What is your role at the agency?
How did you get into publishing?
It was definitely a right place, right time life moment. I had a job 4 days a week in a different industry and really needed to find extra paid work and saw an advertisement for a day a week admin job at Darley’s. I had no idea what a Literary Agency was, but the ad listed Lee Child and Martina Cole and I loved reading their books and commercial crime thrillers, so thought I’d apply. Fifteen years later, here I am!
What’s the best part of your job?
I’m so lucky as I genuinely love my job. From discovering new authors, to working with authors in getting them where they want their manuscripts and careers to be, and then negotiating hard to ensure we get the absolute best deal for their books.
If I had to decide the ‘best part’ though, I think it’s the collaboration element. It is vital Agents work with their authors and the publishers in focusing with laser-sharp precision on what a book is, what is its proposition? And then from this how do we get the best pitch and package to reach the maximum number of readers and aim for top sales figures across all formats.
What do you look for in a book?
Character, and then that amazing desperate ‘one more chapter’ obsession to keep reading. The big tests are a) am I desperate to tell everyone about this character, and then b) am I desperate to stay up all night reading to finish the story.
What’s on your “to be read” list?
So many things – I need to stop buying books. In Japan they have a word ‘tsundoku’, which refers to someone who obsessively buys books and buys far more than they can read. I have a horrible fear this is me. My ‘to be read list’ is a huge pile next to my bed in an attempt to make me read the ones I already have. It’s an eclectic mix.
There are quite a few nature books like Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake and The Hidden Life of Trees, and then 90% of the time I love any of the Reese Witherspoon Bookclub Picks, so have quite a few of those waiting (I recently finished Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller and could not put it down).
I also try to read what recently hit high in the charts and have just bought How To Kill Your Family by Bella Mackie. I’ve got to read the backlist of Colleen Hoover too and I’m also currently working my way through Catherine Ryan Howard’s books (she’s amazing).
Every year or two I also try to re-read Killing Floor by Lee Child, Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell and I love Jodi Picoult’s titles, especially the early ones – House Rules is another book I try and re-read so these are always somewhere in the pile.
Who is your favourite fiction character?
Patricia Cornwell’s Dr Kay Scarpetta.
What is your go to reading snack?
I was a big Twiglet reading snacker, but turns out I’m allergic to gluten so now I get a coffee and the dream is Tony’s Chocolonely Caramel and Sea Salt chocolate. Imran Mahmood sent me some as a treat recently and I hadn’t had it before, I am now a little obsessed. A very expensive habit to have though!
What soon to be published book are you most looking forward to reading?
Keep It In The Family by John Marrs
Simplexity by Kiley Reid
Carrie Soto is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid.
What book do you wish you could read again for the first time?
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy
Along Came a Spider by James Paterson
The Client by John Grisham
Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon
We Begin At The End by Chris Whittaker
Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen
For more information on our Open Week check out our latest post https://darleyandersonblog.com/2022/06/20/da-open-week-whats-on/.