(Judith and her gorgeous Siberian Husky.)
I must say it has been a delight doing this contest with Judith. I was so pleased when she picked an extra winner. One day I'll write a big girl book and be able to submit it to her. (wink) But for now, this interview might give all you YA, MG, and other novel writers some insight to Judith's likes and dislikes. :)
ME: Judith, what made you decide to become a literary agent?
JUDITH: I always knew I wanted to work with books, so I decided to try out an intership with a literary agency. I was just a sophomore in college and didn't really know what the job entailed, but after the literary agent described the job during my first interview, I fell in love immediately. I remember squealing, "I can't believe a job like this exists!"
ME: How important were reading and writing to you as a child? Did you have a favorite author growing up?
JUDITH: When I think about my childhood, the most prominent memory is reading on the living room couch with books stacked up next to me. I didn't really go out much--in fact, I think there's a permanent imprint of my body on the couch. I grew up with Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley books (Sweet Valley Kids, Twins, High, etc) and later her gritty Fearless series, so I guess you could say she was my favorite author. But I also read a lot of Lois Duncan and Gail Carson Levine. And since my mom was an English teacher who tuned me into the classics, I read and cried over The Iliad and The Phantom of the Opera (why, Christine, why?!) many times. As for writing, I scribbled in my journal a lot and wrote haikus to my Siberian Husky, but I'm not sure if that counts.
ME: Who are some of your favorite contemporary authors? What are your favorite genres?
JUDITH: Let's see...I have to read every thriller by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (who knew an albino detective could be so hot?), and I'm dying to read the next installment in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series and Kelly Gay's Charlie Madigan series. There's Orson Scott Card, too, for creating my loves, Ender and Bean. And somebody please tell me when the next book by Chuck Palahniuk, Jeffrey Eugenides, or Jonathan Safran Foer is coming out! As for genres, I like literary fiction, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, thrillers, mysteries, YA, and MG.
ME: When people query you, do you like amusing queries or do you prefer more professional letters?
JUDITH: Professional, definitely, but one that captures the tone or voice of the work. In other words, just because it's professional doesn't mean it has to be boring.
ME: Now for more personal questions...What do you do for fun?
JUDITH: Keysi Fighting Method! KFM is a method of self-defense that's meant to prepare you for multiple opponents in real-life situations on the street. It's really cool because we'll practice outside at night on the cement and have special days where we'll train in winter jackets or in shorts and flipflops, to try and make things as realistic as possible. I'm one test away from reaching the orange grade, so when I'm not reading, I'm shadowboxing.
ME: One last question... What advice would you give querying writers?
JUDITH: The query itself is a writing sample, so it should be tightly written. The manuscript could have a great plot, but if the query letter doesn't convince agents that it's well written, then it probably won't receive many requests.
*********Again, I'd like to thank Judith for judging my critique contest. If you haven't checked out her blog, you should! You can also visit Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency's website to find out about all the agents listed. Judith will let us know when she is officially ready for queries. :-)
Happy querying everyone!