Sunday, March 21, 2010

Conference Countdown

In less than one week, I’ll be attending the Oklahoma SCBWI conference in Oklahoma City.
I’m pretty excited about this event. Here is the lineup of speakers:
  • Amy Lennex, Sleeping Bear
  • Greg Ferguson, Egmont
  • Kate Fletcher, Candlewick
  • Agent: Stephen Fraser
  • Art Director: Kerry Martin, Senior Designer, Clarion
I always find that I get the most from a conference when I’ve done a little research on the speakers ahead of time. With author speakers, this means reading their books before the conference. In the case of editors and agents, it’s more a matter of finding out which books they’ve sold or edited.

With Google and Blogs, finding out this information is so much easier than it used to be. Still, I thought I’d share the results of my detective work with others who might be interested.

First up, Agent Stephen Fraser with the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in New York City. stephenfraser  
Before becoming an agent, he worked as an editor at HaperCollins Children’s. There he worked with Mary Engelbreit, Gregory Maguire, Michael Hague, Ann Rinaldi, Kathryn Lasky, Brent Hartinger, Stephen Mitchell, and Dan Gutman.

Though the agency lists clients on their website, it doesn’t delineate which authors are represented by Fraser. So, more investigation….
Here’s a recent interview with him from Carol Lynch Williams’ blog, Throwing up Words. The interview is done by Carol’s daughter, Kyra. Carol Lynch Williams is an alum of Vermont College of Fine Arts and one of Fraser’s clients.

In the interview, he mentions several books he sold that will be coming out this spring: Drum City by Thea Guidone (a pb from Tricycle Press).  two fantasy novels, The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby (September, Scholastic) and The Owl Keeper by Christine Brodien-Jones (April, Random House), and Carol Lynch Williams’ novel Glimpse (Paula Wiseman Books/Simon and Schuster).
Here’s another January interview with him from Joy Preble at the Class of 2K9: Debut Middle Grade and YA Authors blog.  In it, he mentions several of his favorite MG books:
Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat (in the Dangerous Angels series); Jack Gantos’ Joey Pigza books; Holes by Louis Sachar; Seedfolks and Whirligig, both by Paul Fleischman; Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia Maclachlan and Missing May by Cynthia Rylant.

And, another interview with him promoting the Pacific Coast Writers Workshop where he talks a little more in depth about what he enjoys in a book.

chosen oneWhen I found out he repped Carol Lynch Williams, I decided to read her novel, The Chosen One. I was completely blown away by this emotionally-charged story about a polygamist family. I found myself really caring about this teenager born into a society so different from mine, yet so geographically and philosophically nearby. Yet, what moved and inspired me the most was how the author so beautifully wove in how important books can be in a person’s life. Kyra learns of the outside world and finds escape in the pages of the books she treasures. This is an amazing book and a must-read for everyone considering writing.  You can find an excerpt from the publisher  here.

Next, up: Greg Ferguson from Egmont.

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