1. CHARACTER: Miss Marple meets Villanelle meets Kay Scarpetta
2. HIGH-CONCEPT: A Christmas Carol meets Gone Girl meets Before I Go to Sleep
3. A WORLD OF CHARACTERS: Richard Osman meets Lucinda Riley meets Line Of Duty
4. STEP OUT OF REALITY: Game Of Thrones meets Animals of Farthing Wood
5. BACK TO NATURE: Where The Crawdads Sing meets the poetry of Camille Dungy and Mary Oliver
An Agent’s Wish List is a wonderful manifestation exercise; we ask, we believe and (hopefully) we receive. It isn’t about what ‘Publishing’ wants right now, a wish list is more what we as individual humans are craving and what our instincts are screaming for?
When the team asked us to do a Wish List, I was excited. I’m ashamed to say the last time I officially did an Agent Wish List was for our Blog 7 years ago, back in February 2015. But you know what, I still stand by those wishes; a big crime thriller Sliding Doors, a fictional ensemble series a la Soldier, Soldier and an all-consuming all-ages epic animal fantasy adventure.
On the thriller side there have been a few Sliding Doors titles come out recently that have done very well, and I love any ‘what if’ big high-concept story.
I also still believe we are ready and would become obsessed with a Jilly Cooper or Lucinda Riley meets Line Of Duty series based around a self-contained world like the armed forces, where at the core of the stories you have life, death, love and friendship.
Taking a step away, interestingly Richard Osman’s amazing cast of characters do this within the world of a retirement home. It’s genius. He has incredible characters that are at the frontline of mortality in such a clever way; they have decades of knowledge and use this to laugh in the face of stereotype, whilst taking risks, watching each other’s backs and not listening to rules.
And as for the animal adventure, we are due a new huge world setting series; imagine Game Of Thrones meets Animals of Farthing Wood.
Fast forwarding to 2022, and I’m sitting at my desk thinking about what else is my ‘Wish List’ of today?
And then I realised, since the pandemic everything feels a bit skew-whiffy. Our brains our knackered, we’ve had so many emotional (and at times most of us have had the physical too) battles with Covid and here we are in the Summer of 2022 spat out the other side.
But then what better time is there for our need to escape, even if it is only for one more chapter?
The beauty and importance of entertainment fiction is it lets us feel alive and live in another world that isn’t our own. It’s an essential part of being a human.
If we think, entertainment started as storytelling around fires – how amazing that 400,000 years ago evidence shows fire became ‘domesticated’ and as a result humans gathered to talk because they could extend their days beyond sunlight hours – and in today’s world it might be in different formats, but the need is 100% still there.
So, where would else I like to escape to right now? Below are my 2022 additions to my Agent Wish List and I am now off to believe and be ready to receive some amazing new submissions…
A Christmas Carol meets Gone Girl meets Before I Go To Sleep
Recently I can’t stop thinking about Dicken’s ghost story novella A Christmas Carol.
The idea of looking back on one person’s life turning points and expanding on the ‘what if’ concept is something I’d love to explore, be it in a very voice driven bookclub title like Kiley Reid’s Such A Fun Age, or as a huge page-turning thriller.
I’d love to see any kind of thriller that takes a character through a life changing journey, on top of throwing epic twists and turns and suspense at the reader. This character can be anyone from anywhere who has a story, made huge mistakes and is having to face the reality and consequence of their decisions in some capacity.
Miss Marple meets Villanelle meets Kay Scarpetta
It would be epic to find an incredible new contemporary series female character who has top level expertise and intelligence in the crime fiction arena – a detective, a medical examiner, a PI, a forensic investigator, even a cyber specialist. The role doesn’t matter so much to me, what’s key is that they make the reader feel like experts too and we finish reading each story in love and obsessed with the character.
In real life I know so many inspiring and remarkable women and I would love to see a new fictional female protagonist take on the crime thriller fictional world and become a household name.
They need to be a fighter, a risk taker, so focused they are a nightmare to be around if you’re their loved one. Make their antagonists top level genius too, give your protagonist the absolute best opposition to prove to the reader why this protagonist is the best. No matter what, they always win and outsmart at the end.
Where The Crawdads Sing meets Camille Dungy meets Mary Oliver
Nature in its raw dangerous beauty is something I am definitely craving in fiction.
To tell a gripping story where the natural world around is as big a character as the protagonist would be something I’d love to find. Touching on the concept of a ‘world’, you can take the beauty and the beast of being a human alongside the beauty and the beast of nature.
This is why I loved Where The Crawdads Sing so much. And although I’m not a huge poetry reader, I repeatedly am drawn to poets like Camille Dungy and recently someone introduced me to Mary Oliver. They take a moment of the natural world and turn it into a whole story where are forced to push our faces against the glass of humanity and question not just our own morality but as importantly the values and ethics of the world we live in.
Tune in on Thursday 30th June, on instagram at 6PM GMT (@darleyanderson_agency) when the team goes live to answer all your burning questions, as well as an exciting announcement.