We were delighted to catch up with Danielle Zigner before our June event to ask her a few quickfire Q and A:
1/Please give us a brief biog.
After reading Philosophy and Theology at Oxford University Danielle spent a year working with a number of publishers and agencies. In 2014 she joined the team at LBA as a Junior Agent, and has since been actively building her list.
2/What are you working on at the moment?
My newest project is a fantasy novel with a twist – there’s no magic. I won’t give away anymore except to say that the writing is phenomenal and the story is completely genre-bending. I love books that aren’t afraid to do something new, and this one definitely a master at that.
3/What are you looking for in a debut author?
I have two main criteria for this – firstly, they have to be a fantastic writer. It’s impossible to quantify or to teach this, but really easy to recognise in a submission. Secondly, their story has to fill a gap in the market. As much as I love dystopian fiction, I know that for the next few years at least I won’t be able to sell it, so I avoid it. Similarly when assessing new submissions I look for stories that I know publishers are keen to take on at the moment. Once these two criteria have been met it’s simply about chatting with the author to make sure we get on and have the same vision for the story.
4/What top tip could you give an author when writing a submission letter?
When reading covering letters I’m most interested in finding out about the author, so tell me about yourself. A line or two about your story is also great, but I don’t need a full synopsis here (I actually ask for that separately). I want to know who you are, what you do, and which books have influenced you. I’m always much more attentive reading submissions if the person from the covering letter sounds interesting to me.
5/What three writers would you invite round for tea (and cake)?
Trudi Canavan, who writes epic fantasy stories. I fell in love with her first series when I was a teenager and I totally fangirled when I met her editor a few months ago.
Jeffrey Eugenides, because I never really got over reading The Virgin Suicides. I’m working on a beautiful novel with very similar themes and I’d want to hear his thoughts on it.
John Green, whose video blogs I’m obsessed with. He has an deep understanding of the power of fandom, and how it can change the world for the better. Being around him would make me feel like a lesser being but I think he’d be a fascinating conversationalist.