Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lori Steel of Red Fox Literary

Lori Steel is a literary agent with Red Fox Literary.

Lori began her career in young people’s literature first as an educator and school librarian, and later as a freelance editor and writing instructor. She is also a writer and earned an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. As a Red Fox Literary Agent, Lori approaches her work from these diverse industry experiences and perspectives. She’s a long-time member of SCBWI and ALA, and passionately believes all readers deserve equal access to stories, no matter their age.
 
Lori’s clients include both debut and award-winning authors, and she continues to seek diverse perspectives, literary approaches, and unique story experiences to add to her list. Lyrical language, compelling settings, and stories told with heart are areas of particular interest in any genre/audience. 
 
Originally from the Washington DC area, Lori has also called Appalachia and England home. When not at her desk, you can often find her plotting her next travel adventure, testing out a new recipe, or pottering in her Washington DC garden with her English husband and their secret-agent pup sidekick, Juice. 

She is seeking:

For all projects, I seek stories with authentic, unforgettable voices that reflect the diverse world we inhabit, instill the possibility of hope and change, and illuminate the shared human experience.

More specifically for YA, I would love to find a fresh take on fantasy tropes, contemporary stories that flip conventional scripts, unexpected historical and/or historical fantasy mash-ups that disrupt entrenched notions. I’m always on the look-out for genre-bending writing in the vein of A.S. King!

Middle Grade contemporary, historical, and fantasy fiction stories that demonstrate deep understanding of readers’ age, voice, and growing awareness of themselves and the world around them is paramount.

For Graphic Novels, I’m looking for writer-illustrators crafting accessible contemporary and select nonfiction stories.

For Picture Books, I’m eager to find writer-illustrators who craft stories with spare text and rich art, creators who play with structure, utilize collusion to engage participation, and don’t underestimate young readers. Nonfiction stories that surprise and instill a sense of wonder are always welcome. Whimsical, lyrical, and/or humorous stories that young readers will beg to read over and over again always top the list.

Themes/ideas/atmospheres that intrigue me:

  • Nonfiction picture books about ecology/environmentalism written from unusual perspectives
  • Regional setting/voices
  • Found families
  • Endearing meet-cute stories
  • Musical motifs
  • Verse, multiple POV and/or interpolated/mixed media novels
  • Setting as character and/or antagonist
  • In all seriousness: Stories that are important and extend the conversation.

I’m NOT the right agent for:

  • Horror of any kind
  • YA Nonfiction
  • Hard sci-fi
  • Didactic, overly sentimental, and message-driven books
  • Stand-alone board books, early readers, and chapter books
  • Boarding school settings
  • Vampires, werewolves, zombies
  • Stories devoid of hope
  • Rhyming PBs in the vein of Seuss or Silverstein