active member of SCBWI.

You can query Kristy Hunter at Query Manager HERE

Currently, Kristy is looking for new talent to add to her list. She loves voice-driven stories, strong characters, and being surprised by the unexpected. As a result, she is open to most genres but is specifically looking for upmarket fiction with a strong hook, commercial fiction, romance, historical fiction, thrillers, young adult, and middle grade. Books that feature a diverse cast of characters are always at the top of her list and she’d love to see even more own-voices projects in her inbox. Her #MSWL includes the following:

In adult fiction:

High concept women’s fiction such as Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. As well, as stories that are literary but with commercial appeal such as Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng and Lily and the Octopus by Steven Rowley. I especially love projects that capture the complicated nature of family.

Rom-coms set in wonderful urban settings such as The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Mainstream titles with hints of magic like The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.

In YA fiction:

Fantasy projects that allow me to be transported in a way that feels new and fresh. I’d especially love to find a contemporary fantasy with a wonderful atmospheric setting. I also wouldn’t say no to paranormal…but it would truly have to be something I haven’t seen before

Magical realism

Historical projects that are serious in nature like Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, as well as those that are more playful like The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee. I especially love historical mysteries and projects set in the Victorian and Regency periods.

Contemporary YA stories that are fun and unique, and overall present the perfect escape—even if they address larger issues. Think Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy, To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han and When We Collided by Emery Lord.

Thrillers and mysteries—either contemporary or historical. My favorites include Little Monsters by Kara Thomas and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart.

In MG fiction:

Contemporary projects in the vein of The First Rule of Punk by Celia Pérez, Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin, and Wish by Barbara O’Connor (I’m a sucker for a pet!).

Quirky mysteries that could be part of a larger series and stories involving shifting friend groups

Light fantasy and magical realism such as The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd.

HERE ARE THE FIRST PAGE CRITIQUES WITH KRISTY:

FIGHT FOR A LADY by Jill E. Warner – Historical Romance

London, 1899

“I’m telling you, it was arson. And it had to be that no-good, layabout Barton. You know, he always did have a shifty look about him. And just last week…

Police constable Connor Neeley stopped writing down the shopkeeper’s descriptions and held up a hand.

Immediately the man was quiet.

Connor blessed the silence. The non-stop chatter was maddening and while he didn’t discount the man’s opinion, his running commentary was not particularly informative. “Does Mr. Barton have any cause for grief against you, Mr. Blakewright?”

“Of course not. I treated him just as fairly as I did any of my other employees until I caught him getting a little too friendly with my niece. She comes in here frequently, just to visit with my wife. After that, I told him he had twenty-four hours to clean his things out of the room he’s renting upstairs and get out. I feel it was pretty Christian of me to give him even that much time.”

Connor pursed his lips. It very much sounded as if Mr. Barton did have cause for arson.

“How long ago was this? Could you describe Mr. Barton?” He nodded as the shopkeeper launched into a long-winded description and hurried to keep up with his notes. He glanced up in time to catch his partner’s eye from where he was investigating the charred remains of a crate.

Lieutenant Jones gave him a significant look, then jerked his head toward the door.

Connor discretely nodded his understand and raised one finger. “May I have a look at Mr. Barton’s apartment?”

Mr. Blakewright blanched just the tiniest bit but recovered his normal coloration almost immediately. “I’m afraid I’ve already let the room again.”

HERE IS KRISTY:

Fight for a Lady by Jill E. Warner: I love the voice. I think you do a great job of capturing the historical feel and I am intrigued to see what happens. That said, it does feel like this may be beginning in the wrong place. I’m having trouble getting my footing right away and I believe the story would benefit from starting slightly earlier than this interview between Connor and Mr Blakewright.


 

SHADRACK THE GREAT by Lisa Fowler – Middle-grade novel

ONE

He told me to call him Shadrack the Great.

When I asked what was so great about him, he looked down from the roof of the garage where he was standing and hollered, “You’ll see, watch this.”

He tugged at the red cloth tied around his neck—I supposed pretending it was some sort of superhero cape—and with a twisting motion pulled his ragged blue jeans up on his waist. With his eyes closed tight and fists clenched, he jumped into the backend of the rusty ’52 Chevy truck parked by the garage, landing on his butt, uttering a low pitched, “Oomph,” when he hit. Immediately, he jumped to his feet with his hands straight up in the air.

“How about that!” he shouted.

“That’s nothing,” I yelled. “I can do the same thing, but with my eyes open, and I can land on my feet.”

“Betcha can’t.”

“Betcha I can.”

“Do it,” he dared.

HERE IS KRISTY:

Shadrack the Great by Lisa Fowler: This is a great start. I like the voice and I’m interested to see where it goes!


 

THE REVOLUTION AND THE SCRAP MAN’S DAUGHTER By Melissa Gillette – YA Fantasy

King Philip’s execution approached, and Colette Martin wanted to stay home. The volatility of emotions rampant in Cambrie hammered against her hidden magic. But Mama’s devotion to the Revolution meant Colette better hurry if she hoped to keep her from attending the spectacle. She reached to hang the closed sign in Papa’s shop window.

Papa’s garbage cart, half-filled, clattered to a halt on the brick pavement outside.  She waited to lock the door, a heavy sigh escaping.

Normally he didn’t come home until evening, after depositing the last pile of refuse at the landfill. He tied the horse to the post and hurried in.

The gray sprinkled throughout his hair seemed to multiply daily. Her chest constricted. Before Mama left him to cook for one of the Revolution’s food kitchens, his hair was a youthful brown. Colette would fix this. She must. “Anything salvageable today, Papa?”

“No, nothing. What a sad day for all Galliand, no matter how bad a king Philip is.” He fidgeted with his ring, rubbing the etched laurel leaves. His dark eyes conveyed an apology. “I’m off to Rouville. One of my customers expressed interest in some of my newer items.”

She gulped a breath of air, held it. At sixteen, Colette could run the shop alone. But since the Revolution in the spring, Papa traveled more. Rich nobles had fled the capital with their tainted money like cockroaches exposed to daylight. Poor people like Papa must toil harder than ever for a penny from the rapidly vanishing vermin or starve.

HERE IS KRISTY:

The Revolution and The Scrap Man’s Daughter by Melissa Gillette: This opening does an excellent job of allowing the reader to be introduced to the world without weighing the story down with too much exposition early on. The writing is excellent and I’m immediately connected to Collette and the conflict that’s brewing. Wonderful job!


 

Evie B Versus the Universe  by Wendy Parciak – Contemporary MG

Rule 1: Don’t Get Caught

Skatepark: A place for us juvies to stay out of trouble. That’s what the vast, ignorant majority thinks. It’s actually the coolest place in the world. Even in the dumpy old town of Potash, we’ve got pipes, pyramids, rails, and ramps. We skaters know the truth…

The best advice you’ll get today? Press Ctrl-Alt-Del. That means go away.

Seriously. Do not read anything I’ve written. You’ll find me far too unsettling. I have nothing in common with you unless you’re almost thirteen. If you’re a cat, I’ll tolerate your presence, as long as you don’t leave too many grains of kitty litter on my keyboard. But I may never share these digital thoughts with other humans. It might distract me from improving the universe.

After today, I knew for sure that I needed more focus, not less. Here’s what happened.

Shortly before lunch, I sneaked out of seventh-grade social studies and into the boy’s bathroom—a place strictly forbidden to a girl such as myself. Under normal circumstances, I’d avoid it more than my neighbor’s stinky dog. Soggy paper towel balls clogged the sink drains and pee splatters plastered the wall above the urinal. Revolting, but I had no choice. I needed to put the finishing touches on my latest graffiti masterpiece. If you tally the school property that I’ve used as a medium for my art, you’ll see that I’m the most accomplished juvenile delinquent at Potash Middle School.

“Just a dash more red,” I murmured. Perfect. The stubby-legged balding man’s painted mouth glistened with drool. His chubby fingers grasped a boy’s t-shirt. It stretched tentlike behind the kid.

The bathroom door burst open. I spun around, forgetting to take my finger off the trigger.

HERE IS KRISTY:

Evie B Versus the Universe by Wendy Parciak: This is a very promising start but I stumbled a little on the first paragraph as it feels more like telling rather than showing, creating distance between the reader and the narrator. Rather than Evie saying “here’s what happened” I’d would have liked to have dove straight into the story.

Thank you Kristy for sharing your time and expertise with us. This helps a lot of writers.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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