What are some trends you were pleased with in 2014?
I think, along with everybody, I was pleased to see more diversity in 2014—novels in science fiction and fantasy like [Ann Leckie’s] Ancillary Justice, where gender is treated much more fluidly, were winning awards and breaking boundaries. For me, I also enjoyed seeing some more traditional and heartwarming fantasy published, in the form of novels like [Katherine Addison’s] The Goblin Emperor. I’m desperate to see SF/F move away from grim epic fantasy and showcase a wider interpretation of what fantasy constitutes.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Personally I would love to see more literary fantasy and SF/F—beautifully written novels that transcend the genre. I’m thinking novels like [Emily St. John Mandel’s] Station Eleven and [Naomi Novik’s] Uprooted.In YA, especially contemporary, I want to see novels that explore relationships outside of typical romances. I want to see friendships explored, in the way that authors like Cat Clarke and Non Pratt are starting to produce. I want to see family relationships.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
In YA, please, please, please don’t send me angel/demon novels. For some reason, that is still the one supernatural trend that keeps being sent through to me. I’m referring to titles that are similar to [Lauren Kate’s] Fallen or [Becca Fitzpatrick’s] Hush, Hush. It’s been done to death, it can’t be sold to publishers, and it’ll be a long time before seeing those words in a query doesn’t make me roll my eyes!
In SF/F, I really don’t want to see much steampunk—anything from the lighthearted side of things, like Soulless by Gail Carriger, to the more serious Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. This is more of a personal preference. I don’t personally see the appeal, and I think it’s rather a hard sell.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
I love working with Red Sofa because we’re encouraged to look for the quirky, for the novels that are slightly left of center. These are the types of novels that I love to read anyway, so the fact that I can go out and seek these novels and authors is tremendously exciting. On a personal level, I adore the fact that I am looking for the next great novel, that every book sent to me has the potential to be that novel, the one that gives you goose bumps and makes you want to shout about it to the whole world.
Amanda Rutter is an associate literary agent at the Minnesota-based Red Sofa Literary Agency. After training and working as an accountant for over a decade, she became an editor with Angry Robot, helping to sign books and authors for the Strange Chemistry imprint. Since leaving Angry Robot, she has been a freelance editor through her own company AR Editorial Solutions, BubbleCow, and Wise Ink. She also finds time to write blog posts for Tor.com. In her free time, she is a yarn fiend, knitting and crocheting up a storm.