What are some upcoming trends for 2014?
I don’t know that we’ll see it in 2014 specifically, but I definitely see a long-overdue influx of diversity in the near future. Underrepresented groups are banding together and being very vocal about the severe lack of diversity in literature, and I’ve been overjoyed to see agents and editors respond with such enthusiasm to work toward solving the problem.
Many agents and editors have spoken out about how they, too, want to diversify the world’s bookshelves. Twitter hashtags have popped up in which agents and editors post their diversity-minded wish lists regarding submissions. I sincerely hope everyone who’s done so will follow through and work to bring more diverse stories and authors to readers. Hopefully, we’ll see the fruits of this labor in the next couple of years.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Sticking with the theme of diversity, I’d like to see more books not only featuring underrepresented groups in their characters, but also authors from these groups. More stories and writers to showcase the spectrum of different ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes and abilities, and economic backgrounds that we have in the world. I would especially like to see more of this in speculative fiction—science fiction and fantasy will always be my favorite genres. These stories are absolutely needed in all age categories, but I am personally partial to adult and YA fiction (I don’t represent any age group below that).
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I’ve never really been a fan of “angel vs. demon/heaven vs. hell” stories. The war between God and the devil has been done in a million ways, and I’m not a fan. Not for any particular reason; the concept has just never really appealed to me. That’s subjectivity for you!
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
The most unique thing about being an agent is how closely I get to work with such talented authors. Because of that closeness, the power I have to change the industry is also unique. As I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge advocate for more diversity in literature. As an agent, I’m in a position where I could help make this happen. When books fail to accurately represent the diverse world in which we live, I’m now on the list of people to potentially blame, and I think that sense of responsibility really pushes me to do everything I can to achieve change.
Jessica Negrón attended the University of New Haven, where she initially studied forensic science. After two years, she came to the realization that, despite her love for titrations (and saying “phenolphthalein”), she could not possibly spend the rest of her life staring at the color pink (the most vile color in all the world) and that she would much rather read The Crucible than ever have to handle one again. She made her escape to the English department, where waiting for her were a plethora of musty tomes and a comforting absence of fire. For five years, she interned with various local Connecticut publications in both editorial and design capacities until she found a place with Talcott Notch. She began taking her own clients in January 2013.