Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 8, 2021

Agent Savannah Brook at Jennifer De Chiara

Associate Literary Agent – Jennifer De Chiara

Savannah Brooks

Savannah Brooks joined the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2018 as an Associate Literary Agent after interning for a year and a half. She earned her MFA, focused in creative nonfiction, from Hamline University and her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech. As well as agenting, she works as a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center and is a reader for multiple literary magazines. Her own creative work has been published in Barely South Review, Hobart, Lime Hawk, and Every Writer’s Resource, among others. When not immersed in the world of words, she can be found on her motorcycle, at her MMA gym, or lounging at one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes.

She represents:

  • PB, MG, and YA, both fiction and nonfiction
  • Children’s, Commercial, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Picture Books, Young Adult
  • Very, VERY select adult fiction

WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR:

I mainly represent kid-lit (PB, MG, and YA), and I’m interested in books that focus on friendship, conflicting identity, and the theme of truth. I’m always drawn in by a protagonist venturing into a realm where society says they don’t belong (think swapping gender norms), and characters with weird obsessions are a weird obsession of mine—teach me strange new things, and I’m yours. I’m all about magical realism, non-western mythology, and modern retellings, but I’m not the best fit for high fantasy or science fiction.

In PB, I’m searching for projects that teach about and celebrate different cultures and places in the world and those that tackle serious topics in really accessible ways. For MG, I learn very heavily into action-adventure, especially those based on global folklore and mythology, and I love a snarky narrator and spooky situations. In YA, I’m looking for multicultural and queer perspectives on everything from modern teen experiences to reframing classic tropes like vampires and witches. I’ve been particularly wanting to see some horror.

Mostly, I’m invested in representing the diverse world in which we live and would like to see that reflected in a cast of characters. Show me variations in race, sexuality, gender, dis/ability, and ethnicity without that difference being a point of contention, and I’ll be thrilled. Call me an idealist, but my goal for each book is to give kids/teens an opportunity to point to the page and say, “Finally, there I am.”

For kid lit, I always want to learn something—which means I want your characters to teach me something. If your MC has an unusual hobby or interest, they’re probably for me. I’m also always looking to acquire books that give insight to our increasingly global world, so books that take place in other countries, books that highlight cultural pockets within a country, books about cultural intersection, etc. I want books that highlight friendship (especially when it isn’t easy), battling social norms to find one’s place, and diversity (across all spectrums). And I always, always need a strong voice.

As a general breakdown:

  • In PB, I’m looking for 1) stories that tackle serious subjects like politics, mental health, grief, and belonging in an accessible and empowering way, 2) stories that teach about and celebrate different cultures and places in the world, and 3) nonfiction that delights and inspires—especially if it has a feminist/disability/multicultural/queer angle.
  • In MG, I lean very heavily toward action-adventure—especially when it’s based on non-western (that means no Greek/Roman) mythology and folklore. If you think it could sit on a bookshelf next to Rick Riordan’s works, it’s for me. I’m looking for humor and fast-pacing but still want content that touches on larger themes like belonging, grief, friendship, family, culture, etc. I’m not a good fit for quiet and serious books.
  • In YA, I’m looking for multicultural, disabled, and queer perspectives on everything from modern teen experiences to reframing classic tropes like vampires and witches. Voice is everything for me—I love sarcasm, quirk, and wit—and the story needs to be speaking to a larger sociopolitical conversation, even if in a lighthearted way. I’m all for books that empower teens to get political and take a stand for what they believe in. I’m also really drawn to stories that treat setting like a character, and I’ve especially been wanting atmospheric horror—stories where the spook comes from the place itself, similar to Wilder Girls.

On a specific level, I’m looking for:

  • Recreational fighting, both combat and noncombat (MMA, kick/boxing, karate, fencing, weapon work, etc.)
  • Girl gamers
  • Girl mechanics/riders (give me cars, motorcycles, racing, and rebuilding all day, please)
  • Science/math oriented clubs and hobbies (robotics, rockets, astronomy, coding, VR, etc.)
  • Career-orientation (more for YA than MG)
  • Activism
  • Crossing gender stereotypes/norms (boy ballerinas, girl motocrossers, what have you)
  • #OwnVoices Hmong characters (doesn’t have to take place in the Twin Cities, but that would be a plus!)
  • #OwnVoices Native American and indigenous characters
  • Books that take place around (but don’t necessarily center on) non-Christian holidays (Eid, Dio de los Muertos, Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Holi, etc.)—especially for PB!
  • Inter-generational friendship (especially in MG)
  • Spooks/thrillers/ghosties
  • Unlikeable, snarky, witty MCs
  • Retellings of global, often-underrepresented folklore/mythology
  • Smart, quirky humor (especially if your book takes on heavy issues; I don’t do heavy without humor)
  • Author-illustrator graphic novels (especially those aimed at reluctant readers)
  • Informational nonfiction about unexpected, fun, inspiring topics

Note about nonfiction: if I’m going to take it on, I need to know you’re qualified to write about it and have a strong platform/network, so be sure to include that in your query.

I’m more interested in contemporary and light fantasy/spec than I am in SFF, but that doesn’t mean SFF won’t be a fit (I’m mainly just a real stickler about world building). I’m also not a great fit for trauma/terminal illness/impending death unless you’re taking a laughing-through-the-pain approach, and I pretty much entirely stay away from sexual assault.

On the adult side, I represent both contemporary/commercial fiction and thriller. For the former, I only look at works that tackle sociopolitical issues in a lighthearted way. You should be saying something important, but you should be doing it in a way that makes readers laugh as well as think. For the latter, I am specifically NOT interested in anything law-enforcement related, including FBI/CIA. I love atmosphere and twists and am okay getting dark, but I am not a fan of needless violence and, again, I stay away from sexual assault. I’m specifically interested in #ownvoices works for both genres.

I am very selective about taking on fiction works for adult audiences, but when I do, I look for two genres: 1) contemporary novels that walk the line of being funny while still adding to a larger sociopolitical conversation, and 2) thrillers that add to a larger sociopolitical conversation (but are NOT law-enforcement focused, including FBI/CIA). I would love to hear more from marginalized voices, regardless of whether or not marginalization is a central theme.

Submission Guidelines

Submit your query and the first 20 pages of your manuscript via QueryMe.Online/SavannahBrooks. Queries sent by any other medium will not be considered.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info


@@slbrooks91

Website

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks, Kathy!

    Like


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