Tuesday, April 3, 2007

FEATURED AGENT INTERVIEW: Jessica Faust - Agent and Cofounder BookEnds Literary Agency

Jessica Faust has been guiding authors through the publishing process since she co-founded BookEnds in 1999. As a literary agent, Jessica prides herself on working closely with her authors to make their goals come to fruition. Jessica represents mystery, suspense, thrillers, romance, erotica and nonfiction. More about Jessica and BookEnds can be found at www.bookends-inc.com or bookendslitagency.blogspot.com

E. I. Thank you for dropping by and giving me the opportunity to get to know you better. Ms. Faust, In your opinion, is it a mistake to believe that the opening chapter can be successful in a third-person omniscient narrative, without introducing the protagonist and without a single line of dialogue until the very end of the chapter?

Jessica Faust: Unfortunately there isn’t an easy, conclusive answer to this question. It honestly depends on the author, the book and the author’s ability to pull it off. I do not believe there are any concrete rules to making a book work. I think that if you can make it work then it will work. The problem is that there are certain things that few people have been able to do well which is why these rules come into play.

E. I. What makes a certain manuscript stand out from the pile and how many of those first-time authors has BookEnds gotten published over the past few years?

Jessica Faust: The hook is what grabs me or doesn’t grab me immediately. Before even reading any of the material I make part of my decision based on the query letter. If your hook sounds exciting and different I will start reading your material with excitement. However, if you don’t have a strong hook I might not even get to more than a few pages of the book. Of course, after the hook it’s all about the writing—a solid plot, great characters, etc.

Let me explain about the hook a little. I think many people have gotten the misconception that a hook is only for commercial fiction and has to be huge and dramatic, or very obvious like a cozy mystery series with knitting or a book with “Code” in the title. The truth is that a hook doesn’t have to be so obvious. It can be something small that makes your book stand out and catches the eye of the readers. Bella Andre does that Tempt Me, Taste Me, Touch Me, a collection of erotic stories set in Napa Valley. Napa Valley and the food and wine she includes make a hook. It makes her book more than just a collection of stories. Every book has a hook if you dig deep enough, it’s the writer’s job to really make that hook stand out for the reader.

E. I. So great for you to do the interview. Thank you so much.

Jessica Faust: I thank you very much!

To learn more about Jessica Faust, please visit her at:
Website: http://www.bookends-inc.com/

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