Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Beth Marshea of Ladderbird Literary

Beth Marshea is a literary agent at Ladderbird Literary.

​Beth is the owner and Lead Agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Outside of agenting, Beth, teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books. She loves the outdoors and is also a certified lifeguard.

She is seeking:

For added emphasis, in all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, from LGBTQIA+ writers, from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more non-binary representation across categories as well.

Across categories she would love to see more works that show joy in marginalized communities.

Adult nonfiction wants:

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden or weird histories, issue-driven books, and books that offer new ways to look at spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.

She is not a good fit for books on the Judeo-Christian religions.

Adult fiction wants:

Literary Fiction- She is looking for work with exceptional voice and beautiful style, unusual settings, and works that involve clever plots with dynamic characters. She wants to see work that brings to light new perspectives on old ideas. Of particular interest are multi-generational stories that show family dynamics, stories centered around found family or friendship, Currently she is especially interested in seeing works by and about BIPOC communities, especially Latinx and Indigenous writers.

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction- She’d love to see more multicultural Meet-Cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), Family Drama, stories about friendships of any kind, work that is light and fun, but emotionally poignant.

Mysteries- Would love to more atmospheric mysteries with a twist. It might be an unusual setting, or simply written from BIPOC perspective to give this genre a new voice.

Thrillers- She loves a thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing! She’s particularly looking for thrillers set outside of the United States. She does not love thrillers that feature violence towards women as their main plot.

Fantasy- Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters. She’d love to see more dark fantasies based on non-European folklore, especially Latinx (new imaginings of El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc…)!

Science Fiction- She really wants grounded Sci-Fi with characters that are engrossing, tight plots, and really beautiful voice. She prefers stories set near future, featuring unusual tech, that are not focused around the US. She’s not the best candidate for a space opera or any military Sci-Fi.

Young Adult wants:

Contemporary- She is very actively looking for stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, LGBTQIA+ Rom Coms, anything that is really poignant and pulls at your heart strings, especially if it is set outside of the U.S.

Mysteries/Thrillers- Stories with high stakes and complex friendships stretched thin. In YA, Mysteries/Thrillers of almost any kind are appealing as long as they are emotionally focused and bring a new point of view. She is not a fan of the unreliable narrators, but is a huge fan of group heists.

Fantasy- Very similar to Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending! Tales that feature friendships rather than romance as their base and really dig in to the full emotions of that particular love and struggle.

Middle Grade wants:

She’s looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that Middle School kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. She’s also interested in Fantasy that explores similar themes. Books she’s loved are: Lalani and the Distant Sea, Wonder, Pet, and Lily and Dunkin

Picture Book wants:

She’s dying to find books with really cute hooks like The Day the Crayons Quit, or nice messaging like Not Quite a Narwhal. She’d love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read, but engrossing enough for an adult to enjoy.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leslie Varney of Prentis Literary

Leslie Varney is a literary agent with Prentis Literary.

She is seeking: “Prentis Literary is actively seeking new authors with fresh, intelligent voices. While we have historically focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy, our true passion is a well-crafted story that engages and captures the imagination, regardless of the genre. We have a focus on inclusion and providing representation for authors with diverse points of view. We support and help with career development on an individual basis, tailoring our approach to the unique needs of each author.”

“It was never my plan to learn to read. In fact, I resisted it with all my five-year-old might, which was fairly significant. My favorite times were when my dad would read to me and I was afraid that when I learned to read myself, those lovely times would end. But my dad’s plan was different and his will was equal to mine. After many knock-down battles, and lots of Dick and Jane, I reluctantly learned.

“I grew up during the mid-70s on my family’s hippie farm, situated in a small middle-class town in the Hudson Valley. This would have made me unique in any case, but the fact that we had no television was downright bizarre. While all my friends were watching re-runs of the “Brady Bunch” (again), I was re-reading “A Wizard of Earthsea” (again). Or “Watership Down”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “The Crystal Cave”, whatever was around. Luckily for me, there were always books around. And, since my dad’s favorite books tended to the fantasy and science fiction genres, my house was a fantastic playground of interesting ideas and wonderful stories. I was known as the weird kid who always had a book with her. If you couldn’t find me, I was probably hiding in Oz. Instead of doing my boring chores, I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her chores were exciting frontier adventures! There were no limits when it came to stories and there was always somewhere wonderful to visit.

“I am pleased as punch that now I get to help authors bring new worlds, new ideas, and new magic to the literary world. I will always love the oral story-telling tradition, but my appreciation for the written work knows no bounds and I love being a part of bringing that passion to new readers. It turns out that my dad’s plan was better than mine after all.”

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary

Kimberly Brower is a literary agent and founder of Brower Literary.

Kimberly is interested in adult upmarket/commercial fiction, with an emphasis in general/book club fiction, women’s fiction and romance. However, she is always looking for books that she wants to stay up all night reading, unable to put them down, regardless of what genre an author classifies it as. She loves stories that bring her into a world she doesn’t want to leave and characters that have strong story arcs. She also can never say no to an epic love story.

Kimberly fell in love with reading when she picked up her first Babysitter’s Club book at the age of seven (Super Special editions were her favorites) and hasn’t been able to get her nose out of a book since. She holds a BS in Business Administration from California State University, Northridge and received her JD from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. After spending a decade in the business world, it was kismet that she found herself in publishing. She takes great pride in her client list, from the debut authors to #1 NYT bestsellers, and likes to consider them all her favorite authors. She previously worked for over two years at a boutique literary agency before starting her own. After spending 14 years in California, she is thrilled to be back on the east coast. When not providing individual attention to her clients, Kimberly manages all of the day-to-day operations of the agency. This includes overseeing the management of the foreign, audio and all other subsidiary rights for all the authors in the agency.

FIVE FUN FACTS:

All-time Favorite Book: The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Current Favorite Book: 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
Favorite Movies: CLUE, A Chorus Line, Pride & Prejudice
Favorite TV Shows: Bones, The Big Bang Theory
Random Fact: In another life, I would’ve loved to have been an FBI Agent