Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Meet Agent Becky Vinter!

Our newest FPLM team member is Becky Vinter.  She's eager to build a fearsomely talented list and show The Sharque a thing or two.  She's sophisticated, smart and stylish.  Of course we  hate her love her to pieces.

1. What propelled you to slither over to The Dark Side?
 I started my career in publishing on the editorial side, at NAL/ Penguin. I learned so much there—not the least, what really happens behind the doors of those acquisitions meetings. But ultimately I felt that my interests were just too wide to be encompassed by a single list or imprint.

One of the most fun things about being an agent is that I can take on any project that I fall in love with, no matter how unusual, and then go looking for the perfect house for it. It’s also very rewarding to be on the side of the author—to get scrappy, be a true advocate, and fight for the author’s best interests no matter what.
Most of all I love that I never know what I’ll find in my inbox in the morning—my next project is always just around the corner.

2. What kinds of projects are you looking for?
On the fiction side, I’m looking for the whole spectrum of women’s fiction, be it literary, “book club,” romance or mystery. I especially love multicultural or international stories, those with a transporting, vivid sense of time and place. 

On the YA side, I’m particularly on the lookout for a good contemporary story (I loved Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith), as well as for books with kick-ass female protagonists and/or a strong mystery or suspenseful hook.
For nonfiction, I like narrative of all kinds – including memoir, current events, travel (I’m a sucker for anything do to with Italy), pop culture, food and drink, wellness, and yoga.
I’m not the right agent for hard fantasy, science fiction, middle grade, or picture books.

3. Best way for people to query you?
Simple: a query letter plus two chapters and synopsis pasted in the body of the email. For nonfiction, just a query letter will suffice. I reply to all the queries I receive, even if they don’t match my interests, so if you don’t get a response from me, you were probably a victim of my spam folder. Please send again!

4. Do you have a favorite book about the craft of writing?
My very first boss, a genius of an editor who’s been in the business for many, many years, gave me a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White, on my first day at work. I’ve kept it close ever since and refer to it regularly when I’m editing. It’s a timeless resource, and I believe it should be on any author’s shelf – you can’t tell a compelling story if you don’t have control of your tools!

5. A memorable book you've read this year, and what made it stand out?
I have to pick two because both of these have stayed with me for months and I can’t chose between them:
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett, which I read over the holiday break. Both the setting and the characters are so incredibly vivid, totally unforgettable. She builds this extraordinary world that just takes you by the throat – and the ending is utterly heartbreaking.
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers: a completely different read. It’s nonfiction but it reads like a thriller, and it’s a real case of truth being stranger than fiction. There’s a point about half way through when the whole narrative gets upended and you LITERALLY can’t put it down until you get to the end.  

6. If you could save the life of any one fictional character who would it be and why?
Tess from Tess of the d'Urbervilles, no question. Holy cow she gets a rough deal! Raped, betrayed, ostracized… she finally fights back and is hung for it! Maybe the time is ripe for a feminist Tess mash up – Tess gets zombified after her execution and takes her revenge on all of the men in town. I’d read that.

7. Care to confess to any guilty pleasures?
Ack, yes! I’m ushering in a Gossip Girl renaissance.  After staring at the computer screen all day, Season One reruns are the perfect antidote for my tired brain. Chuck and Blair, just do it already!

8.  How does your  cat make you laugh?

Mostly she makes me laugh (and cringe) at myself for how quickly I have turned into a crazy cat lady. After watching a marathon session of “My Cat From Hell” one rainy weekend, I felt guilty that I hadn’t created enough of a “cat friendly” environment in my apartment, so I went online and bought an eight-foot tall cat tree. It’s completely taken over the living room.

9. Most terrifying Janet Reid far.

Probably that time when she locked the interns in the dungeon for three days with no food or water to punish them for messing up her lunch order. Besides that she’s been pretty chill.


Brent Stratford said...

Best wishes for success Becky. Neither you nor the shark handle my genre so I hope to hear lots of horror stories that will entertain those of us safe in the audience.

Sarah said...

Good luck Becky!

I didn't see an email address so, if we were so inclined, how might we query you?

Joyce Tremel said...

Nice to see a new guppy at the Reef. Best of luck to you!

TC Avey said...

Congrats on the job- good luck!

Janet Reid said...

Sarah, her email address is on the FPLM website.

Christine said...

Congratulations on joining the shark team, Becky!

Janet, I have to go with Sarah on this one... I searched the FPLM website for Becky's email address. Couldn't find it--or her name--listed anywhere!

Marsha Sigman said...

I was just checking out Becky's profile this morning!ha Definitely going to hear from me soon!

Anyone who can handle 3 days in the Shark's dungeon is pretty tough.

Christine said...

Ah, found her! She's not listed under "Agents" or "Submissions" but check the red "Contact Us" button.

Debra Lynn Lazar said...

Congrats and welcome to the frighteningly awesome world of The Shark!

Lanette said...

Another victim who reps what I write! Ummm... scratch that. Welcome to the team, Becky.

Sarah said...

Ah, thanks Janet and Christine! I see it now. I'd been looking under the "About the Agents."

Elle Lothlorien said...

"Becky Vinter: Didnt make me cry--MUCH." ;-) CONGRATS Becky!