What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
A strong character that has a unique voice and agency to effect change in their world is a must. And I like when books take me by surprise; I will always love a strong, feisty woman, but sometimes I connect with a quieter woman or a character that isn’t in the spotlight. I’m a sucker for supporting characters and sidekicks (Horatio over Hamlet any day), so make sure the entire cast is strong.
I’m looking for a spin on the familiar or updating a story for today’s audience. Stories set in international locales are great, but I also love to explore the variety of America. I would love to find a great detective to follow for many books, as well as an explorer or adventurer (willing or not) in a fantastical world. I’d love to meet clever con artists who orchestrate brilliant heists and maybe don’t follow the letter of the law, but you root for them anyway. Bonus points go to art, jewel or tech heists that involve gadgets.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Every day in my query inbox I see a YA where a girl/guy from the surburbs/small town meets a mysterious guy/girl and gets a superpower/supernatural ability/crown from a secret kingdom, and they have to deal with what happens next. It can be well-done, but I see it done a lot, and it’s usually just fine, not amazing.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
I come from a proofreading background, so I work intensely with my authors on their manuscripts. I respect their work and their vision, so we work together to find the best solution to an issue. It’s all about the work for me; it’s not about me or the authors’ egos, but about what we can do together.
Jennifer De Chiara also provides a wonderfully rich and supportive environment for the agents and clients to grow, which I appreciate so I can focus on the work!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I am enthusiastic about publishing, which I consider to be an industry of making stories. Yes, we have the deadlines and the headaches and the rush-rush-rush to start waiting. But there’s still magic in books, in reading—no matter the format. The creative energy of all our collaborators brings a personal experience to the reader and then connects us to others. There will always be a desire to share stories, to seek a commonality in our human experience. Every day I’m excited to talk to people who are passionate about books and to find the next story I love.
Roseanne Wells joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2012. Previously with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, she has also worked as a proofreader and a special sales and editorial assistant. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with degrees in literature and dance. An avid reader, Roseanne discovered her passion for book publishing during her internship at W. W. Norton, and she approaches agenting as a writer’s advocate, editor and partner. She is also an arts reviewer for PlayShakespeare.com and a volunteer for Housing Works Bookstore Cafe in Soho in New York City.