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An Interview with Carly Watters

Thursday, 9 January 2014  |  Posted by Brenda Drake

Notebook and coffee

It’s an interviewpalooza!

For those of you just tuning in, here’s my spiel: As writers, we all Google-stalk agents (and often editors). Come on, admit it, you do. And if you’ve done your homework – and you should have done your homework – you can probably rattle off your dream agent’s most recent sales, submission guidelines, history as an agent, favorite font, and caffeinated beverage. But did you know that agents are people, too? Quirky, nerdy, hilarious, and downright interesting people? These aren’t your standard interviews. These are about the people behind the profile pictures. The ones you would not only want championing your book, but also sitting at your coffee shop table, talking to you over something warm and delicious – caramel apple cider, if you’re me. Note: This is NOT an invitation to coffee shop stalk them in real life. Be polite. Use common sense. If I find out you have used these interviews for evil purposes, be warned – I shall find you. Enjoy!


Today’s interview is with Carly Watters of P.S. Literary!

Rae: What fictional academy/university/school would you most want to attend? (i.e. Starfleet Academy, Hogwarts, Jedi Academy, Camp Halfblood, Battle School in Space, Beauxbatons, etc)

Carly: I’m not a big Fantasy or Sci Fi reader so a lot of this is going over my head, but I would say Starfleet Academy for sure. I could handle the challenge.


Rae: Idea: You, me, redshirts vs. stormtroopers battle. What song(s) would play in the soundtrack to your life?

Carly: Great question! Here are some that I constantly come back to: Head and the Heart ‘Down in the Valley’, Ray LaMontange ‘Jolene’ and ‘Beg Steal or Borrow’, Zac Brown Band ‘Free’, Norah Jones ‘Come Away With Me,’ Jason Aldean ‘Night Train,’ Ben Harper ‘In Your Eyes’


Rae: Oh, “Jolene” . . . I may or may not have belted that out in the shower a few times. What’s your best rainy day book? Beach book?

Carly: My favorite rainy day book would be the haunting Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘Never Let Me Go.’ And I love the beach book queen Elin Hilderbrand. Especially ‘Summerland’ (a must read!) and more recently ‘Beautiful Day’.


Rae: What is your work fuel of choice? (food-wise)

Carly: Dried mango, Larabars, coffee, and water. I’m all for sustainability when I need to bunker down. .


Rae: Something awesome just happened (book deal, signed a client, etc). How do you celebrate?

Carly: A big smile, a glass of wine, and a pat on the back. It’s my job! Hearing their voice on the phone (whether it’s a book deal, or offering rep) is a big reward in itself. It reminds me why I do what I do.


Rae: Awww . . . all the feels. But what about when something sucky happens? What gets you through one of these harder days?

Carly: This is a great question because it’s equally a reality and part of my job as the good stuff. I’ve cried, I’ve got grumpy, I’ve got frustrated, but what keeps me going is knowing that my passion (loving my job enough for it to make me cry!) is so strong and caring for my job that much is a lucky thing. Who else can say they love their job so much it keeps them up at night, and gets them up in the morning and that their job changes peoples lives for the better (writers and readers)? Not many people I’ll bet. So I simultaneously get down, but then reflect on that luckiness and it brings me back up.


Rae: Hmm . . . grumpiness and crying? *eyes every querying writer ever* Take notes from this lady; if the passion is there, you will survive! Back to you, Carly; who taught you the ropes (i.e. was your Jedi Master) when you were starting out as an agent?

Carly: Two people, firstly: When I was working at the Darley Anderson Agency in the UK it was Madeline Milburn. She gave me my first job in publishing as a literary agency assistant. She taught me rule #1 in agenting: You can only take chances on the special books. You only have so much time in the day and so much energy, so you have to rep projects that make your heart skip a beat.

And secondly: our principal agent at P.S. Literary Agency, Curtis Russell, who gave me my first (and current) full agent job. He taught me the logistics and answered all my silly questions


Rae: All right, lastly, what classic novel do you wish you could have represented back in the day?

Carly: This is really hard to answer because in my current state of mind, wanting page turners, so many classic novels would not have made it commercially. (Why are Victorian novels so long?!) But my favorite classic, Anna Karenina, had enough of the juicy material that would work in fiction today: passionate romance, adultery, family drama, and a tragic death. I own it in audiobook and paperback.


I love these answers 😀 And Carly will be stopping by for PITCH WARS!

Didn’t make Pitch Wars? No prob. If Carly sounds like your kind of agent, do your homework, and send her some amazing queries!  Thanks so much for stopping by, Carly, and may the queries ever contain exactly what you are seeking!

Don’t feel like your MS is ready for agent eyes? Head over to bleedinginkinc.wordpress.com and try out the homework exercises I’ve been giving to Team “Here There Be Monsters.” You may just find the missing piece of your MS!

Filed: Interviews, Misc

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