1/Please give us a brief biog
David Haviland is the fiction agent for the Andrew Lownie Literary
Agency, one of the UK’s leading boutique agencies. As well as being an
agent, David is also an experienced writer, ghost writer, and editor who
has written bestselling books for major publishers including Harper
Collins, Penguin, Piatkus and Little, Brown. His recent books include
‘How to Remove a Brain’, an amusing history of medical science, and a
collection of myth-busting stories from history called ‘The Not-So-Nude
Ride of Lady Godiva’.
2/What are you working on at the moment?
I currently represent 15 authors, and my focus is developing their
proposals and getting them into shape. I’m also looking to build my
list. I have a broad remit covering all genres of fiction, but I’m
particularly interested in crime, thrillers and adventure stories. I’m
also handling a new strand of the agency, an imprint called Thistle
Publishing, which will give a new lease of life to the agency’s
backlist, as well as generating interest and revenue for as yet unplaced
3/What are you looking for this year?
The rather unhelpful answer is that I’ll know it when I see it. I do
have certain genre preferences, particularly crime and thrillers, but
the truth is that I enjoy high quality writing in all genres, whereas
run-of-the-mill storytelling leaves me cold, even in my favourite
4/What top tip would you give to an unpublished author?
Read widely, be professional, and persevere.
5/What do you look for in a submission letter?
It’s important to be able to pitch your book very concisely, so that
it’s immediately clear what it’s about, and where it fits in the market.
After that, I’m keen to learn more about your main character and the
story, not the author’s journey.
6/What is the biggest mistake authors make in submission letters?
It can be frustrating when writers want to engage in a long email
conversation before sending me any material.
7/What book would you have loved to have represented?
8/Finally, what authors would you invite round for tea and cake?
Denise Mina, Magnus Mills and Michael Lewis.